Selected by Dick Alderson
Banner of Truth
[Introduction by Malcolm Bowden.

Many have admired and greatly benefitted from the wisdom and preaching of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. This collection was handed to me by a friend and I thought it should be more widely known.
Knowing the damage that the theories of the psychiatric profession can do to their patients, I fully expected him, as a professional medical colleague, to advocate much the same treatment and class such patients as "mentally ill".
It was therefore with great surprise that on reading his "Spiritual Depression" to find that his approach to this subject identical to those that Dr. Law and I have set forth in our book "Breakdowns are good for you". I quote some of his statements.
"..I say that this person is still morbidly and sinfully preoccupied with self. I said just now that we have to be brutal with this condition. [emphasis MB] And it has to be said that the real trouble with these people is still 'self'
... They appear very humble and full of contrition, but it is mock modesty, it is a self-concern
... Forget yourself, leave the judgement to Him; get on with the work." [p.87]
"In a sense, the depressed Christian is a contradiction in terms, and he is a very poor recommendation for the gospel." [p.11]
"..and saying: I am in great difficulty - it probably means that we are all the time centred upon ourselves. That is introspection, and in turn it leads to the condition known as morbidity." [p17].
[One very damning comment was -] "Psychology, I believe, is one of the most subtle dangers in connection with the Christian belief.... we do not preach psychology, we preach the Christian faith." [p.265]
Throughout the book, he says exactly the same that we are proposing - that it is self-centred and self-pitying thinking that is the cause of depression.
In the quotations that follow, I have made bold the very interesting ones, and italicised those that have a bearing on True Biblical Counselling.]

The man whose doctrine is shaky will be shaky in his whole life. One almost invariably finds that if a man is wrong on the great central truths of the faith, he is wrong at every other point.
I always find that those who are driven with every wind of doctrine are those who are too lazy to study doctrine.
If your knowledge of doctrine does not make you a great man of prayer, you had better examine yourself again.
My observation over the years is that it is the people who have not been taught the truth negatively as well as positively who always get carried away by the heresies and cults, because they have not been forewarned and forearmed against them.
The man who isn't interested in doctrine will never have a big experience.
There is nothing so fatuous as the view that Christian doctrine is removed from life. There is nothing which is more practical.
I spend half my time telling Christians to study doctrine and the other half telling them that doctrine is not enough.


Sin ultimately robs you even of the desire for evil things. The drunkard tires of drink and turns to drugs.
Man in sin is a pygmy fighting against Almighty God - like a fly pitting itself against atomic power!
The life of sin is always in some sense a life of boredom.
The tragedy of sin is that it affects man in his highest faculties. Sin causes us to become fools, and behave in an irrational manner.
The trouble with man is not that he does certain things that are-wrong; it is that he ever has a heart to do them.
When a man truly sees himself, he knows that nobody can say anything about him that is too bad.
Modern man, far from being ruled by reason, is ruled by lust and passion.
The point about the life of sin is that you have to be healthy to enjoy it!
If you think that the life of sin is really quite a happy life, then you are just not a Christian.
The whole case of the Bible is that the trouble with man is not intellectual (in the mind) but moral (in the heart).
Even if we never did anything wrong, we should still be sinners.


