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Increase Mather

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An unforgettable and thrilling classic from the legendary American author, Increase Mather.

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The Wonders of the Invisible World

by Cotton Mather and Increase Mather




                  BY COTTON MATHER, D.D.

                   TO WHICH IS ADDED


                  NEW-ENGLAND WITCHES.

                BY INCREASE MATHER, D.D.



The two very rare works reprinted in the present volume, written by two

of the most celebrated of the early American divines, relate to one of

the most extraordinary cases of popular delusion that modern times have

witnessed. It was a delusion, moreover, to which men of learning and

piety lent themselves, and thus became the means of increasing it. The

scene of this affair was the puritanical colony of New England, since

better known as Massachusetts, the colonists of which appear to have

carried with them, in an exaggerated form, the superstitious feelings

with regard to witchcraft which then prevailed in the mother country. In

the spring of 1692 an alarm of witchcraft was raised in the family of

the minister of Salem, and some black servants were charged with the

supposed crime. Once started, the alarm spread rapidly, and in a very

short time a great number of people fell under suspicion, and many were

thrown into prison on very frivolous grounds, supported, as such charges

usually were, by very unworthy witnesses. The new governor of the

colony, Sir William Phipps, arrived from England in the middle of May,

and he seems to have been carried away by the excitement, and authorized

judicial prosecutions. The trials began at the commencement of June; and

the first victim, a woman named Bridget Bishop, was hanged. Governor

Phipps, embarrassed by this extraordinary state of things, called in the

assistance of the clergy of Boston.

There was at this time in Boston a distinguished family of puritanical

ministers of the name of Mather. Richard Mather, an English

non-conformist divine, had emigrated to America in 1636, and settled at

Dorchester, where, in 1639, he had a son born, who was named, in

accordance with the peculiar nomenclature of the puritans, Increase

Mather. This son distinguished himself much by his acquirements as a

scholar and a theologian, became established as a minister in Boston,

and in 1685 was elected president of Harvard College. His son, born at

Boston in 1663, and called from the name of his mother's family, Cotton

Mather, became more remarkable than his father for his scholarship,

gained also a distinguished position in Harvard College, and was also,

at the time of which we are speaking, a minister of the gospel in

Boston. Cotton Mather had adopted all the most extreme notions of the

puritanical party with regard to witchcraft, and he had recently had an

opportunity of displaying them. In the summer of the year 1688, the

children of a mason of Boston named John Goodwin were suddenly seized

with fits and strange afflictions, which were at once ascribed to

witchcraft, and an Irish washerwoman named Glover, employed by the

family, was suspected of being the witch. Cotton Mather was called in

to witness the sufferings of Goodwin's children; and he took home with

him one of them, a little girl, who had first displayed these symptoms,

in order to examine her with more care. The result was, that the Irish

woman was brought to a trial, found guilty, and hanged; and Cotton

Mather published next year an account of the case, under the title of

"Late Memorable Providences, relating to Witchcraft and Possession,"

which displays a very extraordinary amount of credulity, and an equally

great want of anything like sound judgment. This work, no doubt, spread

the alarm of witchcraft through the whole colony, and had some influence

on the events which followed. It may be supposed that the panic which

had now arisen in Salem was not likely to be appeased by the

interference of Cotton Mather and his father.

The execution of the washerwoman, Bridget Bishop, had greatly increased

the excitement; and people in a more respectable position began to be

accused. On the 19th of July five more persons were executed, and five

more experienced the same fate on the 19th of August. Among the latter

was Mr. George Borroughs, a minister of the gospel, whose principal

crime appears to have been a disbelief in witchcraft itself. His fate

excited considerable sympathy, which, however, was checked by Cotton

Mather, who was present at the place of execution on horseback, and

addressed the crowd, assuring them that Borroughs was an impostor. Many

people, however, had now become alarmed at the proceedings of the

prosecutors, and among those executed with Borroughs was a man named

John Willard, who had been employed to arrest the persons charged by

the accusers, and who had been accused himself, because, from

conscientious motives, he refused to arrest any more. He attempted to

save himself by flight; but he was pursued and overtaken. Eight more of

the unfortunate victims of this delusion were hanged on the 22nd of

September, making in all nineteen who had thus suffered, besides one

who, in accordance with the old criminal law practice, had been pressed

to death for refusing to plead. The excitement had indeed risen to such

a pitch that two dogs accused of witchcraft were put to death.

A certain degree of reaction, however, appeared to be taking place, and

the magistrates who had conducted the proceedings began to be alarmed,

and to have some doubts of the wisdom of their proceedings. Cotton

Mather was called upon by the governor to employ his pen in justifying

what had been done; and the result was, the book which stands first in

the present volume, "The Wonders of the Invisible World;" in which the

author gives an account of seven of the trials at Salem, compares the

doings of the witches in New England with those in other parts of the

world, and adds an elaborate dissertation on witchcraft in general. This

book was published at Boston, Massachusetts, in the month of October,

1692. Other circumstances, however, contributed to throw discredit on

the proceedings of the court, though the witch mania was at the same

time spreading throughout the whole colony. In this same month of

October, the wife of Mr. Hale, minister of Beverley, was accused,

although no person of sense and respectability had the slightest doubt

of her innocence; and her husband had been a zealous promoter of the

prosecutions. This accusation brought a new light on the mind of Mr.

