Grace Gems for October 2001

Why is it there is so much error in the Church of God?

(From Winslow's, "Learning of Jesus")

The only authoritative Teacher in the Church of
God, the only true Prophet, is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Why is it there is so much darkness and crudeness
in the books we read, and in the sermons we hear?

Why is it that we see so much ignorance and
obscurity in setting forth the truth of God?

  Why is it there is so much
  error in the Church of God?

It is because men will not sit at the feet of
Jesus and learn of Him. Men would rather learn
of their fellow men than of the 'God man'.

They prefer human writings to the Divine.

They prefer the school of man, to the school of God.

And this is one reason why there is so much
false doctrine, the teaching that causes to err,
both from the pulpit and from the press.

We may be carried away by great learning, brilliant
genius, and apparently profound piety; but if we
place ourselves at the feet of Jesus as a lowly
disciple, and there receive our views of truth, we
shall then understand those profound mysteries
of God's revealed Word, which are hidden from
the worldly wise and prudent, but revealed to
those who become learners of Christ.

"Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart:
and you shall find rest for your souls." Matthew 9:29

He is the First and Last, the Beginning and the End!
He is the keeper of Creation and the Creator of all!
He is the Architect of the universe and
The Manager of all times.
He always was, He always is, and He always will be...
Unmoved, Unchanged, Undefeated, and never Undone!
He was bruised and brought healing!
He was pierced and eased pain!
He was persecuted and brought freedom!
He was dead and brought life!
He is risen and brings power!
He reigns and brings Peace!
The world can't understand him,
The armies can't defeat Him,
The schools can't explain Him, and
The leaders can't ignore Him.
Herod couldn't kill Him,
The Pharisees couldn't confuse Him, and
The people couldn't hold Him!
Nero couldn't crush Him,
Hitler couldn't silence Him,
The New Age can't replace Him.
He is light, love, longevity, and Lord.
He is goodness, Kindness, Gentleness, and God.
He is Holy, Righteous, mighty, powerful, and pure.
His ways are right,
His word is eternal,
His will is unchanging, and
His mind is on me.
He is my Redeemer,
He is my Savior,
He is my guide, and
He is my peace!
He is my Joy,
He is my comfort,
He is my Lord, and
He rules my life!
I serve Him because His bond is love,
His burden is light, and
His goal for me is abundant life.
I follow Him because He is the wisdom of the wise,
The power of the powerful,
The ancient of days, the ruler of rulers,
The leader of leaders, the overseer of the overcomers, and
The sovereign Lord of all that was and is and is to come.
He will never leave me,
Never forsake me,
Never mislead me,
Never forget me,
Never overlook me.
When I fall, He lifts me up!
When I fail, He forgives!
When I am weak, He is strong!
When I am lost, He is the way!
When I am afraid, He is my courage!
When I stumble, He steadies me!
When I am hurt, He heals me!
When I am broken, He mends me!
When I am hungry, He feeds me!
When I face trials, He is with me!
When I face persecution, He shields me!
When I face problems, He comforts me!
When I face loss, He provides for me!
When I face Death, He carries me Home!
He is God, He is faithful.
I am His, and He is mine!
God is in control, I am on His side, and
That means all is well with my soul.
(edited, author unknown)

O what a Savior is Jesus Christ!
(Winslow, "The Voice of the Charmer")

O what a Savior is Jesus Christ!

He is the "chief among ten thousand."

Look at his sinless, yet real humanity;
without a single taint, yet sympathizing
with us in all our various conditions....
  afflicted in our afflictions;
  tempted in our temptations;
  infirm in our infirmities;
  grieved in our griefs;
  "wounded for our transgressions,
  bruised for our iniquities;"
and now that he is in glory, still cherishing a
brother's heart, bending down his ear to our
petitions, ever standing near....
  to catch our sighs,
  to dry our tears,
  to provide for our needs,
  to guide us by his counsel, and
  afterwards to receive us to glory!

O what a Savior is Jesus Christ!

When he is known, all other beings are eclipsed.

When his beauty is seen, all other beauty fades.

When his love is felt, he becomes supremely
enthroned in the affections. To know him more,
becomes the one desire of the renewed mind,
and to make him more known, is the one aim
of the Christian life.

O what a Savior is Jesus Christ!

The most holy and blessed life upon earth!
(Octavius Winslow, "Nourishment for the Journey")

Be satisfied, dear reader, to live by faith, and
not by sight. You have a full Christ to draw from,
and a faithful God to look to. You have a covenant
ordered in all things and sure; and the precious
promise, "As your days, so shall your strength be,"
to lean confidently upon all your journey through.

