Winthrop A Model Of Christian Charity

Winthrop A Model Of Christian Charity is a single chapter work on the new colony in America under John Winthrop as he tries to impose Christian morals on it.

Winthrop A Model Of Christian Charity is a single chapter work on the new colony in America under John Winthrop as he tries to impose Christian morals on it.

Winthrop A Model Of Christian Charity

By Governor John Winthrop 1630
Redacted and introduced by John Beardsley.

This is Winthrop’s most famous thesis, written on board the Arbella, 1630. We love to imagine the occasion when he personally spoke this oration to some large portion of the Winthrop fleet passengers during or just before their passage.

In an age not long past, when the Puritan founders were still respected by the educational establishment, this was required reading in many courses of American history and literature. However, it was often abridged to just the first and last few paragraphs. This left the overture of the piece sounding unkind and fatalistic, and the finale rather sternly zealous. A common misrepresentation of the Puritan character.

Winthrop’s genius was logical reasoning combined with a sympathetic nature. To remove this work’s central arguments about love and relationships is to completely lose the sense of the whole. Therefore we present it here in its well-balanced entirety. The biblical quotations are as Winthrop wrote them, and remain sometimes at slight variance from the King James version. This editor has corrected the chapter and verse citations to correspond to the King James text, assuming that the modern reader will wish to conveniently refer to that most popular English version of the Bible, as the Governor lays out his argument for charity and decent human behavior in the community.
Winthrop’s intent was to prepare the people for planting a new society in a perilous environment, but his practical wisdom is timeless.

GOD ALMIGHTY in His most holy and wise providence, hath so disposed of the condition of mankind, as in all times some must be rich, some poor, some high and eminent in power and dignity; others mean and in submission.
The Reason hereof:

1st Reason. of Winthrop A Model Of Christian Charity

First to hold conformity with the rest of His world, being delighted to show forth the glory of his wisdom in the variety and difference of the creatures, and the glory of His power in ordering all these differences for the preservation and good of the whole, and the glory of His greatness, that as it is the glory of princes to have many officers, so this great king will have many stewards, counting himself more honored in dispensing his gifts to man by man, than if he did it by his own immediate hands.

2nd Reason.

Secondly, that He might have the more occasion to manifest the work of his Spirit: first upon the wicked in moderating and restraining them, so that the rich and mighty should not eat up the poor, nor the poor and despised rise up against and shake off their yoke. Secondly, in the regenerate, in exercising His graces in them, as in the great ones, their love, mercy, gentleness, temperance etc., and in the poor and inferior sort, their faith, patience, obedience etc.

3rd Reason.

Thirdly, that every man might have need of others, and from hence they might be all knit more nearly together in the bonds of brotherly affection. From hence it appears plainly that no man is made more honorable than another or more wealthy etc., out of any particular and singular respect to himself, but for the glory of his Creator and the common good of the creature, Man. Therefore God still reserves the property of these gifts to Himself as Ezek. 16:17, He there calls wealth, His gold and His silver, and Prov. 3:9, He claims their service as His due, “Honor the Lord with thy riches,” etc. — All men being thus (by divine providence) ranked into two sorts, rich and poor; under the first are comprehended all such as are able to live comfortably by their own means duly improved; and all others are poor according to the former distribution.

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