Cotton Mather

From The Wonders of the Invisible World (1693)

Reprinted in American Literature: A Prentice Hall Anthology, Volume 1 in 1991 Edited by Emory Elliott and others

Cotton Mather (see biography and primary source entry with Ezekial Cheever) was a prominent minister in Boston, Massachusetts, who became closely involved in the Salem witch trials. Although he was not a trial judge, he worked in conjunction with his father, Increase Mather (see primary source entry), to root out witches who were doing the work of the devil in New England. Cotton Mather thought that witches were not possessed by spirits, but that they were agents of the devil. Modern historians have been mystified by Cotton Mather: although he was one of the foremost American intellectuals and scientists of the time, he was capable of deep superstition, even ignorance, in religious matters. According to Mather, witches had been sent as divine judgment against a sinful people. Therefore, witches—or sin—had to be destroyed before the Puritans could fulfill their destiny as "a people of God" in America ("once the Devil's territories").

In 1693 Mather wrote The Wonders of the Invisible World, in which he defended the Salem trials in lofty theological (religious) terms, with biblical references to support

Cotton Mather's Wonders of the Invisible World helped fuel the witchcraft hysteria.

The Wonders of the Inviftble World:

Being an Account of the

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