MATHER, Increase (1639-1723, puritan preacher). Autograph notes for a sermon, 21 April 1675, examining the text of 1 Corinthians 3.22 -- 'All are yors', 4 pages, 8vo, bound in modern limp red straight-grained morocco, front cover titled in gilt (ms subsequently detached). Provenance: Frederick B. Adams (with typed letter from the historian, Samuel Eliot Morison, to Adams, Harvard, 24 October 1932, discussing Increase Mather's notes; and with Morison's partial typed transcript); Sotheby's, London, 6 November 2001, lot 260.
Mather interprets St. Paul's text to mean 'not of all individuals, but in a general collective sense, yors.' Sometimes using the abbreviation 'D' for God, he argues 'That all are the churches'. Two 'reasons' for this are supplied on the first page. '1. world is the churches. Note world was made for church -- as for God's glory ... Learn to know more of God by the world -- Psalm 19' and '2. Life is the churches ... because onely the church hath life for children of death'. On the next page, the number of reasons is extended to four, many biblical references being cited under '4. All events of providence'. Further exhortations on the two last pages come under reasons '2' and '1'. The manuscript appears the more disorderly because all four pages contain marginal notes, written at right-angles to the main text. These provide four numbered rules of conduct. 'Rule 1' is to avoid being 'too sudden', 'Rule 2' is 'Let us be Humbled for all', 'Rule 3 -- Keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace', while 'Rule 4' concerns recognition of the 'eminently gifted'.
As a preacher, Increase Mather was 'unequalled in reputation and power by any native-born American Puritan of his generation', even if 'his hot temper, his confidence in his own wisdom and in his right to lead others ... all tend to estrange sympathy' (DAB). These scriptural notes, written when he was thirty-six, and minister of the Second or North Church in Boston, indicate his ability to transform short, barely connected utterances into great pulpit eloquence. Although he must have written many sermons, and eventually produced a total output of one hundred and thirty books and pamphlets, his manuscripts rarely appear on the market. According to ABPC, this is the only one to be auctioned in over three decades.