Analysis of The Wonders of the Invisible World
In this primary document, Cotton Mather, a Puritan theologian, writes about his fears of losing the entire country to the devil and his minions as the Christian religion, in his mind, is being slowly eradicated from the entire country due to witchcraft. In 1693 Cotton Mather wrote a literary piece called The Wonders of the Invisible World a year after questionable events in defense of the persecutions of those accused and convicted in Salem for witchcraft.
Throughout the document, Mather is constantly depicting the Devil and spirits as very real, tangible enemies (e.g. descriptions of “invisible hands” and unexplained supernatural happenings), that were slowly infecting the Christian people of the new colonies. Mather also can’t stress enough the importance of the Christian church and the feeling he had of it being under attack. In the beginning of the document, he explains that the reason the Devil is so adamant to attack is because the new settlers disturbed him by claiming the land under the name of Jesus Christ.
Apart from his descriptions of the strange events, Mather also talks about the confessions of the so-called “witches”. More than 21 people in the colony confessed to being under the command of the Devil after signing a book as if they were saying in a way, they had sold their souls. Though they confessed however, he does not mention what their punishments were after being convicted. This may suggest that though he is verifying the events to, indeed, be real and the convictions justifiable, the executions (if any) may not be.
Today, most people would probably scoff and be outraged at such idiotic events. However, when analyzing a document from such a different period of our history, it’s very important to try and imagine what the people of the time were going through to make them go to such extreme conclusions. The most important thing to realize about the people from this time period is how