Grace Gems for August 2001
Extract the honey from the Word!
(Winslow, "Retirement, The School
and Discipline of Spiritual Life")
The frivolous and frothy literature of the day, of
which, alas! the press is so prolific, is exerting a
most baneful influence upon the spiritual life of
many Christian professors.
In numberless cases the exaggerated fiction;
the sensational story; the high wrought romance;
is supplanting those works contributed by the
most highly cultivated, spiritual minds.
The effect of this upon the Christianity of the
age, must be deteriorating and disastrous in
Hence the sickly life exhibited
by many religious professors!
The prevailing taste for this vapid, worldly
literature lowers the intellectual powers of the
mind, and impairs the spiritual powers of the soul.
What, then, is the great antidote to
this far circulating moral poison?
We unhesitatingly answer; the private and
devout study of God's word. We believe that
the Bible can only be spiritually and experimentally
understood as the student retreats from the arena
of religious controversy, into the privacy of his
chamber, and there, as upon his knees, invoking
the aid and teaching of the Holy Spirit.
It is not always in the crowd, and amid the
voices of conflicting interpreters, or even
from the pulpit, that the literal and spiritual
meaning of the Scriptures is understood; but,
when we withdraw into the privacy of the closet,
or the solitude of the sick chamber, He explains
to us, and causes us to understand, the mind of
the Spirit in the Word as at no other time and
in no other way.
And, oh! in the quietude of that separation;
in the stillness of that hour; you may have
closer communion with God; know more of
Christ and understand more of the truth,
than at any previous period of your spiritual
life! "And when they were alone, He explained
all things to His disciples."
Oh, it is thus when sequestered from man,
and only with God, we excavate the gold
and extract the honey from the Word!
This Precious Anointing!
("The Precious Anointing" Octavius Winslow)
This holy anointing of the Spirit will impart
clearness to your mind, so that you shall
have a right judgment in all things.
It will impart sweetness to your temper;
gentleness to your spirit, and will give you
a lowly, loving, self condemning heart.
It will make your behavior towards others
more Christlike. It will fill you with charity
and love; the grace of kindness will be in
your heart, and the law of kindness on your lip.
This precious anointing is so soul transforming,
so 'Christ assimilating' in its influence, that it
is impossible to partake of it in any degree and
not be like Jesus.
When you see a religious professor who is....
proud in heart,
lofty in spirit,
covetous in his aims,
you see one who is lacking this anointing.
He is not sitting at the feet of Jesus.
The path of spiritual declension
is a 'sloped plane', each step accelerating
the rapidity of the soul's descent.
It commences at the closet. The restraining
of prayer; especially private devotion; is the
first stage in the decay and declension of the
believer in the divine life.
Soon will follow the fascination and power of
the world; and when the world enters like a flood,
Christ and prayer and eternal realities are swept
before its impetuous torrent, then the gracious
soul is stranded upon the bleak, rock bound coast
of bitter remorse and dark despair.
(From Octavius Winslow's "Prayer Out of Soul Depths")
The sins of our most holy things!
(Octavius Winslow "Contrition and Confession")
Beloved, all that we do for God, and for Christ,
and for our fellows, is deformed and tainted by
human infirmity and sin.
A close scrutiny and analysis of our most saintly
act would discover the leprosy of iniquity deeply
hidden beneath its apparent loveliness and sanctity.
How humbling, yet how true!
We have need....
to weep over our tears,
to repent of our repentances, and
to confess our confessions.
And, when our most fervent prayer has been breathed,
and our most self denying act has been performed,
and our most liberal offering has been presented,
and our most powerful sermon has been preached,
and our sweetest anthem has poured forth its music,
we have need to repair to the "blood that cleanses
from ALL sin," even the sins of our most holy things!
How instructive and impressive the type! "You shall
make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like
the engravings of a signet, Holiness to the Lord...
And it shall be upon Aaron's forehead, that Aaron
may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the
children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts;
and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they
may be accepted before the Lord."
