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City on a Hill

John Winthrop

John Winthrop (1588–1649), lawyer and leader of the 1630 migration of English Puritans to Massachusetts Bay Colony, delivered this famous sermon aboard the Arbella to settlers traveling to New England.

New York Public Library: John Winthrop Landing in Salem, 1630

The only way to provide for our posterity is to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our
God. We must be knit together in this work as one man; we must take care of each other with brotherly affection.

We shall be united in the bond of peace, the Lord will be our God and delight to dwell among us, so that we shall see much more of his wisdom, power, goodness and truth.

We shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall [behave badly] and cause God to withdraw his help from us, we shall [invite] the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us.

Therefore let us choose life, that we, and our [children], may live; by obeying his voice, for he is our life, and our prosperity.

View entire text of "A Model of Christian Charity" by John Winthrop.