Mather, Richard

Mather, Richard,

1596–1669, British Puritan clergyman in North America, b. Lancashire, England. He studied at Oxford, began preaching, and was ordained in 1620. His Puritan beliefs led him into difficulties, and he fled to Massachusetts (1635), where he was pastor of Dorchester until his death. He helped to draw up the Cambridge PlatformCambridge Platform,
declaration of principles of church government and discipline, forming in fact a constitution of the Congregational churches. It was adopted (1648) by a church synod at Cambridge, Mass., and remains the basis of the temporal government of the churches.
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 and, with John Eliot and Thomas Welde, prepared the Bay Psalm Book.


See T. J. Holmes, The Minor Mathers (1940); R. Middlekauff, The Mathers (1971).

Mather, Richard

(1596–1669) Protestant minister, writer; born in Lancashire, England (father of Increase Mather; grandfather of Cotton Mather). He was educated locally and taught school nearby before attending Brasenose College, Oxford. He was ordained as a minister (1619) but was twice suspended (1633, 1634) by the Anglican Archbishop Laud due to his nonconformist beliefs. He emigrated to Boston (1635), served the Dorchester Church (1635–69), and is noted for his collaborating on translations of the Psalms in the Bay Psalm Book (1640). He took the lead in defining New England Congregationalism, as seen in such works as Church Government and Church-Covenant Discussed (1643) and Platform of Church Discipline (1649). He was the chief advocate of the Half-Way Covenant (1662) that, by allowing for less than total spiritual conversion, broadened New England's established church membership and maintained the church's power.