Hale, who became convinced of the injustice in which he had been made an

accomplice; but the other ministers who took the lead in the proceedings

were less willing to believe in their own error; and equally convinced

of the innocence of Mrs. Hale, they raised a question of conscience,

whether the devil could not assume the shape of an innocent and pious

person, as well as of a wicked person, for the purpose of afflicting his

victims. The assistance of Increase Mather, the president or principal

of Harvard College, was now called in, and he published the book which

is also reprinted in the present volume: "A Further Account of the

Tryals of the New England Witches.... To which is added Cases of

Conscience concerning Witchcrafts and Evil Spirits personating Men." It

will be seen that the greater part of the "Cases of Conscience" is given

to the discussion of the question just alluded to, which Increase Mather

unhesitatingly decides in the affirmative. The scene of agitation was

now removed from Salem to Andover, where a great number of persons were

accused of witchcraft and thrown into prison, until a justice of the

peace named Bradstreet, to whom the accusers applied for warrants,

refused to grant any more. Hereupon they cried out upon Bradstreet, and

declared that he had killed nine persons by means of witchcraft; and he

was so much alarmed that he fled from the place. The accusers aimed at

people in higher positions in society, until at last they had the

audacity to cry out upon the lady of governor Phipps himself, and thus

lost whatever countenance he had given to their proceedings out of

respect to the two Mathers. Other people of character, when they were

attacked by the accusers, took energetic measures in self-defence. A

gentleman of Boston, when "cried out upon," obtained a writ of arrest

against his accusers on a charge of defamation, and laid the damages at

a thousand pounds. The accusers themselves now took fright, and many who

had made confessions retracted them, while the accusations themselves

fell into discredit. When governor Phipps was recalled in April, 1693,

and left for England, the witchcraft agitation had nearly subsided, and

people in general had become convinced of their error and lamented it.

But Cotton Mather and his father persisted obstinately in the opinions

they had published, and looked upon the reactionary feeling as a triumph

of Satan and his kingdom. In the course of the year they had an

opportunity of reasserting their belief in the doings of the witches of

Salem. A girl of Boston, named Margaret Rule, was seized with

convulsions, in the course of which she pretended to see the "shapes" or

spectres of people exactly as they were alleged to have been seen by the

witch-accusers at Salem and Andover. This occurred on the 10th of

September, 1693; and she was immediately visited by Cotton Mather, who

examined her, and declared his conviction of the truth of her

statements. Had it depended only upon him, a new and no doubt equally

bitter persecution of witches would have been raised in Boston; but an

influential merchant of that town, named Robert Calef, took the matter

up in a different spirit, and also examined Margaret Rule, and satisfied

himself that the whole was a delusion or imposture. Calef wrote a

rational account of the events of these two years, 1692 and 1693,

exposing the delusion, and controverting the opinions of the two Mathers

on the subject of witchcraft, which was published under the title of

"More Wonders of the Invisible World; or the Wonders of the Invisible

world displayed in five parts. An Account of the Sufferings of Margaret

Rule collected by Robert Calef, merchant of Boston in New England." The

partisans of the Mathers displayed their hostility to this book by

publicly burning it; and the Mathers themselves kept up the feeling so

strongly that years afterwards, when Samuel Mather, the son of Cotton,

wrote his father's life, he says sneeringly of Calef: "There was a

certain disbeliever in Witchcraft who wrote against this book" (his

father's 'Wonders of the Invisible World'), "but as the man is dead, his

book died long before him." Calef died in 1720.

The witchcraft delusion had, however, been sufficiently dispelled to

prevent the recurrence of any other such persecutions; and those who

still insisted on their truth were restrained to the comparatively

harmless publication and defence of their opinions. The people of Salem

were humbled and repentant. They deserted their minister, Mr. Paris,

with whom the persecution had begun, and were not satisfied until they

had driven him away from the place. Their remorse continued through

several years, and most of the people concerned in the judicial

proceedings proclaimed their regret. The jurors signed a paper

expressing their repentance, and pleading that they had laboured under a

delusion. What ought to have been considered still more conclusive,

many of those who had confessed themselves witches, and had been

instrumental in accusing others, retracted all they had said, and

confessed that they had acted under the influence of terror. Yet the

vanity of superior intelligence and knowledge was so great in the two

Mathers that they resisted all conviction. In his _Magnalia_, an

ecclesiastical history of New England, published in 1700, Cotton Mather

repeats his original view of the doings of Satan in Salem, showing no

regret for the part he had taken in this affair, and making no

retraction of any of his opinions. Still later, in 1723, he repeats them

again in the same strain in the chapter of the "Remarkables" of his

father entitled "Troubles from the Invisible World." His father,

Increase Mather, had died in that same year at an advanced age, being in

his eighty-fifth year. Cotton Mather died on the 13th of February, 1728.

Whatever we may think of the credulity of these two ecclesiastics, there

can be no ground for charging them with acting otherwise than

conscientiously, and they had claims on the gratitude of their

countrymen sufficient to overbalance their error of judgment on this

occasion. Their books relating to the terrible witchcraft delusion at

Salem have now become very rare in the original editions, and their

interest, as remarkable monuments of the history of superstition, make

them well worthy of a reprint.


