O Christian, though the state of your soul be sad, it is not desperate…

Excerpt adapted from “The Method of Grace in Bringing Home the Eternal Redemption”
Written by John Flavel

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There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  

–Romans 8:1 (ESV)
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Let all that are under inward troubles for sin take heed of drawing desperate conclusions against themselves…

…and the final state of their own souls. Though your case be sad, it is not desperate; though the night be troublesome and tedious, keep on in the way to Christ, and light will spring up. To mourn for sin is your duty; to conclude there is no hope for you in Christ is your sin. You have wronged God enough already, do not add a further and greater abuse to all the rest by an absolute despair of mercy.

It was your sin formerly to presume beyond any promise…

…it is your sin now to despair against many commands. I would say as the apostle in another case, I would not have you mourn as men that have no hope.  Your condition is sad, but it is not as once it was. You were once full of sin and void of sense, now you have the sense of sin, which is no small mercy. You were once quite out of the way and method of mercy, now you are in that very path where mercy meets the elect of God. Keep hope, therefore, at the bottom of all your troubles.

Observe whether your troubles for sin produce such fruits and effects in your soul as theirs do which end at last in Christ and everlasting peace. One that is truly burdened with sin will not allow himself to live in the secret practice of sin either your trouble will put an end to your course of sinning, or your sinning will put an end to your troubles (2 Corinthians 7:11). True sorrow for sin will give you very low and vile thoughts of yourself: as you were covered with pride before, so you will be covered with shame after God has convinced and humbled you (Romans 6:21).

A soul really burdened with sin will never stand in his own justification before God...

…nor extenuate it in his confessions to him (Psalm 51:3, 4). The burden of sin will make all other burdens of affliction seem light (Lamentations 3:22; Micah, 7:9). The more you feel sin, the less you feel affliction. A soul truly burdened for sin will take no hearty joy or comfort in any outward enjoyment of this world till Christ come and speak peace to the soul (Lamentations. 3:28).  Just so the soul sits alone and keeps silence; merry company is a burden, and music is but howling to him.

Beware of those things that make your troubles longer than they ought to be…

There are errors and mistakes that hold poor souls much longer in their fears and terrors than else they might be. One of these is ignorance of the nature of saving faith, and the necessity of it. Till you come to believe, you cannot have peace; and while you mistake the nature, or apprehend not the necessity of faith, you are not likely to find the path of peace.

Source material taken from the “Dead Puritan Society”
# Spiritual Depression