John Winthrop, a wealthy English Puritan lawyer and one of the leading figures in the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, saw America as a “city upon a hill” even before he laid eyes on it.
From the beginning, America was as much an idea as a place, and that idea was informed by the notion that America was the land of self-betterment where the only sin was limitation.
John Winthrop led the first large wave of migrants from England in 1630. He served as governor for 12 of the colony’s first 20 years of existence. His writings and visions of the colony as a Puritan “city upon a hill” dominated New England colonial development, influencing the government and religion of neighboring colonies.
When King Charles 1 began a crackdown on Nonconformist religious thought, Winthrop led a group of colonists to the New World. He was a force of comparative moderation in the religiously conservative colony. Winthrop had a son, also named John, who was a founder of the Connecticut Colony.
The colonists were searching for religious freedom. They knew that individual freedom in Christ was available, and they began the fight for it.
John Winthrop was determined not to fall under the Conformed Religion of the Church of England and he proved his belief in the scriptures from Romans 12, ”And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” The colonists understood what it meant to be transformed and renewed by God, in a personal manner.
Christ has fought the spiritual battle for us, upon His death on the cross, and our forefathers have fought the patriot battle. Yes, we are free, in Christ, but our national freedom continues to be fought. Let us pray for all Armed Services and let us thank God for our liberties that have been won. We must never take our blessings for granted. God Bless America, the beloved “city upon a hill”!
Pastor Liz, of Hillside, “the beloved church upon the hill”