Thursday, October 26, 2006


You're wondering what the gobbledygook above is all about?

On this day, October 16, 1633, the puritan congregation at Newton (now Cambridge), Massachusetts, chose Thomas Hooker as its pastor. On a wall near the Cathedral in Chelmsford, Essex is a plaque which reads, "Thomas Hooker (1586 - 1647), Founder of the State of Connecticut, Father of American Democracy."

Hooker, like many English Dissenters, first fled to Holland to escape the harassments of Archbishop Laud. He arrived in Massachusetts in 1633. For a time Thomas and his family settled there while he served as the pastor of the 8th church in that colony. The civil situation was not completely harmonious between the leaders. John Cotton, another leader, wanted to set up a community in which only men who were members of the church and held property could vote.

Thomas Hooker, like Cotton, wanted to build a godly community, but he believed all the men should have a voice and a vote.This difference was settled when Thomas Hooker led about one hundred people away to begin a new settlement, which is now called Hartford, Connecticut. Later three settlements merged to form the Connecticut Colony. This colony put Hooker's principles into practice when it adopted the Fundamental Orders sometimes called the first written constitution.

The missionary, John Eliot, came under Hooker's influence for a time and he published a copy of the Scriptures in the Indian language, a copy of it being sent back to England. It was published in Cambridge in 1664. A copy of it was presented to King Charles II. One of the longest words in this Indian Bible is found in Mark 1:40: Wutappesittukqussunnoohwehtunkquoh. It's meaning is "Kneeling down to him". The word for "love" contains 24 letters and the word for "question" is even longer than the one cited above (which has 34 letters), coming in at 41 letters.

Hooker never forgot the true source of his salvation and his success in ministry. As he lay dying, someone said to him, "Sir, you are going to receive the reward of all your labors." Thomas looked at him and replied, "Brother, I am going to receive mercy."

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