Thus has Christ, our true Aaron, made a full Atonement
for the "iniquity of our holy things;" and the mitre is
always upon His head, that our persons and our offerings
may be ever accepted before the Lord.
It is the privilege of the child of God to "die daily."
the power of inbred sin,
the lusts of the flesh;
the pride of life;
the attractions of the world;
the idolatry of the creature, and
the still greater idolatry of self.
(Winslow, "The Depression and Revivification of Spiritual Life")
This divine secret!
(from Octavius Winslow's "Human Care Transferred to God")
"Casting all your cares upon
Him; for He cares for you."
How full of soothing and repose are these words!
Where, in the world's wilderness, grows the flower
of heart's ease as it blooms and blossoms here?
What cares have they lightened!
What anxieties have they removed!
What burdens have they unclasped!
What springs of joy and comfort and hope have
they unsealed in many a sad and oppressed heart!
But do you not, beloved reader, need to be put in
constant remembrance of this divine secret of rest
amid toil, of repose amid disquietude, of soothing
amid corroding cares, and of confidence and hope
in the midst of change and depression?
Bewildered and oppressed by the multitude of anxious
thoughts within you, is there not a danger of being
so absorbed by the care as to overlook the Caretaker?
to forget the heart's ease in the overwhelming of the
"Casting all your cares upon
Him; for He cares for you."
It is I
The following is from Octavius Winslow's sermon,
"Be Not Afraid Or, The Voice of Jesus in the Storm"
"Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." Mark 6:50
Listen, then, to the voice of Jesus in the storm.
It is I who raised the tempest in your soul,
and will control it.
It is I who sent your affliction, and will be
with you in it.
It is I who kindled the furnace, and will watch
the flames, and bring you through it.
It is I who formed your burden, who carved your
cross, and who will strengthen you to bear it.
It is I who mixed your cup of grief, and will
enable you to drink it with meek submission
to your Father's will.
It is I who took from you worldly substance,
who bereft you of your child, of the wife of
your bosom, of the husband of your youth,
and will be infinitely better to you than
husband, wife, or child.
It is I who have done it all!
I make the clouds my chariot, and clothe
myself with the tempest as with a garment.
The night hour is my time of coming, and
the dark, surging waves are the pavement
upon which I walk.
"Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."
It is I , your Friend, your Brother, your Savior!
I am causing all the circumstances of
your life to work together for your good.
It is I who permitted....
the enemy to assail you,
the slander to blast you,
the unkindness to wound you,
the need to press you!
Your affliction did not spring out of the ground,
but came down from above; a heaven sent
blessing disguised as an angel of light clad
in a robe of ebony.
I have sent all in love!
This sickness is not unto death,
but for the glory of God.
This bereavement shall not always
bow you to the earth, nor drape in
changeless gloom your life.
It is I who ordered, arranged,
and controlled it all!
In every stormy wind,
in every darksome night,
in every lonesome hour,
in every rising fear,
the voice of Jesus shall be heard, saying,
"Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."
The sole occupant of this boundless universe!
("The Preciousness of God's Thoughts" Winslow)
It marvelous that God should think of us as He does.
God is infinitely great and holy; all worlds, all beings,
all events occupy His mind. Yet, He has individual
thoughts of His children; not mere passing glances
of the mind, but involving the pre-determination
and pre arrangement of each event, circumstance,
and step of our personal history, trivial though it
be but the falling of a hair from our head.
This is a truth too mighty to grasp were it not too
precious to refuse, and too divine to disbelieve.
Doubtless, you have often appeared, in your own
estimation, so obscure and insignificant a being;
a mere cipher in the great sum of human existence,
a single drop in the vast ocean of human life; as to
be almost at an infinite distance from God's notice.
Isolated, poor and lowly as you may be, God, the
great holy Lord God thinks of you, notices you,
regards you, sets His heart upon you. His thoughts
cluster around you, clinging to you with a grasp so
fervent and intense as though He were solely and
supremely absorbed with you and your concerns.
