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ESSAYS TO DO GOOD,
TO ALL CHRISTIANS,
PUBLIC OR PRIVATE CAPACITIES.
BY THE LATE COTTON MATHER, D. D. F. R. S.
"To do good, and to communicate, forget not."
PUBLISHED BY T. H. MILLER, AND H. GRAY & co.
The Editor's Preface, with a sketch of the
THE EDITOR'S PREFACE.
THE following ESSAYS were first published by Dr. Cotton Mather, at Boston in New-England, in the year 1710. The design of the author is thus expressed in his title-page, "BONIFACIUS. An Essay upon the Good that is to be devised and designed, by those who desire to answer the Great End of Life, and to Do Good while they live. A Book offered, first, in general, unto all Christians, in a Personal Capacity, or in a Relative: Then more particularly unto Magistrates, Ministers, Physicians, Lawyers, School-masters, Gentlemen, Officers, Churches, and unto all Societies of a religious character and intention: with humble Proposals of unexceptionable methods to Do Good in the world.”
In the present Edition, this title is abridged, and the Running Title, used by the author in the original work, is substituted, ESSAYS TO DO GooD, which the reader may understand to sig. nify, "Attempts to do good:" which was probably the author's intention in the use of that phrase; or, he may consider this little volume as composed of a set of Essays, on the noble subject of doing good in this present evil world.
The various methods of doing good, here proposed to the public, derive no small recommendation from the example of the excellent author, whose whole life was a practical comment on the subject, and who might have said to the readers of his own days," Be ye followers of me." To those who may not have had an opportunity to peruse his life, the following slight sketch of it may be acceptable.
Dr. Cotton Mather, who was born, Feb. 12, 18663, at Boston, in New-England, was honourably descended from families whose eminent piety, and sufferings for righteousness' sake, rendered them "the excellent of the earth." Dr. Increase Mather, his father, was pastor of the North Church, in Boston, and President of Harvard College; his mother was the daughter of the renowned Mr. John Cotton, a minister of exalted religion and uncommon learning.
At 12 years of age, our author had attained a considerable knowledge of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew; he was admitted into the college at 16; at 18, took his first degree; and before he was 19, procceded Master of Arts.
From his earliest years, he discovered a love to religion; he prayed much in private, and constantly read 15 chapters of the Bible in a day. At 14, he kept days of private fasting and prayer; devoted a tenth of his little income to pious uses; and at 16, became a member of the church.
At this early period of life, he adopted it as a maxim, "that a power and an opportunity to do good, not only gives a right