A treatise of melancholie. Containing the causes thereof, & reasons of the strange effects it worketh in our minds and bodies: with the physicke cure, and spirituall consolation for such as haue thereto adioyned an afflicted conscience. ... By T. Bright doctor of physicke.
Bright, Timothie, 1550-1615.
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TO HIS MELAN∣cholicke friend: M.

ALTHOVGH deare M. your letter full of heauines, and vncom∣fortable plaintes, hath in such sort affected me, that (as it faireth vvith a true harted friend) your affli∣ction dravveth me into the fellovv∣ship of your mournefull estate. VVher∣by I am faine to call for such supporte, as reason ministreth to vvisemen: and am compelled as it vvere to put bit into the mouth of my ouer vehement affection: and giue checke as much as my strength serueth vnto my passion somevvhat in this behalfe vnruly. Yet albeit our cases are not equall, in so much as the griefe is not so sensible to me as to your selfe, vvhome it hath (I Page  [unnumbered]perceiue) entred to the quick, not onely of bodely sense: but hath passed deeper, and fretted the tender sinevves of the soule and spirite: yet I say, for asmuch as such is the gracious prouidence of our God, and the manifold graces of his bountifull hand vnto men, that scarce appeareth any calamity, but if time be taken and opportunitie laid holde on, helpe and release doth as readely pre∣sent it selfe, to the comforte of such as trauaile vnder the burthen, as afflicti∣on is readie to charge them: and consi∣dering on vvhome this kinde of crosse is fallen: vpon a man exercised in the studie of pietie, and a practiser of the same, and one not ignorant of the pre∣ceptes of philosophie, vvherby vvord∣ly men, and such as are destitute of the knovvledge of God, stay themselues in such cases, vvhich as it serueth them but slenderly and is but a readen staffe, to beare vp so heauy a burthen, being othervvise voide, and vnfurnished Page  [unnumbered]of the heauenly grace, so may such phi∣losophicall and humaine preceptes, and consideration of naturall causes, and e∣uentes, stande him in steade, vvho re∣steth not vvholly there on, but leaneth vpon the maine pillar of Gods promi∣ses, of mercy and grace, and vvaigh∣teth vvith patiēce the appointed time of his release. These considerations to be seene in you, giue me consolation and the rather inable me to comforte you my deare friēd, vvhose soule I per∣ceiue pāteth vvith heat of that flame, vvhich most nigh you say in your fee∣ling approcheth vnto those tormentes described vvher the vvorm dieth not and the fire goeth not out: vvhereof al∣though you seeme presently to feele the anguish for a time; yet haue comfort and attend the happie issue, vvhich doubtles is your raising vp againe and more high aduauncement into the as∣surance of Gods loue and fauour. For as of all mettalls gold is tried vvith most Page  [unnumbered]vehement heate, and abideth the ofte∣nest hamering of vvorkemen for the refyning, vvhich being once fyned serueth for the seate of the Diamond, and for matter of precious vessels to the royall furniture of the tables of po∣tentates and princes: so novv euen that heauenly refiner, holdeth you in this hote flame for a time, till being pu∣rified and cleared from that drosse of sinne vvhich cleaueth so fast, to our degenerat nature, you may make here∣after a more glorious vessell, for his seruice and honour of his heauenly ma∣iestie. Your request is not onely that I should minister vnto you, vvhat my slender skill either in diuinitie or phi∣sicke may afford, but that I vvould at large declare vnto you the nature of melancholie, vvhat causeth it, vvhat effectes it vvorketh, hovv cured, and farther to lay open, vvhatsoeuer may serue for the knovvledge thereof, vvith such companions of feare, sad∣nes, Page  [unnumbered]desperation, teares, vveeping, sob∣bing, sighing, as follovv that mourne∣full traine, yea ofte times, vnbrideled laughter, rising not from any comforte of the heart, or gladnes of spirit, but from a disposition in such sorte altered, as by errour of conceite, that gesture is in a counterfet maner bestovved vpon that disagreeing passion, vvhose na∣ture is rather to extinguish it selfe vvith teares, then assvvaged by the svveete breath of chearefulnes, other∣vvise to receiue refreshing: This your request chargeth me vvith that, vvhereto if my skill reacheth not, yet my good vvill and prompt minde, both in respect of your estate, vvhose griefe I pitty and desire to mitigate, and the complaintes of diuerse others also in like case oppressed, dravve me, that both they & you knovving the groūds of these passions: vvhat parte nature hath in the tragedie, and vvhat con∣science of sinne driueth vnto: vvhat Page  [unnumbered]difference betvvixt them, hovv one nourisheth another, hovv ech riseth, and the seuerall meanes, both of pre∣uenting and cure of ech, the desperate discouragementes, vvhich rise vnto bodie and minde thus afflicted may be at the least mitigated, and some light giuen to the soule, stumbling in the darke midnight of ignorance, and re∣freshing to the comforteles hearte, di∣stracted vvith a thousand doubtes and pensiue thoughtes of dispaire: vvherin according to your request, I haue copi∣ously entreated of these pointes, that both you might be the more comforted and satisfied by plentie of discourse, & being a matter fitting your humor and pertinent to your present estate, you might haue vvherevvith to passe the tedious time vvith more contentmēt. Therefore as your griefe vvill giue leaue and respitt thereto, you may here knovv and learne that, vvhich you desire to knovv in this case, vvhereof Page  [unnumbered]if by Gods blessing you may make vse to your cōfort, I shall ioye in my paines and you against other times of tryall, by this experience, may haue cause of more hope of release, and comfort in heauines, then through the ter∣rour of this straunge affli∣ction you present∣ly feele.