CRAIGforCONGRESS

Missouri's 7th District, U.S. House of Representatives

  
 

 

 

Congressional Issues 2012
SOCIETY
"
A City Upon a Hill"



Congress should:
  • follow the example of Ronald Reagan
  • who followed the example of Gov. John Winthrop
  • who followed the command of Jesus Christ
  • to be a "light to the world" and "a city upon a hill"

City upon a hill is a phrase associated with John Winthrop's sermon, "A Model of Christian Charity," given in 1630. The phrase is derived from the metaphor of Salt and Light in the Sermon on the Mount of Jesus given in the Gospel of Matthew. Winthrop warned the Puritan colonists of New England who were to found the Massachusetts Bay Colony that their new community would be a "city on a hill," watched by the world:
For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken...we shall be made a story and a by-word throughout the world. We shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God...We shall shame the faces of many of God's worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us til we be consumed out of the good land whither we are going.

From Wikipedia (June, 2007)

"The City on a Hill" in Action

In one of his most famous speeches, Madison, the "father of the Constitution," gave his reasons for opposing proposed legislation:

Because, the policy of the bill is adverse to the diffusion of the light of Christianity. The first wish of those who enjoy this precious gift, ought to be that it may be imparted to the whole race of mankind. Compare the number of those who have as yet received it with the number still remaining under the dominion of false Religions; and how small is the former! Does the policy of the Bill tend to lessen the disproportion? No; it at once discourages those who are strangers to the light of (revelation) from coming into the Region of it; and countenances, by example the nations who continue in darkness, in shutting out those who might convey it to them. Instead of levelling as far as possible, every obstacle to the victorious progress of truth, the Bill with an ignoble and unchristian timidity would circumscribe it, with a wall of defence, against the encroachments of error.

Osama bin Laden's forefathers were likely in Madison's mind when he spoke of "false religions." "The light of Christianity" is the answer to terrorism, as we explained on our Iraq page.

Other Founders had the same kind of globalist optimism:

Samuel Adams declared:

I conceive we cannot better express ourselves than by humbly supplicating the Supreme Ruler of the world . . . that the confusions that are and have been among the nations may be overruled by the promoting and speedily bringing in the holy and happy period when the kingdoms of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be everywhere established, and the people willingly bow to the scepter of Him who is the Prince of Peace.12

As Governor he also called on the State of Massachusetts to pray that . . .

  • the peaceful and glorious reign of our Divine Redeemer may be known and enjoyed throughout the whole family of mankind.13
  • we may with one heart and voice humbly implore His gracious and free pardon through Jesus Christ, supplicating His Divine aid . . . [and] above all to cause the religion of Jesus Christ, in its true spirit, to spread far and wide till the whole earth shall be filled with His glory.14
Josiah Bartlett, Signer of the Declaration of  Independence and Governor of New Hampshire, called on the people of New Hampshire . . .

to confess before God their aggravated transgressions and to implore His pardon and forgiveness through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ . . . [t]hat the knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ may be made known to all nations, pure and undefiled religion universally prevail, and the earth be fill with the glory of the Lord.16

John Hancock, as Governor of the State of Massachusetts, urged the people to pray . . .

  • that all nations may bow to the scepter of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and that the whole earth may be filled with his glory.40
  • that the spiritual kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be continually increasing until the whole earth shall be filled with His glory.41
  • to confess their sins and to implore forgiveness of God through the merits of the Savior of the World.42
  • to cause the benign religion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to be known, understood, and practiced among all the inhabitants of the earth.43
  • to confess their sins before God and implore His forgiveness through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.44
  • that He would finally overrule all events to the advancement of the Redeemer’s kingdom and the establishment of universal peace and good will among men.45
  • that the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be established in peace and righteousness among all the nations of the earth.46
  • that with true contrition of heart we may confess our sins, resolve to forsake them, and implore the Divine forgiveness, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, our Savior. . . . And finally to overrule all the commotions in the world to the spreading the true religion of our Lord Jesus Christ in its purity and power among all the people of the earth.47

William Samuel Johnson signed the Constitution and became the President of Columbia College. He told graduates:

You this day. . . . have, by the favor of Providence and the attention of friends, received a public education, the purpose whereof hath been to qualify you the better to serve your Creator and your country. You have this day invited this audience to witness the progress you have made. . . . Thus you assume the character of scholars, of men, and of citizens. . . . Go, then, . . . and exercise them with diligence, fidelity, and zeal. . . . Your first great duties, you are sensible, are those you owe to Heaven, to your Creator and Redeemer. Let these be ever present to your minds, and exemplified in your lives and conduct. Imprint deep upon your minds the principles of piety towards God, and a reverence and fear of His holy name. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and its [practice] is everlasting [happiness] . . . . Reflect deeply and often upon [your] relations [with God]. Remember that it is in God you live and move and have your being, – that, in the language of David, He is about your bed and about your path and spieth out all your ways – that there is not a thought in your hearts, nor a word upon your tongues, but lo! He knoweth them altogether, and that He will one day call you to a strict account for all your conduct in this mortal life. Remember, too, that you are the redeemed of the Lord, that you are bought with a price, even the inestimable price of the precious blood of the Son of God. Adore Jehovah, therefore, as your God and your Judge. Love, fear, and serve Him as your Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. Acquaint yourselves with Him in His word and holy ordinances. . . . [G]o forth into the world firmly resolved neither to be allured by its vanities nor contaminated by its vices, but to run with patience and perseverance, with firmness and [cheerfulness], the glorious career of religion, honor, and virtue. . . . Finally, . . . in the elegant and expressive language are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” – and do them, and the God of peace shall be with you, to whose most gracious protection I now commend you, humbly imploring Almighty Goodness that He will be your guardian and your guide, your protector and the rock of your defense, your Savior and your God.69

You don't hear Graduation addresses like that anymore!

John Quincy Adams said:

The hope of a Christian is inseparable from his faith. Whoever believes in the Divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures must hope that the religion of Jesus shall prevail throughout the earth. Never since the foundation of the world have the prospects of mankind been more encouraging to that hope than they appear to be at the present time. And may the associated distribution of the Bible proceed and prosper till the Lord shall have made “bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God” [Isaiah 52:10].8



From Wikipedia (as of June, 2007):

City upon a hill is a phrase associated with John Winthrop's sermon, "A Model of Christian Charity," given in 1630. The phrase is derived from the metaphor of Salt and Light in the Sermon on the Mount of Jesus given in the Gospel of Matthew. Winthrop warned the Puritan colonists of New England who were to found the Massachusetts Bay Colony that their new community would be a "city on a hill," watched by the world:

For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken...we shall be made a story and a by-word throughout the world. We shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God...We shall shame the faces of many of God's worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us til we be consumed out of the good land whither we are going.

It was long believed that the speech was given aboard the Arbella not long before landing; recent research[citation needed] has shown, however, that it was almost certainly given in England prior to departure. In any case, it inspired the Puritans with a sense of holy duty that would be crucial if they wanted to increase their chances of survival in the New World.

Winthrop believed that all nations had a covenant with God, and that because England had violated its religious covenant, the Puritans must leave the country. This was an expression of the Puritan belief that the Church of England had fallen from grace by accepting Catholic rituals. John Winthrop claimed that the Puritans forge a new, special agreement with God, like that between God and the people of Israel. However, unlike the Separatists (such as the Pilgrims), the Puritans remained nominally a part of the Anglican church in hopes that it could be purified from within. Winthrop believed that by purifying Christianity in the New World, his followers would serve as an example to the Old World for building a model Protestant community.

The idea that their community was specially ordained by God had a powerful effect on the Puritan society of New England. Of course, breaking a covenant with God has dire results (as Noah's fellow men learned the hard way). In order to avoid incurring God's wrath by breaking their promise, the Puritans sought to maintain perfect order in their society. Even the smallest sins were punished harshly by the courts; no one was allowed to live alone for fear that they would succumb to the temptation to sin; parents were to instruct their children and servants diligently in the Word of God; church attendance was mandatory; marriage was required. These conventions and institutions molded an extremely stable and well-structured society in New England, a stark contrast with the unstable and loosely-bound society of the early British colonies in the Chesapeake Bay region, such as Jamestown.

Notable uses of the quote

Wikisource has original text related to this article:
City upon a Hill
  • John F. Kennedy quoted Winthrop in his famous "city upon a hill" speech at the Massachusetts State House in Boston just 11 days before his inauguration. [1] In the speech Kennedy laid out the four essential qualities that he hoped would characterize his government: courage, judgment, integrity and dedication.
  • Winthrop's speech was famously quoted in the 1989 Farewell Address of Ronald Reagan, although he emphasized his own interpretation of the phrase. [2]

External link

Retrieved from "http://web.archive.org/web/20070629211711/http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_upon_a_Hill"


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