  THE WONDERS OF THE INVISIBLE WORLD:--                           Page

    The Author's Defence                                             3

    Letter from Mr. _William Stoughton_                              6

    Enchantments encountered                                         9

    An Abstract of Mr. _Perkins's_ Way for the Discovery

        of Witches                                                  30

    The Sum of Mr. _Gaules_ Judgment about the Detection of

        Witches                                                     33


    An Hortatory and Necessary Address, to a Country now

        Extraordinarily Alarum'd by the Wrath of the Devil          79

    A Narrative of an Apparition which a Gentleman in Boston

        had of his Brother, just then murthered in London          107

    A Modern Instance of Witches discovered and condemned

        in a Tryal, before that celebrated Judge, Sir Matthew

        Hale                                                       111

    The Tryal of _G. B._ at a Court of Oyer and Terminer, held

        in Salem, 1692                                             120

    The Tryal of _Bridget Bishop_, alias _Oliver_, at the Court

        of Oyer and Terminer, held at Salem, June 2, 1692          129

    The Tryal of _Susanna Martin_, at the Court of Oyer and

        Terminer, held by Adjournment at Salem, June 29, 1692      138

    The Tryal of _Elizabeth How_, at the Court of Oyer and

        Terminer, held by Adjournment at Salem, June 30, 1692      149

    The Tryal of _Martha Carrier_, at the Court of Oyer and

        Terminer, held by Adjournment at Salem, August 2, 1692     154

    A Relation of a Few of the Matchless Curiosities which the

        Witchcraft presented                                       159

            The First Curiositie                                   159

            The Second Curiositie                                  161

            The Third Curiositie                                   164

            The Fourth Curiositie                                  165

    Testimony of Mr. _William Stoughton_ and Mr. _Samuel Sewall_   167

    Extracts from Dr. _Horneck_ showing the Similarity in the

        Circumstances attending the Witchcraft in New-England

        and that in Sweedland                                      167

    Matter omitted in the Tryals                                   172

  THE DEVIL DISCOVERED                                             172

    Case proposed, What are those Usual Methods of Temptation

        with which the Powers of Darkness do assault the

        Children of Men?                                           174

    Remarks upon the Three Remarkable Assaults of Temptations

        which the Devil visibly made upon our Lord                 175

            The First Temptation                                   175

            The Second Temptation                                  183

            The Third Temptation                                   192



    A True Narrative, collected by _Deodat Lawson_, relating to

        Sundry Persons afflicted by Witchcraft, from the 19th

        of March to the 5th of April, 1692                         201

    Remarks of Things more than Ordinary about the Afflicted

        Persons                                                    211

    Remarks concerning the Accused                                 212

    A Further Account of the Tryals of the New-England

        Witches, sent in a Letter from thence, to a Gentleman

        in London                                                  214


  MEN, ETC.:--

    An Address to the Christian Reader by Fourteen Influential

        Gentlemen                                                  221


    The First Case proposed, Whether or not may Satan appear in

        the Shape of an Innocent and Pious, as well as of a

        Nocent and Wicked Person, to afflict such as suffer by

        Diabolical Molestation?                                    225

    The Affirmative proved from Six Arguments:--

      1. From Several Scriptures                                   225

      2. Because it is possible for the Devil, in the Shape of

          Innocent Persons, to do other Mischiefs, proved by

          many Instances                                           234

      3. Because if Satan may not represent an Innocent Person

          as afflicting others, it must be either because he

          wants will or power to do this, or because God will

          never permit him so to do it; either of which may

          be affirmed                                              237

      4. It is certain, both from Scripture and History, that

          Magicians by their Inchantments and Hellish Conjurations

          may cause a False Representation of Persons

          and Things                                               243

      5. From the concurring Judgment of many Learned and

          Judicious Men                                            250

      6. Our own Experience has confirmed the Truth of what

          we affirm                                                253

    The Second Case considered, _viz._ If one bewitched be cast

        down with the look or cast of the Eye of another Person,

        and after that recovered again by a Touch from

        the same Person, is not this an infallible Proof that the

        party accused and complained of is in Covenant with

        the Devil?                                                 255

    _Answer._ This may be Ground of Suspicion and Examination,

        but not of Conviction                                      255

    The Judgment of Mr. _Bernard_ and of Dr. _Cotta_ produced      256

    Several Things offered against the Infallibility of this


      1. 'Tis possible that the Persons in question may be

          possessed with Evil Spirits. Signs of such               258

      2. Falling down with the Cast of the Eye proceeds not

          from a natural, but an arbitrary Cause                   260

      3. That of the bewitched Persons being recovered with a

          Touch is various and fallible                            262

      4. There are that question the Lawfulness of the Experiment  264

      5. The Testimony of Bewitched or Possessed Persons is

          no Evidence as to what they see concerning others,

          and therefore not as to themselves                       266

      6. Bewitched Persons have sometimes been struck down

          with the Look of Dogs                                    267

      7. If this were an Infallible Proof, there would be

          difficulty in discovering Witches                        268

