And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High.
I. THE SYMPTOMS OF RELIGIOUS DEPRESSION. A settled depression of mind, in a perplexing debility and agitation of spirit, an apprehension of God's indignation, a prevailing doubt of our pardon and acceptance before Him, a dark view of the events which occur in the course of God's providential dealings with us, a succession of gloomy forebodings as to our future circumstances and destination, and a sinking of the heart, especially when we turn to subjects connected with our personal interest in the blessings of redemption.
II. THE CAUSES OF IT.
1. Bodily distemper.
2. An overscrupulous conscience.
3. A misapprehension of the doctrine of the remission of sins.
4. Some wilful sin, secretly cherished in the heart, or practised in the life.
5. Long-continued affliction.
6. The temptations of Satan.
7. Desertion, or the hiding of God's countenance.
III. THE CURE. If the distressed Christian seems to labour under bodily maladies, or the effects of superstition, the minister will recommend in the first instance, A due attention to the health, and a more correct knowledge of the will of God. In cases of distress which seem to spring from a misapprehension of the plan of the Gospel, the minister will delight to expatiate on the love of God in Christ Jesus. This he will display to the fainting heart of the penitent. But, in the case of dejection of mind arising from some course of sin, which has been secretly or openly committed, the minister of God's Word must adopt another method. "Repent, and do your first works." Thus will the privileges and mercies of the Gospel be once more yours, and God will "restore to you the joys of His salvation." Should, however, long-continued afflictions be the principal cause of depression of mind, the Christian minister will, with the psalmist, endeavour to take off the sufferer's view from his own particular calamities, and direct it to God's general dealings with His servants. Lastly, in the case of desertion, and, indeed, in all the preceding cases, the important suggestion is to be made that resignation to God's holy will must be added to the humble use of all the means of grace.
Parallel VersesKJV: And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High.