Cotton Mathers Essay, Research Paper
The Colonization Era was a time of new beginnings and the birth of many cultures into one new society (Lovelace 74). The first inhabitants were of European decent, seeking to escape religious persecution. The Pilgrims and Puritans came over to America with the desire for religious freedom. The Pilgrims had left the Anglican Church, seeing at as hopelessly corrupt. The Puritans had many of the same theological beliefs as the Pilgrims but sought to work within the State church. Suffering great persecution, however, they joined their Pilgrim brethren in coming to America. One such Puritan was Cotton Mather, a well-known and gaining respect as a literary figure of his time. The themes of the Puritan Age are reflected in the writings of Cotton Mather and provide readers with valuable information revealing the realities of this period of American literature. For many years, Europe suffered under waves of religious persecution. Naturally, many of these victims were tired of being told what to believe or how practice their own religion. As a result, instead of fighting a losing battle, they made a pilgrimage to the New Land, where opportunity and resurgence were promised. Indeed, the arduousness of these new inhabitants to colonize America was huge, and if not enough already, the Devil reaped our path of righteousness with death and disease (Wendell 77). Unfortunately, as Wendell put it, death and disease were a common sight, as it was with most of the long distant traveling over seas, and with inadequate supplies, due to loading more people, death came as though through an open door (77). And I stepped on the foreign land, a rush, like a blessed wave from my toes to my eyes. My heart wanted to cry freedom, but not when my eyes saw tragedy and as quick and desperate as possible, my mind justified what I had seen as necessary for our future advancement. Nonetheless, the hair on my skin stood tall, my eyes rolled back as I dropped to the ground with a salty waterfall running down my cheeks a spiritual awakening as I proclaimed, Lord I am Thankful (Carson 25). Thanksgiving, a day defined by these pilgrims, was very real disposition for those who survived; this was not a joke to get an extra day off, but a time of reflection on their many blessings and praise to their Creator who provided these blessings. Getting to America was only a quarter of the battle. As most of the pilgrims would say, We sold our land, said our farewells, we lost our friends, we left our past, our memories, our everything. All of what defines our existence was deserted, and yet I stood there, on freedom without morning my past; rather, with a tremble of my body, and a thunderous shake of my heart, I almost laughed at it, observing the trip ahead to weigh two-fold in comparison (Carson 26). And without a doubt, settling in land that the pilgrims had little or no knowledge of, was pure hell. In spite of this, however, they were successful. The settlement of the puritans came about as a direct result of their religious freedom. The puritans believed or developed the belief that people are all wretched sinners and that without the help of God in their heart and soul they would surely go to hell. Ironically, and contrary to most peoples beliefs of puritans, they liked to have fun. The puritans were not dressed in all black and white, but wore rather colorful clothing from time to time, enjoyed having parties, which in fact, often consisted of drinking alcohol (Miller 379). However, in respect to the critical views of the puritan life, there were the Salem Witch Trials.
Often viewed as a product of their own hate and ignorance, the witch trials were brought about by various things. There was the ever spreading use of magic, the peculiar worship ceremonies thought to be for the Devil, demonic language, and even the spiteful accusations that one person might make in vengeance for the actions of another (Lovelace 89). Many Ministers and religious leaders came to puritan towns in order to caste the demon s out, or lynch whoever it posses . One of these ministers in was Cotton Mather.