Grace Gems for November 2001

Near the cross of Jesus!
(Octavius Winslow, "Nearness to the Cross")

"Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother...." John 19:25

Take your place with Mary, by the cross of Jesus.

There meet and blend suffering and love, sorrow and
sympathy. Standing in faith by the cross, you are near
the suffering Savior, the loving Son, the sympathizing
Brother born for your present grief. Jesus, in the depth
and tenderness of His love, is at this moment all that
He was when, in soul travail, He cast that ineffable look
of filial love and sympathy upon His anguished mother.

He can....
  enter into your circumstances,
  understand your grief,
  sustain and soothe your spirit
as one only can who has partaken of the cup
of woe which now trembles in your hand.

Drink that cup submissive to His will, for He drank
deeply of it before you, and has left the fragrance
of His sympathy upon its brim.

Your sorrow is not new to Christ.

Stand close to the cross of Jesus!

It is the most accessible and precious spot this
side of heaven; the most solemn and awesome
one this side of eternity.

The cross of Jesus is the focus of
divine love, sympathy, and power.

Stand by it in suffering, in persecution, in
temptation. Stand by it in the brightness of
prosperity and in the gloom of adversity.

Go to Christ's cross in trouble, repair to it in
weakness, cling to it in danger, hide beneath it
when the wintry storm rushes fiercely over you.

Near to the cross, you are near a Father's heart, a Savior's side.

You seem to enter the gate of heaven, to stand
beneath the vestibule of glory. Nothing but love
will welcome your approach to the cross of Jesus;
love that....
  pardons all your sins,
  flows over all your unworthiness,
  heals all your wounds,
  soothes all your sorrows, and
will shelter you within its blessed pavilion until
earth is changed for heaven, and you lay down
the warrior's sword for the victor's palm, and
spring from the foot of the cross to the foot
of the throne, "forever with the Lord."

The most luminous, comprehensive,
and glorious revelations and views!

(Winslow, "The Conviction of Truth Beneath the Cross")

The cross is the central fact of God's moral universe.

All glory beams from Christ's cross.

All spiritual blessings distill from Christ's cross.

All Divine truth meets in Christ's cross.

It is at the foot of the cross that the humble,
spiritual disciple receives the most luminous,
comprehensive, and glorious revelations and
views of the Divine Being; and from thence he
draws the sweetest and richest blessings to his soul.

The cross of Christ
(Octavius Winslow, "The Believer Crucified")

Jesus could accomplish man's redemption
in no other way than by crucifixion. He must
die, and die the death of the cross.

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord
Jesus Christ, through which the world has been
crucified to me, and I to the world." Galatians 6:14

What light and glory beam around the cross!

Of what prodigies of grace is it the instrument,
of what glorious truths is it the symbol, of what
mighty, magic power is it the source!

Around it gathers all the light of the Old Testament
economy. It explains every symbol, it substantiates
every shadow, it solves every mystery, it fulfills every
type, it confirms every prophecy of that dispensation
which had eternally remained unmeaning and inexplicable
but for the death of the Son of God upon the cross.

Not the past only, but all future splendor, gathers
around the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. It assures
us of the ultimate reign of the Savior, tells of the
reward which shall spring from His sufferings; and
while its one arm points to the divine counsels of
eternity past, with the other it points to the future
triumph and glory of Christ's kingdom in the eternity
to come. Such is the lowly yet sublime, the weak yet
mighty instrument by which the sinner is saved and
God eternally glorified.

The cross of Christ was in Paul's view
the grand consummation of all preceding
dispensations of God to men.

The cross of Christ was the meritorious
procuring cause of all spiritual blessings
to our fallen race.

The cross of Christ was the scene of Christ's
splendid victories over all His enemies and ours.

The cross of Christ was the most powerful
incentive to all evangelical holiness.

The cross of Christ was the instrument which was
to subjugate the world to the supremacy of Jesus.

The cross of Christ was the source
of all true peace, joy, and hope.

The cross of Christ is the tree beneath
whose shadow all sin expired, all grace lived.

The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ! What a
holy thrill these words produce in the heart
of those who love the Savior! How significant
their meaning, how precious their influence!

Marvellous and irresistible is the power of the cross!

The cross of Christ has subdued many a rebellious will.

The cross of Christ has broken many a marble heart.

The cross of Christ has laid low many a vaunting foe.

The cross of Christ has overcome and triumphed
  when all other instruments have failed.

The cross of Christ has transformed the lion like
heart of man, into the lamb like heart of Christ.

And when lifted up in its own naked simplicity and
inimitable grandeur, the cross of Christ has won and
attracted millions to its faith, admiration, and love!

What a marvelous power does this cross of Jesus
possess! It changes the Christian's entire judgment
of the world. Looking at the world through the cross,
his opinion is totally revolutionized. He sees it as it
really is; a sinful, empty, vain thing.

He learns its iniquity, in that it crucified the Lord of life and glory.

His expectations from the world, his love to the
world, are changed. He has found another object
of love, the Savior whom the world cast out and
slew. And his love to the world is destroyed by
that power which alone could destroy it, the
crucifying power of the cross.

