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The minister Samuel Danforth preached this election sermon in Boston on May 11, 1670. Election sermons were preached one a year on the day that the freeman of Massachusetts elected their governor and magistrates. The election sermons dealt with public themes, especially with the covenant relationship between the Puritan colony and its God.
In this most famous of election sermons, Danforth reminds his audience that they are on an "errand into the wilderness"—a mission to establish pure Chrisitanity in the new world. In the part of the sermon excepted below, Danforth argues that the colony has deviated from its original purpose.