From: Tom Lynch
Time: 6:44:19 PM
Remote Name: 220.127.116.11
Thomas E. Lynch III The United States, 1600-1877 Week 3 Assignment
John Winthrop: A Modell of Christian Charity
John Winthrop was a devout Puritan. His religious beliefs led him to believe that England was a lost cause and the only way that he could live a life according to God was to leave the island. Winthrop and a number of other Puritans received a charter for the Massachusetts Bay Colony where they planned to set up a new community that would conform to God's ideals. The purpose of the sermon that he wrote during the trip to the New World was twofold. First, it drove home the idea that the only way for the fledgling colony to survive would be for all of its inhabitants to not only stick together with one another, but also with God. Throughout the sermon he states phrases like, "If one member suffers, all suffer with it…," and, "Yee ought to lay doune your lives for the brethren," which suggest that community is more important than individuality. He also uses the body as an example of how the community should function with God as the head. The second purpose of the sermon would be to instill fear in the colonists if they broke their commitment with God. He writes, "if wee shall neglect the observation of these articles which are the ends wee have propounded, …, the Lord will surely breake out in wrathe against us." Failure to live up to God's standards will result in dire consequences for the colony. Winthrop believed that the colony would be a "city on a hill." He chose this phrase to emphasize that the colony would be a utopian society. It would operate as a model for the people of Europe and especially England. The people of Massachusetts Bay would live a life according to God's wishes and for their efforts would be rewarded with a life of physical and spiritual fulfillment. By migrating to the new world, Winthrop believed he and his fellow colonists could remove the taint of corruption that the Church of England was plagued with and create a earthly paradise which the rest of the world could look up to.