Life and Ministry of David Brainerd: A Brief Chronology

David Brainerd is one of my heroes.  I love learning about him, reading his journals, and soaking in all I can from God’s work through this man.  The following is from Douglas A. Sweeney of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he serves as chair of the church history and history of Christian thought department, professor of church history and the history of Christian thought, and director of the Jonathan Edwards Center. (Posted with permission.)

April 20, 1718 = born in Haddam, CT, to Hezekiah and Dorothy Hobart Mason Brainerd (the widow of Daniel Mason)

1727 = Hezekiah Brainerd dies

1732 = Dorothy Brainerd dies

July 12, 1739 = David Brainerd’s conversion experience

September 1739-early 1742  = studies at Yale College

early 1742 = expelled from Yale for insulting Tutor Chauncey Whittlesey (“He has no more grace than this chair”) and refusing to confess this sin in public

April 1742 = moves to Ripton, CT, where he studies for the ministry with the Rev. Jedediah Mills

July 29, 1742 = licensed to preach by the Congregational Association of the Eastern District of Fairfield County, CT

November 1742 = appointed a missionary by the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge

March 31, 1743 = visits Stockbridge to begin training for missions work (primarily to learn Mahican) with John Sergeant

April 1, 1743 = begins his ministry to the Indians at Kaunaumeek (in upstate New York)

May 1744 = entrusts John Sergeant in Stockbridge with his Kaunaumeek congregation and begins evangelizing the Delaware Indians near the Forks of the Delaware River (primarily in east central Pennsylvania)

June 12, 1744 = ordained by the Presbytery of New York

June 1745 = begins his ministry to the Indians of Crossweeksung in New Jersey

March 1746 = begins moving his Crossweeksung congregation to Cranberry, NJ

1746 = Brainerd publishes Mirabilia Dei inter Indicos; or, the Rise and Progress of a Remarkable Work of Grace Amongst a Number of the Indians in the Province of New Jersey, the first installment of his Journal

Nov. 1746-March 1747 = winters with Jonathan Dickinson before leaving for New England (in 1746, the College of New Jersey had been founded in Dickinson’s home in Elizabethtown, NJ-Dickinson served as its founding president until his death the following year-Brainerd is sometimes referred to as Princeton’s first student!)

March 1747 = one last visit with his congregation in Cranberry (before his brother John Brainerd would succeed him there)

by the end of DB’s ministry there, there were 85 communicant members of the Indian congregation, 43 adults and 42 children

April 1747 = leaves for New England

May 28, 1747 = arrives in Northampton

June 9-July 20, 1747 = trip to Boston with Jerusha Edwards

Oct. 9, 1747 = Brainerd dies of tuberculosis at the age of 29

1748 = posthumous publication of Divine Grace Displayed; or, The Continuance and Progress of a Remarkable Work of Grace . . ., the second installment of Brainerd’s Journal

1749 = JE publishes An Account of the Life of the Late Reverend Mr. David Brainerd

HT: Justin Taylor

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