By Bill Federer, staff writer
The first book printed in America was the Bay Psalm Book by John Eliot, who was baptized in England as an infant on AUGUST 5, 1604.
Called “Apostle to the Indians,” he sailed to America and preached his first sermon in the Algonquian language in 1646.
He translated the Ten Commandments, Lord’s Prayer and the Bible-the first to be printed in America, in 1663.
In a 1674 census, 4,000 “Praying Indians” were in 14 self-ruling villages with houses, streets, bridges, and their own ministers.
John Eliot wrote:
“The Word of God is the perfect System of Laws to guide all moral actions of man.”
In A Brief Narrative, July 20, 1670, Eliot wrote:
“These Indians being of kin to our Massachusetts Indians…received amongst them the light and love of the Truth…On a day of Fasting and Prayer, Elders were ordained…
The Teacher of the Praying Indians of Nantucket, with a Brother…who made good Confessions of Jesus Christ…did make report that there be about ninety families who pray unto God in that island, so effectual is the Light of the Gospel.”
Sadly, after the death of Pilgrim leader William Bradford and Indian chief Massasoit, tensions led to King Phillip’s War in 1675 and hundreds of these Indians died.
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