In 1630, John Winthrop delivered this sermon to the colonists aboard the flagship of the flotilla that was bringing them to New England. It served to define the expected religious virtues that would epitomize the new colony.
He used scripture to support the basic notion that all men were equal in the sight of God, and must treat each other with equality, respect, and honesty. One’s station in life should not influence the way one interacted with their fellow man. It mattered not whether you occupied a “lowly” station or a “lofty” one; all were created in God’s image and put here to fulfill their work at their station in life.
Those that had the luxury of material goods were obligated to help the less fortunate. This was to be carried out as an act of love and caring, not one of lording over and to induce a sense of obligation from those in need of help.
Following his reasoning would ensure that the tyranny of their former lives would be left behind as they set forth to foster a more caring society in this New World.