350th Lecture: Christian Charity in Early New England

Click above to listen to Dr. Francis Bremer's lecture, “Living in a ‘City on a Hill’: Christian Charity in early New England”.

What did it mean when John Winthrop urged his fellow colonists to live exemplary lives, to be “as a City on a Hill,” in his famous “Christian Charity” sermon?  In his talk Dr. Francis J. Bremer explores how the colonists sought to draw upon their religious heritage to build a community in which all would “be knit together in this work as one man” so that they “delight in each other, make others conditions our own, rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, our community as members of the same body.” What did this mean for conflict resolution, care of the less fortunate, and regulation of public conduct?  What can we learn about civility from the puritan settlers of New England?

Dr. Francis J. Bremer is Coordinator of New England Beginnings, a partnership of institutions and individuals working to commemorate the cultures that shaped New England four hundred years ago.  He is Professor Emeritus of History at Millersville University of Pennsylvania and has been a fellow at Oxford and Cambridge Universities in England and Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.  He has also published over fifteen books on puritanism in the Atlantic World, including the prize-winning John Winthrop: America's Forgotten Founding Father (2003); First Founders: American Puritans and Puritanism in the Atlantic World (2012); and Building a New Jerusalem: John Davenport, a Puritan in Three Worlds (2012).  His latest work, “… one small candle”: The story of the Plymouth puritans and the beginning of English New England will be published in 2020.  He is one of the editors of a new edition of William Bradford’s Of Plimoth Plantation which will be published in 2020 by the Colonial Society of Massachusetts and the New England Historic and Genealogical Society under the aegis of New England Beginnings.