Grace Gems for December 2001

The Golden Key!  The Golden Thread!
(Octavius Winslow, "Christ, the Alpha and Omega")

 Jesus is the one great theme both of the Old
 Testament and the New.  The whole Bible is
 designed to testify of Christ, "You search the
 Scriptures because you believe they give you
 eternal life. But the Scriptures point to Me!"

 In Christ the Messiah, in Jesus the Savior, in
 the Son of God the Redeemer, all the truths
 of the Bible center.

 To Him all the types and shadows point!

 Of Him all the prophecies give witness!

 While all the glory of the Scriptures, from Genesis
  to Revelation, culminates at the cross of Christ.

 The Bible would be an inexplicable mystery apart
   from Christ, who unfolds and explains it all.

   He is the one, the golden Key which
 unlocks the divine treasury of revelation!

 Until He is seen, the Bible is, in a sense, a great
 conundrum. But when He is found, it is a glorious
 revelation; every mystery opened, every enigma
 explained, every discrepancy harmonized, and every
 truth and page, sentence and word, quickened with
 a life and glowing with a light flowing down from
 the throne of the Eternal God.

 Christ is the substance of the Gospel. All....
   its divine doctrines,
   its holy precepts,
   its gracious instructions,
   its precious promises,
   its glorious hopes, meet, center, and
 fill up their entire compass in Jesus.

 He is the Alpha and the Omega of the Bible, from the
 first verse in Genesis to the last verse in Revelation.

 Oh, study the Scriptures of truth with a view of learning Christ.

 Do not study the Bible as a mere history.
 Do not read it as a mere poem.
 Do not search it as a book of science.
 It is all that, but infinitely more.
 The Bible is the Book of Jesus!
 It is a Revelation of Christ!

   Christ is the golden thread
 which runs through the whole!

 The Old Testament predicts the New; and
 the New fulfills the Old; and so both unite
 in testifying, "Truly, this is the Son of God!"

 Blessed Lord Jesus! I will read and study and dig
 into the Scriptures to find and learn more of You!

 You, Immanuel, are the fragrance of this divine box of precious

 You are the beauteous gem sparkling in this divine cabinet.

 You are the Tree of life planted in the center of this divine garden.

 You are the Ocean whose stream quickens and nourishes
 all who draw water out of this divine well of salvation.

 The Bible is all about You!

That Friend!
(Octavius Winslow, "Morning Thoughts")

"There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother."
  Proverbs 28:24.

The power of human sympathy is amazing,
if it leads the heart to Christ. It is paralyzed,
if it leads only to ourselves.

Oh, how feeble and inadequate are we to administer to
a diseased mind, to heal a  broken heart, to strengthen
the feeble hand, and to confirm the trembling knees!

Our mute sympathy, our prayerful silence, is often the
best exponent of our affection, and the most effectual
expression of our aid.

But if, taking the object of our solicitude by the hand,
we gently lead him to God; if we conduct him to Jesus,
portraying to his view....
  the depth of His love,
  the perfection of His atoning work,
  the sufficiency of His grace,
  His readiness to pardon,
  His power to save,
  the exquisite sensibility of His nature, and thus His
perfect sympathy with every human sorrow; we have
then most truly and most effectually soothed the sorrow,
stanched the wound, and strengthened the hand in God.

There is....
    no sympathy,
    no love,
    no gentleness,
    no tenderness,
    no patience,
like Christ's.

Oh how sweet, how encouraging, to know....
  that in all my afflictions He is afflicted;
  that in all my temptations He is tempted;
  that in all my assaults He is assailed;
  that in all my joys He rejoices;
  that He weeps when I weep;
  that He sighs when I sigh;
  that He suffers when I suffer;
  that He rejoices when I rejoice.

May this truth endear Him to our souls!

May it constrain us to unveil our whole heart to Him,
in the fullest confidence of the closest, most sacred,
and precious friendship. May it urge us to do those
things always which are most pleasing in His sight.

Beloved, never forget; and let these words linger
upon your ear, as the echoes of music that never die;
    in all your sorrows,
    in all your trials,
    in all your needs,
    in all your assaults,
    in all your conscious wanderings,
    in life,
    in death, and
    at the day of judgment; you possess
a friend that sticks closer than a brother!

That friend is Jesus!

Your Almighty Friend!
(Octavius Winslow's, "Christ, the Mighty God")

Because Jesus is the Almighty God, His
people have an Almighty Burden Bearer.

We are a burdened people.

Every believer carries a burden peculiar to himself.

What is your burden, O believer?
  Is it indwelling sin?
  Is it some natural infirmity of the flesh?
  Is it a constitutional weakness?
  Is it some domestic trial?
  Is it a personal or relative trial?
  Is it the loss of property?
  Is it the decay of health?
  Is it soul anxiety?
  Is it mental despondency?

Come, oppressed and burdened believer,
ready to give up all and sink! Behold Jesus,
the Almighty God, omnipotent to transfer
your burden to Himself, and give you rest!

It is well that you are sensible of the pressure,
that you feel your weakness and insufficiency,
and that you are brought to the end of all your
own power.

Now turn to your Almighty Friend, who is
the Creator of the ends of the earth, even
the everlasting God, who does not faint,
neither is weary.

How precious is the promise addressed to you!
"He gives power to those who are tired and worn
out; he offers strength to the weak. Even youths
will become exhausted, and young men will give up.
But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength.
They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run
and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint."

Oh, what strength there is in Jesus for the
weak, and faint, and drooping of His flock!

You are ready to succumb to your foes,
and you think the battle of faith is lost.

Cheer up! Jesus, your Savior, friend, and brother,
is "the Almighty God," and will perfect His strength
in your weakness. The battle is not yours but His!

