The Depressed Soul's Soliloquy
by William Nicholson, 1862
"Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God!" Psalm 43:5
When the Psalmist uttered this language, he personated God's people in every age. They have their seasons of depression as well as of elevation. "Sorrowful, yet rejoicing." The text is the language of Christian experience.
I. The Best of Men At Times Become The Subjects of Depression.
1. Habitual depression. That which is constitutional, of a nervous temperament — timid, fearful, and often desponding.
2. Depression arising from inward conflicts — from the corruptions of the heart — from the suggestions of the Wicked One.
3. Depressions arising from a sense of imperfections — failure in secret duties — little progress in the Divine life. How unlike Christ!
4. Depression arising from domestic trials. The family is not what he could wish — few or none of its members devoted to God. Shall we all meet in Heaven?
5. Depression arising from personal and relative afflictions.
6. Depression arising from approximation to death.
7. Depression arising from the low state of Zion.
II. It Is The Duty of Good Men To Overcome Such Depression."Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God!"
1. Not by artificial means, as opiates, alcoholic drinks, to drown the senses. Not by plunging into sensual indulgence and pleasures. Not by apathy or stoicism.
2. Overcome this depression by the exercise of your rational powers. "Why are you down cast?" Investigate the cause — these causes are connected with your fallen state — it will ever be so — others better than you have been so depressed. These trials are a necessary discipline to wean you from earth — and to cause you to aspire after Heaven. 1 Peter 1:6-7. When you arrive in Heaven, you will praise God for them.
Despondency cherished is injurious — it dishonors God — it paralyzes exertion — it renders the man a more easy prey to the enemy of souls.
3. Overcome by hope in God. He is the refuge of his people in distress. He delights to bless them. He loves them with an infinite love, and guards them with Almighty power. He is faithful. His covenant stands — it is everlasting. "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging!" Psalm 46:1-3
That your hope may produce fruition,
Go and spread your wants before God.
Plead with him through Christ to help and deliver you.
Have faith in God.
He will deliver you, and you shall praise him. Psalm 34:4-8; 50:15.
You shall see and feel the benefit of your trials.
Hope in God to the end.
"Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever!" Psalm 125:1