It is the cross which eclipses, in the view of the true
believer, the glory and attraction of every other object.

What is the weapon by which faith combats with and
overcomes the world? What but the cross of Jesus?

Just as the natural eye, gazing for a while upon the sun,
is blinded for the moment, by its overpowering effulgence,
to all other objects; so to the believer, wont to concentrate
his mind upon the glory of the crucified Savior, studying
closely the wonders of grace and love and truth meeting
in the cross, the world with all its attraction fades into
the full darkness of an eclipse.

Are not Christ and His cross infinitely
 better than the world and its love?

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord
Jesus Christ, through which the world has been
crucified to me, and I to the world." Galatians 6:14

Sad blots!
(From Octavius Winslow's, "None Like Christ")

How much is true religion shorn of its strength by the
lack of more 'spiritual mindedness' in its professors!

The worldly amusements to which many addict themselves:
  the opera,
  the card playing,
  the ball,
  the gay party,
  the novel reading,
  the luxurious living,
  the extravagant customs;
in which multitudes of church members indulge;
are sad blots upon their avowed Christianity,
and effectual hindrances to the advancement
of holiness in their own souls.

Oh! that with us vital religion; the pure, simple
self denying, unearthly religion of Jesus; might
be paramount; its holy influence permeating our
whole being, and giving form and tint and
direction to all our engagements and conduct!

Oh, beware of a blank life!
(Winslow, "The Solitude of the Cross")

Does your life have a worthy object?

Are you doing or enduring the will of God?

Is the object....
   for which you live,
   in which you employ your talents,
   expend your time,
   use your influence,
   devote your worldly substance,
worthy of life's present obligations and future award?

Oh, beware of a blank life!

What, reader, is your purpose?

Is anything done for Jesus?

Anything for the glory of God?

Anything for the well being of your fellows?

Remember that for all your abilities,
God holds you accountable, and that
before long death will cite you to his bar!

Child of God! be up and doing!

Say to the world, its enchantments, pleasures,
and repose, "My purpose is to live for God."

Christ's cross of suffering pledges you to a life of labor
for Him. There must be no pause, no succumbing to
difficulty, no fainting beneath opposition. Life is a real,
a solemn thing, too closely linked to a momentous
future, to be trifled with.

Again, we ask, what is your object in life?

Are you living for your Lord and for your fellow men?

Do you carry within you a Christ loving, man loving
heart, seeking the glory of God in the good of all
with whom you come in contact?

Do you live for Christ, and do you feel as if life
only were precious as you offer to Him all you
hold most dear and valuable?

Is it an object of your life to advance Divine truth,
to enlarge Christ's kingdom, to bring our fellow
sinners to partake of His Divine redemption?

Seek by prayer to know what the Master has
assigned to you, and keep busy until He comes.

And as you toil, perchance in pensive loneliness,
uncomplaining suffering, unnoticed, and unknown,
cast your eye earthward and exclaim, "This is the
place of labor!" Then raise your eye heavenward
and exclaim, "Yonder is the place of rest!"

Oh, beware of a blank life!

His cross, His love, His grace, His heart!
All contrition for sin flows from a sight of His cross;
all obedience to His commands, from a sense of His love;
all victory over temptation, from the power of His grace; and
all consolation in sorrow, from the sympathy of His heart.

I know my sheep!
(from Octavius Winslow's "Christ, the Shepherd")

"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep..."
    John 10:14

Jesus possesses a perfect knowledge of His sheep,
collectively and individually. How else could He meet
the demands of each and all of a flock composed of
countless numbers, and scattered far and wide over
the face of the earth?

He knows....
  our names,
  our requirements;
  all our individual circumstances, positions, and needs.

"I know my sheep," is His own declaration of
this glorious truth, and a more precious truth;
one more replete with assurance and comfort
never flowed from His grace anointed lips.

My soul, ponder this truth in the light of your
individuality, and reason the matter with yourself
thus: Jehovah, my Shepherd, knows me individually.
He calls me by my name; recognizes my person;
is acquainted with my needs; and is cognizant of
the path I tread. And although others may but
imperfectly know me, or know me not at all; my
actions misunderstood, my motives misconstrued;
ignorant of my daily cross, my veiled sorrow, and
the narrow and difficult path I tread; nevertheless,
Jesus the Shepherd has declared; "I know my sheep."
Enough, my Lord!
Not a path perplexes me;
not a cloud shades me;
not a difficulty embarrasses me;
not a need grieves me;
not a grief distresses me;
not a being wounds me;
but You, the Lord my Shepherd, know it altogether.

"He knows the way that I take; and when
He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold."

"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep..."
    John 10:14

Throw yourself into his very arms!
(Winslow, "The Broken and Contrite Heart")

"He restores my soul," is the grateful and adoring
exclamation in the heart of the reclaimed believer.