Jesus sustains our infirmities, bears our
burdens, supplies our needs, and encircles
us with the shield of His Almightiness!

What a Divine spring of consolation and strength
to the tired and afflicted saint is the Almightiness
of Jesus. Your sorrow is too deep, your affliction
too heavy, your difficulty too great for any human
to resolve. It distances in its intensity and magnitude
the sympathy and the power of man.

Come, you tossed with tempest and not comforted;
come, you whose spirit is wounded, whose heart is
broken, whose mind is bowed down to the dust, and
hide for a little while within Christ's sheltering

Jesus is equal to your condition.

His strength is almighty!
His love is almighty!
His grace is almighty!
His sympathy is almighty!
His arm is almighty!
His resources are infinite, fathomless, measureless!

And all this Almightiness is on your side, and will
bring you through the fire and through the water.

Almighty to rescue, He is also your Brother and Friend
to sympathize.  And while His Divine arm encircles,
upholds, and keeps you; His human soul, touched
with the feeling of your infirmities, yearns over
you with all the deep intensity of its compassionate

"The Road to Reality"
(from K. P. Yohannan's book, "The Road to Reality")

All too often, we are willing to be 'students of Christianity', rather than disciples of Christ. The fact is that most are substituting 'learning' and 'information' for practical obedience. Never in history has there been a society with so much 'information' about God, but so little real knowledge of the Holy One. Right doctrine without right living is worthless in the sight of God.

Obviously, the gap between Biblical Christianity and the way we live today is a very big one. The amount of time the average believer spends before a television, reading worldly novels, and in recreation, is amazing.

We are content to sit in our comfortable pews week after week sucking on our 'spiritual baby bottles', so long as the 'religious entertainment' does not interfere with lunch or the ball game. This is 'convenience store' Christianity. The pastor's main job is to find ways to sugarcoat the Gospel message, making sure that he preaches a gospel that offends no one, and runs a church that meets every imaginable mental and physical need.

How 'the flesh' twists and turns to refuse the work of the cross! Where are the believers who will make a deliberate calculation to accept sacrifice and suffering for the sake of following Christ? Real Christians accept suffering as a normal part of following Christ. Unless we choose the 'way of the cross' we will always find ourselves automatically falling into that pattern of 'extravagance' and 'waste' that has become the norm of this culture.

We don't accept 'the nail' because it would mean death to our 'self.' We demand instead the pleasure our desires for self gratification. And we have found 'shepherds' and Bible teachers who will give us a 'feel good theology' to match and justify our lives of sinful rebellion. Much of this 'Santa Claus religion' is centered around a horrible distortion of Bible

doctrine. It denies the demands of the Gospel and says, "You can have the good life NOW, and heaven besides!" It tickles our ears to hear this religion taught. It promises us the services of a god who exists to solve all our problems; making us happy, healthy, popular, successful and rich. This sounds like the false promises of Baal or the idol gods of paganism.

It is obvious that Jesus will have no one among His followers who is wanting to put comfort, family ties or security in this world, ahead of His kingdom. Jesus is saying in effect, "I offer you what I have; hardship, hunger; labor, loneliness rejection, sweat, tears and death. I'm a stranger and pilgrim in this world, and if you follow Me you will have to break away from the clinging attachments of this present life." There is no place in His band for those who are not willing to accept inconvenience, sufferings, and uncertainty. This is still the price of following Christ today, just as it was then.

How many of us need to confess our adulterous love affair with the world? I fear for the nation and people whose Christian churches have forsaken holiness, and separation from sin and the world. The 'spiritual thermometer' of most churches is so low, that a new believer has to become a backslider to feel at home. When the Lord calls you away from this mess of lukewarm, half hearted, plastic Christianity, you can be sure that many will say you are an idiot.

"Dear Lord, we acknowledge that our commitment to You is so shallow. We say we love You, but our actions betray us. Open our eyes so that we see time and eternity as You see them. Forgive us for forgetting we are only strangers and pilgrims on this earth. How foolish we are, O Lord, to store up treasures on this earth and fight to save our lives and preserve them, when You tell us we will lose our lives if we try to do that. We ask You, dear Lord, to forgive us and help us to walk in Your footsteps; forsaking all, denying ourselves, carrying our crosses daily and loving You supremely so Your causes might be furthered in this dark and dying world. In Jesus' name, Amen."

There is one hovering around you each moment!
(Octavius Winslow, "Morning Thoughts")

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 by you, there is one
hovering around you each moment, 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, retracing your steps back
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,
nor flitting of shadow across your path. No law of
nature was altered or suspended; the sun did not
stand 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 round 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 courage 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 saints.

   Soon a gale swept down upon them as they rowed,
   and the sea grew very rough. They were three or four
   miles out when suddenly they saw Jesus walking on
   the water toward the boat. They were terrified, but
   He called out to them, "It is I; don't be afraid."
     John 6:18-20

This incident of 'the disciples in the storm' presents
a striking instance of this. Behold Him standing upon
the shore, eyeing, with riveted gaze, the little boat
as it struggled amid the storm.

They were often invisible to human eye, but not a
moment were they lost to His. Not even when in the
mountain alone in prayer, were they forgotten or
unobserved. He beheld from thence their peril, He
knew their fears, and He hastened to their support.

Stepping from the shore, He approached them. Oh,
how majestic did His form now appear; walking like
a man; and upon the water, like a God! They did
not realize that it was Jesus, and were afraid. But
their knowledge of Him was not necessary to their
safety. It was enough that He knew them. And just as
the storm was at its height, and their fears rose with
their peril, He drew near and said, in His own gentle,
soothing tone, unto them, "It is I; don't be afraid."

