Increase Mather


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Increase Mather
Birthday
BirthplaceDorchester, Massachusetts
Died
Occupation
Minister and author

Increase Mather (1639-1723)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The oldest son of Richard Mather, an English Puritan minister, Increase Mather was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, on June 21, 1639. He graduated from Harvard in 1656 and from Trinity College, Dublin, in 1658. He then ministered to various congregations in England before returning to Boston in 1661. The following year he married Maria, the daughter of the Reverend John Cotton.

Mather took a leading role when King Charles II demanded that Massachusetts surrender its original charter, by which the citizens elected their own governor. He went on to work against the royal governor Sir Edmund Andros. In 1688 Mather went to London to try to reacquire the old colonial charter, and he remained there for four years. There he met with James II, William III, Queen Mary, and a number of influential politicians. Unsuccessful in regaining the old charter, Mather worked for a new one and was instrumental in getting Sir William Phips appointed as the new governor.

Mather was concerned about what he saw as the decline of religion in New England. He started collecting examples of what he termed God's "illustrious providences," or works to demonstrate the real existence of apparitions, spirits, and witches. In this way he hoped to convince skeptics of the existence of the supernatural and to encourage them as Puritans and Pilgrims. He published the collection as An Essay for the Recording of Illustrious Providences (Boston, 1684). The essay contained an account of the Tedworth Drummer and of various pacts with Satan, and it became something of a best-seller.

Mather became pastor of Boston's North Church and also served as president of Harvard from 1685 to 1701, eventually losing that position due to his political stand on the Massachusetts charter. His son, Cotton Mather, was prominent during the Salem Witch Trials, although Increase kept a low profile. In the recriminations after the scare, he did side with what he saw as a volume of evidence against the accused, although he called for greater caution and published Cases of Conscience Concerning Evil Spirits Personating Men; Witchcrafts, Infallible Proofs of Guilt in Such as Are Accused with the Crime (Boston, 1693).

References in classic literature ?
Even political power -- as in the case of Increase Mather -- was within the grasp of a successful priest.
According to Laura Chmielewski, the phrase "the spice of popery" was coined by Puritan minister Increase Mather [1639-1723] to describe and decry the contamination of Puritan orthodoxy by various heresies.
Recalling the loss of colonial population during that time, Increase Mather succinctly summed up the situation: "Since the year 1640, more persons have removed out of New England, than have gone thither.
She claims that the men who were involved in the composition, transcription, and/or production of both narratives, Increase Mather and Cotton Mather, use representations of female captivity to assert a male Creole identity that authorized their political authority and legitimacy.
Cotton Mather (1663-1728) and his father Increase Mather (1639-1723), who held the offices of First and Second Preacher in Boston, were prominently involved in the witch hunt.
Robert Boyle was a friend Increase Mather and undoubtably conversations between Increase and his son had an influence on Cotton's thinking.
Cotton Mather Erik Lochtefeld Increase Mather Graeme Malcolm Rev.
Among the authors whose works are reproduced are John Smith, John Winthrop, William Penn, Thomas Budd, Increase Mather, Benjamin Franklin, John Cotton, Cotton Mather, and Thomas Pownall.
On October 19, Increase Mather, a minister from Boston who had himself overseen witch trials, visited the Salem jail.
For the American Puritan minister Increase Mather, the battle of Armageddon would be "the most terrible day of battel that ever was.
The new strand plucked out of the thought in Increase Mather is his conviction that the conversion of the Jews must occur prior to the second coming of the Messiah, which was often expected to take place in or about 1666.
Its influence was certainly carried on the trans-Atlantic voyage to the early American colonies, for a copy of it was inventoried in the personal library of the Puritan leader Increase Mather.