Be content, then, to be poor and dependent.
Be willing to travel on 'empty handed', seeing
God's heart opened, and Christ's hand outstretched
to supply your 'daily bread.'

Oh, it is sweet to be a dependent creature upon God;
to hang upon a loving Father; to live as a poor, needy
sinner day by day, moment by moment, upon Jesus;
to trace God's hand in ten thousand ways; to mark
His wisdom here, His condescension there; now His
love, and then His faithfulness, all combining and
exerted for our good.

Truly it is the most holy and blessed life upon earth!

(From Winslow's, "Readiness for the Lord's Coming")

Our Lord has set you upon this holy work
of watchfulness: "What I say unto you, I
say unto all, Watch."

Believer in Jesus! keep well trimmed, brightly
burning, and uplifted high, the lamp of a true,
holy, undimmed profession of Christ.

Watch against the world, it is seductive;
Watch against the creature, it is ensnaring;
Watch against Satan, he is subtle;
Watch even against lawful things, they may
  be unnecessary;
Watch against your own heart; for it is more
  sinful, treacherous, and dangerous than all.

Oh, you killers of time!
(Winslow, "Integrity and Uprightness")

Time is the preface to eternity. And as the
preface indicates the character of the volume,
so the present use of time is the foreshadowing
in each one's history of the future.

We may rob God by a misuse of time.

Time is a solemn and priceless gift, and
involves a responsibility and an account
of a most tremendous character.

What sin, what madness, then, to abuse a
privilege so solemn; to misuse a blessing so
precious. To employ time in vain pleasures
and frivolous pursuits; to use it in senseless
puerilities, sinful engagements; to devote it
too absorbingly even to literary and noble
pursuits: the studies of the antiquarian, the
researches of the historian, the fascination
of art, the discoveries of science; may verge
upon the crime of robbing God of one of His
most costly loans!  All these absorbing
engagements are limited to the present,
and have no essential relation to the soul's
certain and solemn future.

Oh, you killers of time!

How will the ghost of your murdered hours
haunt and upbraid you through the interminable
centuries of eternity! Oh, what would you not
then give for one hour of that precious period
of your existence which now you waste and
fritter and destroy in vain, useless, and sinful
trifles, chimeras, and shadows.

Remember, you rob God when your time is not
consecrated to His glory. Ponder well the inspired
precept, "Redeeming the time, because the days
are evil." Consider, the apostolic exhortation,
"Brethren, the time is short."

As though it had never been!
(From "Personal Declension and Revival of
 Religion in the Soul" by Octavius Winslow)

Oh! how soon!

All that now loads the heart with care,
and brings it with sorrow; all that dims
the eyes with tears, and renders the day
anxious and the night sleepless, will be
as though it had never been!

Emerging from the entanglement, the
dreariness, the solitude, the loneliness
and the temptations of the wilderness,
you shall enter upon your everlasting rest,
your unfading inheritance, where there is
no sorrow, no declension, no sin; where
there is no sunset, no twilight, no evening
shadows, no midnight darkness; but, all is
one perfect, cloudless, eternal day; for Jesus
is the joy, the light and the glory thereof!

I will be with you!
(Winslow, "The Man of God Divinely Prospered")

"When you go through deep waters and great trouble,
I will be with you. When you go through rivers of
difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through
the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the
flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your
God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior." Isaiah 43:3

Jesus is with us....
  to counsel our perplexities,
  to guide our feet,
  to supply our need,
  to deliver us from the power of our enemies,
  to keep us from all evil, and
  to bring us home to glory!

To have Jehovah with us is....
  to be encircled by every divine perfection;
  to be encompassed by a wall of fire which no foe can penetrate;
  to dwell in the munition of rocks;
  to have our bread and our water sure;
  to have ever at our side a flowing spring in drought;
  to have the shadow of a great rock in the heat;
  to have a table in the wilderness;
  to have the divine cloud and fire safely conducting our journey homeward.

Precious presence of the Lord! It is....
  a shield of adamant,
  a garden of delights,
  a tower of strength,
  a portion of heaven come down to earth.

Child of God! Jesus is with you in all your history!

Let faith deal with this truth in all its battles and
its trials. You may seem and feel at times alone.
The sun may withdraw itself, and the stars of night
may be draped in cloud.  Dark, and dreary, and
lonesome may be your way. Nevertheless, let faith,
whose most brilliant achievements are when it is
the most opposed to sense, grapple with thus truth.
"I am kept, guided, watched over, encircled by the
Unseen God. The Lord is with me, and I will endure
as seeing Him who is invisible."

