A record of the genealogy of the author, the nephew of Increase Mather, a founder of Yale College:
Increase Mather was the brother of Timothy,
Timothy the father of Atherton,
Atherton the father of Richard,
Richard the father of Cotton,
Cotton the father of Horace,
Horace the father of Huldah,
Huldah the mother of Julia,
Julia the mother of George,
George the father of Cary,
Cary the father of Edith,
Edith the mother of Beth,
and Beth the mother of Peter, the author.
Increase Mather was the seventh president of Harvard. Alas, all are sinners. In the early days, those at Harvard studied in order to appreciate and better praise God. But by 1700, they had begun building the tower of Babel, laying human learning as the foundation of a tower ascending to heaven. Then God confused their language and scattered them over the earth; the Cantabs have remained unintelligible ever since.
But in his infinite wisdom, God came to Increase, and said unto him, “Leave Harvard, and I will make through you a great college, and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Increase believed the Lord, and it was credited to him as righteousness. In 1701, he rejected the darkness of his past life, resigned the presidency of Harvard, and joined nine other ministers in Branford to establish a new college in Connecticut.
The old school had been committed to VERITAS, but truth on its own is not enough. You believe that there is one God? Good! Even the demons believe that — and shudder. The demons know they have an authority, yet they will not submit; they persist in darkness and build Pandemonium; they think it better to reign in Harvard than serve at Yale.
Those at Babel had VERITAS, but in rebellion they faded into the night. The new college would commit itself to LUX ET VERITAS, for its righteousness would be a light unto all nations. God said to Increase, “To your college I give this light, and those of your college will be too numerous to count.” God’s promise was clear: Yale will bless the world. The Cantabs — anguished, wretched, blind — gnash their teeth while in darkness bound.
Elis will go north, and in doing so, head down into the deep. With eyes of burning coal, bus drivers will deliver us to the realm of the damned. Observe the sufferings of Hell’s inhabitants well, for suffering well-understood will quicken pity. Observe the contrapasso in the state of those that are doomed. Having rejected the divine master, every Cantab becomes a master in himself. Because every Cantab takes himself as master, all Cantabs become slaves.
Those in Hell will cry, “We are free,” but the light of Eli will expose the lie. The Elis will cry back, “Repent! Submit to your proper master.” For freedom consists in submission to the Lord, who wraps himself in lux as with a garment. We shine the light of Eli as a representation of that beyond ourselves with whom we have a covenant. And yet it is the Lord who can give sight to the blind.
Therefore, petition God on behalf of those at Harvard. Make ardent prayers for mercy, that the damned shall see the light. And when you meet them, let them know, hope is not all lost. God has made these promises to all mankind. Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be open to you; apply, and your transfer application will be approved.
Peter Johnston is a sophomore in Saybrook College.