Such is the recovery of the soul from its spiritual
and mournful relapse. Brought beneath the cross
and in the sight of the crucified Savior.....
  the heart is broken,
  the spirit is melted,
  the eye weeps,
  the tongue confesses,
  the bones that were broken rejoice, and
the contrite child is once more clasped in
his Father's forgiving, reconciled embrace.

O what a glorious God is ours,
and what vile wretches are we!

Jesus waits to make that sorrow stricken heart
of yours his chief and loved abode; reviving it,
healing it, and enshrining himself forever within
its renewed and sanctified affections.

Cast yourself down at his feet, no, in throw
yourself into his very arms, that are widely
expanded to receive you!

Christ's sleepless vigilance over His people!
(Winslow, "A Word in Season from Christ to the Weary")

What an exalted and endearing truth is Christ's
sleepless vigilance over His people!

Imagine yourself threading your way along a
most difficult and perilous path, every step of
which is attended with pain and jeopardy, and
is taken with hesitancy and doubt.

Unknown to you and unseen, there is One
hovering each moment around you, checking
each false step, and guiding each doubtful one;
soothing each sorrow, and supplying each need.

All is calm and silent.

Not a sound is heard, not a movement is seen;
and yet, to your amazement, just at the critical
moment, the needed support comes; you know
not from where, you know not from whom.

This is no picture of imagination.

Are you a child of God on your pilgrimage to
paradise by an intricate and a perilous way?
Jesus is near to you at each moment, unseen
and often unknown.

You have at times stood speechless with awe
at the strange interposition on your behalf,
of providence and of grace. No visible sign
betokened the source of your help. There was
no echo of footfall at your side, no flitting of
shadow athwart your path. No law of nature
was altered nor suspended, the sun stood not
still, nor did the heavens open.

And yet deliverance, strange and effectual deliverance,
came at a moment most unexpected, yet most needed.

It was Jesus your Redeemer, your Brother, your
Shepherd, and your Guide. He it was who, hovering
around you, unknown and unobserved, kept you as
the apple of his eye, and sheltered you in the hollow
of his hand. It was he who armed you with bravery
for the fight, who poured strength into your spirit,
and grace into your heart, when the full weight of
calamity pressed upon them.

Thus has he always been to his children.

The eye that neither slumbers nor sleeps was upon you.

He knew in what furnace you were placed, and was
there to temper the flame when it seemed the severest.

He saw your frail vessel struggling through the tempest,
and he came to your rescue at the height of the storm.

How has he proved this in seasons of difficulty and doubt!

How often, at a crisis the most critical of
your history, the Lord has appeared for you!
  Your lack has been supplied,
  your doubt has been solved, and
  your perplexity has been guided.

He has delivered...
  your soul from death,
  your eyes from tears, and
  your feet from falling.

You are never for an instant....
  out of his heart,
  out of his thoughts,
  out of his hands, or
  out of his eye.

Go, and lay your weariness on Christ.


How precious!
(From Octavius Winslow's, "The Fresh Oil")

Oh, there is more real value in one ray of the
Spirit's light, beaming in upon a man's soul, than
in all the teaching which books can ever impart!

What tongue is sufficiently gifted to describe
 how precious is the gift of the Holy Spirit?

How precious is his indwelling;
  an ever ascending,
  heaven panting,
  God thirsting,
  Christ desiring Spirit!

How precious are all the revelations he makes of Christ!

How precious are....
  the consolations he brings,
  the promises he seals,
  the teachings he imparts;
  all the emotions he awakens,
  the holy breathings he inspires, and
  the affections he creates.

How precious are those graces in
the soul of which he is the Author;
  the faith that leads to a precious Savior,
  the love that rises to a gracious God, and
  the holy affections which flow forth to all the saints!

The astonishing, the marvelous love!
(Winslow, "Love at the Foot of the Cross")

The cross of Jesus inspires our love to Him.
It would seem impossible to be brought by
the Holy Spirit to the foot of the cross, and
not feel the inspiration of love.

Surely a believing apprehension of the amazing,
the unparalleled love of Jesus, bending His look
of forgiveness upon us from the cross, will thaw
our icy hearts into the warmest glow of affection.

Believe that Jesus loves you, and your heart shall
glow with a love in return which will bear it on in
a willing obedience and unreserved surrender, in
faithful service and patient suffering, enwrapped,
consumed amid the flames of its own 'heaven
inspired' and 'heaven ascending' affection.

The astonishing, the marvelous love, He
has exhibited in giving you His beloved Son
to die in your stead, are cords by which He
would draw your loving heart to Himself.

Shift the kaleidoscope!
(by Spurgeon)

"Behold, You are handsome, my Beloved."
  Song of Solomon 1:16

From every point our Well Beloved is most fair.

Our various experiences are meant by our heavenly
Father to furnish fresh standpoints from which we
may view the loveliness of Jesus.

How amiable are our trials when they carry us aloft
where we may gain clearer views of Jesus than
ordinary life could afford us! We have seen Him
from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and
Hermon, and He has shone upon us as the sun in
his strength; but we have seen Him also from "the
lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards,"
and He has lost none of His loveliness.