"When you go through deep waters and great trouble,
I will be with you. When you go through rivers of
difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through
the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the
flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your
God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior." Isaiah 43:3

A system of divine and unfailing consolation!
(Octavius Winslow, "The Voice of the Charmer")

As a system of divine and unfailing consolation,
there is a charm in the gospel of Jesus of
indescribable sweetness. Originating with that
God, not only whose name and whose perfection,
but whose very essence is love, and who Himself
is the "God of all comfort," it must be a gospel of
"strong consolation," commensurate with every
conceivable sorrow of his people.

Let a Christian be placed in circumstances
of the deepest grief and sorest trial...
  the bread and the water of affliction his food;
  the iron entering his soul;
  the heart bereaved;
  the mind perplexed;
  the spirit dark;
  all human hopes blighted,
  and 'creature cisterns' failing him like
a spring in the summer's drought; then let the
Spirit of God, the Divine Comforter, open this
gospel box of perfume, breathing into his soul....
  the rich consolations,
  the precious promises,
  the strong assurances,
  the divine counsels, and
  the glowing hopes which it contains,
and in a moment the light of love appears in his
dark cloud, his fainting spirit revives, and all is peace!

Oh! that must be a charming gospel which can
meet the necessities of man at every point;
whose wisdom no human perplexity can baffle,
and whose resources of sympathy and comfort,
no case of suffering or of sorrow can exhaust.

Tried soul! repair to this unfailing spring of comfort!

God speaks to you in it.

It is the unsealing of the heart of Jesus.

It is the still small voice of the Spirit.

It speaks to you. It bids you.... "cast your burden
on the Lord, and he will sustain you;" "Call upon
him in the day of trouble, and he will answer you."
It assures you that amid all your perplexing cares,
"He cares for you." It promises you that for your
flint paved path, your "shoes shall be iron and brass;"
and that "as your days are, so shall your strength be."
It tells you that a "woman may forget her nursing child,
yet God will not forget you;" that in all your assaults,
you shall dwell on high, your place of defense shall
be the munitions of rocks;" and that though hemmed
in on every side by a besieging foe, and all other
supplies cut off, yet "your bread shall be given you,
and your water shall be sure."

It invites you to lay your griefs and weep out your
sorrows upon the bosom of Jesus, and so "leaning
upon your Beloved, ascend from the wilderness."

O to be led into the heart felt experience of these truths!

The weak, the sick, the burdened, the little ones
(from Winslow's, "The Burden Cast upon God")

How shall we, how can we, describe the
tenderness of Christ towards His burdened
ones, and the gentleness with which He leads
them? "He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries
them close to his heart; he gently leads those
that are with young (the burdened)." Isaiah 40:11

You are wearied.

Your deep afflictions are a burden.

Your sinful heart is a burden.

Your lack of faith, and love, and fruitfulness is a burden.

You are, as it were, "with young," passing
through much sore and painful travail of soul,
a burden to yourself, cast down and discouraged
by reason of the hardness of the way.

But oh, blessed solace! Jesus leads you, and
leads you gently. All others would drive you.
Man would drive you,
the world would drive you,
Satan would drive you,
your own impulsive heart and blind judgment would drive you,
and even the saints would drive you.

But Jesus leads you, and leads you tenderly,
skillfully, and safely. He is the loving, careful
Shepherd who does not overdrive His sheep;
especially the weak, the sick, the burdened,
the little ones of His flock.

Jesus knows your burden. The marvellous
language of God is "I know their sorrows."

He knows how your friend that loved you is
gone like a shadow; how your gourd that
sheltered you is smitten in a night; how the
voice that was the sweetest music to you
is hushed in the stillness of death; how the
strong and beautiful staff that supported you
is broken and lies a ruin in the dust.

Jesus knows all, and He is leading you through all.

He is leading you by these very same dark
providences; these events that appear so
adverse, this way that seems so dark, these
dealings that seem so mysterious, painful,
and crushing.

As Jesus thus gently leads, so let us meekly,
confidingly follow, believing that....
His hand is powerful,
His heart is loving,
His eye is unslumbering, and
that He is leading us by the right
way home to be with Him forever!

"He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers
the lambs in his arms and carries them close to
his heart; he gently leads those that are with
young (the burdened)." Isaiah 40:11

What do you need?
(From Octavius Winslow's, "God Resting in His Love")

Beloved reader, come and rest in the love of
Jesus.  He invites you to its blessed repose.

Are you weary, tossed with tempest?

Is there....
  sadness in your spirit,
  sorrow in your heart,
  a cloud upon your mind,
  some crystal cistern broken,
  some fragrant flower withered,
  some fond and pleasant mercy gone?

"Come," says Jesus, "and rest in my love;
rest in the reality of my love; rest in the
depth of my love; rest in the tenderness of
my love; rest in the deathlessness of my love!"

O blessed rest!

