John Winthrop Model for Christian Charity

American Literature, to me is very similar to American History. It is made up of important writings that give us an insight as to how America came to be in the beginning. Just as those early American writers came in to this country to establish in America, they also established the significance in writing in American Literature. There were three overall readings from our syllabus that I enjoyed the most. Those readings being, John Winthrop’s A Model of Christian Charity, J.

Hector St. John De Crevecoeur’s Letters from an American Farmer, and Angelina Grimke’s Appeal to the Christian Women of the South. I was fascinated by these reading because it allowed me to understand their culture and how they began as a society. Their writings served as historical statements as they wrote about their everyday struggles and their lifestyles giving us an idea of their success and failures in early America.

In John Winthrop’s A Model of Christian Charity, their perspective of America was a second opportunity in life.

As we all know, John Winthrop and many other puritans along with him immigrated to America in order to commit to Puritan teachings and practices freely and avoid persecution from King Charles I who was against Puritan ways. John Winthrop was convinced that God had chosen him along with the other Puritans migrating to America to follow through with their covenant they had with him, “We entered into a covenant with him for this work.” With that being said, John Winthrop envisions America to be their opportunity to become an example for the entire world as to how people should live according to God and the Bible, “For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill.

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The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and by-word through the world.(Winthrop-188)” The idea that Winthrop tries to convey of America is that it is a land of giving to others as an act of being merciful, “There is a time also when a Christian (though they give not all yet) must give beyond their ability…(Winthrop-179)” There are about four ideas that Winthrop gave in his sermon that were both subtle and explicit that served as a foundation of what would be of America. The four ideas are freedom, dependency, charity, and unity. What I was able to get from this reading is that Winthrop really did not believe in freedom, which is ironic since they fled from England in order to practice their puritan beliefs freely. Winthrop believed in only two types of freedom- Godly and Evil.

Technically they did not have freedom since they were only allowed to choose the Godly path. Dependency was another idea he spoke of. No puritans were independent; they all depended on one another, “… that every man might have need of other, and from hence they might be all knit more nearly together in the bonds of brotherly affection.” Winthrop mentioned a lot about charity making it a key point as to their new upbringing in America. He mentioned to give to others who need the help, not only the poor but to help within the entire Puritan Community. The last idea is that of unity. Winthrop mentioned in his sermon that everyone had one common goal and that goal was to serve God, bonding them in unity. He used these ideas to lay a foundation of principles within their community and he used the lord’s scriptures to build his reasoning.

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John Winthrop Model for Christian Charity. (2022, May 09). Retrieved from

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