From the languishing of a sick bed, from the borders
of the grave, have we turned our eyes to our soul's
spouse, and He has never been otherwise than
"altogether lovely."

Many of His saints have looked upon Him from the
gloom of dungeons, and from the red flames of the
stake, yet have they never uttered an ill word of Him,
but have died extolling His surpassing charms.

Oh, noble and pleasant employment to be
 forever gazing at our sweet Lord Jesus!

Is it not unspeakably delightful to view the Savior in
all His offices, and to perceive Him matchless in each?
To shift the kaleidoscope, as it were, and to find
fresh combinations of peerless graces? In the manger
and in eternity, on the cross and on His throne, in the
garden and in His kingdom, among thieves or in the
midst of cherubim, He is everywhere "altogether lovely."

Examine carefully every little act of His life, and every
trait of His character, and He is as lovely in the minute
as in the majestic.

Judge Him as you will, you cannot censure; weigh
Him as you please, and He will not be found lacking.

Eternity shall not discover the shadow of a spot in
our Beloved, but rather, as ages revolve, His hidden
glories shall shine forth with yet more inconceivable
splendor, and His unutterable loveliness shall more
and more ravish all celestial minds!

My Beloved!
(Octavius Winslow, "None Like Christ")

"How is your beloved better than others?"
       Song of Solomon 5:9

My Beloved bore my sins, and opened in his heart
a fountain in which I am washed whiter than snow.

My Beloved....
  sustains my burdens,
  counsels my perplexities,
  heals my wounds,
  dries my tears,
  supplies my needs,
  bears with my infirmities,
  upholds my steps, and
  cheers my pathway to the tomb.

My Beloved will be with me in the valley of the shadow
 of death, and with his presence I shall fear no evil.

My Beloved has gone to prepare a place for me in
the many mansioned house of my Father, and will
come again and receive me to himself, that were
he is, I may be also.

My Beloved will walk with me the gold paved streets
of the new Jerusalem, and will lead me to fountains
of living waters, and will wipe every tear from my eyes.

I find no love so soothing as his, no friendship
so true, so gentle as his. Jesus is my all in all.
This is my Beloved, and this is my friend!

Yes, My Beloved is altogether lovely!

All loveliness, all excellence, all glory!
(Winslow, "A Sight of Sin and a Sight of Jesus")

Jesus is the most lovely, winning, wondrous object
  upon which the intelligent eye ever rested.

Trace the points of attraction which meet in Jesus,
and marvel not that when the eye fixes on them,
the heart is irresistibly won, the soul is instantly
dissolved, and the believer prostrates himself at
the foot of the cross in the profoundest sense of
his vileness before God.

All loveliness, all excellence, all glory
meet and center in Jesus the Crucified.

He is the most wonderful, as He is the most
beauteous and attractive being in the universe.

All the infinite perfection of absolute Deity, all
the finite excellence of impeccable humanity,
concentrate in Christ.

Deeply and painfully saddening!
(Octavius Winslow, "The Inner Life")

A careful observance of the 'religious world,'
will force upon your mind the painful conviction,
that while 'religious profession' is greatly on
the increase, 'vital godliness' is on the decline.
While the quantity of religion is increasing,
its quality is deteriorating.

The vast number.....
  whose Christian profession is avowed;
  whose religious character is recognized;
  whose theological creed is sound;
  whose conversation is pious;
  whose sacred observances are rigid;
  whose benevolence is applauded;
  whose zeal is admired;
  who pride themselves upon their eloquent
    preacher, and their favorite religious author;
but who yet are....
  living in the world, and
  living as the world, and
  living for the world, is
deeply and painfully saddening!

Where is the salt?

Where are the really living souls?

Where are those who know what true conversion is?

Where are those who are following Christ, and are living for God?

Where are the possessors of the true spiritual life?

Alas! the world has become so like the Church,
and the Church so closely resembles the world!

The world has become so religious, and
the Church has become so carnal; that it
is difficult to see any essential difference!

One mass of moral corruption!
(Winslow, "The Inner Life in its Relapsed Influence")

Where divine grace does not exist in the heart, there
is nothing to stunt the growth, or to check the progress,
or to restrain the power of the soul's depravity.

The fountain pours out its streams of corruption and death,
bidding defiance to all human efforts either to purify or restrain.

Education can't restrain the power of the soul's depravity.

Public sentiment can't restrain the power of the soul's depravity.

Human law can't restrain the power of the soul's depravity.

Moral persuasion can't restrain the power of the soul's depravity.

'Self love' can't restrain the power of the soul's depravity.

All these instruments fail in the attempt.

There is going on in the soul a process of moral decay,
which, if not averted by divine grace, must terminate in
the intolerable and interminable pangs of the second
death; the soul departing into eternity, one mass of
moral corruption!

But let one grain of God's grace fall into this corrupt
fountain, and there is deposited a counteracting and
transforming element, which at once commences a
healing, purifying, and saving process.  And, what
parental restraint, and the long years of study,
and human law, had failed to do, one hour's deep
repentance of sin, one believing glance at a crucified
Savior, one moment's realization of the love of God,
have effectually accomplished.

