William Bradford Institute
for Study of the
Early Settlement of America

John Winthrop's City upon a Hill, 1630

Now the onely way to avoyde this shipwracke and to provide for our posterity is
to followe the Counsell of Micah, to doe Justly, to love mercy, to walke humbly
with our God, for this end, wee must be knitt together in this worke as one man,
wee must entertaine each other in brotherly Affeccion, wee must be willing to
abridge our selves of our superfluities, for the supply of others necessities,
wee must uphold a familiar Commerce together in all meekenes, gentlenes,
patience and liberallity, wee must delight in eache other, make others
Condicions our owne rejoyce together, mourne together, labour, and suffer
together, allwayes haveing before our eyes our Commission and Community in the
worke, our Community as members of the same body, soe shall wee keepe the unitie
of the spirit in the bond of peace, the Lord will be our God and delight to
dwell among us, as his owne people and will commaund a blessing upon us in all
our wayes, soe that wee shall see much more of his wisdome power goodnes and
truthe then formerly wee have beene acquainted with, wee shall finde that the
God of Israell is among us, when tenn of us shall be able to resist a thousand
of our enemies, when hee shall make us a prayse and glory, that men shall say of
succeeding plantacions: the lord make it like that of New England: for wee must
Consider that wee shall be as a Citty upon a Hill, the eies of all people are
uppon us; soe that if wee shall deale falsely with our god in this worke wee
have undertaken and soe cause him to withdrawe his present help from us, wee
shall be made a story and a byword through the world, wee shall open the mouthes
of enemies to speake evill of the wayes of god and all professours for Gods
sake; wee shall shame the faces of many of gods worthy servants, and cause
theire prayers to be turned into Cursses upon us till wee be consumed out of the
good land whether wee are going: And to shutt upp this discourse with that
exhortacion of Moses that faithfull servant of the Lord in his last farewell to
Israell Deut. 30. Beloved there is now sett before us life, and good, deathe and
evill in that wee are Commaunded this day to love the Lord our God, and to love
one another to walke in his wayes and to keepe his Commaundements and his
Ordinance, and his lawes, and the Articles of our Covenant with him that wee may
live and be multiplyed, and that the Lord our God may blesse us in the land
whether wee goe to possesse it: But if our heartes shall turne away soe that wee
will not obey, but shall be seduced and worshipp other Gods our pleasures, and
proffitts, and serve them, it is propounded unto us this day, wee shall surely
perishe out of the good Land whether wee passe over this vast Sea to possesse

Therefore lett us choose life,
that wee, and our Seede,
may live; by obeyeing his
voyce, and cleaveing to him,
for hee is our life, and
our prosperity.


Promoting a Greater Understanding of the Discovery of the Americas