I mentioned yesterday that Mather wrote a tract called "The Wonders of the Invisible World." Well Robert Calef published a response to that, called "More Wonders of the Invisible World." More Wonders is a collection of testimonies of people involved in the Salem witch trials, which functions as a defense for the accused, as well as reporting on the tortures used to get confessions out of the "witches" and their families.
Predictably Mather (and his father Increase Mather) strenuously objected to the book. As Wikipedia reports:
Because of the powerful influence of the Mathers, Boston publishers declined to publish the book, and it was first printed in England in 1700.Rev. Increase Mather, father of Cotton, publicly burned the book in Harvard Yard.
In 1701, Mather responded with Some Few Remarks upon a Scandalous Book written in the plural with co-signers, but occasionally lapsing into first person. The opening lines suggest that Calef's book had been well received by the masses in New England, despite his inability to have it published there:
"...that Scandalous Book... has made our worthy Pastors Obnoxious...among an unguided multitude."
Mather does not directly dispute the particulars of Calef's book but cries injured, accuses Calef of being a follower of Satan, and selects quotes from the Bible intended to put the merchant Calef in his place: "Exodus 22:28 Thou Shalt Not Speak Evil of the Ruler of Thy People."
Anyways, here's more of "Grace defended..."
I read Cotton Mather so you don't have to.
3. Can they be any other than Ungodly men, who from the Readiness of the Divine Mercy or the Pardoning of Sin, Encourage themselves to be the Reader in the Commiting of Sin, Lord, Thou art READY TO PARDON! Who can hear such a Word, and the Grace of it not melt the Heart of Stone within him? The Grace of God, in Pardoning of Sin, 'tis Wonderful, 'Tis Wonderful! When we are Justified, it is, Freely by His Grace. It is the Name of our God, Exod XXXIV 6.7 The Lord, the Lord God, Merciful and Gracious, and abundant in Goodness, Forgiving Iniquity and Transgression, and Sin. For Monsters of Wickedness, to be made Monuments of Pardoning Mercy; For Monstrous Menassahs and Mary Magdalenes, to be received into the Favour of God, and be favoured by a Reconciled God as much as if they had never Sinned against Him! For all manner of Sin and Blasphemy to be forgiven unto men, and a Fountain set open, to which the most abominable Creatures in the Worlds, are invited, there to Wash and be Clean. What but Infinite Grace can do such a thing! You shall now, but Oh! do it not without Horror! See what Improvement Ungodly Men will make of such Grace. An Improvement which one would wonder that any but a Devil should presume upon! They will Venture to Sin, in Hope of a Pardon. Perhaps, they will be so Senseless and Sottish and Exceeding Sinful, as to flatter themselves, that a, God forgive me, or a, Lord, Have Mercy upon me, will at any time obtain a Pardon for them. This Emboldens them to Sin, with a Prodigious Obstinancy; to be Stouthearted, and for from Righteousness: They stick at no Abominations There is a God that will have Mercy, and will abundantly Pardon. So they will hold on Sinning, and Sin abundantly.
And because there have been Some called, at the Eleventh Hour, and then found Mercy with God, therefore they will Sin on, Sin with Many Transgressions and Mighty Sins, and put off till the Last Hour, the necessary Adresses to Heaven for Mercy. They Persist in Enmity and Rebellion against the Glorious God all their Days, they Presume 'tis only to Ask and Have a Pardon at the Last. Hideous Ungodliness! We read, Psal. CXXXIV 4 O Lord, There is Forgiveness with thee, that though mayst be feared But now, to say; There is Forgiveness with God therefore I will cast off His Fear, and Go on without His Fear, O Vile Perversion! To Sin from the View of a Pardon, one would think, it should be very near, very near! Sinning beyond the Reach of a Pardon.
