Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mather's Student Library

Many have proposed recommended reading for the Christian student of the Word, or student for the ministry, as I have referenced previously in my own Books for People of the Book. I thought it might be useful for some if I set forth such a list as prepared by Cotton Mather, along with bracketed information for the modern reader who might be less familiar with the names and titles identified by Mather, as a window into early 18th century American Puritan studies.

In consideration of a young ministerial student's choice of books, it is wise to remember Cotton Mather's adage: “What and where my Relish for BOOKS, which I may be hungry for? LORD, Because I shall see THEE, or serve THEE, the more for the Reading of them.”

Cotton Mather, "A Catalogue of Books for a Young Student's Library," in Manuductio Ad Ministerium: Directions for a candidate of the ministry. Wherein, first, a right foundation is laid for his future improvement; and, then, rules are offered for such a management of his academical & preparatory studies; and thereupon, for such a conduct after his appearance in the world; as may render him a skilful and useful minister of the gospel (1726), pp. 148-149:

[Nathan] Bailey's English Dictionary. [Before Samuel Johnson and Noah Webster, Nathan Bailey (d. 1742) helped to pioneer English lexicography with his An Universal Etymological English Dictionary (1721), which became the most popular English dictionary of the 18th century, and went through nearly thirty editions.]

[John] Ward's Introduction to the Mathematicks. [John Ward of Chester (1648-c. 1730) published in 1703 the Young Mathematician's Guide, which became a favorite textbook at Harvard and elsewhere.]

[Basil] Kennet's, Roman Antiquities. [Basil Kennett (1674-1715) was the author of Romae Antiquae Notitia, or the Antiquities of Rome. . . .To which are prefixed two Essays concerning the Roman Learning and the Roman Education (1696).]

[John] Potter's, Archeologia Attica. [Archbishop John Potter of Canterbury (c. 1673/74-1747) was the author of Archæologiæ Græcæ: or, The antiquities of Greece (1706), which served as the definitive work on Greek Antiquities until the middle of the 19th century.]

[Thomas] Lewis's Origines Hebraeae. [Thomas Lewis (1689-1749) was a controversialist and an opponent of Scottish Presbyterians; he wrote Origines Hebraeae: The Antiquities of the Hebrew Republic (1724).]

[Edward] Wells's, Sacred Geography. [Edward Wells (1667-1727) was an Anglican  minister and author of Sacred Geography: being a geographical and historical account of places mentioned in the Holy Scriptures

Mat. Prideaux, his Introduction for Reading all Sorts of History. [Mathias Prideaux (1622-c. 1646), son of the Calvinistic Anglican churchman John Prideaux, wrote An easy and Compendious Introduction for Reading all sorts of Histories (1648), which was edited by his father after his early death.]

[William] Whiston's Chronology. [William Whiston (1667-1752) was the protégé of Isaac Newton, as well as his mathematics professorship at Cambridge, though the two parted ways upon Whiston's conversion to Arianism. His A Short View of the Chronology of the Old Testament and of the Harmony of the Four Evangelists (1702) was based on Archbishop James Ussher's earlier Annals but came into conflict with the Biblical chronology of Isaac Newton.

[Friedrich] Spanheim, his Introductio ad Historiam Sacra. [Friedrich Spanheim the Younger (1632-1701) was a Swiss-German Reformed theologian of conservative views, son of Friedrich Spanheim the Elder, who as a member of the faculty at the University of Leiden was of the Voetian party. He wrote Introductio ad Chronologiam et Historiam Sacrum (1694).

[Cotton Mather] The Christian Philosopher. [Inspired by Hayy ibn Yaqdhan, a novel by 12th-century Islamic philosopher Abu Bakr Ibn Tufail, Mather wrote in 1721 the first systematic book on science published in America.]

[Bulstrode] Whitlock's, Memorials, both Volumes. [Bulstrode Whitelocke (1605-1675) was an English lawyer and historian, author of Memorials of the English affairs from the beginning of the reign of Charles I (1682). Mather wrote of this work (Manuductio Ad Ministerium, p. 63: "If you would come at all near to the Truth of what Concerns those Times, you must look for it, in Whitlock, his Memorials of English Affairs, from the Beginning of K. Charles I. to the Restoring of K. Charles II."]

