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: Reading primary sources - Essay Example

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Name of the Student History and Political Science Name of the Concerned Teacher 11 September 2013 Increase Mather’s Discourse in the Backdrop of the Salem Witch Trials Increase Mather in his essay An Essay for the Recording of Illustrious Providences tends to elaborate on the strange and fanciful events taking place in the New England that happened to be indicative of both an utter awe and a fear of losing the grace and beneficence of God…
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Download file to see previous pages Many people in the 17th century New England happened to be Puritans whose idea of faith happened to be far from being benign and tolerant. The Puritan way of life essentially happened to be restrained and rigid. People were expected to live by a strict and rigid moral code and it was a common understanding that all sins ought to be punished. One salient aspect of Puritan creed was that it considered the devil to be an entity that was as real as God. The Puritans believed that some people preferred to follow Satan and they considered such people to be witches. The essential idea that oozes out of a reading of Increase Mater’s essay is an intense sense of medievalism that ascribed to an imagery of the hell to extend credibility and veracity to the strange phenomena believed to be taking place in New England, indicative of the works of witchcraft, which challenged the established faith and symbolized the wrath of God. Increase Mather’s essay is typical of the 17th century Providence writings. The purpose of the author is to simply narrate the strange events and happenings taking place in New England, which may have been perhaps the results of the imminent scientific and reasonable phenomena, though the author tends to ascribe a theological explanation to them. The essay records strange events involving the raining of stones and other objects on the God fearing people, which could purportedly be traced to the acts of devil, aimed at terrorizing and punishing the denizens of New England and symbolized the loss of Divine beneficence for the people of New England. The writer resorts to a style of narration that is both vivid and sensational so as to eke out the feelings of awe and fear from the like minded audience, who believed in devil and the witchcraft. Thereby, this writing comes out as an elaborate and lengthy defense of the existence and validity of diabolical apparitions and the witchcraft, and “other remarkable judgments upon noted sinners.” The essay tends to validate and assert the Puritanical views of witchcraft and also asserts the belief that the sins committed by the people of New England have accrued God’s wrath. The primary objective is to warn the sinners against the dangers of Satan and to invoke them to mend their ways. The essential dilemma that intends the approach of Mather towards an explanation of the strange phenomena is that it is evinced and unfolded in times which also marked the rise of scientific temperament and reason in the Western civilization. Thereby, Mather’s account of the purely preternatural activities in a way is indicative of the popular religious beliefs of his times that recognized so called abominations like witchcraft and believed in punishing and coming heavily on such practices believed to be abominable and diabolical in their scope and intentions. For in the 17th century New England, witchcraft happened to be a grave crime, the practice of which was punishable by death. In the backdrop of Mather’s assertion it does need to be mentioned that hundreds of witches were tried and hanged in the 17th century New England. Thereby, Mather’s account in a way tends to wrought support and popular frenzy around the ancient Biblical cosmic idea of the perpetual struggle ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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