If the 'grace' you have received does not help you to keep the law, you have not received grace.
The Christian way is a difficult way of life. It is too glorious to be easy.
If you claim to love Christ and yet are living an unholy life, there is only one thing to say about you. You are a bare-faced liar! It takes a Christian to see the blackness of his own heart.
We are not meant to control our Christianity. Rather our Christianity is meant to control us.
The Christian is sorrowful, but not morose; serious, but not solemn; sober-minded, but not sullen; grave, but never cold or prohibitive; his joy is a holy joy; his happiness a serious happiness.
The great need in the Christian life is for self-discipline. This is not something that happens to you in a meeting; you have got to do it!
Most, if not all of our problems in the Christian life would be solved, if only we realized the greatness of our salvation.
To divorce forgiveness of sins from the actual living of the Christian life is nothing but rank heresy!
The man who does not realize that he himself is his own biggest problem is a mere tyro!
All moodiness is wrong for the Christian; we must snap out of it.
All woolgathering is Satan taking control of our thoughts.
The more Christian a person is, the simpler will that person's life be.
Christian people are generally at their best when they are in the furnace of affliction and being persecuted and tried.
If you are not holy, you are not a Christian.
The more spiritual we are, the more we shall think about heaven.
The man who knows the love of Christ in his heart can do more in one hour than the busy type of man can do in a century.
The New Testament way of handling sanctification is never an appeal, it is a command.
We know things about God, but our real trouble is our ignorance of God Himself - what He really is, and what He is to His people.
As Christians we should never feel sorry for ourselves. The moment we do so, we lose our energy, we lose the will to fight and the will to live, and are paralysed.
The difference between the Christian and the non-Christian is that the former controls his temperament, while the latter is controlled by it.
If you don't do a great deal of preaching to yourself, you are a very poor kind of Christian.
The Christian is a sober person. 'We that are in this tabernacle do groan'. There is nothing boisterous about the Christian.
Holiness is not an experience that you have; holiness is keeping the Law of God.
It is surprising how many Christians think of the Christian battle in terms of the flesh.
There are no short cuts in the Christian life - no patent remedies.
The ultimate test of our spirituality is the measure of our amazement at the grace of God.

If you have never had difficulty in prayer, it is absolutely certain that you have never prayed.
The call to the church is not so much to organize as to agonize.
Everything we do in the Christian life is easier than prayer.

Sometimes we are praying when we should be resisting Satan.
Self-examination is the high road to prayer.
If I may use a vulgarism, you must not get up on your hind legs; you must get down on your knees.
The ultimate test of the Christian life is the amount of time we give to prayer.


