Birthdays on February 12
Cotton Mather was born. Like his famous father and grandfather he entered the ministry. Acutely aware of sin in himself, he, from a young age, subjected his body to fasts and vigils and his mind to periodic self-examination. Six times a day he broke off business to pray and meditate. As a man he was unusually introspective. Sometimes he claimed direct illumination from God and at other times groaned or swooned. Often he felt plagued by demons. Convinced from personal experience of the power of Satan, he urged harsh treatment of those accused of witchcraft. At the urging of the Salem court, he wrote Wonders of the Invisible World which described the Salem witch trials. 444 of his works were printed in his day, including a fascinating and valuable history of God's workings in New England. His scientific observations were read by the Royal Society of which he was a member. His pastoral care and rapport with troubled teens won admiration.