GOD with us!
(Octavius Winslow, "Emmanuel; or God with Us")

The virgin will be with child and will give birth
to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel,
which means, 'GOD with us.'

God, in the infinite counsels of His own mind,
resolved upon the salvation of His eternally
chosen and loved people.

He saw that there was no eye to pity them,
and no arm to save them. He resolved upon
our salvation, embarked in it, accomplished it;
and eternity, as it rolls upon its axis, will
magnify His name, and show forth His praise.

O beloved! what an assuring and comforting
truth is this: GOD with us! Now we feel......
  equal to every service,
  prepared for every trial,
  armed for every assault.

Deity is our shield!
Deity is our arm!
Deity is our Father and our Friend!
Deity has died for us!
Deity has atoned for us!
Deity has saved us!
And Deity will bring us safely to the realms of bliss!

Come, then, and lean upon His omnipotent arm!

You have no need which from His infinite supplies
cannot be met; no stone of difficulty in your pilgrimage
which His might cannot remove; no burden which His
arm of power cannot bear, no perplexity which His
wisdom cannot guide. In a word, you have no condition
to which Christ, our ever present God, is not equal.

In faith and humility make practical use of your Savior's
divinity; and when all that is merely 'human' has failed,
broken like a rope of sand, dissolved like a passing vapor;
or has pierced your too fondly leaning hand like a
shattered reed; then take hold of this precious truth,
and say, "My Savior God is with me in all the boundless
resources of His Godhead, why then should I fear?"

Alone with Jesus!
(Octavius Winslow, "Morning Thoughts")

"Suddenly they looked around, and Moses and Elijah
were gone, and only Jesus was with them." Mark 9:8

It is possible, my dear reader, that this page may be
read by you at a period of painful and entire separation
from all public engagements, ordinances, and privileges.

The way which it has pleased God to take thus to set
you aside may be painful and humbling. The inmate
of a sick chamber, or curtained within the house of
mourning, or removed far remote from the sanctuary
of God and the fellowship of the saints, you are,
perhaps, led to inquire, "Lord, why this?"

He replies, "Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet
place and get some rest." Oh the thoughtfulness, the
discrimination, the tenderness of Jesus towards His
people! He has set you apart from public, for private
duties; from communion with others, for communion
with Himself. Ministers, friends, privileges are withdrawn,
and you are; oh enviable state! alone with Jesus!

And now expect the richest and holiest blessing of your life!

Is it sickness? Jesus will make all your bed in your
sickness, and your experience shall be, "His left hand
is under my head, and His right hand embraces me."

Is it bereavement? Jesus will soothe your sorrow and
sweeten your loneliness; for He loves to visit the house
of mourning, and to accompany us to the grave, to
weep with us there.

Is it exile from Christian fellowship? Still it is Jesus who
speaks, "I will be a sanctuary to you during your time in exile."

The very circumstances, new and peculiar as they are,
in which you are placed, God can convert into new and
peculiar mercies; yes, into the richest means of grace
with which your soul was ever fed.

The very void you feel, the very need you deplore, may
be God's way of satiating you with His goodness.

Ah! does not God see your grace in your very desire for grace?

Does He not mark your sanctification in your very thirsting for holiness?

And can He not turn that desire, and convert that thirst,
into the very blessing itself? Truly He can, and often does.

He can now more than supply the absence of others by the presence of Himself.

Oh, who can compute the blessings which now may flow
into your soul from this season of exile and of solitude?


No, it is not solitude! Never were you less alone than now.

You are alone with Jesus, and He is infinitely better
than health, wealth, friends, ministers, or sanctuary,
for He is the substance and the sweetness of all.

And oh, if while thus alone with Jesus you are led more
deeply to search out the plague of your own heart, and
the love of His; to gather up the trailing garment; to
burnish the rusted armor; to trim the glimmering lamp;
and to cultivate a closer fellowship with your Father,
how much soever you may mourn the necessity and
the cause, you yet will not regret that the Lord has
set you apart from others, that you might rest awhile
in His blest embrace; alone with Jesus!

Look up!
(Octavius Winslow, "Morning Thoughts")

"My voice shall You hear in the morning, O Lord;
 in the morning will I direct my prayer unto You,
 and will look up." Psalm 5:3

"The first thing I do when I awake in the morning,"
remarks an aged saint of God, "is to ask the Holy
Spirit to take possession of my mind, my imagination,
my heart, directing, sanctifying, and controlling my
every thought, feeling, and word."

What profound spiritual wisdom is there in this conception!

"In the morning will I direct my prayer unto You, and will look up."

Look up!

Ah! here is the true and befitting attitude of the spiritual soul.

Looking up for the day's supply....
  of grace to restrain,
  of power to keep,
  of wisdom to guide,
  of patience to suffer,
  of meekness to endure,
  of strength to bear,
  of faith to overcome,
  of love to obey, and
  of hope to cheer.

Jesus stands at the Treasury of Infinite grace, ready
to meet every application, and to supply every need.

His fullness is for a poor, needy, asking people.

He loves for us to bring the empty vessel.

Dear reader, let your first thought be of God, and
your first incense be to Jesus, and your first prayer
be to the Holy Spirit, and thus anointed with fresh
oil, you will glide serenely and safely through the
day, beginning, continuing, and ending it with God!

"Why are you cast down, O my soul?"
(William Bridge, "A Lifting Up for the Downcast")

If you can say, "God is my Father", have you any
reason for your discouragements?  Yet how often
are God's own people discouraged and cast down!

"Why are you cast down, O my soul?"

What a mighty, vast difference there is between
 a godly man and a wicked upon this account.

A godly man has no reason for his discouragements,
    whatever his condition may be.

A wicked man has no reason for his encouragements,
    whatever his condition may be.

A godly man is apt to be much discouraged,
    but he has no true reason for it.