No man ever became a Christian without stopping to look at himself.
Salvation has nothing whatever to do with temperament.
The state of the world today is nothing but an appalling monument to human failure.
Intellectual pride is the last citadel of self.
One of the best tests of whether we are truly Christian or not is just this: Do I hate my natural self?
If you try to imitate Christ, the world will praise you; if you become Christlike, the world will hate youl
We have come to realize that a man can be educated and cultured and still be a beast!
Be laid aside sick in bed for a week. You will soon know whether you are a Christian or not!
A man finally proclaims whether he is a Christian or not by the view he takes of this world.
Some points which are very fine in the pulpit are not much use in the vestry!
Anyone who thinks he can live the Christian life himself is just proclaiming that he is not a Christian.
Sensitivity about self - is not this one of the greatest curses in life? It is a result of the Fall. We spend the whole of our life watching ourselves.
Incredible as it may seem, there are still people who believe what they read in the newspapers.
The biggest hoax in the world for the last 150 years has been the theory of evolution.
I do not take my themes from the newspaper headlines! (said one Sunday morning to a reporter who asked if he was going to preach on Princess Margaret).
I'd rather hobble into heaven than walk into hell!
Our behaviour in times of need and crisis proclaims what we really are.
The modern world is desperately ill, and man is perhaps more unhappy than he has ever been.
The nicest people are often the most impatient.
The better the brain, the stronger the prejudice.
Ladies first - except in the pulpit and at prayer meetings!
I read medicine on Saturday evenings when I am too tired to study theology!
The New English Bible - I am increasingly of the opinion that that is a very accurate title!
God is nowhere more hidden than in the church.
Intellectualists are like tadpoles - all head and no body!
Why are there so many more women than men in the church? Because there are so many old women in the pulpit!
Some explain Romans 7v1-4 by saying that it is the old man who died. (Laughter). Those of you who laughed are not theologians!
I do not think that Stalin is suffering from carcinoma of the stomach.
I do not regard it as part of my duty to defend Napoleon!
Miracles are not meant to be understood, they are meant to be believed.
If a philosophy of life cannot help me to die, then in a sense it cannot help me to live.
To expect Christian conduct from a person who is not born again is rank heresy.
The Christian is a man who expects nothing from this world. He does not pin his hopes on it, because he knows that it is doomed.
Some tend to think that Christianity is a matter of being nice. But niceness is purely biological. One dog is nicer than another dog!
Not only must we not parade ourselves, we must not even parade the gospel.
One of the most tragic things about us is that our lives are so much governed by other people and what they think about us. Try to think about a single day in your life. Think of the unkind and cruel thoughts that have come into your mind. What produced them? Someone else!
Do you think that you deserve forgiveness? If you do, you are not a Christian.
The intellectual critic is soon answered. We have but to ask him to explain the meaning of life and death.
The natural man is always play-acting, always looking at himself and admiring himself.
Look back and think of the times when you were unhappy and you will find that it was almost certainly due to something you said and which you regretted perhaps for days.
The reason why after-dinner speeches are considered so brilliant is that by then the alcohol has depressed the higher centres of the brain!
I would rather make bricks without straw than try to live the Sermon on the Mount in my own strength.
I do not preach decisions -1 preach regeneration.
You do not take up a prejudice. It takes you up, and controls you.
We all probably eat and drink too much.
The Christian is not a good man. He is a vile wretch who has been saved by the grace of God.
No difficulty in believing the gospel is intellectual, it is always moral.
At the final bar of judgment the gravest charge that will be made against us Christians will be that we were so unconcerned.
The whole trouble in life is ultimately a concern about self.
A man is not a Christian unless he can say with Paul, 'I am what I am by the grace of God'.
Affability is what most people mean by saintliness today. The man who is idealized today is a man who is an aggregate of negatives. The absence of qualities constitutes greatness today. People do not believe in true greatness any longer. They do not believe in goodness, in manliness, in truth itself. It is the smooth, nice, affable man who is popular.
If all the churches in the world became amalgamated, it would not make the slightest difference to the man in the street. He is not outside the churches because the churches are disunited, he is outside because he likes his sin, because he is a sinner, because he is ignorant of spiritual realities. He is no more interested in this problem of unity than the man in the moon!
(To an undergraduate snob). You are common clay like the rest of us and in as much need of God's salvation as the local crossing-sweeper.
You may know that an attack comes from the devil and not from yourself: (a) if it appears to come from outside; (b) if you hate the suggestion made; (c) if it leads to anxiety,depression, doubts, over-concentration on self. Therefore resist the devil.
It is right for us to take thought, but not for thought to take us!
To me there is nothing more fatuous about mankind than the state ment that to think about death is morbid. The man who refuses to face facts is a fool.
Many who go to the psychiatrist are like the woman in the Gospels - they are nothing bettered, but rather grow worse!
What difference is there between the fashion parade and the dog show?
The first thing the Bible does is to make a man take a serious view of life.
Man forgets quite as much as ever he learns!
The Gospel takes up the whole man - mind, heart and will. And it does so in that order [Rom 6.17]. The mind is persuaded, the heart moved and the will bent.
The Christian is a man who can be certain about the ultimate even when he is most uncertain about the immediate.
Our main trouble as Christians today is a lack of understanding and of knowledge.
To me one of the major tragedies of the hour, and especially in the realm of the church, is that most of the time seems to be taken up by the leaders in preaching about unity instead of preaching the gospel that alone can produce unity.
By definition a Christian should be a problem and an enigma to every person who is not a Christian.
The Christian is the greatest thinker in the universe.
The first sign of spiritual life is to feel that you are dead!
The true hallmark of greatness is simplicity. It is little minds that are complicated and involved.
Putting all the ecclesiastical corpses into one graveyard will not bring about a resurrection!
You cannot receive Christ in bits and pieces.
The Christian is eager, but he is never excitable.
Certain people have a reputation for being patient, but sometimes the real truth about them is that they are just dull.
We are dying of dignity, of decorum!