Each child of God dwells in His heart, and
engages His mind as though he were the
sole occupant of this boundless universe!
O child of God! The thoughts that God has
of you are so vast that nothing can exceed,
and so precious that nothing can equal them.
The thoughts of the infinite God encircle you
more closely and fondly than the ivy clasps
the elm, or the mother the new born infant.
There is not a moment that he is not thinking of you!
Do not be cast down then, if God appears to
forget you. "My way is hidden from the Lord,"
says the desponding Christian.
"No!" says God, "I have engraved you on the
palms of My hands; you are continually before Me."
God's conscious comforting presence!
(Octavius Winslow, "Beginning the Year with Jesus")
Then Moses said to Him, "If Your Presence does not go
with us, do not send us up from here." Exodus 33:15
What a needed and solemn petition!
God's presence, going with us! Such is the
response of every true God fearing, Christ
loving heart. The believer has learned to
understand the nature of God's favor, to
know the value of His presence, to test the
wisdom of His guidance, and to experience
the blessedness of the light of His countenance.
And now, the one desire and prayer of his heart
is, "Let Your presence go with me. Let it
accompany me in all the chequered, changeful
history of this year. May Your Presence....
counsel me in difficulty,
soothe me in sickness,
cheer me in solitude,
keep me in danger,
shield me in temptation,
strengthen me in service,
sustain me in suffering, and
deliver me from evil."
Let, then, the accompanying presence of God be
the intense desire of your heart, and the principal
element of your Christian experience.
God's conscious comforting presence has
been the experience and the solace of His
people in all ages and in all circumstances.
David felt it in the cave.
Daniel in the lion's den.
Jeremiah in the dungeon.
Jonah in the whale's belly.
Paul and Silas in the Philippian jail, and
John on the Island of Patmos.
And why not you, O child beloved of God,
in all the varied journeyings and trials and
circumstances of your history? Earnestly
covet this blessing: the sensible presence
of God throughout your personal history.
Realize that, whatever the varied incidents and
afflictions in your experience may be, you are not
alone, because your Father is with you.
Live as in His continual atmosphere.
Walk as before him, and be perfect.
His presence is promised, His help is
pledged. "Lo! I am with you always."
Aspire after the Psalmist's enviable experience:
"I am continually with You. You have held me
by my right hand. You shall guide me with Your
counsel, and afterward receive me to glory."
Thus robed with God's conscious presence, your
walk will be so regulated as to please Him in all
things. You cannot voluntarily sin against Him,
standing as encircled by the halo of His Divine
perfections. The place will be too awesome, the
atmosphere too pure, the feeling too solemn, for
Satan or sin to dare intrude.
Our safety alone is in nearness to the cross; is in
walking in close communion with God, in the holy,
filial, happy enjoyment of His encircling presence.
(Octavius Winslow, "Gracious Surprisals")
"My heart grew hot within me, and as I
meditated, the fire burned..." Psalm 39:3
That is, while I was retracing all the way the
Lord had led me; while I was meditating upon
the fullness and preciousness of His Word;
and while I was musing upon the great love
with which He had loved me, the fire in my
soul was enkindled.
There are few more powerful aids to growth in
grace, to progress in sanctification of heart,
and humbleness of mind, than devout meditation.
"Isaac went out to meditate in the field at evening."
"I meditate on You in the night watches."
Cultivate, my reader, this holy and useful habit.
In a world of incessant action, and in an age
of restless excitement, we have great need to
imitate these holy examples, and to retire to
the "calm retreat, the silent shade," and there
abandon ourselves to devout meditation upon
Divine, heavenly, and eternal things.
The human idol is removed!
(Octavius Winslow, "Bereavement, The
Submission and Solace of Spiritual Life")
Bereavement is often the season of revived spirituality.