  O the intrinsic preciousness, the priceless value, the
sovereign efficacy of God's converting, sanctifying grace!

Effecting a lodgement in the most debased and corrupt
heart, grace revolutionizes the whole soul, changing its
principles, purifying its affections, ennobling its sentiments,
and assimilating it to the Divine holiness.

Oh, what music in the Shepherd's ear!
(From Octavius Winslow's "Green Pastures")

From His own infinite and boundless sufficiency,
the Shepherd supplies all the needs of His flock.

Christian, you have....
  not a sin His grace cannot pardon;
  not a corruption it cannot subdue;
  not an infirmity it cannot help;
  not a burden it cannot sustain;
  not a sorrow it cannot soothe;
  not a difficulty it cannot surmount.

Oh, what music in the Shepherd's ear is the
feeble bleat of the lamb, or the plaintive cry of
the sheep, appealing in times of sorrow, danger,
and need; to His sympathy, power, and protection!

A hidden life!
(From Winslow's "The Solitude of the Cross")

"For you died, and your life is now hidden
 with Christ in God."  Col. 3:3

The Divine life in the believer, the life of
God in the soul of man, is a hidden life!

Not only is it invisible to the world, except
in its outward actions, and these are often
misunderstood and misinterpreted; but very
much so to the saints also. It is often but
dimly perceived, and we are slow to recognize it.

It is of all things the most deeply veiled.

Its existence and aspirations, its depressions,
defeats, and victories, are known only to Him
in whom that life emphatically lives and moves
and has its being.

And, then, touching the growth of this hidden
spiritual life; it is in the solitude of the Cross
that it derives its strongest impulse, and exhibits
its mightiest development. The Divine life in the
believer is a divine plant which only grows beneath
this sacred shadow. If we would advance in grace
we must recede frequently from the sun's heat of
this world, and dwell amid the solemn shadows of
Gethsemane and the deeper solitude of Calvary.

Viewless as the wind, silent as the dew, is that
influence which the most vitalizes and promotes
our real sanctification. Oh, how blessed to sit there,
with myriads like ourselves, silently growing in
heavenliness near that marvelous Cross; frail and
feeble tendrils entwining around the stem of that
glorious Tree of Life.

Let us often heed the invitation of our Lord, "Come
with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some
rest," gently led by His outstretched hand to the
solitude of His Cross.

The dictionary of the atheist?
(From Octavius Winslow's, "The Banquet")

We lose much blessing and God much honor,
by not more simply and implicitly living upon
His providential care.

Those who see God's goodness in all their temporal
supplies; who recognize His superintending and
molding hand, ordering and shaping all the events;
the most minute of their personal history; shall never
be left without some marked and unmistakable evidence
of God's care and bountifulness in providing for their
temporal needs, and His wisdom and faithfulness in
ordering and directing all their temporal concerns.

Be, then, a close student of God's providence.

Seek a dislodgment from your mind of that atheism
which would exclude God from the government of
the world, and from the events and circumstances
of our individual history.

The terms 'chance', 'accident', 'contingency', as they
are employed by the world in connection with the
events of human life, should be entirely expunged
from the Christian's vocabulary. They belong solely
to the dictionary of the atheist, and should never
pass the lips of the believer.

It is the privilege of the believing mind, to see God's
hand in the most infinitesimal incident of individual life.

Tossed amid the waves of second causes, faith often
loses its anchorage on God in dark and mysterious
calamities; and the believing and devout mind, thus
for the moment loosed from its divine fastening, drifts
away amid the breakers and the shoals of doubt and
perplexity; and but for the restraining power and the
restoring grace of the Divine Shepherd would become
an utter wreck.

The cross of Christ
(Winslow, "Nearness to the Cross")

The cross of Christ is still the central
object of attraction to the Christian!

A countless throng of Christ believing,
Christ loving souls gather around it,
  finding cleansing in its blood,
  extracting joy from its sorrow,
  deriving life from its death, and
  beholding the brightness of glory
  blended with the darkness of shame.

But is this the true spiritual position and
posture of every believer in Jesus? Are all
the professed disciples of the Savior seeking
and cultivating the religion that is drawn
only from, and is cherished only by, close
communion with the cross of Christ?

Are we walking with God in a sense....
  of pardoned sin,
  of personal acceptance,
  of filial communion,
  of holy obedience,
  of unreserved consecration beneath the cross?

Do we delight to be here?

Do we resort there....
  that grace might be replenished,
  that the fruits of the Spirit might be nourished,
  that backslidings might be healed,
  that the conscience might be cleansed?

Is the cross of Jesus....
  our confessional,
  our laver,
  our crucifixion, and
  our boast?

These are searching, solemn questions!

We are persuaded that the foot of the cross
is the nearest spot to Heaven; that Heaven's
choicest blessings are found only there; that
beneath its warm sunshine the holy fruit of the
Spirit ripens, and that under its sacred shade
the sweetest repose is found; that, never is the
believing soul so near to God, in such intimate
fellowship with Christ, more really under the direct
teaching of the Holy Spirit, as when under the
cross of Christ.

