A Model of Christian Charity by John Winthrop

A Model of Christian Charity is a Puritan sermon written by John Winthrop in 1630. It was delivered on board the Arbella on the way to the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Checkout this video:


A Model of Christian Charity is a Puritan sermon written in 1630 by John Winthrop (1588–1649) that was delivered on board the Arbella (the flagship of the Massachusetts Bay Company) on its way to the New World. The sermon was used to encourage and motivate the original Puritan colonists to remain focused on their mission, despite the challenges and difficulties they would face. It has since become an iconic text in American literature, often cited by politicians and historians.

The City upon a Hill

In his “Model of Christian Charity,” John Winthrop articulates a profound and radical vision of America. This speech was given in 1630 aboard the Arbella, a ship bound for the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and it is often cited as an early expression of American Exceptionalism. In it, Winthrop envisions America as a “city upon a hill,” a place where people from all over the world can come to learn about Christianity and its liberating power.

Winthrop’s speech is also notable for its strong commitment to social justice. He urges his fellow colonists to remember that they are all members of the same body, and that their individual salvation depends on their collective welfare. This sense of community and responsibility is at the heart of Winthrop’s vision for America, and it remains an essential part of our national character.

A Model of Christian Charity

In “A Model of Christian Charity,” John Winthrop explores the religious basis for the government of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Winthrop argues that the colony should be governed by Christian principles, and that its residents should work together for the good of the community. He also stresses the importance of helping those in need, and of treating others with respect and compassion.


In conclusion, Winthrop’s “A Model of Christian Charity” is a seminal work in American literature. It articulates the Puritan ideals of self-governance, hard work, and charity that would come to define the American character. Winthrop’s vision for an ordered and just society, built on the foundation of Christian love, would inspire generations of Americans to strive for a “city upon a hill.”

Scroll to Top