A Lifting Up for the Downcast - William Bridge


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If you are not familiar with the Banner of Truth Trust, you are missing out.  Over the years, I have found that the Banner of Truth does an excellent job with not only the content of their books but the craftsmanship as well.  Their hardbound editions are especially nice, but their paperbacks also hold up well over time.  This is especially true for what they have defined as the Puritan Paperbacks.  I believe there are around 250 separate titles in this series with the pages ranging from generally 100 to as many as 300.  I do not have all of these in my personal library but the ones I do own have always served me well especially when traveling.  Obviously, you can obtain them in digital format, but I still have to confess that I favor actual books themselves given the opportunities to mark up the pages and write in the margins. 

William Bridge has one that the Banner has published on Psalm 42:11 entitled A Lifting Up for the Downcast.  This is a compilation of thirteen sermons on that single verse.  That is one of the hallmarks of the Puritans.  Many of these men were biblical expositors in the truest sense of the word.  They drank deeply from the Scriptures and then mixed in deep meditative thinking over what they had mined out of the Word and preached to their churches.  This series of messages were preached in 1648 to those who were experiencing what we could understand as “spiritual depression.”  I am afraid that the remedy for this generation would be to reach for an anti-depressant or an anxiolytic to provide relief.  However, the Puritans obviously believed that the best remedy for those kinds of maladies was the Word. 

One of the chief tricks the devil and his dark kingdom works with the best is the matter of discouragement.  Discouragement is something that any true Christian hates to have to endure in their walk.  Discouragement has no prejudices about it, it will attack the stoutest of saints to the least in the kingdom as.  To be cast down or disquieted is found three times in Psalm 42 and David was familiar with this disease of the soul as it attacked him on a number of occasions.  Bridge walks down the paths of some of the reasons for the discouragement that sometimes can attack us.  He preached about that matter of great sins, weak grace, a miscarriage of duties, the lack of assurance, the attack of temptation, the matter of desertion from our duties, the attack of personal afflictions, and some other causes.

Bridge moves through some of the calamities and discouragements that sometimes will come our way and his conclusion works very well when he speaks of the faith that the saint has.  That faith as it gains strength through prayer and waiting a sense of hope and trust starts to take root in our heart and we have the ability to believe that no matter how dark the day may be, there will come a time when it will work for our own good.

This is just a small snippet of the content of this book and it is full of great devotional material for your soul.  I would also encourage those who are working with the Word weekly in a local pulpit to just take a taste of this book and a host of other Puritans in the coming year. 

Thanks for reading. . .

Philip Harrelson        

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