Thomas Brooks on the evil of melancholy

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Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
... A melancholy constitution is Satan’s anvil, upon which he forms many black, dark, and dismal temptations, which do exceedingly tend to the keeping down of divine consolation from rising high in the soul. This black, dark, dusky humour disturbs both soul and body; it tempts Satan to tempt the soul, and it unables the soul to resist the temptation; yea, it prepares the soul to hearken to the temptation, and to close and fall in with the temptation, as the experiences of all melancholy Christians can testify. ...

For more, see Thomas Brooks on the evil of melancholy.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
I agree. But I hate to hear melancholy listed as an evil or the severely depressed listed as vile sinners. Our frames are very weak. Lord have mercy on us. It is not all self-pity, but the mind can become pretty low at times and any feigned attempts at cheerfulness would be a lie and deceit.
 

KGP

Puritan Board Freshman
I find this helpful, as one who can tend melancholy. I agree with the comments about tending melancholy tending to sin,
That has been my experience also,
Especially in my youth! The fight for joy is real, and sometimes as soon as i remember this and engage the battle, my whole demeanor changes. I often forget what is possible to experience in my day to day walk and fail to see the battle for what it is.


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Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
I agree. But I hate to hear melancholy listed as an evil or the severely depressed listed as vile sinners. Our frames are very weak. Lord have mercy on us. It is not all self-pity, but the mind can become pretty low at times and any feigned attempts at cheerfulness would be a lie and deceit.
Agreed. It is an evil in the sense that it is an affliction. It is not a sin to suffer from it - no matter how many Neo-Calvinist types tell you otherwise.
 
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Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
The Puritans were in general good doctors of the soul. Those who spoke to the affliction of melancholy recognised that it is in the wiring, so to speak, and not the fault of the person for being wired that way. They were very good at providing help for the melancholy that could actually work. But the melancholy must exercise themselves to pray and seek the Lord, and change habits, etc.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
The Puritans were in general good doctors of the soul. Those who spoke to the affliction of melancholy recognised that it is in the wiring, so to speak, and not the fault of the person for being wired that way. They were very good at providing help for the melancholy that could actually work. But the melancholy must exercise themselves to pray and seek the Lord, and change habits, etc.
Even then, they were wise enough to counsel against spending too long in prayer or mediation, as the mind was not fit for prolonged religious activity. As a 19-year-old who had begun reading the Puritans, I wish I had been aware of their wisdom on that issue.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
Even then, they were wise enough to counsel against spending too long in prayer or mediation, as the mind was not fit for prolonged religious activity. As a 19-year-old who had begun reading the Puritans, I wish I had been aware of their wisdom on that issue.
That's right. One in a melancholy state has to watch out for the mind running into an unhealthy excess, even in prayer.
 
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