I was in Boston last week for a training for the organization I work for, and my last night there I walked around Boston’s North End after having dinner at Quincy Market.  Despite the drizzle and cold I wanted to have the chance to “walk through history.”  Boston’s North End has produced a number of patriots and contributors to our cause of freedom, but it’s history goes even further back than that. 

Some of its famous residents include 17th Century Puritan Minister, Cotton Mather (1663-1728), his father, Increase Mather (1639-1723) who was a rector at Old North Church in Boston and President of then Harvard College, Patriot William Dawes (1745-1799) who was one of three who alerted the Massachusetts Minute Men about the approach of the British Army, Paul Revere (1735-1818) who also is well known for warning about the advance of the British Army, and one of our Founding Fathers, Benjamin Frankln (1706-1790) was born on Milk St. in Boston and baptized in the Old South Meeting House (which is where the Boston Tea Party began).

Walking by Old North Church (built in 1723) that gave the warning signal to Bostonians about the approach of the British (by lantern from the church steeple, “one by land and two by sea.”  Then I passed by Copp’s Hill Burying Ground (established in 1659) which is Boston’s second oldest cemetery and where the Mathers are laid to rest.  I also walked past Paul Revere’s House.  It was incredible to think about all that took place in that city that helped to give birth to our nation.

When I was in the Paul Revere Mall close to Old North Church (it is a place that honors North Enders), I saw a plaque dedicated to John Winthrop (1588-1649), the first Governor of the Massachusetts  Bay Colony.  It quoted Winthrop and read:

To avoid shipwreck and provide for our posterity: we must do justly, love mercy, walk humbly.  For this end we must knit together as one man.  We must make others condition our own, rejoice together, labor and suffer together, always as members of the same body.

Hmm.. the key, in Winthrop’s mind for that colony to succeed is to follow the commands boiled down in Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (ESV). 

Also people needed to apply Philippians 2:4 which reads, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others,” (ESV).  When individuals in a society do just that their society does flourish.  When that isn’t done, well…. not so much.  In recent history when this is done, the results can be “miraculous.”

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  1. Shane,

    This is a beautiful reminder that our heritage — as individual Christians, and as citizens of this great country, is rooted in a reverence for God. While it is true, we live in a fallen world and we have not a few shameful moments in our national history (slavery being one) we can only credit the grace of God for anything good or “miraculous.” May God raise up a generation of leaders who understand, like Winthrop, that our only hope can be found in the righteous commands of an all holy God.

    1. @Christina, You are right. Only God can do the miraculous. My use of the word, “miraculous” was to refer to what was called “the Boston Miracle” when Boston went a year without a juvenile death after the churches banded together to minister to street kids and gang members.

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