A wicked man is apt to be encouraged,
    but he has no true reason for it.

It is said of the wicked, "God is angry with the
wicked every day."  Whatever the day may be,
God is angry with them. Not one day goes over
his head, but God is angry with him; and therefore,
whatever his condition may be, there is no reason
for encouragement.

But as for a godly, gracious man, though his
present condition be ever so sad, and his soul
ever so much cast down, yet he has no reason
to be discouraged, whatever his condition is.

"Why are you cast down, O my soul?"

What a glorious condition are the saints in!

Who would not be in love with this condition!

Who would not be in Christ!

Who would not leave the ways of the wicked!

Who would not be godly!

"Why are you cast down, O my soul?"

Go and lay your icy heart upon His flaming heart of love!
(From Octavius Winslow's, "Christ, the Everlasting Father")

The everlasting love of Christ never veers, never
chills, and knows not the shadow of a change.

Measuring Christ's love to us by our love to Him,
we often imagine that it must necessarily be
affected by the cold, chilling atmosphere of our
hearts; that when our love to Him ebbs, His love
to us also ebbs; that when ours proves fickle
and treacherous, wandering after some creature
idol, then His love, exacting reprisals, in like
manner starts off, and leaves us for another
and perhaps more faithful object.

No! the love of Jesus to His saints, is as eternal
as His being, is as unchangeable as His nature.

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?"

Yield not, then, to despondency, beloved, when
you discover the mercury of your love sink, even
though it be to freezing point.

There may be times when you can scarcely
detect its existence, so faint its beating pulse,
so congealed its warm current.

But since Christ's love is not the effect, but the
cause of ours to Him, and is an everlasting love,
glowing in His heart ages that cannot be numbered
or measured, before one pulse throbbed in ours;
we may take comfort in the assurance that no
variation of affection in us towards the Savior
can in the slightest degree affect the tenderness,
depth, or immutability of the great love with
which He has loved us.

Look, then, to Christ's love to you,
  and not to your love to Christ!

Go and lay your icy heart upon  His flaming
heart of love!  Go to His cross, and there muse
upon the love that bore your sins, that suffered
and bled, that wept, and groaned, and died for you,
paying the death penalty of your transgressions;
and, while you thus muse, the flame will kindle,
the fire will burn, and your tongue will break forth
into singing!

Poor worldling, think of this!
(Octavius Winslow, "Christ, the Prince of Peace")

The world, its enjoyments and pleasures, its
riches and honors, can give no peace to the soul.

The world is "like the troubled sea, which casts
up mire and dirt." With all its fleshly enjoyments,
attractions of rank and affluence, of pomp and
power, the worldling is an utter stranger to real,
substantial, satisfying peace.

"There is no peace, says any God, to the wicked."

Poor worldling, think of this!

How long will you seek this priceless, precious
pearl of peace, down in the dark mine of this fallen,
rebellious, sin tainted, and curse blighted world?

All is turmoil and change here.

All is sickening disappointment here.

And when you....
  have traversed every continent,
  and have sipped every spring,
  and have plucked every flower,
  and have eaten of every fruit,
  and have heard every claim of fame,
  and tried all of earth's good things,
your cry still is, "Who will show me any good?"

Poor worldling, think of this!

For me a worm!
(From Octavius Winslow's, "The Divine Attributes
Entwining Around the Tempted and Trembling Believer"

O what a truth is this!

The Son of God offering himself up a sacrifice for sin!

He who knew no sin; who was holy, harmless, and
undefiled; not one thought of evil in his heart, yet
made sin, or a sin offering!

O the magnitude of the thought!

If God had not himself declared it, we could not have
believed it, though an angel's trumpet had announced it.

"O blessed and adorable Immanuel! Was this the end
and design of your intense and mysterious sufferings?
Was it that You should obey, bear the sin, endure the
curse, and bow your head in death, that I might go free?
Was it in my stead, and in my behalf? O unexampled love!
O infinite and free grace! That God should become incarnate;
that the Holy One should so take upon Him sin, as to be
dealt with by stern justice as though He were Himself the
sinner; that He should drain the cup of wrath, give His back
to the smiters, endure the shame and the spitting, and at
last be suspended upon the cross, and pour out His last
drop of most precious blood; and all this for me! For me
a rebel! For me a worm! For me the chief of sinners!"

Be astonished, O heavens! and be amazed, O earth!

Was ever love like this?

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 marvellous 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.

So fathomless, boundless, and inexhaustible!
(Octavius Winslow's, "Christ, the Wonderful")

Christ is wonderful in His love.

Love was the first and eternal link in the golden
chain lowered from the highest throne in heaven
down to the lowest depth of earth.

That Christ should love us was the beginning of
wonders. When we endeavor to comprehend that
love, measure it, fathom it, scale it; we learn that
it has heights we cannot reach, depths we cannot
sound, lengths and breadths we cannot measure!

Such love,
such divine love,
such infinite love,
such everlasting love,
such redeeming, dying love,
is an Ocean whose eternal waves waft into our
fallen world every wonder of God and of heaven.

That Jesus should love such beings as us; that
He should love us while we were yet sinners;
that He should set his heart upon us, choose us,
die for us, call us, and finally bring us to glory,
knowing what we were, and what we should prove,
Oh, this is wondrous love indeed!

Plunge into this fathomless, boundless ocean of love,
O you sin burdened one!  It will cover all your sins,
it will efface all your guilt; it will flood over all your
unworthiness; and, floating upon its golden waves,
it will gently waft you to the shore of eternal blessedness.

How often have you wondered why Christ should set
His heart upon such a one as you!  And is it not a
wonder that, amid all your fickleness, backslidings,
cold, base returns, this love of God towards you has
not chilled or changed?

