30 August 2006

Brainerd: Some Signs of Godliness

David Brainerd, the New England missionary to the Indians who died in his late twenties and lived for a while in the Edwards home, jotted down "Some Signs of Godliness" shortly before he died.

The distinguishing marks of a true Christian, taken from one of my old manuscripts; where I wrote as I felt and experienced, and not from any considerable degree of doctrinal knowledge, or acquaintance with the sentiments of others in this point.

1. He has a true knowledge of the glory and excellency of God, that he is most worthy to be loved and praised for his own divine perfections. Psal. cxlv. 3.
2. God is his portion, Psal. lxxiii. 25. And God's glory is his great concern, Matt. vi. 22.
3. Holiness is his delight; nothing he so much longs for, as to be holy as God is holy. Phil. iii. 9-12.
4. Sin is his greatest enemy. This he hates, for its own nature, for what it is in itself, being contrary to a holy God, Jer. ii. 1. And consequently he hates all sin, Rom. vii. 24. 1 John iii. 9.
5. The laws of God also are his delight, Psal. cxix. 97. Rom. vii. 22. These he observes, not out of constraint, from a servile fear of hell; but they are his choice, Psal. cxix. 30. The strict observance of them is not his bondage, but his greatest liberty, ver. 4-5.

--Works of Jonathan Edwards (Hickman ed.), II:441.

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