Synical Analysis Of John Winthrop's A City On A Hill

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A City on a Hill John Winthrop is incredibly smart. The sermon that he delivered while en route to Massachusetts was the perfect thing to prepare his new colonists for life in a foreign land. Backing up his calls for brotherly love and forgiveness with direct scripture quotes, he lays out why exactly the Puritans need to act justly and kindly. The question and answer format of his sermon is laid out in an easy to understand logic that seems to be backed up with doctrine at every step. He even explains why class divisions exist among not just those in England (which they were escaping), but why they naturally will exist in America as well. His sermon gives way to the kind of governor that he would be in the coming years, one who is very…show more content…
His sermon focuses in part on the classic golden rule that is iterated again and again in any Christian community, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” As such, the poor should be treated with justice and mercy in the same way as the rich. The heavy focus on love that Winthrop uses, no doubt inspired a feeling of unity in his listeners. Unity would make or break the colony once they arrived in New England, and John Winthrop definitely knew that. Things could not operate the same way they did back in Great Britain as everyone was responsible for the success or failure of the colony. The possible looming failure on the horizon is apparent in the last section of his sermon in which he warns his followers, “For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us.” He speaks of a covenant with God, similar in some ways to that of the Jewish people. He claims that if they break the covenant and steer off the path of righteousness, then “the Lord will surely break out in wrath against us, … and make us know the price of the breach of such a covenant.” From what I know about the Christian God, his wrath is usually quite harsh and very deadly. I’m willing to bet that these lines both chilled some listeners to the bone and inspired religious fervor in others.
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