Saturday, April 26, 2008

Baxter's Directions to the Depressed: Cast your cares on God (part 2)

The Signs and Causes of Melancholy, with directions suited to the case of those who are afflicted with it. Collected out of the works of Mr. Richard Baxter, for the sake of those, who are wounded in Spirit. By Samuel Clifford, minister of the Gospel London, Bible and Three Crowns, 1716. pp51-66. [Edited and abridged by SML.]

Click here for an introduction to Baxter on Melancholy

Chapter 4: Directions to the Melancholy.

Direction 1: Take notice of worldly sorrows and discontents: do not put so much value in earthly things to that they can disquiet you: but learn to cast your cares upon God.

2. Set yourself more diligently than ever to overcome inordinate love of the World. It will be a happy and good use of your troubles if you can follow them up to the fountain, and find out what it is that you cannot bear the want or loss of, and consequently what it is that you love too much. God is very jealous, even when he loves, against every idol that is loved too much, and with any of the love which is due to him, and if he takes them all away, and tears them out of our hands and hearts, he is merciful as well as just. I speak this not to those who are troubled only for want of more faith and holiness and communion with God and assurance of Salvation: These troubles might give them much comfort if they understood aright from whence they came and what they signify. As impatient trouble under worldly crosses proves that a man loves the world too much, so impatient trouble for want of more holiness and communion with God, shows that such are lovers of holiness and God. Love goes before desire and grief. That which men love, they delight in if they have it, and mourn for want of it, and desire to obtain it. The Will is the love, and no man is troubled for the lack of something he doesn’t desire.

3. If you are not satisfied that God and Christ and Heaven are enough for you as a matter of happiness and contentedness, study the case better and you may be convinced. Learn better your catechism and principles of religion, and you will learn to lay up a treasure in Heaven and not on Earth, and that it’s best to be with Christ, and that death, which kills all the glory of the world and equals the rich and the poor is the common door to both Heaven and Hell... and conscience will ask you if you have lived for God or for the flesh, and what had preeminence in your hearts and your lives. Study more to live by faith and hope on the unseen promised glory with Christ, and you will patiently endure any sufferings in the way.

Part 3

1 comment:

Katie said...

Very succinctly put. I really enjoyed reading this selection... very convicting and relates very well alongside the sermons I was sharing with you tonight. :) Very powerful thought there, that when God tears the idols out of hands and hearts, He is being merciful as well as just. I don't think I had ever thought of it as His mercy before... but it certainly is, saving us from our wretched selves and debased desires!