Rev. Samuel Occam: A Great Blessing of the Great Awakening

Posted at This Day in Presbyterian History:

In these devotionals before, we have written several times on the ministry of David Brainerd to the native Americans in the land. Some of you may be familiar with the work of John Eliott among the same people in pre-Revolutionary days. Others of early Christianity, including many Presbyterian clergy, saw in their existence an opportunity to spread the gospel. But no where was there such a ray of hope than in the person and work of the Rev. Samuel Occom, a native American himself.

Born in 1743, of the Mohegan tribe, he was one of the first converts from among the native American tribes during the First Great Awakening. It was said that his mother had first come to knowledge of Christ herself after contact with the revivalist preachers of the New Side Presbyterians. Then Samuel Occom himself, at age 16, came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ through the ministry of a Great Awakening preacher named Davenport.

Samuel sought out a Congregational minister by the name of Eleazar Wheelock for the purpose of being discipled by him. The latter had an Indian classical school in his own home. Samuel entered Wheelock’s school and stayed there four years, studying the biblical languages as well as theology. He began to minister to his own people in New England and Long Island. While in Long Island, he married a Christian Indian, and to this couple, ten children were born.


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