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John Winthrop Essay

869 words - 3 pages

The City upon the Hill

John Winthrop founded the colony of Massachusetts Bay in 1630, where he was the first Governor of the colony, a position he held for twenty years. In April, 1630, aboard the ship Arbella, he led a large party from England for the new world to establish a pure Christian based colony. "They hoped to establish communities of pure Christians who collectively swore a covenant with God that would they work for his ends, knowing that in return, He would watch over them".

John Winthrop was born in Edwardstone, Suffolk, England, on January 22, 1588, and died in Boston, Massachusetts on March 26, 1649. He was the only child of Adam Winthrop and his wife, Anne Brown. Winthrop briefly attended Trinity College in Cambridge, studied law at Gray's Inn, and in the 1620s became an attorney at the Court of Wards in London. John Winthrop was a man who held Christianity to be above all churches.

Winthrop had decided to leave England to found a godly community in the new world. Like most Puritans, Winthrop was extremely religious and subscribed fervently to the Puritan belief that the Anglican Church had to be cleansed of Catholic ritual. Winthrop was convinced that God was going to punish the English Puritans for its heresy against God. As the leader of the party heading for the new world he believed in creating a society based on a moral code that was rooted in the bible. Winthrop and the other Puritans hoped to establish in the new world a pure church that would offer a model for the churches in England, thus purifying the Anglican Church from within. "They sought homogeneity, not diversity, and believed that the good of the community outweighed protecting the rights of its individual members".

Beyond being the first governor of Massachusetts, John Winthrop is most famous for his "City Upon the Hill" sermon, entitled "A Model of Christian Charity", of 1630. This sermon is believed to have been given abound ship in route to the New World. This sermon was inspiring to the Puritans, giving them a sense of holy duty that would be crucial if they wanted to increase their chances of survival in the new world.

The "A Model of Christian Charity" sermon is based on Matthew 5:14 "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden" , in which John Winthrop warned the puritan colonists that their new community in New England would be a "city upon a hill", watched by the world....

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