Poor, heart broken sinner, weeping penitent,
weary, laboring soul!  What do you need?

Mercy? It is in Christ.
Forgiveness? It is in Christ.
Acceptance? It is in Christ.
A reconciled Father, a pacified God? He is in Christ.

All that you need is in Christ.

Draw near, then, and rest in His love.

In Jesus' love, your weary, jaded, trembling
  spirit may find full and eternal repose.

Polishing the stones!

The following is from Bonar's book,
    "The Night of Weeping"

Christians are "living stones," placed one by
one, upon the great foundation stone laid in
Zion for the heavenly temple. These stones
must first be quarried out of the mass.
This the Holy Spirit does at conversion.

Then, when cut out, the hewing and squaring
begin. And God uses affliction as His hammer
and chisel for accomplishing this. Many a stroke
is needed; and after being thus hewn into shape,
the polishing goes on. All roughness must be
smoothed away. The stone must be turned
around and around on every side that no part
of it may be left unpolished.

As the stones of Solomon's temple were all
to be prepared at a distance and then brought
to Jerusalem, there to be built together; so
the living stones of the heavenly temple are
all made ready here on earth, to be fitted in
without the noise of an axe or hammer into the
glorious building in heaven made without hands.

Every Christian then must be polished
here; and while there are many ways of
doing this, the most effectual is suffering.

And this is God's design in chastisement.
This is what the Holy Spirit effects: as like a
workman He stands over each stone, touching
and retouching it, turning it on every side,
marking its blemishes and roughness, and
then applying His tools to effect the desired
shape and polish.

Some parts of the stone are so rugged and
hard that nothing except heavy and repeated
strokes will smooth them down. They resist
every milder treatment. And yet, in patient
love, this heavenly Workman carries on the
Father's purpose concerning us.

He labors until every part is polished and shaped
according to His likeness.  No pains are spared, no
watchfulness relaxed, until we are made entirely
like Him, being changed into the same image
from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord.

"This man receives sinners!"
(Winslow, "A Word in Season from Christ to the Weary")

The beings whom Jesus sought
out and drew around Him, were....
  the burdened,
  the bowed down,
  the disconsolate,
  the poor,
  the friendless,
  the helpless,
  the ignorant,
  the weary.

He loved to lavish upon such, the fulness of His
benevolent heart, and to exert upon such, the
skill of His wonder working power.

Earth's weary sons repaired to His out stretched
arms for shelter, and the world's ignorant and
despised clustered around His feet, to be taught
and blessed.

Sinners of every character, and the disconsolate
of every grade, attracted by His renown, pressed
upon Him from every side.

"This man receives sinners!" was the name and
the character by which He was known. It was new
and strange. Uttered by the lip of the proud and
disdainful Pharisee, it was an epithet of reproach
and an expression of ridicule. But upon the ear of
the poor and wretched outcast, the sons and
daughters of sorrow, ignorance, and woe, it fell
sweeter than the music of the spheres.

It passed from lip to lip; it echoed from shore to shore:
"This man receives sinners!" It found its way into the
abodes of misery and need; it penetrated the dungeon
of the prisoner, and the cell of the maniac; and it
kindled an unearthly light in the solitary dwelling of the
widow and the orphan, the unpitied and the friendless.

Thus received its accomplishment, the prophecy that
predicted Him as the "Plant of renown," whom Jehovah
would raise up. Thousands came, faint, and weary, and
sad, and sat down beneath His shadow; and thousands
more since then have pressed to their wounded hearts
the balsam that flowed from His bleeding body, and
have been healed!

"This man receives sinners!"

Take your guilt to His blood.

Take your vileness to His righteousness.

Take your sins to His grace.

Take your burdens to His arm.

Take your sorrows to His heart.

"This man receives sinners!"

The best!
(From Octavius Winslow's, "Christ's
 Presentation of His Church to God")

Beloved, what is heaven? What is the final
glory of the saints? Is it not the best place,
the richest inheritance provided by the Father
for the people ransomed and brought home
to glory by His Son.

Heaven is a place designated by God, chosen
and consecrated by Him for the Church redeemed
by the precious blood of His dear Son.

And when we enter there, we shall enter
as children welcomed to a Father's home.

It will be the best that God can give us!
He has ever bestowed upon us, who deserved
the least, the best in His power to bestow:
  the best Savior,
  the best robe,
  the best banquet,
  the best inheritance.

In the new heaven and the new earth there will be....
  nothing more to taint,
  nothing more to sully,
  nothing more to embitter,
  nothing more to wound;
  no serpent to beguile,
  no Eve to ensnare,
  no spoiler to destroy,
  no sin to defile,
  no adversity to sadden,
  no misunderstanding to alienate,
  no tongue to defame,
  no suspicion to chill,
  no tear,
  nor sickness,
  nor death,
  nor parting.

