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The Wonders of the Invisible World By Cotton Mather, Reiner Smolinski
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Cotton Mather’s mythic image rests on his involvement in the Salem witchcraft debacle (1692–93) and on his Wonders of the Invisible World (1693)—an official defense of the... More > court’s verdict and a testimony to the power of Satan and his minions. Mather excerpts the six most notorious cases of Salem witchcraft and buttresses his account with the official endorsement of Lt. Governor William Stoughton, with a disquisition on the devil’s machinations described by the best authorities that the subject affords, with a previously delivered sermon at Andover, and with his own experimentations. What ties the various parts together is Mather’s millenarian theme of Christ’s imminence, of which Satan’s plot is the best evidence. Though Mather defends the court’s verdict and justifies the government’s position, he also voices his great discomfort with the court’s procedure in the matter. Wonders appeared in print just when the trials were halting, but it remains, in his own words, “that reviled Book,” a bane to his name.< Less