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Cotton Mathers Wonders of the Invisible World emphasizes two important themes of Puritan hermeneutics The first theme is Puritan faculty psychology The second theme is the pivotal role to be played by New England in Protestant eschatology In this paper I propose to explore these two themes and investigate how they cohere or unify the apparent disjointed parts of Mathers Wonders of the Invisible World Puritan faculty psychology provides a theory for looking at Cotton Mathers Wonders of the Invisible World Puritan faculty psychology was an integral part of the intellectual make up of the Puritans It worked operated and influenced their writings in ways that they could not acknowledge Miller Seventeenth Century 242-243 By using Puritan faculty psychology we can discern important and interesting aspects of Mathers Wonders that would otherwise remain hidden from us For the Puritan mans faculties had a natural hierarchy of subordination The passions depended on the will which in turn depended on right reason Miller Seventeenth Century 252-253 The passions were aroused by the senses but they were not to cause action until they were mediated by the will through right reason Miller Seventeenth Century 252 A malfunctioning of this hierarchy forms the Puritan distinction between opinion and science Miller Seventeenth Century 259 sin and virtue Miller Seventeenth Century 265 When the hierarchy malfunctioned reason was misled by false impressions of the facts The passions may thereby affect the will without proper instruction from reason Reason then acted on mere opinion rather than on science or the truth Acts of sin could then be the result Sin for the Puritan was reason that has operated as a result of a malfunctioning of this hierarchy In a state of sin reason is enfeebled like a palsied king misled by scheming courtiers Miller Seventeenth Century 265 Sin was still the result of reason It was the result of rationally determined actions Since the actions were rationally determined the individual could be
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