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Increase Mather
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Cotton Mather


Increase Mather (1639-1723) was the spiritual leader for Boston's Second Congregational Church for almost sixty years, serving as an important religious figure for the cause of Christian orthodoxy in the American colonies. One biographer, Michael Hall, called Increase the "last American Puritan," a title which was not undeserved or unwarranted. He even worked against the efforts of his own father, Richard Mather, who was an advocate of the relaxation of a number of rules and doctrines.

As a prominent religious figure, his basic problem was one which has plagued American Christianity from the beginning: the reconciliation between religious orthodoxy with the developing needs of a changing society. When society demands one thing but religious tradition demands another, what is one to do?

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