When you are in believing, loving adoration at
the foot of Christ's cross, you are at the focus
of all divine glory, and at the confluence of all
spiritual blessing.

"Is not Ephraim still my son, my darling child?"
(from Winslow's, "The Burden Cast upon God")

Perhaps a sense of backsliding from the Lord
is your burden. You used to run well, walked
closely with God, and loved to feed in green
pastures with the flock and beside the Shepherd's
tent. But you did not love the fold, and went away
and walked no more with Jesus.

And now the Shepherd has gone after you, and
by the gentle moving of His Spirit on your heart
is drawing you back with weeping, and mourning,
and confession. Your departures are a grievous
and a heavy burden, and like Ephraim you smite
upon the thigh, and are ashamed, you are even
confounded, and exclaim, "Turn me and I shall
be turned, for You are the Lord my God."

Come, then, poor backslider, you wanderer from
the Shepherd's side, you truant from the fold,
and listen to the tender, forgiving language of
that God and Father against whom you have sinned.

"Is not Ephraim still my son, my darling child?"
asks the Lord. "I had to punish him, but I still love
him. I long for him and surely will have mercy on him."
  (Jeremiah 31:20)

Approach, you penitent soul, though a wanderer,
still a son; though a backslider, still a child; and
cast the burden of your backslidings upon Jesus,
whose unchanging love and restoring grace are
now gently and effectually drawing you back to

"I will arise and go to my Father, and will
say unto Him, Father, I have sinned against
heaven and before You."

Free grace and love!
(Winslow, "The Burden Cast upon God")

All that we receive from the Lord, we receive
as the gift of His most free grace and love!

The believer sees and tastes free grace and
love in every blessing of His Heavenly Father.

He traces free grace and love....
  in the sun that cheers him,
  in the spring that refreshes him,
  in the breeze that fans him,
  in the flowers that delight him.

He sees free grace and love....
  in the love that comforts him,
  in the friendship that strengthens him,
  in the sympathy that soothes him,
  in the outstretched hand that relieves his need.

No, more.

The child of God sees free grace and love....
  in every cloud that darkens,
  in every sorrow that embitters,
  in every disappointment that wounds, and
  in every burden that crushes.

But infinitely beyond all, he sees
and tastes free grace and love....
  in the blood that pardons him,
  in the righteousness that justifies him,
  in the love that adopts him,
  in the voice that effectually calls him, and
  in the promises that engage to bring him home to glory!

Holy war!
(Winslow, "The Cross of Christ, the Christian's Weapon")

"They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb."

The weapon that is to conquer the world for Christ,
is to conquer the world of evil in our hearts; and,
wielded by the arm of faith, is to vanquish and
overcome all the spiritual opposition by which our
path to heaven is intercepted.

We are to overcome, as these martyrs
overcame, by the blood of the Lamb.

Heavenly and invincible is this weapon.

No foe can cope with it.

No opposition can resist it.

No confederacy overcome it.

Feeble though the arm may be that wields
it, the blood of Jesus, as both an offensive
and defensive weapon, is all powerful and
irresistible in our holy war.

Whatever may be the foe with whom you wage
this holy war, whatever the obstacle to your
advance in the divine life; faith, looking to the
blood of Jesus, wielding the cross of Christ,
drawing its supplies from the resources of Christ,
will enroll you among those who overcome by
the blood of the Lamb!

Head or Heart?
(From Octavius Winslow's, "The Coming of the
 Lord in its Relation to Nominal Christianity")

A person may have well balanced theology, and
his general views of truth would be considered
evangelical and orthodox. And yet, thus far may
he proceed in the deepest 'self deception'.

With all this "form of knowledge," this lodgment
of the truth in the understanding, this subscription
of the intellect to the doctrines of revelation, he
is an utter stranger to that 'heart transformation',
that inward illumination of the Holy Spirit, without
which the soul is spiritually dead, the heart is
unrenewed and unholy, and the whole man is
unfit for the kingdom of heaven.

In short, we have here the case of one who, while
his judgment assents to the truth, his heart entirely
rejects it. The Gospel is to him a thing of intellectual
subscription, and not of heart experience. Not a single
truth of the Bible has become an element of life and
holiness in his soul.

What a change has come over him!
(From Winslow's, "The Pastor's Request")

I saw one man just yesterday, living without
God, and in total neglect of his soul's salvation.
The solemn eternity to which he was hastening,
gave him not a moment's serious concern. His
heart was filled with pharisaical pride, worldly
ambition, and covetous desires. Self was his god;
the only deity he worshiped. This world was his
paradise; the only heaven he desired.

Today I see him the subject of deep and powerful
conviction; a humble suppliant, in the spirit of self
abasement, pleading for mercy as the chief of sinners.

What a change has come over him!

