05 (May 2015)

Spurgeon’s sorrows

Spurgeon’s sorrows
John Harris John Harris retired from the pastorate at Mirfield Evangelical Church in 2006.
30 April, 2015 1 min read

Here is a book that addresses a severe problem concerning which there seems to be greater awareness these days: that of depression, both spiritual and psychological.

The author tackles the issue by way of illustrations from the life and ministry of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. It may come as a surprise that this highly gifted and powerful gospel preacher often suffered from this malady. Eswine refers to the Surrey Gardens Music Hall disaster in 1856 which left 7 dead and 28 seriously injured, the memory of which frequently resurfaced and threw Spurgeon into recurring ‘dark nights of the soul’.

The author’s style is lively and readable, peppered not only with copious quotes from Spurgeon, but with many striking metaphors of his own. His perceptive comment (lifted from a sermon by the great man) that ‘depression is a misfortune not a fault’ will go some way to correct the insensitive or even harsh approaches that have sometimes been adopted to this type of suffering. To always put the cause down to undiscovered or unconfessed sin can be extremely cruel.

Such insights will be of great help, as will be the conclusion that diagnosis of the problem does not necessarily reveal the true cause or provide a remedy. This book could prove to be of value to medically unqualified laymen finding themselves needing to counsel a sufferer. Whether it will be of such assistance to somebody struggling with depression, it is not possible for this reviewer to comment authoritatively. But, at least it will be of some comfort to such troubled souls to know they are not alone.

John Harris

John Harris retired from the pastorate at Mirfield Evangelical Church in 2006.
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