It will be the best part of the pure,
radiant, glorified universe which God
will assign to His people!

Saints of the Most High! let the prospect
cheer, sanctify, and comfort you! It will not
be long that you are to labor and battle here
on earth. It is but a little while that you are
to occupy your present sphere of conflict, of
trial, and of sorrow. The time is coming; oh,
how fast it speeds! Soon the Lord Jesus Christ
will bring you home to heaven, and will present
you a part of His glorious Church to His Father!

Oh, then, then, will come the reward of grace
which Christ will give to all those who have
confessed Him here on earth; who have
witnessed for His truth, endured suffering on
His behalf, and have proved faithful unto death.

The Lord grant that in that day we may be found
among the presented ones, to whom He will say,
"Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom
prepared for you from the foundation of the world!"

A glorious termination!
(From Winslow's, "The Aged Christian")

Never forget that the Christian pilgrimage
has a glorious termination. We must keep
this fully in view.

We seek a city that is to come.  We are not
journeying to any uncertain, imaginary place.

We are going to our heavenly mansion!

We are traveling to the celestial city!

O solemn thought!

We are wending cur way to our glorious
inheritance, and in a little while, it will
burst upon us in its glory; blessed,
indescribable, inconceivable glory; and
we shall exchange an earthly pilgrimage,
for the heavenly and eternal rest that
awaits the people of God!

Because he loved her!
(From Octavius Winslow's, "The Coming of the
 Lord in its Relation to Nominal Christianity")

"Behold, the Bridegroom comes!"

Jesus sustains no relation to his Church more
expressive than this.  From all eternity he
forever betrothed her to himself.  He asked
her at the hands of her Father, and the Father
gave her to him. He entered into a covenant
that she should be his. The conditions of that
covenant were great, but not too great for his
love to undertake. They were, that he should....
  assume her nature,
  discharge her legal obligations,
  endure her punishment,
  repair her ruin, and
  bring her to glory!

He undertook all, and he accomplished all,
    because he loved her!

The love of Jesus to his Church is the
love of the most tender husband. It is....

  sympathizes with her,
  nourishes her,
  provides for her,
  clothes her,
  watches over, and
  indulges her with the most intimate
    and endearing communion.

His name!
(from Winslow's, "The Fragrance of Christ's Name")

There is everything we need in Jesus
 to endear His name to our hearts.

He is our Prophet, teaching us the will of the Father.

He is our Priest, offering up Himself as our atoning Victim.

He is our King, erecting His throne in our
hearts, and subduing us to Himself as His
loving and obedient subjects.

He is our Friend, loving us at all times.

He is our Brother, bone of our bone, and
flesh of our flesh, born for our adversity.

He is our Great High Priest, touched with
the feeling of our infirmities, tempted in all
points as we are and in our sorrows, griefs,
and trials encircling us with the many folded
robe of His tender, loving sympathy.

O to know Jesus, that most excellent and
superlative knowledge! With Paul we may well
count all things but loss for its possession.

To know Him as the Savior, to know Him as
our Friend, to know Him as our Brother, to
know Him as our Advocate, to know Him as
our Portion, is endless life and glory!

The heart!
(by Octavius Winslow)

There exists not upon earth a more vile and
unlovely thing, in the self searching view of
the true believer, than his own heart. From
every other human eye that bosom is deeply,
impenetrably veiled.  All that is within is
known only to itself.  What those chambers
of abominations are, God will not permit
another creature to know.

Any yet, O wonder of grace! God, by His
renewing Spirit, has made of that heart a
beautiful, costly and precious censer, the
cloud of whose incense ascends and fills
all heaven with its fragrance!

With all its indwelling evil and self loathing,
God sees its struggles, watches its conflict,
and marks its sincerity.

Not a feeling thrills it,
not an emotion agitates it,
not a sorrow shades it,
not a sin wounds it,
not a thought passes through it,
of which He is not cognizant.

Believer, Jesus loves that heart of yours!
He purchased it with His own heart's blood,
agonies, and tears; and He loves it!  He
inhabits it by His Spirit, and He loves it!

The 'mystery' of prayer!

(Octavius Winslow, "The Axe Laid at the Root")

That there is much of wondrous mystery yet to
be unraveled in relation to this holy exercise
of prayer, we readily admit.

How prayer operates upon God we know not.

That it can effect any alteration in His purpose,
or change His will, or afford Him information, no
one for a moment supposes.

