Brainerd was a missionary to the American Indians in the northeast (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, etc) in the 1740’s, who died of tuberculosis at the age of 29. He had been a Christian only 7 years and in the ministry for only 3 years. His life was brief, but he was used of God in a mighty way. The following was written four months before he died. The second paragraph was written by Jonathan Edwards as he edited Brainerd’s journal.
“Lord’s day, May 31. [At Northampton] I had little inward sweetness in religion most of the week past; not realizing and beholding spiritually the glory of God, and the blessed Redeemer; from whence always arise my comforts and joys in religion, if I have any at all: and if I cannot so behold the excellencies and perfections of God, as to cause me to rejoice in Him for what He is in Himself. I have no solid foundation for joy. To rejoice, only because I apprehend I have an interest in Christ, and shall be finally saved, is a poor and lesser thing indeed.”
Says Edwards: “This week he consulted Dr. Mather at my house concerning his illness, who plainly told him that there were great evidences of his being in a confirmed consumption [tuberculosis], and that he could give him no encouragement that he should ever recover. But it did not seem to bring the least discomposure in him or make any change as to his cheerfulness and serenity, or the freedom or pleasantness of his conversation.”
– Diary of David Brainerd