« 前へ次へ »
The religious public are already acquainted with a very copious Life of David Brainerd, written by the late President Edwards, and with an abridgment of that performance by the founder of Methodism, the Rev. John Wesley. It will therefore be expected that I should give some account of the following work, and assign the reasons which induced me to undertake it. The Life by Edwards has been supposed to contain much unimportant and exuberant matter, and a too frequent recurrence of the same things: this arose, no doubt, from the worthy author's not using sufficiently the pruning knife, while preparing the private diary of Mr. Brainerd for the press. As the work is now becoming scarce, a republication was at first proposed. But a learned and excellent friend, in whose judgment I have implicit confidence, suggested, that to re-write the life, and judiciously to select from the original volume the most important and interesting portions of the diary and journal, would be conferring upon the public a real benefit, as it would greatly reduce the book both in size and price, without at all diminishing its intrinsic worth. This task I was requested to undertake, and I engaged in it the more readily, as I hoped by cultivating a close intimacy with the spirit of this exemplary missionary I might greatly improve my own. At this time I was not acquainted with Mr. Wesley's abridgment, which therefore I thought it necessary to peruse, that I might avoid engaging in a needless labor. By this perusal I was rather induced to proceed in my undertaking, than influenced to lay it aside: and whatever imperfections may mark the present volume, I can venture to declare, that it is a FAITHFUL record of Brainerd's PRINCIPLES, conduct, and experience as a Christian and a missionary.
For the materials I am indebted to President Edwards, and for the extracts in their abridged form, after I had compared them with the original, I have to express my obligations to Mr. Wesley. Frequently I have indulged myself in reflection and remark; this perhaps may relieve and enliven the uniformity of narrative. I have taken pains to render the whole interesting and useful, and I trust