      8. Nothing can be produced out of the Word of God to

          shew, that this is any Proof of Witchcraft               268

      9. Antipathies in Nature have Strange and Unaccountable

          Effects                                                  268

    The Third Case considered, Whether there are any Discoveries

        of Witchcraft, which Jurors and Judges may

        with a safe Conscience proceed upon to the Conviction

        and Condemnation of the Persons under Suspicion?           269

    Two things premised:--

      1. That the Evidence in the Crime of Witchcraft ought

          to be as clear as in any other Crimes of a Capital

          Nature                                                   269

      2. That there have been ways of Trying Witches long

          used, which God never approved of. More particularly

          that of casting the Suspected Party into the

          Water, to try whether they will Sink or Swim. The

          Vanity and great Sin which is in that way of Purgation

          evinced by Six Reasons                                   270

    That there are Proofs for the Conviction of Witches, which

        Jurors may with a safe Conscience proceed upon, proved

        from Scripture                                             275

    That a Free and Voluntary Confession is a sufficient Ground

        of Conviction                                              276

    That the Testimony of confessing Witches against others, is

        not so clear an Evidence as against themselves             279

    That if two Credible Persons shall affirm upon Oath that they

        have seen the Person accused doing Things, which none

        but such as have familiarity with the Devil, ever did

        or can do, that's a sufficient ground of Conviction:

        and that this has often happened                           282

    Mr. _Perkins_ his Solemn Caution to Jurors                     283

    Postscript                                                     285

  _The Wonders of the Invisible World:_

  Being an Account of the



  \Several Witches\,

  Lately Excuted in


  And of several remarkable Curiosities therein Occurring.

  Together with,

  I. Observations upon the Nature, the Number, and the Operations

     of the Devils.

  II. A short Narrative of a late outrage committed by a knot of

      Witches in _Swede-Land_, very much resembling, and so far

      explaining, that under which _New-England_ has laboured.

  III. Some Councels directing a due Improvement of the Terrible things

       lately done by the unusual and amazing Range of _Evil-Spirits_

       in _New-England_.

  IV. A brief Discourse upon those _Temptations_ which are the more

      ordinary Devices of Satan.


  Published by the Special Command of his EXCELLENCY the Govenour of the

  Province of the _Massachusetts-Bay_ in _New-England_.

  Printed first, at _Bostun_ in _New-England_; and Reprinted at _London_,

  for _John Dunton_, at the _Raven_ in the _Poultry_. 1693.


'Tis, as I remember, the Learned _Scribonius_, who reports, That one of

his Acquaintance, devoutly making his Prayers on the behalf of a Person

molested by _Evil Spirits_, received from those _Evil Spirits_ an

horrible Blow over the Face: And I may my self expect not few or small

Buffetings from Evil Spirits, for the Endeavours wherewith I am now

going to encounter them. I am far from insensible, that at this

extraordinary Time of the _Devils coming down in great Wrath upon us_,

there are too many Tongues and Hearts thereby _set on fire of Hell_;

that the various Opinions about the Witchcrafts which of later time have

troubled us, are maintained by some with so much cloudy Fury, as if they

could never be sufficiently stated, unless written in the Liquor

wherewith Witches use to write their Covenants; and that he who becomes

an Author at such a time, had need be _fenced with Iron, and the Staff

of a Spear_. The unaccountable Frowardness, Asperity, Untreatableness,

and Inconsistency of many Persons, every Day gives a visible Exposition

of that passage, _An evil spirit from the Lord came upon Saul;_ and

Illustration of that Story, _There met him two possessed with Devils,

exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way._ To send abroad

a Book, among such Readers, were a very unadvised thing, if a Man had

not such Reasons to give, as I can bring, for such an Undertaking.

Briefly, I hope it cannot be said, _They are all so:_ No, I hope the

Body of this People, are yet in such a Temper, as to be capable of

applying their Thoughts, to make a _Right Use_ of the stupendous and

prodigious Things that are happening among us: And because I was

concern'd, when I saw that no abler Hand emitted any Essays to engage

the Minds of this People, in such holy, pious, fruitful Improvements, as

God would have to be made of his amazing Dispensations now upon us.

THEREFORE it is, that One of the Least among the Children of

_New-England_, has here done, what is done. None, but _the Father, who

sees in secret_, knows the Heart-breaking Exercises, wherewith I have

composed what is now going to be exposed, lest I should in any one thing

miss of doing my designed Service for his Glory, and for his People; but

I am now somewhat comfortably assured of his favourable acceptance; and,

_I will not fear; what can a Satan do unto me!_

Having performed something of what God required, in labouring to suit

his Words unto his Works, at this Day among us, and therewithal handled

a Theme that has been sometimes counted not unworthy the Pen, even of a

King, it will easily be perceived, that some subordinate Ends have been

considered in these Endeavours.

I have indeed set myself to countermine the whole PLOT of the Devil,

against _New-England_, in every Branch of it, as far as one of my

_darkness_, can comprehend such a _Work of Darkness_. I may add, that I

have herein also aimed at the Information and Satisfaction of Good Men

in another Country, a thousand Leagues off, where I have, it may be,

more, or however, more considerable Friends, than in my own: And I do

what I can to have that Country, now, as well as always, in the best

Terms with my own. But while I am doing these things, I have been driven

a little to do something likewise for myself; I mean, by taking off the

false Reports, and hard Censures about my Opinion in these Matters, the

_Parter's Portions_ which my _pursuit of Peace_ has procured me among

the _Keen_. My hitherto _unvaried Thoughts_ are here published; and I

believe, they will be owned by most of the Ministers of God in these

Colonies; nor can amends be well made me, for the wrong done me, by

other sorts of _Representations_.

