Monday, July 20, 2020

Cotton Mather

Cotton Mather (1663―1728) is a Boston Puritan minister, and prolific writer, who seems like he was caught between the conflicting perspectives of the times in which he lived. His influence was felt on scientific thought, and within American religious circles.

In his book Bonifacius, or Essays to Do Good (1710) he expressed progressive ideas such as having teachers reward, rather than punish, students to motivate them, and for physicians to consider a patient’s mental state as a possible cause of illness. There was violent opposition to his encouragement of the smallpox vaccine, particularly when he inoculated his own son.

On the other hand he was supportive of the old order rule of the clergy, in a day when pioneer hardships were diminishing. He is also mainly remembered for his views on witchcraft, which were influential during the Salem Witch Trials. Many American authors, including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Harriet Beecher Stowe, acknowledged their debt to him.

Go Then My Dove

Go then, my Dove, but now no longer mine;
Leave Earth, and now in heavenly Glory shine.
Bright for thy Wisdome, Goodness, Beauty here;
Now brighter in a more angelick Sphere.
Jesus, with whom thy Soul did long to be,
Into His Ark, and Arms, has taken thee.
Dear Friends, with whom thou didst so dearly live,
Feel thy one Death to them a thousand give.
Thy Prayers are done; thy Alms are spent; thy Pains
Are ended now, in endless Joyes and Gains.
I faint, till thy last Words to Mind I call;
Rich Words! Heavn', Heav'n will make amends for all.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His latest poetry collection is Ampersand (2018, Cascade). His books are available through Amazon, and Wipf & Stock, including the anthologies The Turning Aside, and Adam, Eve, & the Riders of the Apocalypse.