Boston: Printed for S. Gerrish in Cornhill, 1726. , iv, 10, 207, [3-- Postscript, Errata, Contents], as issued. Attractive contemporary calf, tooled in blind, neatly rebacked with the title and imprint in gilt, in a neat hand. Blank front free endpaper laid down [several ownership signatures: Giles Merrill, Moses Merrill, Lucy Sewall, John Ellingwood]; Inner blank margin of title leaf and page 207 archivally strengthened; last page expertly repaired with clear tape [text visible, no loss]. Except as noted, Very Good.
Mather's book, one of his most important, begins with a four-page Attestation by Increase Mather, dated 1719. The book is an "important exposition of the tenets of Congregationalism that carefully reaffirms the principles of the CAMBRIDGE PLATFORM" [Streeter]. "In the Postscript, on p. 208, Cotton Mather acknowledges himself to be the author of this book, which is a sort of historical relation of church discipline in New England" [Church].
Holmes reports that the book was actually written in 1701; this 1726 printing is its first edition. Holmes quotes from Mather's Diary: "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."
FIRST EDITION. Streeter Sale 672. Evans 2775. Holmes, Cotton Mather 318. Church 903. Holmes, Increase Mather 9. Item #38667