Eternity is more solemnly realized; the mind is more
withdrawn from the affairs of the present life; the
heart is disengaged from the shadows of earth; and
the things that are seen, and temporal, give place
to the things that are unseen and eternal.
Oh, see that this is one hallowed fruit of your present
sorrow! God has sent it to revive His work in your soul;
to draw off your thoughts and affections from those
earth born things which have too much absorbed the
vitality and impaired the vigor of your higher life your
life for God; for heaven; for eternity!
Bereavement is a time of prayer. If ever the solace
of prayer is felt, the preciousness of the Mercy Seat
is realized, it is now. Your heart, stricken with grief,
turns to God. The sad and startling discovery is made;
unsuspected while the light of God was upon your
tabernacle; that too far and too long your heart had
roved from God; your communion had grown distant,
and your affections chilled; and, shyness of God and
leanness of soul have supervened, as the natural
consequence of your remote and careless walk.
But now the shadow of death has darkened the
sunshine of your life: the destroyer has invaded
the sanctuary of your home, and has plucked a
cherished flower from your bosom; or, has broken
a 'strong and beautiful staff' at your side; or, has
laid low a venerable oak spreading its branches
beneath the roof tree of your dwelling; and your
heart, bowed with grief, now bows itself in prayer
to God, and the spiritual life of your soul throbs
with a newer and more quickened pulse.
Oh hail that as a heaven sent blessing; robed
though it be with the habiliment of mourning;
which wakes the slumbering spirit of prayer,
and sets you upon the work of calling upon God!
The human idol is removed, but
the Divine Savior takes its place!
Oh, it is so hard to yield what was most dear; to
give back to God a loan, the possession of which
seemed intertwined with every fibre of the heart,
and the existence of which had become essential
to life itself!
But tracing a Father's hand and a Father's heart;
His all wise and righteous government appointing
the event, and His infinite and unchanging love
sending it; your bewildered mind and bleeding
heart bows in submission, with the words of
Christ breathing from your lips; "My Father, if
this cup may not pass from me, except I drink it,
may Your will be done."
And thus, in this submission of your will to God,
this terrible calamity has issued in such a
development and growth of your spiritual life
as leaves its reality without a doubt, and its
luster without a cloud. And, as music sounds
the sweetest in the still of night, and as flowers,
when bruised, breathe their richest perfume;
so, your night of weeping and crushing grief
has issued in the sweetest song of your bruised
spirit, and in the holiest fragrance of your spiritual life.
Oh, who can adequately portray the perfect calm,
the hallowed repose, the ecstatic joy, when the
Divine will is supremely enthroned in the soul,
and the sad heart nestles itself, as a child
weaned of its mother, in the very bosom of God!
A tragedy above all tragedies!
(by A. W. Tozer)
The average person in the world today,
without faith and without God and without
hope, is engaged in a desperate personal
search throughout his lifetime.
He does not really know where he has been.
He does not really know what he is doing
here and now. He does not know where he
The sad commentary is that he is doing it
all on borrowed time and borrowed money
and borrowed strength; and he already
knows that in the end he will surely die!
Man, made more like God than any other
creature, has become less like God than any
other creature. Created to reflect the glory
of God, he has retreated sullenly into his cave;
reflecting only his own sinfulness.
Certainly it is a tragedy above all tragedies
in this world that man, made with a soul to
worship and praise and sing to God's glory,
now sulks silently in his cave.
Love has gone from his heart.
Light has gone from his mind.
Having lost God, he blindly stumbles on through
this dark world to find only a grave at the end.
The fall of man has created a perpetual crisis.
It will last until sin has been put down and
Christ reigns over a redeemed and restored world.
Until that time the earth remains a disaster
area and its inhabitants live in a state of
To me, it has always been difficult to understand
those Christians who insist upon living in the crisis
as if no crisis existed. They say they serve the Lord,
but they divide their days so as to leave plenty of
time to play and loaf and enjoy the pleasures of the
world as well. They are at ease while the world burns!
