ROBERT BLAKEWAY

Blakeway, a chaplain, wrote an essay on religious melancholy (essentially a synonym for scrupulosity). The essay was written to "a gentlewoman afflicted" with this condition, and was later published. Blakeway recommended singing a hymn when distressing thoughts intrude.

[W]hen you are tempted [to have the thoughts], immediately set about to divert the evil thoughts by reading, or other holy or innocent exercise ... or if you'll sing an hymn, which I think, in your case, will be very advantageous....

Hymn to be used constantly ... as soon as it assaults you ... immediately sing this with all the vigorous and humble zeal you can....

I.
FROM these [sinful thoughts] me retrieve
My soul in safety keep,
Control the deluge e'er it spread,
And plunge me in the Deep!
 
II.
Lord, hear the humble prayer I make,
Thy succour interpose;
And shield me for thy mercy's sake
From these ensnaring Foes!
 
III.
How long shall evil thoughts my soul,
And grief my heart oppress
How long [such thoughts] me assault
And I have no redress?
 
IV.
O hear, and to my longing eyes
Let thy bright light return,
And soon, that under these attacks
I may no longer mourn!
 
[Etc.]

From Robert Blakeway, An essay towards the cure of religious melancholy, in a letter to a gentlewoman afflicted with it... (London: printed for and sold by Bezaleel Creake and others, 1717), pp. 137-8.

 

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