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[98] The inexorable indignation of the people of
Chap. XIX.}
Salem village drove Parris from the place; Noyes re-
gained favor only by a full confession, asking forgiveness always, and consecrating the remainder of his life to deeds of mercy. Sewall, one of the judges, by the frankness and sincerity of his undisguised confession, recovered public esteem. Stoughton and Cotton Mather never repented. The former lived proud, unsatisfied, and unbeloved; the latter attempted to persuade others and himself that he had not been specially active in the tragedy. But the public mind would not be deceived. His diary proves that he did not wholly escape the rising impeachment from the monitor within; and Cotton Mather, who had sought the foundation of faith in tales of wonders, himself ‘had temptations to atheism, and to the abandonment of all religion as a mere delusion.’

The common mind of Massachusetts was more wise. It never wavered in its faith; more ready to receive every tale from the invisible world, than to gaze on the universe without acknowledging an Infinite Intelligence. But, employing a gentle skepticism, eliminating error, rejecting superstition as tending to cowardice and submission, cherishing religion as the source of courage and the fountain of freedom, the common mind in New England refused henceforward to separate belief and reason. To the west of Massachusetts, and to Connecticut, to which the influence of Cotton Mather and its consequences did not extend, we must look for the unmixed development of the essential character of New England; yet there, also, faith and ‘common sense’ were reconciled. In the vicinity of Boston, the skep-

ticism of free inquiry conducted some minds to healthy judgments; others asserted God to be the true being,

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