And yet, that it should be an ordained medium by
which finite weakness seems to overcome Infinite
strength, and a human will seems to turn the Divine
will, and man's shallow mind seems to pour knowledge
into the fathomless mind of God; that it should halt
a threatened judgment, or remove an existing evil,
or supply a present need; is a marvel in which, like
all others of Divine revelation, I submit my reason
to my faith, receiving and adoring what my reason
cannot, unless I were God, perfectly comprehend.

"By the grace of God I am what I am."
Christian, the only thing that makes you to
differ from the vilest being that pollutes the
earth, or from the darkest fiend that gnaws
his chains in hell, is the free grace of God!
(From Winslow's, "Jesus, Full of Grace")

Ordering, arranging, and controlling all.
(Winslow, "The Man of God Divinely Prospered")

"...the Lord was with Joseph, and whatever he
 did, the Lord made it to prosper." Genesis 39:23

The Lord is with His saints, ordaining and
shaping their every step. The man of God
advances in no uncertain, unprepared path
in life. His whole career, from his cradle to
his grave, is a divinely constructed map,
prepared in the eternal mind, purpose, and
counsel of Jehovah.

Nothing is left to contingency.

There is no divergence in his path, no
event that bends, or shades, or burdens
it; but the Lord is in it; ordering,
arranging, and controlling all.

All is transparent and harmonious to His eye!
(Octavius Winslow, "My Times in God's Hand")

We live in a world of mysteries.

They meet our eye, awaken our inquiry,
and baffle our investigation at every step.

Nature is a vast arcade of mysteries.
Science is a mystery.
Truth is a mystery.
Religion is a mystery.
Our existence is a mystery.
The future of our being is a mystery.

And God, who alone can explain all mysteries,
is the greatest mystery of all.  How little do
we understand of the inexplicable wonders of a
wonder working God, "whose thoughts are a great
deep," and "whose ways are past finding out."

But to God nothing is mysterious.

In His purpose, nothing is unfixed.
In His forethought, nothing is unknown.
In His providence, nothing is contingent.

His glance pierces the future as vividly
as it beholds the past. "He knows the
end from the beginning."

All His doings are parts of a divine,
  eternal, and harmonious plan.

He may make ''darkness his secret place; His
pavilion round about him dark waters, and
thick clouds of the skies," and to human vision
His dispensations may appear gloomy, discrepant,
and confused.  Yet He is "working all things
after the counsel of His own will," and all is
transparent and harmonious to His eye!

The Babel of his own righteousness topples and falls!
(From Octavius Winslow's, "The Man of God")

The first work of grace in a person's heart is that
he is taught by the Spirit to know his own sinfulness.

He is made to know the plague of his heart.

Once a man is brought to see his sinfulness,
he throws down in the dust all his lofty ideas
of human merit and self salvation. The Babel
of his own righteousness topples and falls!

Until you know the sin of your heart, you know
nothing of true Christianity.  I am not speaking
merely of sin formally acknowledged, of sin slightly
felt, of sin felt but loved, confessed but cherished;
but of sin mourned over beneath the cross, sin
hated, sin separated from, fastened to the cross,
crucified and slain!

The hateful, the abhorred, the accursed sin, that caused it all.
(From Winslow's, "Three Degrees of Christ's Manifestation")

Oh that my head were waters, and my eyes were
fountains of tears, that I might weep, dear Lord,
while meditating upon the ignominy, the malignity,
and the suffering to which mankind subjected You.

Had another order of being....
  so insulted Your person;
  so mangled Your form;
  so requited Your love;
  so slighted and abhorred You;
I might have wept in secret places; mourned, and
afflicted my soul, and vowed eternal vengeance
against Your calumniators and Your murderers!

But it was hatred, ingratitude, and malignity
wearing my own nature. It was MAN, yes, Lord,
it was I myself!   Had it not been for....
  my sin,
  my crime,
  my hell;
that spotless soul of Yours had known no burden,
that gentle spirit no cloud, that tender heart no grief,
and that sacred body no scar.

And when I read the story of how You were wronged:
  how they calumniated You,
  how they blasphemed You,
  how they scourged You,
  how they spit upon You,
  how they mocked You,
  how they smote You, and
  then bore You to a felon's death;
I could cover myself with sackcloth, and bury my
face in ashes, and no more cherish the sin; the hateful,
the abhorred, the accursed sin, that caused it all.

One of the most fatal delusions that
 ever imperiled the immortal soul!

(Winslow, "The Voice of the Charmer")

Many professes to believe the gospel, but
in their practice make it a lie; thus fostering
one of the most fatal delusions that ever
imperiled the immortal soul!

Do you live as if you believed the gospel to be true?

What moral influence does your professed
belief exert over you?

What shape and coloring does it impart
to your habits of reflection and of feeling?