I wonder whether such Christians actually believe in
the Fall of man!
Let a flood or a fire hit a populous countryside and no
able bodied citizen feels that he has any right to rest
till he has done all he can to save as many as he can.
While death stalks farmhouse and village no one dares
relax; this is the accepted code by which we live.
The critical emergency for some becomes an emergency
for all, from the highest government official to the local
Boy Scout troop. As long as the flood rages or the fire
roars on, no one talks of "normal times." No times are
normal while helpless people cower in the path of destruction.
In times of extraordinary crisis ordinary measures will
not suffice. The world lives in such a time of crisis.
Christians alone are in a position to rescue the perishing.
We dare not settle down to try to live as if things were
"normal." Nothing is normal while sin and lust and death
roam the world, pouncing upon one and another till
the whole population has been destroyed.
"I'm too often at ease and consumed with my self
interests, Lord. Open my eyes to see the tragedy
of friends and acquaintances on their way to a
Christless eternity. Do it for Jesus' sake, Amen."
Has the Gospel Christianized your home?
(Octavius Winslow, "The Desire to See Jesus")
It is impossible to love Jesus ardently, to
behold Him spiritually, and to study Him
closely, and not be molded, in some degree,
into His lovely likeness!
Has the Gospel of Jesus made your temper
milder, your heart purer, your life holier?
Has it softened your churlishness, subdued
your moroseness, sweetened your disposition,
rendering you more attractable, admired, and
Has it converted your penuriousness into liberality,
your pride into humility, your selfishness into
generosity, your love of ease and sloth into
active service for the Lord?
Has the Gospel Christianized your home?
O remember that the Gospel of Jesus has
done but little for us if it has not done this!
This tremendous scene!
(from Octavius Winslow's, "The Coming of the Lord, The Crown and Consummation of Spiritual Life"
Pause, then, for a moment, and contemplate, with the eye of faith, or if you have no faith, with the eye of imagination, this tremendous scene!
Look at that point, far away in the ethereal regions, where the gradually lessening form of our Savior disappeared from the gaze of His disciples, when He ascended to heaven. In that point see an uncommon, but faint and undefined, brightness just beginning to appear. It has caught the roving eye of yon careless gazer, and excited his curiosity. He points it out to a second, and a third. A little circle soon collects, and various are the conjectures which they form respecting it. Similar circles are formed, and similar objections made, in a thousand different parts of the world. But conjecture is soon to give place to certainty; awful, appalling, overwhelming certainty. While they gaze, the appearance, which had excited their curiosity, rapidly approaches, and still more rapidly brightens. Some begin to suspect what it may prove; but no one dares to give utterance to his suspicions.
Meanwhile the light of the sun begins to fade before a brightness superior to his own. Thousands see their shadows cast in a new direction, and thousands of hitherto careless eyes look up at once to discover the cause. Full clearly they see it; and now new hopes and fears begin to agitate their breasts. The afflicted and persecuted servants of Christ begin to hope that the predicted, long expected day of their deliverance is arrived. The wicked, the careless, the unbelieving, begin to fear that the Bible is about to prove no idle tale. And now fiery shapes, moving like streams of lightning, begin to appear indistinctly amid the bright, dazzling cloud which comes rushing down as on the wings of a whirlwind. At length it reaches its destined place. It pauses. Then, suddenly unfolding, discloses at once a great white throne, where sits; starry, resplendent, in all the glories of the Godhead; the Man Christ Jesus! Every eye sees Him; every heart knows Him.
Too well do the wretched, unprepared inhabitants of earth now know what to expect, and one universal shriek of anguish and despair rises up to heaven, and is echoed back to earth. But louder, far louder, than the universal cry, now sounds the last trumpet; and far above all is heard the voice of the Omnipotent, summoning the dead to arise and come to judgment. New terrors now assail the living on every side, no, under their very feet, the earth heaves as in convulsions; graves open, and the dead come forth; while, at the same moment, a change, equivalent to that occasioned by death, is effected by Almighty power on the bodies of the living. Their mortal bodies put on immortality, and are thus prepared to sustain a weight of glory or of wretchedness, which flesh and blood could not endure.
