The Last American Puritan: The Life of Increase Mather, 1639–1723

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Wesleyan University Press, 1988 - Art - 438 pages
A critically acclaimed and accessible biography of one of the towering figures of New England's colonial period; winner of The Conference on Christianity and Literature's Book Award.

Powerful preacher, political negotiator for New England in the halls of Parliament, president of Harvard, father of Cotton Mather, Increase Mather was the epitome of the American Puritan. He was the most important spokesman of his generation for Congregationalism and became the last American Puritan of consequence as the seventeenth century ended. The story begins in 1639 when Mather was born in the Massachusetts village of Dorchester. He left home for Harvard College when he was twelve and at twenty-two began to stir the city of Boston from the pulpit of North Church. He had written four books by the time he was thirty-two.
Certain he was God's chosen instrument and New England God's chosen people, he disciplined mind and spirit in service to them both. Tempted to "Atheisme" and unbelief, afflicted early by nightmares and melancholy, then by hope and joy, he was a pioneer in recognizing the excitement of the new sciences and sought to reconcile them to theology.

This well-wrought biography, the first of Increase Mather in forty years, draws on the extensive Mather diaries, which were transcribed by Michael Hall.

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The last American Puritan: the life of Increase Mather, 1639-1723

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This comprehensive and well-written biography of an important colonial clergyman is based on a thorough mastery of primary sources. In addition to serving as Harvard's president, Mather was active in ... Read full review

Contents

The Legacy Birth and Education of a Puritan 16391661
3
Increase Mather Oil painting by Jan van der Spriett frontispiece
7
John Winthrop first governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony
18
Harvard College in 1638
32
P for Puritan 3 Migration as Gods Will 11 A Gathering of Visible Saints
35
Map of Bostons streets and buildings around 1645
38
the Revolution that Failed
42
The Struggle for Identity 16611672
48
Politics of Independence 190 Treason or a Forgery? 192 Popular Culture
201
Sir Edmund Andros governor of Dominion of New England from
208
SEVEN Representing Massachusetts in London 16881691
212
Government April 18 1689
226
newsletter on New England Affairs
234
John Bleaus map of London and Middlesex County England 1654
243
EIGHT Massachusetts Under the New Charter 16921702
255
William Stoughton deputy governor from 1692 to 1701 chief justice
257

Portrait possibly of Charles Chauncy president of Harvard and opponent
56
Marriage and Family 49 Soldier of the Lord 53 HalfWay Covenant 55 North
71
The Life and Death of that Reverend Man of God Mr Richard Mather
83
Wo to Drunkards two sermons by Increase Mather
101
Several Laws and Orders issued by General Court in 1675 including
110
FOUR Spiritual Leadership 16761680
127
First page of gospel of Matthew from John Eliots Algonquian Bible
132
The First Principles of NewEngland by Increase Mather
144
FIVE New Worlds of Science and Hope 16801686
155
Page from Increase Mathers diary September 1680
157
Map of Boston and New England in 1677 woodcut by John Foster
163
An Essay for the Recording of Illustrious Providences by Increase Mather
169
SIX Dominion of New England 16841688
184
A Sermon Occasioned by the Execution of a Man found Guilty of Murder
195
The Mystery of Israels Salvation by Increase Mather on the conversion
276
Harvard College Quaestiones for 1695 graduating class under Increase
294
Samuel Willard minister of South Church and acting president
296
NINE The Last Puritan 17031723
302
Increase Mathers sermons Ichabod
314
broadside naming and bounding the streets lanes and alleys
327
John Bonners map of Boston
333
Samuel Mather Increase Mathers younger son
340
Increase Mathers essay defending inoculation for small pox
352
A Father Departing sermon by Cotton Mather written after Increase
358
NOTES
365
BIBLIOGRAPHY
403
INDEX
417
Copyright

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About the author (1988)

MICHAEL G. HALL is professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin, where he has taught since 1959 and served as chairman from 1976 to 1980. He is the editor of Increase Mather's autobiography and the author of Edward Randolph and the American Colonies, 1676-1703. A graduate of Princeton University (B.A. 1949) and Johns Hopkins University (Ph.D. 1956), he was senior Fulbright lecturer at Quaid-i-Azim University in Islamabad, Pakistan, in 1985. Hall lives in Austin, Texas.

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