Charles H. Spurgeon, Encouragement for the Depressed (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2020), 102 pp.
He was the greatest preacher of the nineteenth century. And he is only of the most important preachers in the history of the church. Heralded as the Prince of Preachers, this man was also afflicted with a host of physical ailments for most of his adult life. He was also a victim of depression. His name – Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Encouragement for the Depressed by C.H. Spurgeon is one of the recent titles in Crossway’s Short Classics series. Designed to preserve classic texts from some of the most well-known Christian writers, the series also aims to gain some new readers.
Spurgeon’s essay is an exposition of Zechariah 4:10a, which says, “For whoever has despised the day of small things …” The work is divided into two distinct parts.
Encouragement for the Depressed
The first part sets out to encourage Christians who battle depression. Spurgeon, as noted above, fought depression throughout his life. Yet, he is quick to remind his readers to refuse to be governed by feelings. “He that lives by feelings,” writes the preacher from London, “will be happy today and unhappy tomorrow; and if our salvation depended upon our feelings, we should be lost one day and saved another, for they are all as fickle as the weather, and go up and down like a barometer.”
Spurgeon assures the despondent that God is with them. “Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees, “ writes William Cowper. Indeed, the grace of God abounds when the people of God are drowning in sorrow. And Zechariah affirms, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the LORD.”
The Minister’s Fainting Fits
Part two speaks candidly about the propensity for depression, even among God’s people. Spurgeon specifically notes that pastors fall prey to this vicious monster. Always the realist and biblicist, Spurgeon says, “Glory be to God for the furnace, the hammer and the file.”
Encouragement for the Depressed is a powerful antidote. This short book is a call to arms for Christians who battle despondency. There are no therapeutics here. Spurgeon only offers the cure which is nothing less than the Lord Jesus Christ and his gospel.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.