Meanwhile, legions of angels are seen, darting from pole to pole, gathering together the faithful servants of Christ from the four winds of heaven, and bearing them aloft to meet the Lord in the air, where He causes them to be placed at His own right hand, preparatory to the sentence which He is to award to them, everlasting life.
Christian, if you would gain more and greater victories over the world than you have ever done, bring this scene often before the eye of your mind, and gaze upon it until you become blind to all earthly glory. He who gazes long at the sun becomes unsusceptible of impressions from inferior luminaries; and he who looks much at the Sun of Righteousness, will be little affected by any alluring object which the world can exhibit.
The flaming sword of justice quenched
in the holy, loving bosom of Jesus!
(Octavius Winslow "Contrition and Confession")
The most significant and appalling demonstration
of God's holiness that the universe ever beheld,
infinitely distancing and transcending every other, is
the sufferings and death of His only and beloved Son!
The cross of Calvary exhibits God's hatred and
punishment of sin in a way and to an extent
which the annihilation of millions of worlds,
swept from the face of the universe by the
broom of His wrath, could never have done!
"Who His own self bore our sins
in His own body on the tree."
Behold the most awful display of God's hatred
of sin! Finding the sins of the Church upon Christ
as its Surety, Substitute, and Savior, the wrath of
God was poured out upon Him without measure!
God finding the sins of His people laid upon His
Son, emptied upon His holy soul all the vials of
His wrath due to their transgressions!
Go, my soul, to Calvary, and learn how holy
God is, and what a monstrous thing sin is, and
how imperiously, solemnly, and holily bound
Jehovah is to punish it, either in the person
of the sinner, or in the person of a Surety.
Never was the Son of God dearer to the
Father than at the very moment that the
sword of divine justice, flaming and flashing,
pierced to its hilt His holy heart!
But it was the wrath of God, not against
His beloved Son, but against the sins which
met on Him when presenting Himself on
the cross as the substitutionary sacrifice
and offering of His Church.
He "gave Himself for us."
What a new conception must angels have
formed of the exceeding sinfulness of sin,
when they beheld the flaming sword of justice
quenched in the holy, loving bosom of Jesus!
And in what a dazzling light does this fact
place the marvellous love of God to sinners!
Man's sin and God's love; the indescribable
enormity of the one, and the immeasurable
greatness of the other; are exhibited in the
cross of Christ as nowhere else.
Oh, to learn experimentally these two great facts;
sin's infinite hatefulness, and love's infinite holiness!
The love of God in giving His Son to die;
the love of Christ in dying; the essential
turpitude and unmitigated enormity of sin,
which demanded a sacrifice so Divine,
so holy, and so precious!
Nestle beneath His soft wing!
(Octavius Winslow, "The Bereaved Home")
Perhaps the most sublime spectacle of Jesus' life
is His weeping at the grave of Lazarus. The Son
of God, the Creator of heaven and earth, the
Maker of all things, the upholder of all worlds,
Jesus stood the Chief Mourner at that grave.
That very same Savior whose tears fell fast and
warm upon the grave of His buried friend, who
had tears for the mourning sisters, tears for the
saddened disciples, and tears for the unbelieving
Jews, has tears, sorrowing one, for you!
The sympathy of Christ with our sorrows is
not a mere sentiment, a transient emotion,
a passing tear quickly shed, and as quickly dried.
O no! His are the tears of a love that
once wept tears of blood for us!
His is a compassion that sustains, as well as
comforts, that sanctifies as well as soothes.
The sympathy of Christ has a soul transforming effect,
a Divinely assimilating power, it makes us Godlike.
Cling to the sympathy of Christ. Nestle beneath
His soft wing; it will enfold and shelter you until
these calamities be overpast.
