Monday, January 15

Salem Witch Trials

Though the Puritan clergy of Massachusetts had unanimously opposed the Salem witch trials, the episode was seen by them all as a terrible example of misdirected zeal. Thus, in December, 1696, they resolved among themselves to call for a general fast day to be held on January 15, 1697, "That so all of God's people may offer up fervent supplications unto him, that all iniquity may be put away, which hath stirred God's holy jealousy against this land; that He would show us what we know not, and help us, wherein we have done amiss, to do so no more." Judge Samuel Sewell and the jury of the trials all confessed their error and implored God's forgiveness and further direction. Though modern skeptics love to point to the Salem witch trials as a special blight on the church's character, rarely is the end of the story told in full.

4 comments:

Matt said...

I am studying the Salem Witch trials. I have found them rather interesting.

Mike said...

Unfortunately, most get their history lesson regarding the Salem Witch Trials from the play by Arthur Miller "The Crucible" or the more recent movie adaptation.

The problem with this is that Arthur Miller wrote the play to excoriate Joseph McCarthy and his anticommunist crusade. The parallel between the two was probably intentional but should never be mistaken for the truth about what happened at Salem.

Ricardo Davis said...

Dr. Grant, can you point us to some good materials (especially if available online) that give the "the rest of the story"? Thank you.

-Ricardo Davis

George said...

The best materials I have found have often been in biographies of men like Cotton Mather. In addition, I highly recommend Gary DeMar's history series from American Vision--three volumes are currently available.