       *       *       *       *       *

In fine: For the Dogmatical part of my Discourse, I want no Defence; for

the Historical part of it, I have a Very Great One; the

Lieutenant-Governour of _New-England_ having perused it, has done me the

Honour of giving me a Shield, under the Umbrage whereof I now dare to

walk abroad.


_You very much gratify'd me, as well as put a kind Respect upon me, when

you put into my hands, your elaborate and most seasonable Discourse,

entituled, +The Wonders of the Invisible World+. And having now perused

so fruitful and happy a Composure, upon such a Subject, at this Juncture

of Time; and considering the place that I hold in the Court of +Oyer+

and +Terminer+, still labouring and proceeding in the Trial of the

Persons accused and convicted for Witchcraft, I find that I am more

nearly and highly concerned than as a meer ordinary Reader, to express

my Obligation and Thankfulness to you for so great Pains; and cannot but

hold myself many ways bound, even to the utmost of what is proper for

me, in my present publick Capacity, to declare my +singular Approbation+

thereof. Such is your Design, most plainly expressed throughout the

whole; such your Zeal for God, your Enmity to Satan and his Kingdom,

your Faithfulness and Compassion to this poor People; such the Vigour,

but yet great Temper of your Spirit; such your Instruction and Counsel,

your +Care of Truth+, your Wisdom and Dexterity in allaying and

moderating that among us, which needs it; such your clear discerning of

Divine Providences and Periods, now running on apace towards their

Glorious Issues in the World; and finally, such your good News of +The

Shortness of the Devil's Time+, that all Good Men must needs desire, the

making of this your Discourse publick to the World; and will greatly

rejoyce, that the +Spirit of the Lord+ has thus enabled you to +lift up

a Standard+ against the Infernal Enemy, that hath been +coming in like a

Flood upon us+. I do therefore make it my particular and earnest Request

unto you, that as soon as may be, you will commit the same unto the

+Press+ accordingly. I am,_

                          Your assured Friend,

                                 WILLIAM STOUGHTON.

I live by _Neighbours_ that force me to produce these undeserved Lines.

But now, as when Mr. _Wilson_ beholding a great Muster of Souldiers, had

it by a Gentleman then present, said unto him, _Sir, I'll tell you a

great Thing: Here is a mighty Body of People; and there is not +Seven+

of them all, but what loves Mr. +Wilson+._ That gracious Man presently

and pleasantly reply'd: _Sir, I'll tell you as good a thing as that;

here is a mighty Body of People, and there is not so much as +One+ among

them all, but Mr. +Wilson+ loves him._ Somewhat so: 'Tis possible, that

among this Body of People, there may be few that love the Writer of this

Book; but give me leave to boast so far, there is not one among all this

Body of People, whom this _Mather_ would not study to serve, as well as

to love. With such a _Spirit of Love_, is the Book now before us

written: I appeal to all _this World_; and if _this_ World will deny me

the Right of acknowledging so much, I appeal to the _other_, that it is

_not written with an Evil Spirit_: for which cause I shall not wonder,

if _Evil Spirits_ be exasperated by what is written, as the _Sadduces_

doubtless were with what was discoursed in the Days of our Saviour. I

only demand the _Justice_, that others _read_ it, with the same Spirit

wherewith I _writ_ it.