He who mourned with the loved ones in the home
of Bethany, and wept over the grave of Lazarus,
mourns and weeps with you. Turn from the gloom
and mystery of your loss, and lose yourself and
it in the loving, sympathizing Savior.
A soul satisfying spectacle!
(Octavius Winslow, "The Desire to See Jesus")
The sight of Jesus is a soul satisfying spectacle!
The penitent soul is satisfied, for it
sees in Jesus a free pardon of sin.
The condemned soul is satisfied, for it
receives in Jesus a free justification.
The believing soul is satisfied, for it
discovers in Jesus a fountain of all grace.
The tried, tempted, sorrowful soul is
satisfied, for it experiences in Jesus all
consolation, sympathy and love.
O, what an all satisfying Portion is Jesus!
He satisfies every holy desire, for He realizes it.
He satisfies every craving need, for He supplies it.
He satisfies every sore grief, for He soothes it.
He satisfies the deepest yearnings, the highest
aspirations, the most sublime hopes of the
renewed soul, for all these center and end in Him!
The slanderer! The backbiter!
(From Octavius Winslow's, "The Power of the Tongue")
The slanderer is not merely the idle gossip, he is more. He is the inventor, or, what is equally criminal, he is the propagator of calumny itself! Envious of a rival, resolved upon shading the luster, or bent upon the total extinguishment of a star circling in a wider and brighter orbit than his own, he either coins, or propagates a lie injurious to the character of some public servant of God, or the reputation and happiness of some private individual moving in the quiet and unobtrusive walks of usefulness.
Is there not death in this unhallowed use of the tongue? Is there not 'slaying power' in that false report, that base insinuation, that cruel surmise, that "Soft buzzing slander, that eats an honest name"? Most assuredly! The treacherous moth is not a more insiduous and dangerous foe to the beautiful fabric it secretly and slowly destroys; nor the worm a more searching and wasting enemy of the costly vellum whose heart it pierces and devours, than he whose tongue is sharper than a sword, "Cutting honest throats by whispers."
It has been remarked that against slander there is no effectual armor of defense. Nothing is easier than to invent a slander, and nothing more difficult than to annihilate it. It generally selects for its victims the most good and worthy, as the birds peck at and destroy the best and loveliest fruit. I do not think that Tophet boasts of a darker fiend, or man can deplore a fouler foe than he who deals in it. Like the Indian, it dips its arrows in deadly poison; like Judas, it betrays the innocent with the kiss of villainy. Assassination is its employment, the guiltless its victims, ruin its sport, and the loud laugh of hell its reward! It is a moral pestilence veiled in darkness; a thousand fall beside it and ten thousand at its right hand, so unmercifully and deeply wounded as often never to recover the anguish of heart it has occasioned.
The backbiter is the destroyer of the absent one. Of all evil speaking this is, perhaps, the lowest, the most cruel and dastardly. Taking advantage of the defenseless position of his victim, asserting behind his back what he would not dare to utter before his face; by dark insinuations, by mysterious innuendoes, by a tragic tone; the backbiter will give affected importance and authenticity to what all the while he knows to be unfounded in truth; and by this despicable means do serious and, perhaps, irreparable injury to the character and good name of an innocent, and, it may be, useful servant of the Lord; who, by his absence, is precluded from either defending his innocence or confounding his calumniator.
How sad and unenviable the character of the slanderer, the whisperer, the backbiter, the talebearer, the gossip! What are all these but domestic pests; propagators of a social moral plague?
"Save me, O Lord, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues." Psalm 120:2
The Arrow of Prayer!
(From Octavius Winslow's "Prayer Out of Soul Depths")
"Out of the depths have I cried
unto You, 0 Lord." Psalm 130:1.
Beloved, out of the depths of your difficulty,
your need, your sorrow, cry mightily unto God.
no depth so profound,
no darkness so dense,
no privation so pressing, or
perplexity so great, but from it you may
cry unto God; the Lord inclining His ear to
the softest, faintest breathing of your soul.
