Thursday, May 23, 2013

7 Tips from John Newton On Battling Depression

Depression isn’t something new. Contrary to popular belief, Christians in ages past were not ignorant to its reality. I love reading through how the Puritans and early evangelicals (like John Newton) thought through such things as depression.

In one letter to a Mrs. Coffin we get a fair picture of Newton’s counsel to the depressed. Mrs. Coffin was a pastors wife. She also seems to have battled depressive episodes.

Here was Newton’s counsel to her:

  1. Pray much. Think little.
  2. Avoid musing and reasoning by yourself. (You need to battle in community)
  3. Keep to the Word.
  4. Realize that this is a spiritual battle.
  5. Know that the “Lord keeps the key of comfort in his own hand”.
  6. Wait for the Lord.
  7. Take heart that your experience isn’t unChristian, in fact no Christian is exempt from conflict of soul.

I also find it interesting that Newton told Mrs. Coffin, “I believe much of your complain is constitutional”. In other words Newton thought that a good bit of her problem wasn’t sin as much as it was biology. His counsel would have been very similar to my own.

This selection was tweaked from a letter of Newton that I got from this book. The whole book is filled with gems like this.


If you would like a more detailed explanation of any of the points feel free to ask in the comments. I’ve read enough Newton that I can explain what he means by each of these points.

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