On Religious Despondency
Psalm 38:6
I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.

Those who have lived without Christ and only unto themselves, whether in greater or less degree, are apt, when brought to serious spiritual concern, to fall into despondency.

I. To DESCRIBE THIS DESPONDENCY. They are under a delusion, they imagine all things are against them; they become restless, nervous, averse to all exertion; agitated in mind, neglect all duty; they sink into listless melancholy. And all this makes them worse. The worldly prescribe dissipation and amusement for them. They themselves attempt by austerities, or religious reading, to get relief. The Bible does not help them. They think themselves to be becoming more and more odious in the sight of God. Some try to turn them from all religious thought; others censure them severely. But all the while the soul only becomes confirmed in its distress,


1. By seeing to it that repentance is real.

2. By assurance that God will have mercy upon him.


1. Some urge that they have sinned beyond all hope of mercy.

2. Others think that they have committed the sin against the Holy Ghost. But the very fact of their repentance disproves that, for repentance is the gift of the Holy Ghost. He, therefore, cannot have forsaken them.

3. Others despair because they have led others into sin. But so did Aaron, Manasseh, Paul, and in short all great sinners; but yet they found forgiveness.

4. Others conclude that as they have been so long time without comfort and peace, though sincere in seeking it, therefore it cannot be designed for them.

5. Yet others are darkened still more by erroneous doctrine. They deem themselves predestined to wrath.

IV. PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS to the desponding. Read the Bible as a whole. Regard your sins as reasons for humility and watchfulness, not as preventing forgiveness. If despondency recur, regard it as your trial and temptation, and resist it (Psalm 57:7-10). Take care of your bodily health. Keep calm and quiet. Be actively and usefully employed.

(Thomas Gisborne, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.

WEB: I am pained and bowed down greatly. I go mourning all day long.

Suffering for Sin
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