But do not rest, do not be satisfied with your present
limited experience of Christ's wonderful love. It is so
marvelously great. This Ocean of love is so fathomless,
boundless, and inexhaustible, you may plunge, with
all your infirmities, sin, and sorrow, into its fulness,
exclaiming, "O the depth!"

"The well is deep," drink abundantly, O beloved!

Solemn and heart searching questions!
 (Octavius Winslow, "The Impenitent Sinner Warned")

 Do you think you are converted?

 What reason have you for thinking so?

 Upon what grounds do you base this belief?

Can you give a reason, with meekness and fear, of this
supposed hope that is in you?

 Where is the evidence of the mighty, spiritual, internal change?

 Has that heart of yours ever been broken, softened, humbled?

 Has it ever mourned over sin before God?

 Have you ever sought and found a secret place for repentance,
 confession, and prayer?

 Have your views of sin essentially altered?

 Do you hate, abhor, and loathe sin; and is it the chief
 cause of your daily sorrow?

 Are your views of yourself materially changed?

 How does your own righteousness appear to you?

 Are you humble, meek, gentle?

 Are you living as a converted, regenerated man?

 Are you living as a child of God?

 Are you living as an heir of glory?

 Is your life that of a cross bearing disciple of the Lord Jesus?

 Are you living as one who is a stranger and a pilgrim here?

 Is your whole life, your daily walk, your pursuits and the governing
 principles of your conduct, those of an individual acquainted with the
 experimental power of the gospel?

 Are you a lover of the world, grasping for its honors and its wealth?

 Are you living the humble, self denying life of one professing to "love not
 the world nor the things of the world?"

 Be honest with your soul and with God!

 These are solemn and heart searching questions!

A self righteous man!

(Octavius Winslow, "The Man of God Sifted")

I do not hesitate to say, that a self righteous man,
a man going about to establish a righteousness of
his own in opposition to the righteousness of Christ,
is, with all his works, with all his charities, a greater
offense to God than the poor outcast whose life is
one mass of sin.

A self righteous man denies the holiness of Jehovah,
turns his back upon the great work of God's dear Son,
and expects to get to heaven on the basis of his own

But when the Holy Spirit convicts a man, He uproots
his love of self, his trusting in good works, and lays
the soul prostrate at the feet of Jesus.

"What is more, I consider everything a loss compared
to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus
my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I
consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be
found in him, not having a righteousness of my own
that comes from the law, but that which is through
faith in Christ; the righteousness that comes from
God and is by faith."  Philippians 3:8-9

My reader, have you been so separated from a
righteousness to which you are so closely wedded
by nature, but from which, if saved, you must be
entirely divorced by grace?

For me, a poor worthless sinner!
(Octavius Winslow, "Morning Thoughts")

"He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so
 that we might die to sins and live for righteousness;
 by His wounds you have been healed." 1 Peter 2:24

Blessed announcement! Not the less hateful, nor hated,
is the sin because it is forgiven and entirely blotted out.

Oh no! Let the Lord touch your heart, Christian reader,
with a sense of His pardoning love, with the assurance
of His forgiveness, and you will go and hate, and mortify,
and forsake it, more resolutely and effectually than ever.

And must the Son of God become the Son of
man, that those who are by nature children
of wrath, might become the sons of God!

Must God, the eternal God, the high and lofty One,
stoop so low as to become incarnate, and that for
sinners; for me, a poor worthless sinner!

To save me from eternal woe, must the Son
of Man suffer, agonize, and die; die in my
stead, die for my sins, die an accursed death!

Ah! Lord, what must sin be, what must my sin be!

How little have I thought of it, how little have
I mourned for it, still less have I hated it as I
ought to have hated it!

Lord, how vile, how unutterably vile I am!

Oh hated sin! Do You forgive it, Father of my
mercies? This only makes it more hateful still.

Pour all your secrets into His ear!
(Octavius Winslow, "Morning Thoughts")

"The throne of grace." Hebrews 4:16

Do not forget, dear reader, it is the throne of grace,
to which you come in prayer. It is a throne, because
God is a Sovereign. He will ever have the suppliant
recognize this perfection of His nature. He hears
and answers as a Sovereign.

He hears whom He will, and answers what and when He will.

There must be no dictation to God, no refusing to
bow to His sovereignty, no rebelling against His will.

If the answer is delayed, or God should seem to
withhold it altogether, remember that "He gives
no account of any of His matters," and that He has
a right to answer or not to answer, as seems good
in His sight.

Glorious perfection of God, beaming from the mercy seat!

But it is also a throne of grace. And why? Because
a God of grace sits upon it, and the scepter of grace
is held out from it, and all the favors bestowed
there are the blessings of grace.

God has many thrones.
There is the throne of creation,
the throne of providence,
the throne of justice, and
the throne of redemption.

But this is the throne of grace.

This is just the throne we need! We are....
  the poor,
  the needy,
  the helpless,
  the vile,
  the sinful,
  the unworthy.
We have nothing to bring but our deep wretchedness
and poverty, nothing but our complaints, our miseries,
our crosses, our groanings, our sighs, and tears.

But it is the throne of grace. For just such is it erected!

It is set up....
  in a world of woe;
  in the midst of the wilderness;
  in the very land of the enemy;
  in the valley of tears,
because it is the throne of grace.

It is a God of grace who sits upon it, and all the
blessings He dispenses from it are the bestowments
of grace. Pardon, justification, adoption, peace,
comfort, light, direction; all, all is of grace.

No worth or worthiness in the creature draws it forth; no
price he may bring purchases it; no tears, or complainings,
or misery moves the heart of God to compassion.

All is of grace.

