Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Baxter on depression

It seems to me that the depressed person lacks hope of improvement and so is inactive and stays down in the sloth of despond.

 "They are still thinking that the day of grace is past and that it is now too late to repent or to find mercy. If you tell them of the tenor of the gospel and offers of free pardon to every penitent believer, they cry out still, Too late, too late, my day is past; not considering that every soul that truly repenteth in this life is certainly forgiven. 8. They are oft tempted to gather despairing thoughts from the doctrine of predestination, and to think that if God has reprobated them, or have not elected them, all that they can do, or that all the world can do, cannot save them; and next they strongly conceit that they are not elected, and so that they are past help or hope: not knowing that God electeth not any man separately or simply to be saved, but conjunctly to believe, repent, and to be saved; and so to the end and means together; and that all that will repent and choose Christ and a holy life, are elected to salvation, because they are elected to the means and condition of salvation, which, if they persevere, they shall enjoy. To repent is the best way to prove that I am elected to repent. 9. They never read or hear of any miserable instance, but they are thinking that this is their case. If they hear of Cain, of Pharaoh given up to hardness of heart, or do but read that some are vessels of wrath fitted to destruction, or that they have eyes and see not, ears and hear not, hearts and understand not, they think, This is all spoken of me; or, This is just my case. If they hear of any terrible example of God's judgments on any, they think it will be so with them. If any die suddenly, or a house be burnt, or any be distracted, or die in despair, they think it will be so with them. The reading of Spira's case causeth or increaseth melancholy in many; the ignorant author having described a plain melancholy, contracted by the trouble of sinning against conscience as if it were a damnable despair of a sound understanding. And yet they think that never anyone was as they are. - Directions to the Melancholy About Their Thoughts - Richard Baxter

The last sentence is so true.'I alone am left and they seek to take away my life' said an exhausted and therefore depressed Elijah.

For Spira see this link.

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