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To pass over many horrible details of other judicial murders, the case of this unhappy man Burroughs was sufficient to leave a permanent blot on the names of Parris and Cotton Mather. Burroughs had preached in Salem, where, as some of the people wished him to settle, he became the rival of Parris ; but his greatest offence was, that he was a sceptic in witchcraft, and had ventured to say that such a crime was impossible. When brought to the scaffold, he firmly maintained his innocence, and so moved the assembled people, that they were ready to hinder the execution; but Cotton Mather addressed them, argued that a demon "might be disguised as an angel of light,' and the hanging was allowed to take place.

Already, in September 1692, 'twenty persons had been put to death for witchcraft, and fifty-five had been tortured or terrified into penitent confessions.'1 A reaction followed. Many doubted the doctrine which had been supported by such terrible means; but Mather remained firm, and published his Wonders of the Invisible World, which received the approval of the president of Harvard College. In October, the people of Andover, with their minister, protested against the delusion and conspiracy. This, and other circumstances, encouraged many persons to speak as they thought, and dispelled the panic. Accusations of witchcraft were treated with scorn, and Mather's books lost their authority. Did Mather himself doubt? He endeavoured, as a last resource, to get up a case of witchcraft in his own parish; but the imposition was fully exposed by one Robert Calef, whom he describes as a malignant, calumnious, and reproachful man.'

The result of the whole is very remarkable. As Bancroft says, 'Cotton Mather never repented ;' but he had temptations to atheism, and to the abandonment of all religion as a mere delusion,' as he confesses in his diary. He died, February 13, 1728, leaving a reputation which has been seriously injured by the researches of historians and biographers.2 A few American writers 3 on the life and times of Mather, misguided by a desire to speak well of one of the early divines of New England, have endeavoured to mitigate the censure pronounced against him ; but careful investigations of facts have fully supported the charges brought forward by Bancroft and Upham. In literature, Mather might be left in the obscure place assigned to uncouth and conceited pedants; but he will always hold a prominent place in the records of bigotry and superstition. His character remains I Bancroft.

2 See, besides the works quoted in this notice of Mather, Peabody's Life of C. Mather, in Sparks's American Biography, vol. vi.; Robbins's History of the Old North Church in Boston. 3 See Enoch Pond's Life of Increase Mather.



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as an example how far selfishness, under the form of vanity and ambition, can blind the higher faculties, stupify the judgment, and dupe consciousness itself.' 1



It has been already observed, that during the early part of the colonial period, and before political questions assumed the ascendancy, the talents of learned men were chiefly devoted to the service of theology and the discussion of ecclesiastical questions. When the early hardships of colonisation had been overcome, and a considerable proportion of the population of the States had some share of ease and leisure, it might have been expected that elegant literature would be cultivated, and in some degree this was fact; but the comparatively few readers who asked for works of general or light literature, could be readily supplied with imports from England, including the essays and poetry of our so-called Augustan age, and the books of preceding times. Meanwhile, the quarrel with the mother-country was beginning, and men who, in quiet times, might have written verses, were called to write political tracts. In the early part of the eighteenth century, controversial or practical divinity, and, in the latter part, political discussion, almost exclusively occupied the attention of writers who, otherwise, might have contributed to the stores of general literature. In both periods, the literature of America reflected the progress of the people. The old books of divinity, which now seem so dry and verbose, were once readable, because their doctrine was linked with the strongest affections of the Puritans of New England; and in the present day, such names as Cotton, Eliot, Hooker, Chauncey, Norton, and Edwards, are still venerated in Massachusetts.

JOHN COTTON (1584–1652), the first minister of Boston, and one of the most learned men of his times, wrote extensively on divinity and ecclesiastical government. Like Cotton Mather, and many other divines of New England, this celebrated Boston minister sometimes wrote verses ; but for poetry he had no vocation. Among his verses, we find an elegy on his contemporary and friend, THOMAS HOOKER (1586–1647), first minister of Hartford, and author of A Survey of Church Discipline.

1 Bancroft.

JOHN ELIOT (1604–1690), the Apostle of the Indians, devoted his life to the instruction of the aborigines. He wrote several treatises in English-among them, one on the Christian Commonwealth; but his more remarkable efforts were made in the acquisition of a knowledge of the Indian dialects. After preparing an Indian grammar, he made a translation of the New Testament into the dialect spoken by the natives in Massachusetts. This work of great labour-printed at Cambridge, N.E., 1661-was followed by the publication of the whole Bible in the same Indian dialect. Such labours deserved a greater success. The language into which Eliot translated the Scriptures is now dead, in the strongest sense of the word; for the tribes who understood and spoke it, have long since vanished from the face of the earth. Some few copies of the Indian Bible remain as monuments of Eliot's zeal and benevolence. He lived, during a great part of his life, among the Indians; taught them to spin and to cultivate the soil; and such was his faith in their intellectual powers, that he prepared for their use a system of logic. One Indian became a bachelor of arts at Cambridge; but after taking his degree, he exchanged his gown for a blanket, and went back to the forest.

