312 - Roman emperor Constantine, 32, defeated the army of Maxentius, a contender to the throne, at Milvian Bridge, after trusting in a vision he had seen of the cross, inscribed with the words, "In this sign conquer." Constantine was converted soon after and became the first Roman emperor to embrace the Christian faith.
1646 - At Nonantum, Mass., colonial missionary John Eliot ("Apostle to the New England Indians"), 42, conducted the first Protestant worship service for the Indians of North America. He also delivered the first sermon preached to the Indians in their native tongue.
1777 - Anglican clergyman and hymnwriter John Newton wrote in a letter; 'The Lord usually reserves dying strength for a dying hour.'
1820 - Birth of John H. Hopkins, a leader in the development of Episcopal church hymnody during the mid-19th century. Today, he is better remembered as the author and composer of the Christmas hymn, "We Three Kings of Orient Are."
1949 - American missionary martyr Jim Elliot, 22, inscribed in his journal perhaps the most oft-quoted of all his sayings: 'He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.'
© 1987-2008, William D. Blake. Used by permission of the author, from Almanac of the Christian Church