It was as long ago as the Year 1637, that a Faithful Minister of the

Church of _England_, whose Name was Mr. _Edward Symons_, did in a Sermon

afterwards Printed, thus express himself; 'At _New-England_ now the Sun

of Comfort begins to appear, and the glorious Day-Star to show it

self;--_Sed Venient Annis Saeculae Seris_, there will come Times in after

Ages, when the _Clouds will over-shadow and darken the Sky there_. Many

now promise to themselves nothing but successive Happiness there, which

for a time through God's Mercy they may enjoy; and I pray God, they may

a long time; but in this World there is no Happiness perpetual.' An

_Observation_, or I had almost said, an _Inspiration_, very dismally now

verify'd upon us! It has been affirm'd by some who best knew

_New-England_, That the World will do _New-England_ a great piece of

Injustice, if it acknowledge not a measure of Religion, Loyalty,

Honesty, and Industry, in the People there, beyond what is to be found

with any other People for the Number of them. When I did a few years

ago, publish a Book, which mentioned a few memorable Witchcrafts,

committed in this country; the excellent _Baxter_, graced the Second

Edition of that Book, with a kind Preface, wherein he sees cause to say,

_If any are Scandalized, that +New-England+, a place of as serious

Piety, as any I can hear of, under Heaven, should be troubled so much

with Witches; I think, 'tis no wonder: Where will the Devil show most

Malice, but where he is hated, and hateth most:_ And I hope, the Country

will still deserve and answer the Charity so expressed by that Reverend

Man of God. Whosoever travels over this Wilderness, will see it richly

bespangled with Evangelical Churches, whose Pastors are holy, able, and

painful Overseers of their Flocks, lively Preachers, and vertuous

Livers; and such as in their several Neighbourly Associations, have had

their Meetings whereat Ecclesiastical Matters of common Concernment are

considered: _Churches_, whose Communicants have been seriously examined

about their Experiences of Regeneration, as well as about their

Knowledge, and Belief, and blameless Conversation, before their

admission to the Sacred Communion; although others of less but hopeful

Attainments in Christianity are not ordinarily deny'd Baptism for

themselves and theirs; Churches, which are shye of using any thing in

the Worship of God, for which they cannot see a Warrant of God; but with

whom yet the Names of _Congregational_, _Presbyterian_, _Episcopalian_,

or _Antipaedobaptist_, are swallowed up in that of _Christian_; Persons

of all those Perswasions being taken into our Fellowship, when visible

Goodliness has recommended them: Churches, which usually do within

themselves manage their own Discipline, under the Conduct of their

Elders; but yet call in the help of _Synods_ upon Emergencies, or

Aggrievances: _Churches_, Lastly, wherein Multitudes are growing ripe

for Heaven every day; and as fast as these are taken off, others are

daily rising up. And by the Presence and Power of the Divine

Institutions thus maintained in the Country, We are still so happy, that

I suppose there is no Land in the Universe more free from the

debauching, and the debasing Vices of Ungodliness. The Body of the

People are hitherto so disposed, that _Swearing_, _Sabbath-breaking_,

_Whoring_, _Drunkenness_, and the like, do not make a Gentleman, but a

Monster, or a Goblin, in the vulgar Estimation. All this

notwithstanding, we must humbly confess to our God, that we are

miserably degenerated from the first Love of our Predecessors; however

we boast our selves a little, when Men would go to trample upon us, and

we venture to say, _Wherein soever any is bold (we speak foolishly) we

are bold also._ The first Planters of these Colonies were a chosen

Generation of Men, who were first so pure, as to disrelish many things

which they thought wanted Reformation elsewhere; and yet withal so

peaceable, that they embraced a voluntary Exile in a squalid, horrid,

_American_ Desart, rather than to live in Contentions with their

Brethren. Those good Men imagined that they should leave their Posterity

in a place, where they should never see the Inroads of Profanity, or

Superstition: And a famous Person returning hence, could in a Sermon

before the Parliament, profess, _I have now been seven Years in a

Country, where I never Saw one Man drunk, or heard one Oath sworn, or

beheld one Beggar in the Streets all the while._ Such great Persons as

_Budaeus_, and others, who mistook Sir _Thomas Moor's_ UTOPIA, for a

Country really existent, and stirr'd up some Divines charitably to

undertake a Voyage thither, might now have certainly found a Truth in

their Mistake; _New-England_ was a true _Utopia_. But, alas, the

Children and Servants of those old Planters must needs afford many,

degenerate Plants, and there is now risen up a Number of People,

otherwise inclined than our _Joshua's_, and the Elders that out-liv'd

them. Those two things our holy Progenitors, and our happy Advantages

make Omissions of Duty, and such Spiritual Disorders as the whole World

abroad is overwhelmed with, to be as provoking in us, as the most

flagitious Wickednesses committed in other places; and the Ministers of

God are accordingly severe in their Testimonies: But in short, those

Interests of the Gospel, which were the Errand of our Fathers into these

Ends of the Earth, have been too much neglected and postponed, and the

Attainments of an handsome Education, have been too much undervalued, by

Multitudes that have not fallen into Exorbitances of Wickedness; and

some, especially of our young Ones, when they have got abroad from under

the Restraints here laid upon them, have become extravagantly and

abominably Vicious. Hence 'tis, that the Happiness of _New-England_ has

been but for a time, as it was foretold, and not for a long time, as has

been desir'd for us. A Variety of Calamity has long follow'd this

Plantation; and we have all the Reason imaginable to ascribe it unto the

Rebuke of Heaven upon us for our manifold _Apostasies_; we make no

right use of our Disasters: If we do not, _Remember whence we are

fallen, and repent, and do the first Works._ But yet our Afflictions may

come under a further Consideration with us: There is a further Cause of

our Afflictions, whose due must be given him.

S. II. The _New-Englanders_ are a People of God settled in those, which

were once the _Devil's_ Territories; and it may easily be supposed that

the _Devil_ was exceedingly disturbed, when he perceived such a People

here accomplishing the Promise of old made unto our Blessed Jesus, _That

He should have the Utmost parts of the Earth for his Possession._ There

was not a greater Uproar among the _Ephesians_, when the Gospel was

first brought among them, than there was among, _The Powers of the Air_

(after whom those _Ephesians_ walked) when first the _Silver Trumpets_

of the Gospel here made the _Joyful Sound_. The Devil thus Irritated,

immediately try'd all sorts of Methods to overturn this poor Plantation:

and so much of the Church, as was _Fled into this Wilderness_,

immediately found, _The Serpent cast out of his Mouth a Flood for the

carrying of it away._ I believe, that never were more _Satanical

Devices_ used for the Unsetling of any People under the Sun, than what

have been Employ'd for the Extirpation of the _Vine_ which God has here

_Planted_, _Casting out the Heathen, and preparing a Room before it, and

causing it to take deep Root, and fill the Land, so that it sent its

Boughs unto the +Atlantic+ Sea +Eastward+, and its Branches unto the

+Connecticut+ River +Westward+, and the Hills were covered with the

shadow thereof._ But, All those Attempts of Hell, have hitherto been

Abortive, many an _Ebenezer_ has been Erected unto the Praise of God, by

his Poor People here; and, _Having obtained Help from God, we continue

to this Day._ Wherefore the Devil is now making one Attempt more upon

us; an Attempt more Difficult, more Surprizing, more snarl'd with

unintelligible Circumstances than any that we have hitherto Encountred;