How in a moment have old things passed away,
and all things become new!  And he who only
yesterday was dwelling among the tombs, himself
dead in trespasses and sins, today is sitting as a
lowly disciple and an adoring worshiper at the feet
of Jesus! Where did this wondrous transformation,
this new creation, come from? Oh, it was the Spirit
of God who wrought it, and the work is marvellous
in our eyes!

This precious panacea!
(Winslow, "The Influence of Sanctified Trial")

Nothing more effectually quickens us to
communion with God than the trial that flows
from his love, and is sanctified by his Spirit.

Oh, beloved, betake yourself unto prayer!
You shall indeed find it the outlet of all
sorrow, and the inlet of all joy.

Welcome the trouble that thus revives you.

Receive with meekness of spirit, yes with
gladness of heart, the discipline, however
humbling, that throws you upon God; yes,
that severs you from all creatures, and
that shuts you up to Him alone.

That discipline, painful as it is, springs from love.

In love that trouble is sent,
in love that cross is permitted,
in love that bitter cup is given,
in love that rod is used;
it is to set you upon the work of prayer.

Beloved, "despise not the chastening of the Lord,
nor faint when you are rebuked by him," for he
only seeks to draw you closer within his bosom.

Give your troubled spirit unto prayer. Yield it to
the reposing, soothing influence, of communion
with God.

Withhold not from your bleeding wound this
healing balsam, rob not your sick heart of
this precious panacea.

Give yourself unto prayer. Embosom your tried
and weary spirit in the very heart of Jehovah!

Oh! be submissive, meek, and quiet!
(Winslow, "Heaven, the Consummation of the Inner Life")

What is the great end of all God's afflictive
dealings with his people? For what purpose
is the Lord's furnace in Zion, and His fire in
Jerusalem? It is to purify, and sanctify, and
'fit' the believer for "the inheritance of the
saints in light."

All your heaven blessed trials, all your sanctified
temptations, all the covenant transactions of God
with you, beloved, in the way of afflictive providences,
are designed but to 'fit' you more thoroughly for
"the inheritance of the saints in light."

All the disentwining of your affections from around
creatures and created things, all the disappointments
you meet with: the cisterns He breaks, and the
beautiful gourds He withers; yes, all the steps of
God with you, beloved, are but to detach you from
earth, and earthly things; and thus the more perfectly
to 'fit' you for "the inheritance of the saints in light."

In this point of view, who would not welcome the
severest chastisement? who would not drink willingly
the bitterest cup? who would not take joyfully the
spoiling of all that is dear and fond? who would not
be willing to have the fetter unbound, the chain
snapped, the bond severed, that gives liberty to his
struggling and ascending spirit, and brings him, in a
state of holy fitness, nearer and still nearer heaven?

Beloved, look upon all the Lord's afflictive dealings
with you as but preparatory to your approaching
emancipation from all sin, suffering, and sorrow.

Welcome your trials; they are sent by your Father.

Welcome the stroke of His rod; it is a parent smiting.

Welcome, oh! welcome, beloved, whatever detaches
you from earth, and wings your spirit heavenward.

Oh! welcome the furnace that consumes the dross and
the tin, and brings out the precious gold and silver!

Oh! be submissive, meek, and quiet, under God's
chastening and afflicting hand, and receive all his
dispensations as only tending to 'fit' you more
perfectly for "the inheritance of the saints in light."

Are you, beloved, walking in the midst of trouble?
(Winslow, "The Influence of Sanctified Trial")

Do not think that you are alone. May your eye of
faith be "anointed with fresh eye salve," to see
One walking side by side with you; the same who
walked with the three children through the fiery
furnace, "whose form is like the Son of God."

Yes! Jesus is with you in your trial.

Christ is with you in your trouble.

The path, however difficult, is not so narrow that
your Lord cannot tread it with you, side by side.

Your way is not so intricate that he cannot enable
you to thread your steps through the labyrinth.

He is with you, though like the two disciples journeying
to Emmaus in mournful communion one with each other,
your eyes may be so blinded that you see him not; yet
he journeying with you along that sad and mournful,
that lone and pensive path.

Christ is in your adversity!

Christ is in your cross!

Christ is in your dilemma!

Christ is in your suffering!

Christ is in your persecution!

Christ is in your sickness!

Yes, Christ is at your side every step you take, and
he will conduct you safely to your Father's house!

The crying evil of our times!
(Winslow, "The Inner Life in its Gradual and Imperceptible Relapse")

I am solemnly convinced that the world, in its
relation to the religion of the day, is the giant
snare and the crying evil of our times!

It is not the world in one form only, but the world
in its many shapes, its numerous forms of fascination
and power, which gives it so amazing and subtle
an influence over the Christian Church.

There is....
  no shape it cannot assume,
  no garb it will not wear,
  no plea it may not urge,
  no concession it is not prepared to yield, thus to
obtain the ascendancy over the Christian's mind.

The compromising character of the prevailing
religious profession, present but little obstruction,
and offer but faint resistance, to the rapid and
alarming encroachments of the world.

There is everything in the 'easy Christianity' of
the times to court, and but little to discourage,
the advances of the world upon the Church;
  impairing its strength,
  crippling its efforts, and
  shading its luster.

