[MATHER, Cotton (1663-1728)]
Ratio Disciplinae Fratrum Nov- Anglorum. A Faithful Account of the Discipline prosessed and practised; in the churches of New-England. With interspersed and instructive reflections on the discipline of the primitive churches
Boston: printed for S. Gerrish in Cornhill, 1726. Small octavo, signed in 4s. (6 3/4 x 4 1/8 inches). , iv, 10, 207, pp., including contents leaf. H3 torn, lower margin of Ee4 clipped, upper corner of title torn with loss to a few letters supplied in old manuscript facsimile.
Contemporary panelled calf, rebacked.
Provenance: W. Cogswell (early signature)
Mather's discourse on church principles - a key work of New England church history.
One of Cotton Mather's most important works and an "important exposition of the tenets of Congregationalism that carefully reaffirms the principles of the Cambridge Platform" (Streeter). Holmes reveals that although published in 1726, the work was actually written in 1701, quoting from Mather's Diary from October 3 of that year: "About this Time I finished a Work, which cost me much Time, and Care and Study. I wrote in a Book of above an hundred pages in Quarto, an account of the Principles and Practices of the Churches of New England. But I embellished it all along, with a further Account of what was done in the primitive Churches, which required some exquisite labor. I concluded, that a Book of this Importance, would have a mighty Tendency, to preserve the holy Discipline in our own Churches, from the Dangers of the Apostasy which may threaten it, and promote the Designs of Reformation abroad in the world." Holmes reviews and explains the many delays in Mather publishing the work, the addition of Increase Mather's Attestation dated 1719 and the eventual publication in 1726. The final publication was nearly derailed as the original manuscript was scattered by a strong gust of wind, with the loose sheets finding their way into the garden, the wood pile, and strangers's hands. That every page was recovered without the loss of a single sentence was, as Mather reveals in a letter to Thomas Prince, a sign that the "Angel of the Lord Look'd after it ... I don't wonder that such a work must be brought forward with a Struggle. Tis a sign, tis for the Kingdome of God!" (quoted in Holmes).
Church 903; Evans 2775; Holmes 318; Sabin 46474; Streeter Sale 672.