Category Archives: Puritan

Puritan Praise from the Potty

The Puritans, though being incredible men and women of God, were known for their desire to reform all of life even to the point of excess.  This humorous anecdote from Cotton Mather will suffice as an example:

I was once emptying the cistern of nature, and making water at the wall.  At the same time, there came a dog, who did so too, before me… [Shocked that his actions were debasing him ‘into the condition of the beast’] I resolved that it should be my ordinary practice, whenever I stop to answer the one or the other necessity of nature to make it an opportunity of shaping in my mind some holy, noble, divine thought.[1]

The man clearly had a sense of potty humor (though he probably didn’t realize it), despite his rather superfluous puritan tastes.  His words cause me to chuckle even though I greatly admire the desire to glorify God whether you eat, drink, poop, or potty.  Though, it does seem a little excessive to be so serious about those moments in life despite the excellent opportunity that they present for praise and meditation.  It gave me a lot to think about in how I might better redeem my time for much holier things in seemingly unholy moments.

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[1] Thanks to Michael Reeves, The Unquenchable Flame, 152 for referencing this enjoyable tidbit from Mather’s life.

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Filed under Cotton Mather, Humor, Puritan, Tribbett