God is so full of compassion, and love, and mercy,
He does not need to be stimulated to pour it forth.

It gushes from His heart as from a full and overflowing
fountain, and flows into the bosom of....
   the poor,
   the lowly,
   the humble, and
   the contrite;
enriching, comforting, and sanctifying their souls.

Then, dear reader, whatever be your case, you may come!

If it is a throne of grace, as it is, then why not you?

Why stand afar off?

If the poor, the penniless, the disconsolate, the guilty
are welcome here; if this throne is crowded by such,
why make yourself an exception? Why not come too?

What is your case, what is your sorrow, what is your
burden? Ah! perhaps you can disclose it to no earthly
ear. You can tell it  only to God. Then take it to Him.

Let me tell you for your encouragement, God has His
secret audience chamber, where He will meet you alone,
and where no eye shall see you, and no ear shall hear
you, but His; where you may open all your heart, and
disclose your real case, and pour all your secrets
into His ear!

Precious encouragement!

It comes from those lips into which grace was poured.

"But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door
 behind you, and pray to your Father secretly. Then your
 Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you."

Upon this promise, go to the throne of grace.

Whatever be the need, temporal or spiritual, take it there.

God loves your secrets!

The best of saints would fall into the worst of sins!
(From Octavius Winslow's, "Christ, the Mighty God")

"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and
they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they
shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of
my hand. My Father, who has given them to me,
is greater than all; no one can snatch them out
of my Father's hand." John 10:27-29.

As the Almighty God, Christ is able to preserve
to eternal salvation all His saints. His power is
engaged, as His promise is given, to bring to
glory every soul redeemed by His most precious
blood. All whom the Father has given to Him,
shall come to Him, and not one shall perish!

And truly, no power but an Almighty one
could keep a single saint from final falling.

The best and holiest saint would perish, but
for the upholding, preserving power of Christ.

"Hold me up," is one of the wisest, and should
be one of the constant prayers of a saint of God.

David fell, and Solomon fell, and Peter fell, as
if to teach the Church in all future ages, that no
child of God could keep himself; but that, left
to himself, the best of saints would fall into
the worst of sins!

But not one shall finally perish!

They may stumble and fall; fall to the breaking
of their bones, and go limping and halting to the
grave. Nevertheless, the almightiness of Jesus is
pledged to restore and finally to bring them safely
into the realms of eternal bliss!

"Kept by the power of God through faith unto
salvation," the feeblest lamb given to Christ by
the Father, and by Him ransomed with atoning
blood, and inhabited by the Spirit, shall be
brought safe to glory. Having begun the work
of grace in your soul, He has power to complete it.

The little things of life!
(Octavius Winslow, "Morning Thoughts")

"Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered."
  Luke 12:7

You know so little of God, my reader, because
  you live at such a distance from God.

You have so little transaction with Him,
so little confession of sin,
so little searching of your own conscience,
so little probing of your own heart,
so little transaction with Him in the little things of life.

You deal with God in great matters.

You take great trials to God, great perplexities, great
needs; but in the minutiae of each day's history, in
what are called the little things of life, you have no
dealings with God whatever; and consequently you know...
    so little of the love,
    so little of the wisdom,
    so little of the glory,
of this glorious covenant God and reconciled Father.

I tell you, the man who lives with God in little matters,
who walks with God in the minutiae of his life, is the
man who becomes the best acquainted with God; with
His character, His faithfulness, His love.

To meet God in my daily trials, to take to Him the trials
of my calling, the trials of my church, the trials of my
family, the trials of my own heart; to take to Him that
which brings the shade upon my brow, that rends the
sigh from my heart; to remember it is not too trivial
to take to God; above all, to take to Him the least
taint upon the conscience, the slightest pressure of
sin upon the heart, the softest conviction of departure
from God; to take it to Him, and confess it at the foot
of the cross, with the hand of faith upon the bleeding
sacrifice; oh! these are the paths in which a man
becomes intimately and closely acquainted with God!

Infinite wisdom directs every event!
(from Dagg's "Manual of Theology")

"And we know that God causes everything to work
 together for the good of those who love God and
 are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

It should fill us with joy, that God's infinite
 wisdom guides the affairs of the world.

Many of its events are shrouded in darkness and
mystery, and inextricable confusion sometimes
seems to reign. Often wickedness prevails, and
God seems to have forgotten the creatures that
He has made.

Our own path through life is dark and devious,
  and beset with difficulties and dangers.

How full of consolation is the doctrine, that
infinite wisdom directs every event, brings
order out of confusion, and light out of darkness,
and, to those who love God, causes all things,
whatever be their present aspect and apparent
tendency, to work together for good.
"And we know that God causes everything to work
 together for the good of those who love God and
 are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

Intense!  Mysterious!  Vicarious!
(Octavius Winslow, "Morning Thoughts")

"The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all."
    Isaiah 53:6

How shall we account for the sufferings of Christ,
which were intense, and mysterious, if not on the
ground of their vicarious character?

Those sufferings were intense in the extreme.

There was a severity in those who, if not required
by Divine justice, would be perfectly unaccountable.

Heaven, earth, and hell, all were in league against Him.

Survey His eventful history; mark every step which He
took from Bethlehem to Calvary; and what do we learn
of His sufferings, but that they were of the most
extraordinary and intense character.

His enemies, like dogs of war, were let loose upon Him.

His professed followers themselves stood aghast at
the scenes through which their Lord was passing; one
betraying Him, another denying Him, and all, in the
hour of His extremity, forsaking Him.

Is it any wonder that, in the anguish of His soul,
His suffering humanity should exclaim, "My Father!
If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken
away from Me. Yet I want Your will, not Mine."

In that awful moment, all the waves and billows
of God's wrath, due to the sins of His people, were
passing over Him!