an Attempt so _Critical_, that if we get well through, we shall soon

Enjoy _Halcyon_ Days with all the _Vultures_ of Hell _Trodden under our

Feet_. He has wanted his _Incarnate Legions_ to Persecute us, as the

People of God have in the other Hemisphere been Persecuted: he has

therefore drawn forth his more _Spiritual_ ones to make an Attacque upon

us. We have been advised by some Credible Christians yet alive, that a

Malefactor, accused of _Witchcraft_ as well as _Murder_, and Executed in

this place more than Forty Years ago, did then give Notice of, _An

Horrible PLOT against the Country by WITCHCRAFT, and a Foundation of

WITCHCRAFT then laid, which if it were not seasonally discovered, would

probably Blow up, and pull down all the Churches in the Country._ And we

have now with Horror seen the _Discovery_ of such a _Witchcraft_! An

Army of _Devils_ is horribly broke in upon the place which is the

_Center_, and after a sort, the _First-born_ of our _English_

Settlements: and the Houses of the Good People there are fill'd with the

doleful Shrieks of their Children and Servants, Tormented by Invisible

Hands, with Tortures altogether preternatural. After the Mischiefs there

Endeavoured, and since in part Conquered, the terrible Plague, of _Evil

Angels_, hath made its Progress into some other places, where other

Persons have been in like manner Diabolically handled. These our poor

Afflicted Neighbours, quickly after they become _Infected_ and

_Infested_ with these _Daemons_, arrive to a Capacity of Discerning those

which they conceive the _Shapes_ of their Troublers; and notwithstanding

the Great and Just Suspicion, that the _Daemons_ might Impose the

_Shapes_ of Innocent Persons in their _Spectral Exhibitions_ upon the

Sufferers, (which may perhaps prove no small part of the _Witch-Plot_ in

the issue) yet many of the Persons thus Represented, being Examined,

several of them have been Convicted of a very Damnable _Witchcraft_:

yea, more than One _Twenty_ have _Confessed_, that they have Signed unto

a _Book_, which the Devil show'd them, and Engaged in his Hellish Design

of _Bewitching_, and _Ruining_ our Land. _We_ know not, at least _I_

know not, how far the _Delusions_ of Satan may be Interwoven into some

Circumstances of the _Confessions_; but one would think, all the Rules

of Understanding Humane Affairs are at an end, if after so many most

Voluntary Harmonious _Confessions_, made by Intelligent Persons of all

Ages, in sundry Towns, at several Times, we must not Believe the _main

strokes_ wherein those _Confessions_ all agree: especially when we have

a thousand preternatural Things every day before our eyes, wherein the

_Confessors_ do acknowledge their Concernment, and give Demonstration of

their being so Concerned. If the Devils now can strike the minds of men

with any _Poisons_ of so fine a Composition and Operation, that Scores

of Innocent People shall Unite, in _Confessions_ of a Crime, which we

see actually committed, it is a thing prodigious, beyond the Wonders of

the former Ages, and it threatens no less than a sort of a Dissolution

upon the World. Now, by these _Confessions_ 'tis Agreed, _That_ the

Devil has made a dreadful Knot of _Witches_ in the Country, and by the

help of _Witches_ has dreadfully increased that Knot: _That_ these

_Witches_ have driven a Trade of Commissioning their _Confederate

Spirits_, to do all sorts of Mischiefs to the Neighbours, whereupon

there have ensued such Mischievous consequences upon the Bodies and

Estates of the Neighbourhood, as could not otherwise be accounted for:

yea, _That_ at prodigious _Witch-Meetings_, the Wretches have proceeded

so far, as to Concert and Consult the Methods of Rooting out the

Christian Religion from this Country, and setting up instead of it,

perhaps a more gross _Diabolesm_, than ever the World saw before. And

yet it will be a thing little short of _Miracle_, if in so _spread_ a

Business as this, the Devil should not get in some of his Juggles, to

confound the Discovery of all the rest.

