Out of the Depths: An Autobiographical Study of Mental Disorder and Religious Experience, by Anton T. Boisen, #3


Our Ordained Chaplains scripture verse for today is Colossians 3:16 which reads, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

Our Ordained Chaplains quote for today is from Lt. Clark V. Poling who said this about his experience as a military chaplain, “I just pray that I shall do my duty, never be a coward, and have the strength, courage, and understanding of men. I just pray that I shall be adequate.”

In this podcast, we will continue discussing the book “Out of the Depths: An Autobiographical Study Of Mental Disorder And Religious Experience” by Anton T. Boisen. We continue today with “Ancestry and Social Background” (Part 2):

The maternal ancestors of my mother, Louise Wylie Boisen, came from England in the seventeenth century and settled in New Jersey. Her great-grandfather, John Dennis, was a wealthy New Brunswick merchant who, during the War of the Revolution, served as treasurer of the province of New Jersey. His son, Richard, her grandfather and my great-grandfather, was a Philadelphia merchant who made and lost three considerable fortunes. During the War of 1812 he commanded the Sixteenth Infantry. Richard Dennis was married three times. His third marriage was to Susanna Salter Smith, whom he met when they were both having their portraits painted by Rembrandt Peale. She was fifteen at the time, he thirty-six. His father disapproved but wrote expressing the hope that “the new spouse might prove a durable blessing.” Eleven children were bom to this marriage, eight of whom lived to the age of seventy-five or more. My grandmother, Rebecca Dennis Wylie, was one of these. She was born in Germantown just across the street from the old Chew House, which we used to see pictured in our American history books.

My mother’s paternal grandfather, my great-grandfather, was Samuel Brown Wylie, who came to Philadelphia in 1797 from the North of Ireland, where, as a young man, he had been involved in political difficulties. In 1803 he became pastor of the newly organized Reformed Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia. This pastorate he held until his death in 1852,. In addition to serving as pastor of this church, which became a large and influential one, he conducted a classical school for boys. He also conducted a theological school for the Reformed Presbyterian Church. In 1828 he became professor of Latin and Greek and the Oriental languages at the University of Pennsylvania. That position he held for twenty years. During the last ten years he was vice-provost of the University. He is described as a vigorous man and a prodigious worker. According to family tradition he was accustomed to take only four hours sleep out of the twenty- four, getting up at two or three o’clock in the morning in order to study undisturbed. He ruled his household with a rod of iron. By that I do not mean that he was harsh or stern. His writings and letters show him to have been affectionate and gifted in the expression of his feelings. He was both loved and feared, and he struck awe into the hearts of his sons and of other boys as well. He had a reputation for understanding boys and knowing how to deal with difficult cases.

His wife, Margaret Watson Wylie, my great-grandmother, was a gentle, devoted woman. She came from Pittsburgh, where her father owned a farm which is now in the heart of that city. This Pittsburgh property made her husband’s household economically secure. She lived to the good old age of ninety. There were five children in her household: Theophilus, my grandfather, who was born in 1810; Theodorus, some years younger, who in 1843 became co-pastor of his father’s church and continued as pastor until his death in 1898; and three daughters. Two of the daughters married Reformed Presbyterian clergymen. The other daughter, Elizabeth Louise, who died at the age of sixteen, was a close friend of my grandmother, Rebecca Dennis, It was through her that she and my grandfather met and for her that my mother was named.

In our next broadcast, we will continue with Part 3 of “Ancestry and Social Background.”

—PRAYER—

Now, if you have come across this broadcast, and do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, my friend, please keep in mind these reasons to believe. God bless!

Questions