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Hunt, John
1812-1848; e.m. 1838

WM missionary to Fiji, born on 13 June 1812 at Hykeham Moor, near Lincoln in humble circumstances. He became a farm labourer at ten and was self-educated. He joined the Methodists at 16 and attended the Hoxton Theological Institution 1835-1838. He was recommended as 'of scarcely any literary attainments, but with a clear, sound understanding, a right judgement in the things of God, and a just conception of the way of salvation'. Enhanced by his studies, his outstanding ministry was in the pioneer Fiji Mission from 1838, where the missionaries had to confront such practices as cannibalism and the strangling of widows. Facing isolation, privation and danger on the various islands and with the unfailing support of his wife Hannah, he evangelized by teaching, preaching and translation, all unmistakably grounded in his love for the Fijians and lit by his personal grace and goodness. He developed an interest in Fijian art and poetry. His colleagues, like his converts, were unstinting in their love and respect, despite the challenge of his example. As Chairman of the District from 1842 and only 'happy when on full stretch', he overworked relentlessly, until his strength broke down and he died at 36 on 4 October 1848. Letters on Entire Sanctification, an exposition of the doctrine enriched with his own insights, was published posthumously and became a required text for ministerial students.

Sources

  • G.S. Rowe, The Life of John Hunt, missionary to the Cannibals (1860)
  • J. Nettleton, John Hunt: pioneer, missionary and saint (1906)
  • N. Alan Birtwhistle, In His Armour: the life of John Hunt (1954)
  • A.H. Wood, Overseas Missions of the Australian Methodist Church (1975, 1978), vol. 2
  • Blackwell Dictionary of Evangelical Biography

Entry written by: MJF
Category: Person

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