[Read Part 1)
Here are Puritan Richard Baxter’s first four (of seven) practical suggestions regarding potential causes and cures for dealing with sinful dreams:
- Watch your diet: Avoid those bodily distempers as much as you can which cause sinful dreams, especially fulness of diet. A full stomach causes troublesome and lustful dreams, and has its ill effects by night and by day.
- Watch your mind: Endeavor the cure of those sinful distempers of the mind which cause sinful dreams. The cure of a worldly mind is the best way to cure worldly, covetous dreams. And the cure of a lustful heart is the best way to cure lustful dreams, and the same goes with the rest. Cleanse the fountain, and the waters will be sweeter day and night.
- Watch your day: Don’t let your thoughts, tongue, or actions run sinfully upon that in the day, which you would not dream sinfully of in the night. Our dreams are apt to follow our foregoing thoughts, words, and deeds. If you think most frequently and affectionately of that which is good, you will dream of that which is good. If you think of lustful, filthy objects, or speak of them, or meddle with them, you will dream of them. And so of covetous and ambitious dreams. If you don’t endeavor to sin while awake you aren’t likely much to entertain sinning in your sleep.
- Pray before you sleep: Commend yourselves to God by prayer before you take your rest, and ask him to set a guard upon your fantasy when you cannot guard it. Cast the cure upon him, and fly to him for help by faith and prayer in the sense of your insufficiency.