David Brainerd on the Purpose of Life

The biography of David Brainerd has been used by God to advance Christian missions and inspire believers for centuries.  Here are some of my favorite selections from the end of Brainerd’s life:

Near night, while I attempted to walk a little, my thoughts turned thus, “How infinitely sweet it is to love God and be all for Him!”  Upon which it was suggested to me, “You are not an angel, not lively and active.”  To which my whole soul immediately replied, “I as sincerely desire to love and glorify God, as any angel in heaven.”  Upon which it was suggested again, “But you are filthy, not fit for heaven.”  Hereupon instantly appeared the blessed robes of Christ’s righteousness which I could not but exult and triumph in.  I viewed the infinite excellency of God, and my soul even broke with longings that God should be glorified.  I thought of dignity in heaven, but instantly the thought returned, “I do not go to heaven to get honor, but to give all possible glory and praise.”  Oh, how I longed that God should be glorified on earth also!  Oh, I was made for eternity, if God might be glorified!

But oh, that God might be glorified!  This was the burden of all my cry.  Oh, I knew, I should be active, as an angel, in heaven; and that I should be stripped of my filthy garments, so that there was no objection.  But, oh, to love and praise God more, to please Him forever!  “Lord, let thy kingdom come.”

My heaven is to please God, and glorify Him, and to give all to Him, and to be wholly devoted to His glory.  That is the heaven I long for; that is my religion, and that is my happiness, and always was ever since I suppose I had any true religion.  All those that are of that religion shall meet me in heaven.  I do not go to heaven to be advanced, but to give honor to God.  It is no matter where I shall be stationed in heaven, whether I have a high or low seat there; but to love, and please, and glorify God is all.  Had I a thousand souls, if they were worth anything, I would give them all to God; but I have nothing to give, when all is done.

It is impossible for any rational creature to be happy without acting all for God.  God himself could not make him happy any other way.  I long to be in heaven, praising and glorifying God with the Holy Angels.  All my desire is to glorify God.

There is nothing in the world worth living for but doing good and finishing God’s work, doing the work that Christ did.  I see nothing else in the world that can yield any satisfaction besides living to God, pleasing Him, and doing His whole will.

And so Brainerd had more joy on his deathbed than all the sinners in the world.

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