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Friday, 2 January 2015

John Eliot

After attending Jesus College, Cambridge, John Eliot (1604-1690) was appointed assistant to the puritan Thomas Hooker at a private school at Little Baddow, Essex.

After Hooker was forced to flee to Holland, Eliot emigrated to Boston, Massachusetts, arranging passage as chaplain on the ship Lyon and arriving on November 3, 1631.

Eliot was appointed minister and "teaching elder" at the First Church in nearby Roxbury.


After several years pasturing the Roxbury, Massachusetts church and helping to compile The Bay Psalm Book, Eliot felt called to become the first Protestant minister to devote himself to the evangelization of the American Indian.

In 1646  Eliot, begun preaching to the native Algonquin Indian population at Nonatum, the text in his first ever sermon being Ezekiel 37 v 9 . It was the first time that the lgonquin Indians had heard anyone preach to them in their own language,

The Algonquin Indians proved receptive to the Gospel and by the 1660s Christian believers amongst them numbered in the thousands.

In 1663 Eliot completed his translation of the Bible into the previously unwritten language of the Algonquin Indians, the first Bible printed in any North American language. (The New Testament had been published out two years previously).

First Bible printed in New World, 1663

John Eliot "the apostle to the Indians" died on May 21, 1690, aged 85, his last words being "welcome joy!" 

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