4. Will not all Heaven Pronounce those Ungodly Men, who because they take themselves delivered from the Condemning Power of the Law, Encourage themselves to shake off the Commanding Power of the Law? The Grace of God, has Delivered us from the Curse of the Law. It is a sweet Advice brought unto us, Gall III. 13 CHRIST has Redeemed us from the Curse of the Law, being made a Curse for us. The Punishment, which by the Law of God belonged unto us for our Sin, has been inflicted on our Saviour. Our Blessed Surety has Paid our Debt, by Suffering for us, the Curse which belonged unto us. The Law of God has now no Demand upon the Believer, that the Divine Justice may be Satisfyed: Our Surety has given Satisfaction. O Grace of incomparable Sweetness! How Sweet, how Sweet, the Words of it unto the Taste of Piety! But now, the Poison, which Ungodly Men will Suck out of this Grace! The suppose themselves rescued from the Curse of the Law. They make it an Advantage for their Escape also from the Rule of the Law. Silly Ones; An Escape, that is to say, into Chains of Darkenss, into most rueful Captivity in the World. This Law, Man; 'tis the Law of Liberty! 'Tis an Enlarged Soul, that is effectually in the Bonds and Wayes of this Law! But the Slaves of Sin They will indulge themselves in gross Violations of the Law; but still their Inward Peace not Violated. No Breaches of the Law, will break the Peace into which they have dozed their Minds. They will flatter themselvers into a Great Peace tho' they do not Love the Law. Why, say the Hardened Wretches; We are not under the Law. We must not fetch our Peace from the Law, Christ has answered the Law for us. What an Affront this, unto the Grace of God? We read: Rom. VI 14.15 Sin Shall not have Dominion over you for you are not under the Law, but under Grace. What then? Shall we Sin, because we are not under the Law but under Grace? God forbid. Still You are not yet under Grace, but under the Law if you can be content, that Sin should still have Dominion over you. If you Sin, because you are not under the Law, it is very sure, you are still under it, in the worse sense of being so; The Law does Condemn you, if you won't let it Command you. If you shake off that Everlasting Rite of Living to God, which His Law Prescribes, Unholy and Unthankful ones, you shall still have the Thunder of its Wrath Cursing of you.
5. Is it possible for any but Ungodly Men from Gods Delayes in Striking of them, to Encourage themselves to Delay their seeking to Him, their Serving of Him. The Grace of God is very Bright, in His Patience towards the Provoking Children of Wickedness The Psalmist observes, [VII 1.1] God is a Righteous Judge, and is Provoked every Day, and has bent His Bow, and made it Ready. Yet such is His Grace, that He does not presently let fly His Arrows, Deserved Arrows, and Oh! how Destroying Ones! how torturous and worse than Lightning, to the Spirits, which they Light upon! A Patient God spares wicked men. He does not Strike them Dead; tho' they daily challenge Thunderbolts. O Peerless Grace! Of a Provoked, a Righteous, an Almighty God; yet Waiting to be Gracious. But now, the use that Ungodly and Ungrateful men make of this Grace. What can be more Malicious, what more Venemous, than that which you read! Eccl. VIII. 1.1 Because Sentence against an Evil Work, is not Executed Speedily; therfore the heart of the Sons of Men is fully set in them to do Evil. Horrible Stupidity! Because the Threatened Judgements of God, have not yet come upon them, for their Crimes, they fancy, they'l never come; the threatned folks, have stil a long while to Live. Because they don't yet feel the Evil that is Pursuing of Sinners, they comfort themselves that such Evil will never overtake them. They Live, Yea, they Thrive. God Wounds them not, For that very cause they grow Secure, they grow Hardy, they go on still in their Trespasses. God has not yet Cut them down for the Ill Fruits they bear, He Lengthens out their Time. They bear the more Ill Fruits for that; and the wicked men wax worse and worse. God gives them a Space to Repent; They do, for that very cause Delay to Repent, and make it a Space to act more Wickedness, and with more of Greediness. But O ye Brutish among the People, What are you doing? Shake before that awful Thunderclap. Rom II. 4.5. Despiseth though the Riches of His Goodness, and Forbearance, and Long Suffering; not knowing that the Goodness of the God Leads thee to Repentance? But after thy Hardness and Impertinent Heart, treasurest up unto thy self Wrath against the Day of Wrath? Impenitents; Know you not, That Abused Patience will at Length be turned into Terrible Fury? And that, according to Speech usual in the Church of God, the Justice which has Leaden Feet, will at length find Iron Hands, to do its Executions? Oh! Turn to God in this Day of His Patience! Oh! Let the Long Suffering of God, but make you Stay no longer from accepting his offered Salvation. Because God seems to Keep Silence, Do you think, He is even Such an One as your selves, and approves your Doings? You will find it otherwise, when He shall come to Set your Sins in order before you; to tear you in Pieces, and there shall be none to deliver you.