You affirm that you believe in the gospel; but
upon what part of your conduct is the influence
of that belief felt and seen?

You declare that you have faith; but where are its fruits?

Alas! the moonbeams do not fall more coldly
and powerlessly upon the sterile earth, than
does the light which your 'intellectual faith'
sheds upon your whole path to eternity.

You live as if there were....
    no God;
    no Savior;
    no heaven;
    no hell;
    no death;
    no judgment; and
    no eternity.

Immersed in business, or intent upon wealth,
panting for fame, or eager in chase of pleasure,
the dread future, whose bleak, rock bound coast
you are each moment nearing, is all, all forgotten!

What a mere fragment of your being is your
present earthly life! Compared with the eternal
future, it is as the particle of sand which the
wind lifts and wafts from the shore, or like a
drop of the spray which it scatters from the
ocean's wave.  And yet see how you live!

The devils believe, and tremble at what they
believe.  You believe, and yet tremble not!

O what a lie does your whole life give to your faith!

The decided irreligion, worldliness, and thoughtlessness,
which make up its history, prove your faith in the gospel
to be a most woeful deception! It may be a sound faith,
as far as reason and understanding go; but a 'mere assent'
of the truth of the gospel is not saving faith!

Their religion is hollow, unsubstantial, and unreal
(Winslow, "Christ's Intercession for Tried Faith")

The most beautiful ritual,
the most accurate creed,
the most costly religion,
the most splendid profession,
without Christ in the heart,
is but as fuel preparing for the
final and eternal conflagration.

What, my reader, if your religion
should prove to be nothing but chaff?
Does the bare probability startle you?

Ah! there are multitudes whom it might well
startle; for multitudes are thus deceived.

Not a grain of saving grace is found in their souls.

There is....
  no vitality in their faith,
  no solidity in their profession,
  no substance in their religion.

Before every wind of false doctrine they bend, and
by each blast of temptation they are carried away.

The stubble of the field, and the chaff of the
threshing floor (fit emblems of their profession),
are not more unsubstantial and fleeting than it.

All is woeful deception!

They have substituted....
  a form of godliness for its power;
  union to the church for union to Christ;
  the baptism of water for the regeneration of the Spirit;
  gospel ordinances for sanctifying grace;
  works of benevolence for faith in the Lord Jesus.

And thus their religion is hollow, unsubstantial, and
unreal; possessing a "name to live, they are dead."

And what will be the end of such?

Departing into eternity in this state of soul deception;
building their hope of heaven upon this false foundation;
in their sad experience must be realized the awful
description which the evangelist gives of the judgment
power of Christ; "whose fan is in his hand, and he will
thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into his
barn; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

Thus will perish....
  all human religions,
  all false hopes,
  all hollow professions,
  all soul destroying doctrines;
the 'wood, the hay, the stubble,' of a
form of godliness, destitute of the power.

Awful fact!
(Octavius Winslow, "God Resting in His Love")

How few there are who appear to
possess vital religion in their souls!

How few choose Christ with His cross!

The great mass of professors are aiming
to separate Christ and His cross! They would
sincerely bear the name of Christ, and be
accounted as the followers of Christ, and
do something for the cause of Christ, but
they hide His cross, they are ashamed of
His cross, they shrink from His cross.

Christ and His outward lowliness,
Christ and His poverty,
Christ and His humiliation,
Christ and the world's despising, form
no part of their creed nor their religion.

But Christ and the world,
Christ and the popular voice,
Christ and slavery to sin,
Christ and an unhumbled spirit,
Christ and a love of money,
Christ and a love of ease, and
Christ and a love of self indulgence,
make up the religion of vast numbers who
yet profess, and call themselves Christians.

Awful fact!

How soon does the verdure wither away!
(From Octavius Winslow's, "The Coming of the
 Lord in its Relation to Nominal Christianity")

"The cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of
riches, choke the word, and it becomes  unfruitful."

A season of prosperity often proves fatal to a
'profession of godliness'. Divine Providence smiles,
riches increase, and with them the temptations
and the snares, the luxury, indulgence, and worldly
show, which are inseparable from the accumulation
of unsanctified and unconsecrated wealth.

And what are the results?

In most, cases, the entire relinquishment of the
'outward garb of a religious costume'. Found to be
in the way of the full indulgence of the carnal mind,
it is laid aside altogether; and thus freed from all
the restraints which consistency imposed, the heart
at once plunges deep into the world it all the while
secretly loved, sighed for, and worshiped.

Oh! what a severe, but true, test of religious principle
is this! How soon it detects the spurious and the false!

How soon does the verdure wither away!

"The prosperity of fools shall destroy them."

The season of sickness!
(Winslow, "The Sick One Whom Jesus Loves'')

The season of sickness is the schooling of the soul.

