The Unhelpables

Great Puritan minister Cotton Mather once wrote this counsel to fellow pastors:

It may not be amiss for you to have two heaps: a heap of Unintelligibles, and a heap of Incurables. Every now and then you will meet with something or other that may distress your thoughts, but the shortest way with the vexations will be, to throw them into the heap they belong to, and be no more distressed about them.

You will meet with some unaccountable and incomprehensible things, particularly in the conduct of many people. Throw them into your heap of Unintelligibles; leave them there. Trouble your mind no further; hope the best or think no more about them.

You will meet with some unpersuadable people-no counsel, no reason will do anything upon the obstinates: Throw them into the heap of Incurables. Leave them there. And go on to do as well as you can, what you have to do. Let not the crooked things that can't be made straight encumber you.

And now, go your way and work in your lot lively ...

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