The facile compliance with its solicitations,
the inordinate attachment to its principles,
the sinful conformity to its customs,
the humiliating participation in its pleasures,
form the grand secret of the dwarfish religion
of so many professors.

The world has devoured their spiritual strength,
and thus the life of God in their souls is stunted
in its growth, and they are but infants when they
ought to be men; dwarfs when they should be
giants in knowledge, in grace, and in holiness.

The policy of the world;
  the gay enjoyments of the world;
  the self indulgence of the world;
  the soaring ambition of the world;
  the vain glory of the world;
  the sinful alliances of the world;
  the covetous, grasping desires of the world;
  the love of vain show and fondness for dress; and
  the easy religion of the world;
are the fearful and fatal snares into which
many professing Christians are drawn.

The ball;
the gay party;
the concert;
the novel;
the drama;
O how do these things devour the little
strength that some seem to possess; to
what small dimensions do they stunt their
Christianity; how do they wither and shrivel
up their religion, reducing their spiritual
power of resistance to an infant's weakness!

Worldliness causes....
  an exhaustion in the soul,
  a wound in the conscience,
  a deadness in the spirit,
  a vagrancy of thought,
  an indolence and listlessness of mind,
with feelings which partake more of earth
and less of heaven, which unfit you for
communion with God, incapacitate you for
any spiritual duties whatever, and leave you,
like Samson despoiled of his glory, the victim
and the sport of the uncircumcised Philistines.
"Are you also become weak as we are? Are
you become like unto us?" is the exclamation
of the world that has thus cruelly robbed you
of your vigor, and now exultingly taunts you
with your loss.

I repeat it with earnestness and in bitterness of
soul: the world, the WORLD is the deadly foe, and
worldliness is the crying sin of the Church of God.

You profess to have separated yourselves from
the world, to not be of the world, and by the
cross of Jesus to be dead to the world; and yet
how opposite and falsifying is your practice!

You mix up with the world!
You float down the stream with the world!
You woo and embrace the world!

And but for the enrollment of your name upon the
records of the Church, we should scarcely suspect
that you were a follower of Him who solemnly and
emphatically declared, "My kingdom is not of this world."

With increased earnestness we beseech you....
  Do not love the world!
  Do not imitate the world!
  Do not go needlessly into the world!

It is a cruel, treacherous, soul destroying world!

It crucified your Lord, and seeks nothing less than
your eternal destruction. Come out of it, and let
your unearthly principles, and holy enjoyments,
and heavenly mindedness, and simplicity of walk,
integrity and uprightness in all your transactions
with the world, be a witness against it for God,
for Christ, and for eternity.

Worldliness is the foe and the bane of religion.

What phantoms they will chase!
(From Winslow's, "Nearness to the Cross")

The divine life in the soul flourishes or decays,
is vigorous or sickly, in exact proportion to its
proximity to the cross of Jesus.  Here alone
spiritual religion flourishes.

Nearness to the cross! Alas! it is the exception
and not the rule. Standing by the cross! It is the
privileged position of the few and not the many.

The world, in some one, or all, of its many forms
of power; the creature, in its unsuspected yet
insinuating influence; unbelief, in its latent yet
ever potent force; sin, in its indwelling and ever
working sway, allures the soul from the cross.

And so the Christian disciple, unconscious of the
spiritual declension of his heart from Christ, finds
himself moving in a distant orbit, cold, and dreary,
far remote from the warm, genial influence of the
Sun beneath whose divine beams he was wont so
joyously to bask in the days of his "first love."

Jesus is not known, His cross is not recognized,
His love is not felt in the walks of worldly gaiety
and in the haunts of carnal pleasure. These things
are divided from the cross by a wide and ever
separating gulf.

You cannot, my reader, mingle with
the world and maintain at the same
time, spiritual nearness to the cross.

The cross is the crucifier of the world, the death of sin.

Beneath its awful shadow, brought to its sacred foot,
the world's glory pales, sin's power is paralyzed, and
Satan, the arch tempter, recoiling from its brightness
and writhing beneath its death bruise, relinquishes
his victim, and retires, defeated and dishonored, to
his own place.

The cross, rugged and gory, heavy and offensive,
possesses no beauty or attraction apart from Him who
was nailed to its wood.

That which makes Calvary the most hallowed spot
to the believer, and the cross the most attractive
spectacle on earth, is the wonderful Being who there
poured out His soul unto death, a self consumed
victim amid the fires of His own love.

Love to Jesus will sweetly attract and powerfully
detain you at the foot of the cross, in devout,
adoring contemplation.

To him who has no love to Christ, the cross of Christ
has no attraction. A heart chilled in its affection to
the Savior will wander away in quest of objects more
congenial with its carnal taste.

A trifle, a shadow, anything the most childish and
insignificant, will win and gratify a heart upon whose
affections Christ has no hold.

Oh, it is astonishing what straws men will
gather, and what phantoms they will chase,
when the soul's center is not the cross of Jesus!