Eliot's Bible was followed by NEWMAN's Concordance of the Scriptures, which maintained its value until it was superseded by the work of Cruden. Newman's book was compiled in a log-cabin, and by the light of a pine-knot torch.

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John DAVENPORT (1597–1670), founder of the colony of Newhaven; CHARLES CHAUNCEY (1589–1672), second president of Harvard University; and JOHN NORTON (1606–1663), must be named as eminent theological writers of this early time, when missionary rather than literary labour chiefly occupied the attention of divines. Many curious tracts, illustrating the state of religious opinions, and the progress of missions among the Indians, may be found in the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

In the times of the two Mathers, father and son, theology in America assumed a more controversial character, as is seen in the writings of DICKINSON, STODDARD, and WILLARD. The chief points of dispute were the doctrines of Calvin and the ordinances of the church, especially the two forms known as 'open' and close communion.' On this question, the controversy was decided by the writings of JONATHAN EDWARDS (1703–1758), one of the most distinguished divines and metaphysioal writers in the eighteenth century. He was a native of East Windsor, Connecticut, and was mainly self-educated. His fervid piety was united with an extraordinary power of logical thinking. The universal benevolence of his heart was restricted by the stern doctrines in which his reason had been trained. He maintained the assertion, that 'true religion in a great measure consists in holy affections, in a love of divine things for the beauty and sweetness of their moral excellency ;' and that true virtue consists in benevolence having for its objects all intelligent beings; but he qualified these assertions by denying that such religion and virtue could co-exist with certain theological doctrines which he regarded as erroneous. In his celebrated treatise on The Freedom of the Will, he displayed his powers as a subtle and conscientious reasoner. As the Edinburgh Review has said: “There is not a trick, a subterfuge, a verbal sophism in the whole book. The opinions of Dr Chalmers, Robert Hall, Dugald Stewart, and Sir James Macintosh, might be quoted in favour of the claims of Jonathan Edwards as a metaphysical writer, and as one of the greatest men who have owned the authority of Calvin.' Besides his Essay on the Freedom of the Will, Edwards wrote a Dissertation on the Nature of True Virtue, and another on God's Chief End in the Creation, besides a controversial work on Original Sin, and a more practical Treatise on Religious Affections, which has been highly esteemed by religious readers. It must be added that his style is generally rather prolix ; like another deep thinker—Bishop Butler-he seems to have taken little care to reduce his thoughts to a concise form of expression. He left at his decease some thousand and upwards of miscellaneous papers.



Another JONATHAN EDWARDS (1745-1801), the son of the preceding author, was president of Union College, and wrote in a style superior to that of the first Edwards, while in his doctrines, and also in his choice of topics, he resembled his father. Among the principal works of the younger Edwards are included å Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, and a controversial treatise, The Salvation of All Men strictly Examined and Refutedthe latter written as a reply to the less exclusive doctrine maintained by Dr CHARLES CHAUNCEY (1705–1787). The last-named theologian, who differed from the orthodox American divines of the eighteenth century, wrote, besides his work on the Episcopate, a treatise on The Benevolence of the Deity, five Dissertations on the Fall and its Consequences, and a work entitled The Salvation of All Men, which excited controversy.

JOSEPH BELLAMY (1719-1790), who adhered to the Calvinistic doctrine of Edwards, was the writer of several religious works, including an essay, True Religion Delineated, which gained a considerable reputation both at home and abroad. A wider view of the scheme of Calvin was defended by SAMUEL HOPKINS (1721-1803), whose chief work, A System of Doctrines contained in Divine Revelation, was published in 1793.

JOHN WITHERSPOON (1722–1794) was a native of Scotland, and emigrated in 1769 to America, where he was appointed president of Princeton College. His work, entitled Ecclesiastical Characteristics, is described as displaying 'no small share of refined humour and delicate satire;' and his other theological works have been commended for their good sense, simple style, and condensation of thoughts.

Among the other theological writers whose works, though more or less excellent in their special class, do not demand extended notices in an account of general literature, we must name JAMES BLAIR (died 1743), president of William and Mary College in Virginia, who wrote a series of Discourses on Matthew V.-VII.; also, NATHANIEL APPLETON, AARON BURR (president of Princeton College), SAMUEL DAVIES (president of New Jersey College), SAMUEL FINLEY, SAMUEL JOHNSON, ANDREW Eliot, and SAMUEL COOPER.

The name of TIMOTHY DWIGHT demands a more distinct notice ; for his writings in prose and verse contributed to the improvement of American literature, though his poems have no remarkable merit besides their smooth versification. On the maternal side, Dwight was the grandson of the great Jonathan Edwards, and was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1752. His most important work, entitled Theology Explained and Defended, consists of nearly 200 sermons, preached during his presidency at Yale College. The views of the writer are moderately Calvinistic, and his style is fluent, and by no means concise. This work enjoyed a very extensive popularity in England as well as in America. Many preachers and theological students, endowed with no great originality of thought, have been indebted to Dwight's Theology. Besides this principal work, the author wrote a valuable and interesting account of his Travels in New England and New York, which gives a view of American society and manners in the beginning of the present century. President Dwight died at Newhaven in 1817.

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