Let us kill this paleface



A frail young man [David Brainerd], with sad, lustrous eyes and face so blanched that he seems to be the palest of the palefaces, is engaged on a serious and dangerous mission. Having heard of a tribe of particularly ferocious Indians living in the dense forests of the region known as the "Forks of the Delaware," he is on his way to tell them of a loving Saviour. Coming at sunset in sight of the smoke of their campfires, he decides to spend the night in the woods and to proceed in the morning. Little does he realize that several red men, with wolfish eyes and as silent as serpents, have followed him for hours. As he builds a fire, the Indians steal away to their encampment to tell the startling news that a white man is in the woods nearby. "Let us go at once," says the chief, "and kill this paleface, whose people have taught us to drink firewater and then, while we are drunk, have taken our baskets and skins and even our lands for almost nothing."

As the warriors silently draw near, they see the white man on his knees, praying most fervently that the Indians might come to realize that the great God of the universe loved them and sent His Son to save them. While he prays, a rattlesnake squirms up to him, lifts its hideous head, flicks its forked tongue close to his face, and then, for no apparent reason, glides away into the darkness. And so does the chief, followed by his men.

When the young missionary enters the Indian village early the next morning, he receives a much more cordial welcome than he had anticipated, for not until later does he learn of the strange events of the preceding night. When the people gather around him in an open place among the wigwams, he opens his Bible, reads from the 53rd chapter of Isaiah and tenderly tells the sweet story of how God sent His Son to die on the cross that He might take away the sin from people's hearts and make them good children of the Heavenly Father. At the close of his message there are tears in the eyes of many of his auditors.

"The paleface is a praying man!" remarks one of the warriors who had gone forth the preceding night intending to kill him.

"And the Great Spirit is with him!" says another, remembering how the rattlesnake had mysteriously failed to strike.

"And he brings a wondrous sweet message!" says the squaw of the Indian chief.


From: Heroes of Faith on Pioneer Trails by E. Myers Harrison. Published by Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, c1945.


David Brainerd (1718-1747) was a missionary to the American Indians in New York, New Jersey, and eastern Pennsylvania. Born in Connecticut in 1718, he died of tuberculosis at the age of twenty-nine.


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