[Thomas] Fuller's Worthies of England. [Anglican churchman and historian Thomas Fuller's The History of the Worthies of England (1662) is one of the great Christian hagiographies.]

[Edward] Leigh, his Critica Sacra, both Parts. [Edward Leigh (1602-1671) was a Puritan politician and lay theologian. He wrote Critica Sacra, or Philologicall and Theologicall Observations upon all the Greek Words of the New Testament in order alphabeticall, &c. (1639, 1646) and Critica Sacra. Observations on all the Radices or Primitive Hebrew Words of the Old Testament in order alphabeticall, wherein both they (and many derivatives . . .) are fully opened, &c. (1642), with a commendatory epistle by William Gouge; both of which were published together (1650, 1662). This great lexicographical compilation endeared Leigh to Archbishop James Ussher.

[Stephen] Charnock's Works. [Stephen Charnock (1628-1680) was one of the great Puritan writers, whose magnum opus was published posthumously as The Existence and Attributes of God (1682).

[Matthew] Pool's Annotations. [Matthew Poole (1624-1679) was a Puritan minister and Biblical commentator who first compiled in Latin the Synopsis Criticorum (1669-1676), a synopsis of interpreters on the whole Bible, followed by his English Annotations on the Holy Bible (completed after his death by friends in 1683). The Latin Synopsis is being translated and published, together with the English Annotations, by The Matthew Poole Project. Poole's unfinished project to record providential occurrences was the basis of Increase Mather's (Cotton's father) An Essay for the Recording of Illustrious Providences (1684).]

[William] Strong, On the Covenant. [William Strong (d. 1654) was a member of the Westminster Assembly. His A Discourse on the Two Covenants was published by Theophilus Gale (1678).]

[Edward] Polhil, his Speculum Theologiae in Christo. [Edward Polhill (1622-1694) was a notable Puritan minister and author of Speculum theologiae in Christo: or, A view of some divine truths, which are either practically exemplified in Jesus Christ, set forth in the Gospel; or may be reasonably duduced from thence ... (1678) . Cotton Mather wrote elsewhere "Everything of Polhill is evangelical and valuable, especially his Speculum Theologiae."]

The Leyden, Synopsis Purioris Theologiae. [Synopsis purioris theologiae disputationibus quinquaginta duabus comprehensa (1625), often referred to as the Leiden Synopsis, was co-authored by Antonius Walaeus (1573-1639), André Rivet (1572-1651), Antonius Thysius (1565-1640), and Johannes Polyander van den Kerckhoven (1568-1646), all notable members of the faculty of the University of Leiden.

[Petrus, or Peter van] Mastricht, his Theologia Theoretico-practica. [Peter van Mastricht (1630-1706) was a leading theologian of the Nadere Reformatie, best known for his systematic theology Theologia Theoretico-Practica (1682-87), which is currently being translated into English by the Dutch Reformed Translation Society. Mather wrote of him (Manuductio Ad Ministerium, p. 85): "I hope, you will next unto the Sacred Scripture, make a Mastricht the Store-house to which you may resort continually."]

[Author uncertain, attributed to John Locke], Common-Place Book to the Holy Scriptures. [Originally published in 1676 as Graphautarkeia, or, The scriptures sufficiency practically demonstrated. Wherein whatsoever is contain’d in scripture, respecting doctrine, worship, or manners, is reduced to its proper head. Weighty cases resolved, truths confirmed, difficult texts illustrated, and explained by others more plain, the title given in 1697 was A common-place-book to the Holy Bible: or, The scriptures sufficiency practically demonstrated. Wherein whatsoever is contain’d in scripture, respecting doctrine, worship, or manners, is reduced to its proper head: weighty cases resolved, truths confirmed, difficult texts illustrated, and explained by others more plain. … A 1725 edition was titled A common-place-book to the Holy Bible: or, The scriptures sufficiency practically demonstrated. Wherein the substance of scripture, respecting doctrine, worship, and manners, is reduced to its proper head, weighty cases resolved, truths confirmed, and difficult texts illustrated and explained. Commonly attributed to John Locke, this work was excluded from the 1777 edition of Locke's Works because of uncertain authorship.

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