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until it had been removed by the improvement of his general health. Indeed it is commonly found, that where mental depression results from impaired health, our attempts to relieve the mind by counsel tend rather to aggravate its sorrow, so long as the physical cause remains unmitigated. The Rev. Thomas Boston was, at one time, in such a state of doubt and spiritual depression during his ministry, without perceiving the cause, that he was tempted to give it up. But although this eminent Christian scholar was in so great darkness himself, he was a burning and a shining light to others. His exposition of Providence, under the quaint title of “Crook in the Lot," surpasses any work of the kind in our language. “I do not know that I could point out a work," Dr. A. Alexander says, “which is so well adapted to reconcile the afflicted saint to his lot in this world, and help him to improve the dealings of Providence towards him, especially in the dark and cloudy day' of adversity.”
A late preacher, well known by his manifold
useful labours, writes in his diary:—“Many of my people, and especially females, talk thus to me—'I am under continual distress of mind; I can lay hold of no permanent ground of peace. If I seem to get a little, it is soon gone again. I am out at sea, without compass or anchor. My heart sinks, my spirit faints, my knees tremble; all is dark above, and all is horror beneath,' And pray, what is your mode of life?' 'I sit by myself.' •In this
suppose, and over your fire?? 'A considerable part of my time.' "And what time do you go to bed?' 'I cannot retire till two or three o'clock in the morning. And you lie late, I suppose, in the morning?' 'Frequently. “And pray what else can you expect from this mode of life than a relaxed and unstrung system, and, of course, a mind enfeebled, anxious, and disordered? I understand your case; God seems to have qualified me to understand it, by special dispensations. My natural disposition is
is gay, volati
volatile, spirited. My nature would never sink. But I have sometimes felt my spirit absorbed in horrible apprehensions, without any assignable natural cause. Perhaps it was necessary I should be suffered to feel this, that I might feel for others; for certainly no man, can have any adequate sympathy with others, who has never thus suffered himself.
I can feel for you, therefore, while I tell you that I think the affair with you is chiefly physical. I myself have brought on the same feelings by the same means. I have sat in my study till I have persuaded myself that the ceiling was too low to suffer me to stand and rise upright, and air and exercise alone could remove the impression from my mind.""
In the last illness of the commentator Scott, his mind was observed by his friends to be gloomy during the paroxysm of his fever; nor could his comfort be restored by any counsel of his pious attendants, until the fever had abated. Andrew Fuller also suffered greatly on his deathbed, from a similar cause. So when Dr. Madan once attempted to calm the mind of Cowper, by quotations from the Scriptures, it served only to increase his sufferings.
It was then at the commencement of a slow nervous fever, to which he was liable; but after four months skilful treatment by Dr. Cotton, his health was so far improved that the promises of the gospel were apprehended without hesitation, and whatever his friend Madan had said to him long before, revived in all its clearness. An aged minister of the gospel says, we have known persons, who were poor in spirit, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, glorying only in the cross of Christ, and yet gloomily concluding that they have no lot nor part in the matter, and that their heart is not right with God. And why? The reason is to be found in something beyond the preacher's province; and till there is a change in the animal economy, all the succours of religion are in vain.
In an admirable review of a paper on Moral Causes of Disease, by the Secretary of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Paris, the author reproaches his medical brethren for their ignorance or neglect. He chides them for the overlooking of psychological causes of disease, and of the influence of mental emotions on its development, its progress, and its termination. “If a patient dies," he says, “we open his body, rummage the viscera, and scrutinize most narrowly all the organs and tissues, in the hope of discovering lesions of some one sort or another. There is not a small membrane, cavity, nor follicle, which is not carefully examined. One thing only escapes our attention, which is this—we are looking at merely organic effects, forgetting all the while that we must mount higher up, to discover their causes. These organic alterations are observed, perhaps, in the body of a person who has suffered deeply from mental distress and anxiety, which have been the energetic cause of his decay; but they cannot be studied in the laboratory, nor in the amphitheatre.” Another profitable use of this subject is, for the promotion of