The Father, the last resource of sympathy,
veiled His face, and withdrew from Him His
sensible presence; and on the cross, draining
the cup of sorrow, He fulfilled the prophecy,
which spoke of Him; "I have trodden the
winepress alone; no one was there to help Me."

His sufferings, too, were mysterious!

Why a holy, harmless being, whose whole life had
been one act of unparalleled beneficence, should be
doomed to persecution so severe, to sufferings so
acute, and to a death so painful and ignominious,
the denier of the atonement must be embarrassed
to account.

But the doctrine of a vicarious sacrifice explains it all,
and presents the only key to the mystery. "For God
made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for
our sin, so that we could be made right with God
through Christ." "Christ redeemed us from the curse
of the law by becoming a curse for us."

All the mystery now is gone!

He was "made sin for us." He was "made a curse for us."
He bore the sin, and consequently the penalty of sin.

Had we been left, Christian reader, to bear our
sins, we must inevitably have borne alone the
punishment of our sins.

But Jesus took upon Him our sins!

For this, He assumed our nature.
For this, He sorrowed in Gethsemane.
For this, the law of God exacted its utmost claim.
For this, the justice of God inflicted the utmost penalty.

Oh, what a truth is this!

The Son of God offering Himself up a sacrifice for sin!

He who knew no sin; who was holy, harmless,
and undefiled; not one thought of evil in His
heart, yet made sin, or a sin offering!

Oh the greatness of the thought!

God alone can write it upon the heart.

If God had not Himself declared it, we could not have
believed it, though an angel's tongue had announced it!

Reader! marvel not that you must be born again!
(From Octavius Winslow's, "The Restored Sheep")

Alas! the life of an unconverted person is
one entire, unbroken, departure from God!

What hue sufficiently dark can portray the
life of an unrenewed man? He may be....
  upright and honorable as a man of the world;
  faithful in all the relations of life;
  admired for his private rectitude, and
  honored for his public character and career.
His morality, stainless;
his virtue, unquestioned;
his liberality, generous;
his philanthropy, distinguished;
his religion, admired.

And yet, destitute of the converting grace of God;
a stranger to the great change of the new birth;
an unbeliever in the Lord Jesus Christ, his life is
but a blank; and dying in this condition, he can
in no way enter into the kingdom of heaven!

Reader! marvel not that you must be born again!


(From Octavius Winslow's, "The Divine Attributes
Entwining Around the Tempted and Trembling Believer"

The doctrine of God's eternal, sovereign, and
unconditional election of a people; his redemption
of them by the sacrifice of his Son Jesus Christ;
his particular and effectual calling of them by the
Eternal Spirit; their complete pardon and justification,
and their preservation to eternal glory; these are
God's truths, and not to be rejected. They come
from God, and, when received in the heart, they
lead to God; they have their origin in him, and to
him they draw the soul.

Precious truths!

How they abase the sinner!

How they exalt the dear Redeemer!

How they glorify God!

How they empty, humble, and sanctify the soul!  

Out of black sinners
God can make bright saints!

He can take hearts of stone
away, and give hearts of flesh!

He can take the infidel, and
create in him a mighty faith!

He can take the harlot, and
make her a pattern of purity!

He can take the lowest of the low,
and the vilest of the vile, and put
them among the princes of his people!
(from Spurgeon's sermon, "The Singular Origin
of a Christian Man" No. 1829, Ephesians 2:10.)

A lost and undone sinner?
(Winslow, "The Impenitent Sinner Warned")

No man shall value Christ, or His precious
atonement, until he has been made to see and
feel himself to be a lost and undone sinner.

Christ is precious only to the soul that feels....
   its spiritual poverty,
   its vileness,
   its emptiness,
   its nothingness.

To such an individual, Jesus is everything.

The deeper the Eternal Spirit leads him to an
acquaintance with himself, the more precious is
that Savior, whom he now finds to be the very
Savior that he needs.

The daily discovery of....
   indwelling corruption,
   inordinate affection,
   self esteem,
   love of the world,
and the innumerable other forms which indwelling
depravity assumes, endears to him the fountain
that cleanses from all sin; he repairs afresh to it,
washes again and again in it; and these daily
applications to the atoning blood make sin
increasingly sinful, and strengthen the panting
of his soul for divine conformity.

When He withdraws His restraining hand!
(from Arthur Pink's, "The Life of Elijah")

The strongest Christians are as weak as
water, when God leaves them to themselves,
and withholds His support.

Samson was as powerless as any other man as
soon as the Spirit of the Lord departed from him.

It matters not what growth in grace has been
made, how well experienced we may be in the
spiritual life, or how eminent the position we
have occupied in the Lord's service.

When He withdraws His restraining hand
the madness which in in our hearts by nature at
once asserts itself, gains the upper hand, and
leads us into a course of folly!

Until we throw off this cumbrous clay!
(Octavius Winslow, "Morning Thoughts")

The heart is the natural and fertile
 soil of every noxious weed of sin.

As soon as one sin is cut down, another springs up.

Yes, the same root appears again above
 the surface, with new life and vigor.

It requires a ceaseless care and vigilance,
a perpetual mortification of sin in the body,
until we throw off this cumbrous clay,
and go where sin is known no more.

He will have the supreme affection of his people.
(From Octavius Winslow's, "The Entire Pardon
  and Justification of the Believing Sinner")

The child of God is as much called to live on
Christ for sanctification, as for pardon of sin.

Happy and holy is he who thus lives on Jesus.

The fullness of grace that is treasured up in Christ,
why is it there? For the sanctification of His people;
for the subduing of all their sins.

O forget not, then, that He is the Refiner, as well as
the Savior; the Sanctifier as well as the Redeemer.

