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Location: Greensboro, NC, United States

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Puritans, on "Melancholy"

The Puritans, on dealing with what they termed "melancholy":

"They recognised that some men needed to spend most of their prayer time in praise and thanksgiving and recollections of God's mercies, and that a minimum of time should be spent in confession and expressions of penitence. They recognised too that some Christians should not be over-encouraged to spend much time in solitary prayer and meditations. Rather, they should seek the company of cheerful Christians, for, said they, 'There is no mirth like the mirth of believers.' They should pray in the company of cheerful saints, and they should converse with men of strongest faith that have this heavenly mirth and can speak experimentally of the joy of the Holy Ghost. These things, said the Puritans, would be great help in lifting a man out of melancholy and depression and establishing him on the pathway of normal and peaceful Christian experience. They recognised that while every man must examine himself, yet there are those who need to observe restraint even in this excellent practice. 'Spend more time in doing your duty than in trying your estate' is the Puritan advice to the unduly introspective Christian." -- G. A. Hemming, "The Puritans' Dealings with Troubled Souls"

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