Haskins, the settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony "appear to have concluded that if a group which had never separated from the Church could move to America, under the authority of the crown, it would be possible to realize legitimately their profound hopes for a reformed church and state . . . ." For a time, the people of Massachusetts Bay achieved their dream, creating a "golden age of Puritanism" where church and state were inextricably linked. The leadership of this group consisted of a mixture of Congregational clergy members and laymen such as John Winthrop and Thomas Dudley, who believed that the Church should consist of "visible saints", i.e., those persons able to prove that they were among God's elect. Five assumptions developed at the Synod of Dort bound the Puritans together. These assumptions included belief in unconditional election (grace), limited atonement, the total depravity of man, the irresistibility of grace, and final perseverance of the saints. The attitudes of the Massachusetts colonists originated from and were shaped by these beliefs, and are reflected in the documentary evidence left by some early settlers of Massachusetts. .
John Winthrop played a principal role in defining and controlling society in Massachusetts. His writings provide a rich source of information on the attitudes of the colonists towards their fellow men, their society, and their government. In his "Model of Christian Charity" (1630), Winthrop outlines how the people of the colony should relate to each other, stating "we must love one another with a pure heart fervently we must bear one another's burdens, we must not look only on our things, but also on the things of our brethren. . . ." Thus, the members of the village should watch out not only for their own soul, but also for the soul of their neighbor. This sentiment is reiterated by the court (of which Winthrop was a member) during the trial of Anne Hutchinson, when she is admonished ".