October 2, 2002

Dr. Luther’s Advice

Category: Miscellaneous :: Permalink

Here’s some advice from Dr. Luther’s letter to Prince Joachim of Anhalt (1534), who suffered from melancholy and “dejection of spirit”:

I should like to encourage Your Grace, who are a young man, always to be joyful, to engage in riding and hunting, and to seek the company of others who may be able to rejoice with Your Grace in a godly and honorable way. For solitude and inwardness are poisonous and deadly to all people, and especially to a young man. Accordingly, God has commanded us to be joyful in his presence; he does not desire a gloomy sacrifice. [Luther quotes Ecclesiastes 12.] No one realizes how much harm it does a young person to avoid pleasure and cultivate solitude and sadness. Your grace has Master Nicholas Hausman and many others near at hand. Be merry with them; for gladness and good cheer, when decent and proper, are the best medicine for a young person–indeed, for all people. I myself, who have spent a good part of my life in sorrow and gloom, now seek and find pleasure wherever I can. Praise God, we now have sufficient understanding of the Word of God to be able to rejoice with a good conscience and to use God’s gifts with thanksgiving, for he created them for this purpose and is pleased when we use them (Martin Luther, Letters of Spiritual Counsel, trans. Theodore G. Tappert [Philadelphia: Westminster, 1955], pp. 92-93).

How many pastors give that kind of advice to depressed young men today?

Posted by John Barach @ 11:34 pm | Discuss (0)

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