John Winthrop Essay

John Winthrop Essay

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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 ...


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...unities for the benefit of all,

The "A Model of Christian Charity" sermon, delivered by John Winthrop, is an example of the deeply religious Puritans that settled in Boston. They felt they had a convent with God to live a righteous life, a life that put God commandments and the community first. The puritans were very concerned with proper behavior – theirs and others. The settlers of Boston were pious Puritans who regularly reassessed the state of their souls. By living this righteous life, the Puritans believed the Massachusetts Bay Colony was the "City upon the Hill" and they would be the light of the world. John Winthrop stated in the closing statement of his sermon how deeply the Puritans walked with God.
Therefore lett us choose life,
that wee, and our seede,
may live, by obeyeing his
voice, and cleaving to him,
for hee is our life, and
our prosperity.

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