More of God is unfolded then, and more of His truth
is learned, than perhaps in any other circumstances.

The individual was, it may be, but little more than
a 'mere theorist'. He could talk well about God, and
Christ, and the Gospel. He could reason accurately,
and argue skillfully, and speak fluently, and yet there
was an extensive and melancholy deficiency in his
religion; much was still lacking.

But a lonely sick chamber has been his school, and
sickness the teaching discipline. Oh how the character,
and the perfections, and the government of God become
unfolded to his mind by the teachings of the Spirit of
truth during the season of sickness! His dim views are
cleared, his crude ideas are ripened, his erroneous ideas
are rectified; he contemplates God in another light, and
truth through another medium.

But the sweetest effect of all, is the personal appropriation
of God to his own soul. He can now say, "This God is my
God, and is my Father, and is my portion forever"; words
of assurance hitherto strange to his lips.

The promises of God were never realized as so precious,
the doctrines were never felt to be so establishing, and
the precepts never seen to be so obligatory and so
sanctifying as now; blessed results of a hallowed
possession of the season of sickness!

And what a pruning of this living branch has
taken place during the season of sickness!

What weanedness from the engrossing claims of the
earthly calling, from an undue attachment to created
good, from the creature, from the world, and from what
is the greatest weanedness of all: a weanedness from
the wedded idol, self!

What humility of mind, what meekness of spirit, and
self renunciation follow! Accompany him on his return
to the world, where he has again been brought, as
from the confines of the grave, and from the land of
Beulah. He appears like another man! He entered that
chamber as a proud man! he leaves it as a little child.
He went into it with much of the spirit of a grasping,
covetous, worldly minded professor; he emerges from
it with the world under his feet; 'Consecration to Christ,
and holiness to God' written upon his substance, and
engraved upon his brow.

He has been near to eternity!

He has been looking within the veil!

He has been reading his own heart!

He has been dealing with Christ!

He has seen and felt how solemn a thing it was to
approach the gate of death, to enter the presence of God;
and from that awful point of vision, he has contemplated
the world, and life, and human responsibility, as they are;
and he has come back like a spirit from another sphere,
clothed with all the solemnities of eternity; to live now
as one soon in reality to be there.


(Winslow, "The Man of God Sifted")

"For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the
house of Israel among all nations, like as
corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the
least grain fall upon the earth." Amos 9:9

Sometimes the Lord uses sanctified trial in
order to sift His people. Ah, what a mighty
fan is this with which God winnows His people!
He leads them about, sends cross providences,
dark dispensations, thwarted designs, blasted
hopes, and the precious grain is driven about,
wondering what will be the outcome. Messenger
follows messenger; bearing tidings of woe still
more lamentable than the former, and the poor
afflicted believer stands appalled, and wonders
what the Lord means by all this trial and sifting.
But oh, what a blessed result!

Seasons of trial are searching, sifting, and
separating seasons. God designs by that trial
not to wound you; oh, no! there is too much
love in His heart to put you to needless pain;
but to separate the precious wheat from the
refuse; to scatter the chaff that has mingled with
the divine grain, concealing and deteriorating it.

Yes, many a child of God living much in the region
of the world, and often, perhaps, yielding to its
temptations, has been placed by God in this sieve.
He has come out, oh what a different character!
What a higher tone it has given to his spirituality.
How dead he seems to the world! He acts, and
speaks, and prays like another man. Why? God
has only sifted him; the chaff has been separated,
the storm has scattered it, and the image of God
has been brought out in all its true beauty and power.

After the great sifting, there comes the declaration
that allays all our alarm, and fill us with joy and
gladness, "Yet shall not the least grain fall upon
the earth." Not a particle of the work of God in
the soul thus sifted shall perish! It is utterly
impossible it should be so. It cost God too much.

When God has carried you through dark and deep
waters, have you lost anything worth retaining?
You may have lost your worldliness and self
confidence; but was that really worth retaining?

Has Christ ever become less dear to you?
Has the throne of grace become less attractive to you?
Has the onward path of holiness been less dear to you?
Have the saints of God become less lovely to you?
Has the Word of God become less sweet to your taste?

Oh no! not one grain has fallen to the earth of that
Divine grace the Holy Spirit has planted in your soul.

"For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of
Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a
sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth."
  Amos 9:9


(Winslow, "Integrity and Uprightness")

Let all beware of the sin of covetousness.

It has drowned many souls in perdition.

Whether it be....
  Achan's wedge of gold,
  Naboth's vineyard, or
  Ananias and Sapphira's withheld possession,
the sin is essentially the same.

The sin of covetousness ranks in the
catalogue with sin's darkest crimes!