Take your indwelling corruptions to Him; take the
besetting sin, the weakness, the infirmity, of
whatever nature it is, at once to Jesus. His grace
can make you all that He would have you to be.

Remember, too, that this is one of the great
privileges of the life of faith; living on Christ
for the daily subduing of all sin.

This is the faith that purifies the heart; and it
purifies by leading the believer to live out of
himself upon Christ. To this blessed and holy
life our Lord Jesus referred, when speaking of
its necessity in order to the spiritual fruitfulness
of the believer:
"Abide in Me, and I will abide in you. For a branch
cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine,
and you cannot be fruitful apart from Me. Yes, I
am the vine; you are the branches. Those who
abide in Me, and I in them, will produce much
fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing." John 15:4-5

O that each individual Christian would but realize
this truth: that simpler, closer, more experimental
views of Jesus would essentially strengthen the
tone of inward spirituality and comfort!

The great secret of all comfort in seasons of affliction,
is to take the affliction, as it comes, simply to Christ!

And the great secret of all holiness, is to take
 the corruption, as it rises, simply to Christ!

It is this living upon Christ for all he needs, this going
to Christ under all circumstances and at all seasons,
which forms the happy and holy life of a child of God.

There is no other path for him to walk in.

The moment he turns from Christ, he becomes like
a vessel loosed from its moorings, and driven at the
mercy of the winds from billow to billow.

Christ must be all in all to him.

domestic comforts,
church privileges,
means of grace,
nothing must substitute for Jesus.

And why does the Lord so frequently discipline the soul?

O why, but to open away through which He Himself
might enter the believer, and convince that lonely,
bereaved, and desolate heart, that He is a substitute
for everything, while nothing shall ever be a substitute
for Him!

He will have the supreme affection of His people.

They shall find their all in Him; and to this end He
sends afflictions, crosses, and disappointments; to
wean them from their idols, and draw them to Himself.

(Winslow, "The Anxious Sinner Venturing on Christ")

Towards a sinner standing in the righteousness of
his Son, God's heart is love, all love, and nothing
but love. Not an unkind thought lodging there; not
a repulsive feeling dwelling there; all is love, and
love of the most tender character.

The love of God gushes from his heart, and
flows down through the channel of the cross of
Christ, to a poor, repenting, believing sinner.

Yes, we dare affirm, that towards his chosen people,
there never has been, and there never will be one
thought of unkindness, of anger, of rebuke in the
heart of God. From eternity it has been love, through
time it is love, and on through eternity to come it
will be love.

"What! Are not their afflictions, their chastisements,
the rough and thorny path they tread, proofs of God's
displeasure? What! Is that individual loved of God,
whom I see yonder bearing that heavy and daily cross;
against whom billow after billow dashes, and to whom
tragic messenger after messenger is sent; whose
gourds are withered in a night, and whose fountains
are all broken in a day; whose body is diseased, whose
domestic comforts are fled; who is poor, feeble, and
destitute; What! Is that individual beloved of God?"

Go and ask that afflicted saint; go and ask that cross
bearing disciple; go and ask that son and daughter of
disease and penury; and they will tell you, their Father's
dealings with them are the most costly proofs of his love;
that instead of unkindness in that cross, there was love;
instead of harshness in that rebuke, there was tenderness;
  and that when he withered that gourd,
  and broke up that cistern,
  and removed that earthly prop,
  and blighted that budding hope,
it was but to pour the flood of his own love into
the heart, and satiate the soul with his goodness.

O dear cross!

O sweet affliction!

O precious discipline!

Thus to open the heart of God;
thus to unlock the treasury of his love;
thus to bring God near to the soul, and
the soul near to God.

We convert our blessings into poisons
(Octavius Winslow, "Morning Thoughts")

"Little children, keep yourselves from idols." 1 John 5:21

An idolatrous and unsanctified attachment to the creature
has again and again crucified love to Christ in the heart.

Upon the same principle that no man can love the world
and God with a like supreme and kindred affection, so no
man can give to Christ and the creature the same intensity
of regard.

And yet, how often has the creature stolen the heart from its lawful Sovereign!

That heart that was once so simply and so supremely
the Lord's, those affections that clung to Him with such
purity and power of grasp, have now been transferred
to another and an inferior object.

The piece of clay that God had given but to deepen the
obligation, and heighten the soul's love to Himself, has
been molded into an idol, before which the heart pours
its daily incense.

The flower that He has caused to spring forth but to
endear His own beauty, and make His own name more
fragrant, has supplanted the "Rose of Sharon" in the bosom.

Oh! is it thus that we abuse our mercies?

Is it thus that we convert our blessings into poisons?

Is it thus that we allow the things that were sent to endear
the heart of our God, and to make the cross, through which
they came, more precious, to allure our affections from
their holy and blessed center?

Fools that we are, to love the creature more than the Creator!

Dear reader, why has God been disciplining you as it may
be, He has? Why has He removed your idols, crumbled into
dust your piece of clay, and blown witheringly upon your
beauteous flower?


Because He hates idolatry; and idolatry is essentially the
same, whether it be offered to a lifeless, shapeless stock,
or to a being of intellect and beauty.

And what does His voice speak in every stream that He
dries, in every plant that He blows upon, and in every
disappointment He writes upon the creature?

"My son, give me your heart. I want your love, your pure
and supreme affection. I want to be the one and only
object of your delight. I gave my Son for you; His life for
yours. I sent my Spirit to quicken, to renew, to seal, and
possess you for myself; all this I did that I might have your
heart. To possess myself of this, I have smitten your gourds,
removed your idols, broken your earthly dependences, and
have sought to detach your affections from the creature,
that they may arise, undivided and unfettered, and entwine
around One who loves you with an undying love."