Long before becoming the governor of Massachusetts, John Winthrop had a deep understanding of God’s divine purposes for the colony. “We shall be a city set on a hill,” he said of Boston – where the church was the center of life during those early years of the city’s history.
While en route to the New World on board the Arbella, Winthrop wrote a sermon entitled “A Model of Christian Charity,” in which he outlined the purposes of God for New England. He described a harmonious Christian community whose laws and government would logically proceed from a godly and purposeful arrangement.
John Winthrop recognized the plans and purposes that Jesus Christ had for our nation. “A New Order of the Ages” was to be set up in which the individual was free to act and choose according to his free will; yet be dedicated to a lawful social order.
But Winthrop also gave a warning “The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause us to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world.
These and many other ideas are contained in “A Model of Christian Charity” a sermon which Winthrop delivered somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on the Arbella. He set out clearly the revealed purposes of God and warned that the success or failure of their endeavors would depend on their dedication to the ideal of selfless community.
History shows us that this ideal was never realized. However, Winthrop himself was a man of unquestionable integrity and deep humanity. He laid the foundation for generations yet to come. God Himself will shortly raise up a new generation of young people who will be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- CHRISTIAN CHARITIE: A Modell hereof By John Winthrop
- A MODEL OF CHRISTIAN CHARITY: The modern language version
See also: The Boston Awakening