S. III. Doubtless, the Thoughts of many will receive a great Scandal

against _New-England_, from the Number of Persons that have been

Accused, or Suspected, for _Witchcraft_, in this Country: But it were

easie to offer many things, that may Answer and Abate the Scandal. If

the Holy God should any where permit the Devils to hook two or three

wicked _Scholars_ into _Witchcraft_, and then by their Assistance to

Range with their _Poisonous Insinuations_ among Ignorant, Envious,

Discontented People, till they have cunningly decoy'd them into some

sudden _Act_, whereby the Toyls of Hell shall be perhaps inextricably

cast over them: what Country in the World would not afford _Witches_,

numerous to a Prodigy? Accordingly, The Kingdoms of _Sweden_, _Denmark_,

_Scotland_, yea and _England_ it self, as well as the Province of

_New-England_, have had their Storms of _Witchcrafts_ breaking upon

them, which have made most Lamentable Devastations: which also I wish,

may be _The Last_. And it is not uneasie to be imagined, That God has

not brought out all the _Witchcrafts_ in many other Lands with such a

speedy, dreadful, destroying _Jealousie_, as burns forth upon such _High

Treasons_, committed here in _A Land of Uprightness_: Transgressors may

more quickly here than elsewhere become a Prey to the Vengeance of Him,

_Who has Eyes like a Flame of Fire_, and, _who walks in the midst of the

Golden Candlesticks_. Moreover, There are many parts of the World, who

if they do upon this Occasion insult over this People of God, need only

to be told the Story of what happen'd at _Loim_, in the Dutchy of

_Gulic_, where a Popish Curate having ineffectually try'd many Charms to

Eject the Devil out of a Damsel there possessed, he passionately bid the

Devil come out of her into himself; but the Devil answered him, _Quid

mihi Opus, est eum tentare, quem Novissimo die, Jure Optimo, sum

possessurus?_ That is, _What need I meddle with one whom I am sure to

have, and hold at the Last-day as my own for ever!_

But besides all this, give me leave to add, it is to be hoped, That

among the Persons represented by the _Spectres_ which now afflict our

Neighbours, there will be found _some_ that never explicitly contracted

with any of the _Evil Angels_. The Witches have not only intimated, but

some of them acknowledged, That they have plotted the Representations

of _Innocent Persons_, to cover and shelter themselves in their

Witchcrafts; now, altho' our good God has hitherto generally preserved

us from the Abuse therein design'd by the Devils for us, yet who of us

can exactly state, _How far our God may for our Chastisement permit the

Devil to proceed in such an Abuse?_ It was the Result of a Discourse,

lately held at a Meeting of some very Pious and Learned Ministers among

us, _That the Devils may sometimes have a permission to Represent an

Innocent Person, as Tormenting such as are under Diabolical

Molestations: But that such things are Rare and Extraordinary;

especially when such matters come before Civil Judicature._ The Opinion

expressed with so much Caution and Judgment, seems to be the prevailing

Sense of many others, who are men Eminently Cautious and Judicious; and

have both _Argument_ and _History_ to Countenance them in it. It is

_Rare and Extraordinary_, for an Honest _Naboth_ to have his Life it

self Sworn away by two _Children of Belial_, and yet no Infringement

hereby made on the Rectoral Righteousness of our Eternal Soveraign,

whose _Judgments are a Great Deep_, and who _gives none Account of His

matters_. Thus, although the Appearance of Innocent Persons in _Spectral

Exhibitions_ afflicting the Neighbour-hood, be a thing _Rare and

Extraordinary_; yet who can be sure, that the great _Belial_ of Hell

must needs be always _Yoked_ up from this piece of Mischief? The best

man that ever lived has been called a _Witch_: and why may not this too

usual and unhappy Symptom of A _Witch_, even a Spectral Representation,

befall a person that shall be none of the worst? Is it not possible? The

_Laplanders_ will tell us 'tis possible: for Persons to be unwittingly

attended with officious _Daemons_, bequeathed unto them, and impos'd upon

them, by Relations that have been _Witches_. _Quaery_, also, Whether at a

Time, when the Devil with his Witches are engag'd in a War upon a

people, some certain steps of ours, in such a War, may not be follow'd

with our appearing so and so for a while among them in the Visions of

our afflicted _Forlorns_! And, Who can certainly say, what other Degrees

or Methods of sinning, besides that of a _Diabolical Compact_, may give

the Devils advantage to act in the Shape of them that have miscarried?

Besides what may happen for a while, to try the _Patience_ of the

Vertuous. May not some that have been ready upon feeble grounds

uncharitably to Censure and Reproach other people, be punished for it by

_Spectres_ for a while exposing them to Censure and Reproach? And

furthermore, I pray, that it may be considered, Whether a World of

Magical Tricks often used in the World, may not insensibly oblige

_Devils_ to wait upon the Superstitious Users of them. A Witty Writer

against _Sadducism_ has this Observation, That persons who never made

any express Contract with _Apostate Spirits_, yet may Act strange Things

by _Diabolick Aids_, which they procure by the use of those wicked

_Forms_ and _Arts_, that the Devil first imparted unto his Confederates.

And he adds, _We know not but the Laws of the Dark Kingdom may Enjoyn a

particular Attendance upon all those that practice their Mysteries,

whether they know them to be theirs or no._ Some of them that have been

cry'd out upon as imploying _Evil Spirits_ to hurt our Land, have been

known to be most bloody _Fortune-Tellers_; and some of them have

confessed, That when they told _Fortunes_, they would pretend the Rules

of _Chiromancy_ and the like Ignorant Sciences, but indeed they had no

Rule (they said) but this, _The things were then Darted into their

minds._ _Darted!_ Ye Wretches; By whom, I pray? Surely by none but the

_Devils_; who, tho' perhaps they did not exactly _Foreknow_ all the thus

Predicted Contingencies; yet having once _Foretold_ them, they stood

bound in Honour now to use their Interest, which alas, in _This World_,

is very great, for the Accomplishment of their own Predictions. There

are others, that have used most wicked _Sorceries_ to gratifie their

unlawful Curiosities, or to prevent Inconveniencies in Man and Beast;

_Sorceries_, which I will not _Name_, lest I should by Naming, _Teach_

them. Now, some _Devil_ is evermore Invited into the Service of the

Person that shall Practise these _Witchcrafts_; and if they have gone on

Impenitently in these Communions with any _Devil_, the _Devil_ may

perhaps become at last a _Familiar_ to them, and so assume their

_Livery_, that they cannot shake him off in any way, but that One, which