This is part of a series. Please look carefully. It is one of the best treatments of spiritual depression which also has biological origins. He talks about chronic onset and a single episode onset. He talks about the problem of having the "patent remedy" for depression.
Verily, there are many causes for melancholy. Some have their spirit pitched upon a low key constitutionally—their music may never reach the highest notes till they are taught to sing the new song in another world. The windows of their house are very narrow and do not open towards Jerusalem but towards the desert. Something is wrong with their bodily frame—the tackling's are loosed, they cannot strengthen the mast—and the vessel labors terribly. When there is a leak in the vessel, it is little wonder that the waters come in even unto the soul. With other mournful ones depression began through a great trial. As we have heard of some that their hair turned gray in a single night through grief, so doubtless many souls have aged into sorrow in a single trying hour. One blow has bruised the lily's stalk and made it wither. One touch of a rude hand has broken the crystal vase. Suns have been shaded in the midst of the brightest summer days and a morning of delight has been followed by an evening of lamentation. In some cases, God knows how many a secret sin, un-confessed to the Father, has festered into misery.
"The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity, but a wounded spirit who can bear?" I have also known an unwise ministry adds to the borrower’s woe. A legal ministry will do it and so, also, will that teaching which bids men look within for comfort—and sets up one uniform experience as the standard for all the people of God.
The causes are various but the case is always painful. O you, who are walking in the light, deal gently with your Brothers and Sisters whose bones are broken, for you may also suffer from the same! Lay yourselves out to comfort the Lord's mourners. They are not good company and they are very apt to make you unhappy as well as themselves, but for all that, be very tender towards them, for the Lord Jesus would have you so.
Remember what woes Ezekiel pronounces upon the strong who roughly push the weaker sort. God is very jealous over His little children, and if the more vigorous members of the family are not kind to them, He may take away their strength and make them, even, to envy the little ones whom once they despised.
You can never err in being tender to the downcast. Lay yourself out as much as may be in you to bind up the brokenhearted and cheer the faint—and you will be blessed in the deed. When the natural spirits sink in those men who have no God to go to, their depression takes its own particular shape.
If a man is a Christian, it is very natural that his troubles should assume a spiritual form. The only shades which can effectually darken his day are those which arise from sacred things. The fears which haunt him are not fears about his daily bread, but fears about the Bread of Life and fears as to his entrance into the Eternal Kingdom. The disease, from the physical side, is at bottom probably the same in the Christian as in the ungodly man, but, as his main thoughts are set upon Divine things, he, in his depression, naturally dwells most upon his soul's affairs.
At such times the spiritually afflicted are filled with horrible apprehensions. What let me ask you, is the most horrible apprehension that a Christian man can have? Is it not that of the text, I am cut off from before your eyes? Nothing distresses a Christian so much as the fear of being a castaway of God. You shall find no real Christian in despair because he is becoming poor. You shall not find him utterly cast down because worldly comforts are taken away. But let his Lord hide His face and he is troubled. Let him doubt his son ship and he is overwhelmed. Let him question his interest in Christ and his joy has fled. Let him fear that the life of God never was in his soul and you shall hear him mourn like a dove.
How can he live without his God? Yet this bitter sorrow has been endured by not a few of the best of men. If it could be said that only those Christians who walk at a distance from Christ, or those who are inconsistent in life, or those who are but little in prayer have felt in this way, then, indeed, there would be cause for the gravest disquietude. But it is a matter of fact that some of the choicest spirits among the Lord's elect have passed through the Valley of Humiliation and even sojourned there by the months together. Saints who are now among the brightest in Heaven, have yet, in their day, sat weeping at the gates of despair and asked for the crumbs which the dogs eat under the Master's table.
Read the life of Martin Luther. You would suppose, from what is commonly known of the brave Reformer, that he was a man of iron, immovable and invulnerable. So he was when he had to fight his Master's battles against Rome. But at home, on his bed, and in his quiet chamber, he was frequently the subject of spiritual conflicts—such as few have ever known! He had so much joy in believing that at times he was carried away with a tumult of boisterous exultation. But on other occasions he sank to the very deeps and was hard put to it to bear up at all. And that happened, too, even in his last moments, so that the worst battle of his life was fought upon that mysterious country which stretches towards the gates of the City Celestial.
In our book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing It When You feel Like You're Losing It; Robyn and I write about Charles author of this blog. He has been said to be one of the greatest preachers that ever lived. He preaches that we should saw kindness to those who are depressed
You can order it from Amazon.com
Steve and Robyn Bloem.