Friday, October 27, 2000

David Brainerd tells how the Gospel, alone, changed lives

I have been blessed by reading the "The Life and Diary of David Brainerd". Mr. Brainerd was a missionary to Native Americans in the 1700s. In the passage below he tells how powerfully the truths of the gospel changed the Indians' lives. I think you'll enjoy it. If you want to read more, visit,M1 (this is from pages 324-326)

Those doctrines, which had the most direct tendency to humble the fallen creature; to show him the misery of his natural state; to bring him down to the foot of sovereign mercy, and to exalt the great Redeemer—discover his transcendent excellency and infinite preciousness, and so recommend him to the sinner's acceptance—were the subject-matter of what was delivered in public and private to them, and from time to time repeated and inculcated…

When these truths were felt at heart, there was now no vice unreformed - no external duty neglected. Drunkenness, the darling vice, was broken off, and scarce an instance of it known among my hearers for months together. The abusive practice of husbands and wives in putting away each other, and taking others in their stead, was quickly reformed; so that there are three or four couples who have voluntarily dismissed those whom they had wrongfully taken, and now live together again in love and peace. The same might be said of all other vicious practices. The reformation was general; and all springing from the internal influence of divine truth upon their hearts, and not from any external restraints, or because they had heard these vices particularly exposed, and repeatedly spoken against. Some of them I never so much as mentioned; particularly that of the parting of men and their wives, till some, having their conscience awakened by God's word, came, and of their own accord confessed themselves guilty in that respect. When I at any time mentioned their wicked practices, and the sins they were guilty of contrary to the light of nature, it was not with a design, nor indeed with any hope, of working an effectual reformation in their external manners by this means, for I knew, that while the tree remained corrupt, the fruit would naturally be so. My design was to lead them, by observing the wickedness of their lives, to a view of the corruption of their hearts, and so to convince them of the necessity of a renovation of nature, and to excite them, with the utmost diligence to seek after that great change, which, if once obtained, I was sensible, would of course produce a reformation of external manners in every respect.