Conversion of a Spiritual Plagiarist

the more I did in duty the more hard I thought it would be for God to cast me off; though at the same time I confessed, and thought I saw, that there was no goodness or merit in my duties.  But now the more I did in prayer or any other duty, the more I saw I was indebted to God for allowing me to ask for mercy; for I saw it was self-interest had led me to pray, and that I had never once prayed from any respect to the glory of God.  Now I saw there was no necessary connection between my prayers and the bestowment of divine mercy; that they laid not the least obligation upon God to bestow His grace upon me; and that there was no more virtue or goodness in them than there would be in my paddling with my hand in the water…; and this because they were not performed from any love or regard to God.  I saw that I had been heaping up my devotions before God, fasting, praying, pretending, and indeed really thinking sometimes that I was aiming at the glory of God; whereas I never once truly intended it, but only my own happiness.

I saw that as I had never done anything for God, I had no claim on anything from Him but perdition, on account of my hypocrisy and mockery…I now saw that something worse had attended my duties than barely a few wanderings; for the whole was nothing but self-worship, and a horrid abuse of God.

I thought the Spirit of God had quite left me, but still was not distressed; yet disconsolate, as if there was nothing in heaven or earth could make me happy.

I had been endeavoring to pray, though as I thought, very stupid and senseless, for near half an hour; then, as I was walking in a dark thick grove, unspeakable glory seemed to open to the view and apprehension of my soul.  I do not mean any external brightness, for I saw no such thing

I stood still, wondered, and admired!…At this time, the way of salvation opened to me with such infinite wisdom, suitableness, and excellency, that I wondered I should ever think of any other way of salvation; was amazed that I had not dropped my own contrivances, and complied with this lovely, blessed, and excellent way before.

~ The Diary of David Brainerd

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