A Model of Christian Charity: Summary

A Model of Christian Charity is a 1630 sermon by Puritan minister John Winthrop. The sermon was delivered on the Arbella, a ship carrying English Puritans to New England. In it, Winthrop describes the Puritans’ mission in the New World as an attempt to build a “city upon a hill” – a phrase that has become a common shorthand for the United States’ status as a global power.

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In his work, “A Model of Christian Charity,” Puritan minister John Winthrop argues that the success of the Massachusetts Bay Colony depends on the colony’s members working together in a spirit of charity. Winthrop lays out his vision for the colony as a “city upon a hill,” a shining example of Christian virtue to the world. To make this vision a reality, he says, the colonists must love one another as Christ loves them. Only by loving God and neighbor, Winthrop believes, can the colony hope to prosper.

Winthrop’s work is significant both for its role in shaping the early history of Massachusetts and for its influence on American ideals of self-government and individual rights. In particular, Winthrop’s idea that the success of the colony depends on its members’ ability to work together for the common good would become an important part of the American experiment in democracy.

A Model of Christian Charity

In “A Model of Christian Charity,” John Winthrop reveals his aspirations for the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Winthrop’s “city upon a hill” sermon offers a model of Christian charity that is both individualistic and communitarian. The Puritans believed that they were chosen by God to create a model society, and that their success or failure would be a testament to God’s will.

The Puritan Community

The Puritan community described in A Model of Christian Charity is a theocratic society, meaning that God is considered the head of the government and religious leaders are given authority over political matters. This setup was based on the belief thatCallback: Puritans needed to create a “visible church” in order to be saved, and that the best way to do this was to establish a community in which everyone followed strict religious laws.

Religious leaders were not elected by the people, but were instead appointed by the governing body of the church. This system meant that there was no separation between church and state, and that all aspects of life were governed by religious principles. The Puritans believed that this system would lead to a more pious society, and would ultimately help them achieve salvation.

callback: One of the most important aspects of the Puritan community was the focus on education. All children were required to attend school, and universities were established in order to train ministers and other religious leaders. The Puritans also placed a high value on secular learning, and they believed that everyone should be able to read and write. This emphasis on education helped create a literate population that was able to engage in complex theological debates.

The Puritans also believed inpredestination, which is the idea that God has already determined who will be saved and who will not. This belief led them to see themselves as an “elect” group of people who had been chosen by God for salvation. In order to maintain their status as the elect, the Puritans had to follow strict religious laws and live up to high moral standards. They also believed that it was their duty to help others achieve salvation, and this led them to establish missions throughout Europe and America.

A Model of Christian Charity is significant because it provides insight into the beliefs of the Puritan community. The text helped shape the views of subsequent generations of Puritans, and it continues to influence our understanding of early American history.

The Individual and the Community

In “A Model of Christian Charity,” Puritan minister John Winthrop envisions the Massachusetts Bay Colony as a “city upon a hill,” a place where his fellow Puritans can create a perfect society based on their shared religious beliefs. He urges them to work together in charity and love, so that they can be an example to the rest of the world.

Winthrop begins by describing the nature of God’s love, which is absolute and perfect. This love is not just for individuals, but for humanity as a whole. God wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. In order to achieve this, Believers must work together in charity and love. They must help those who are in need, be they spiritual or physical needs. Winthrop goes on to say that this love must also extend to those who are not part of the community. The community should reach out to them and try to bring them into the fold.


In conclusion, Winthrop’s “A Model of Christian Charity” is a Puritan sermon that outlines the goals and values of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Winthrop argues that the Colony should be a “city upon a hill” and an example for other societies. The success of the Colony depends on the members working together in love and charity.

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