The Mystery of Witch-craft: Discouering, the truth, nature, occasions, growth and power therof. Together with the detection and punishment of the same. As also, the seuerall stratagems of Sathan, ensnaring the poore soule by this desperate practize of annoying the bodie: with the seuerall vses thereof to the Church of Christ. Very necessary for the redeeming of these atheisticall and secure times.
London, UK: Printed by Nicholas Okes, 1617. First Edition. Quarter calf. "To summarise briefly, Cooper was London born, attended Westminster School, then Christ Church, Oxford, taking his B.A. in 1590 and M.A. in 1593. He became vicar of Great Budworth in the north of Cheshire, then in 1604 moved to Holy Trinity church, Coventry. Cooper often writes of how God 'exercised' him (ie. tested him) with "continuall buffetings of Satan" (p.13). He seems to have kept a spiritual diary of these experiences, apparently intending it for print (ibid.). When he moved away from Oxford into his parishes, he then always found himself in the proximity of the devil's followers: "Hath not the Lord since, wherever it hath pleased him to pitch my Tent, even there to follow me with this Tentation, to be assaulted with this pestilent brood and Devillish Generation?" (p.13). Cooper's wavering sense as he writes of this 'temptation ... to be assaulted' expresses his divided impulses. This is the work for which Cooper is known and which gets cited from is his The Mystery of Witchcraft, 1617. Cooper used the title formula 'The Mystery of ...' in four of his works (eg, The Mysterie of the Holy Government of our Affections in 1619; or The Wonderful Mysterie of Spiritual Growth in 1622). The sense intended seems to be that his work will expound the deeper significance of his subject. In the case of his work about witchcraft, this 'mystery' looks in two directions. Firstly, it means what the existence and new prevalence of witchcraft should impart to the pious reader - as the title page puts it, "with the seuerall Vses thereof to the Church of Christ". In the direction of the widest eschatological context, Cooper is apocalyptic in his beliefs: across the full range of his writings he makes recurrent reference to the struggle against the Antichrist. Cooper does not refer to or re-narrate from prior demonological compilations attested stories of the actions or confessions of witches. (Guazzo's Compendium Maleficarum, for instance, is structured by Guazzo around 'Doctrina' and 'Exempla'). He opens out 'witchcraft' into its larger significance, the "mystery" that he discerns. A focal point, one where Cooper can be seen to be making an urgent warning via witchcraft about the role of Antichrist, comes when witches' sabbats are described. He is a thoroughgoing demonologist, fully persuaded of sabbat 'confederacies'. When it comes to the sabbat, the generally unspecific Cooper gives thorough detail of all the purported ceremonies. Especially revealing is Cooper's insistence that sabbat gatherings of witches take place in churches (Chapter 6, p.90). Cooper is not concerned with any objections about consecrated ground: the devil inside churches meeting his witches allows Cooper to escalate into a vision of satanic subversion of the pulpit, and berate a sinfully supine congregation who have allowed this great advance for Antichrist to happen. Comparing English Christian congregations to their detriment with those who attended diabolic sabbats, Cooper asserts that the willingness of witches to make a pact in blood with the devil, and re-affirm that pact by feeding their devils or familiars with their blood, contrasts with the unwillingness of purportedly true Christians to shed their blood for Christ."--Stephen Wright, biographer of Cooper. An exceptional addition to witchcraft and witchcraft study from a clergyman / self-proclaimed demonologist, less known than contemporary writers, like him were fascinated and horrified by magic and witchcraft. [ETSC: S108665. OCLC lists 7 US holdings]. Very Good+. Evidence of dampstaining, toning (browning), curling to several pages, pinhole divot in rear papers, else tight, bright, and unmarred. Rebound in three quarter maroon calf over marbled boards, decorative gilt title on spine label, decorative starburst endpapers. Excellent and beautiful copy. Small 8vo, 368 pp. Signature: A-2B : The second and third books each have separate dated title page; pagination and register are continuous. Annotations from former owner. Attached ribbon. Item #11403