Sink the soul as it may, the arrow of prayer,
feathered with a divine promise, springing
from the bow of faith, and winged by the
power of the Spirit, will overcome every
obstacle, pierce every cloud, and fasten
itself upon the throne of the Eternal God!
Cries out of the depths of 'soul distress' have
a peculiar eloquence and an irresistible success
with God; just as the plaintive wail of a sick
and suffering child reaches and penetrates a
parent's heart more quickly and more deeply
than all others.
Tried and desponding soul, you can never
sink below the everlasting arms of God!
God frequently permits His children to descend
into great "depths" of spiritual and mental conflict,
and even temporal need, that He might display
His love and power in stooping to their necessity.
"I was brought low, and He helped me."
We are but imperfectly aware how low the great
God can bend to our case; how condescendingly
Christ can stoop to our condition!
We may be brought very low;
our case sad and desperate;
riches may flee;
poverty may come upon us as an armed man;
character may be assailed;
children may try;
friends may change;
enemies may wound;
death may bereave; and
our soul be plunged as into fathomless depths.
Nevertheless, sink deep as we may, we shall but
sink more deeply into the embrace of
Christ, 'the everlasting arms' still underneath us.
"He sent from above, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters."
Oh we must descend into great depths
of affliction, of trial, and of need, to
fathom, in some measure, the soundless
depths of God's love, of the Savior's
fullness, of the Spirit's comfort!
Your heavenly Father waits to enfold
you to His loving and forgiving heart!
Soon the soul desponding saint will ascend
from the lowest depths of earth to the loftiest
height of heaven. Long before the body springs
from the dust, your soul, O believer, will have
taken its place amid the blood-ransomed throng,
clustering in shining ranks around the throne of
God and the Lamb. And, reviewing all the way
the Lord your God led you, through the wilderness
and across the desert, you shall blend the old song
of free grace with the new song of eternal glory!
The heart of God will fly open!
If as a poor lost sinner you repair to the Savior,
all vile, guilty, unworthy, and weak as you are,
He will receive you, and shelter you within the
bosom that bled on the cross, to provide an
atonement and an asylum for the very chief of
sinners. Thus knocking at mercy's door, the
heart of God will fly open, and admit you to all
the hidden treasures of its love. (Octavius Winslow)
A mass of pollution, a den of filthiness,
a seething mass of putrefaction!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"The Weaned Child" Psalm 131:2. #1210
Pride is the besetting sin of mankind.
Your heart is a mass of pollution, it is a
den of filthiness. Apart from divine grace,
your heart is a seething mass of putrefaction!
If God's eternal Spirit were not to hold it in
check, but to let your nature have its way,
envyings, lustings, murders, and every foul
thing would come flying forth in your daily life.
It will engraft itself upon our holy things!
The following is from Octavius Winslow's sermon,
"Daily Cleansing, or Christ Washing His Disciples Feet"
"...so He got up from the meal, took off his
outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around
His waist. After that, He poured water into
a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet,
drying them with the towel that was wrapped
around Him." John 13:4-5
This lowly act of Christ is intended to
inculcate the precept of humility.
Here was the Infinite Majesty of heaven, the
Maker of all worlds and the Creator of all beings,
stooping to wash the feet of His disciples!
What a needed precept, what a holy lesson this!
The pride of our hearts is the deep
rooted evil of our depraved nature!
It is perpetually cropping up; notwithstanding
all the prunings by which God seeks to keep it
down, and lay it low.
Its forms are many, its name is 'legion.'
the pride of ancestry,
the pride of rank,
the pride of wealth,
the pride of place,
the pride of intellect, and the worst of all pride,
the pride of 'self righteousness'.
There is nothing too little and trivial
with which pride will not plume itself!
It can find its boast....
in a fine dress,
in a beautiful face,
in a splendid mansion,
in tasteful furniture,
in a rare picture,
in any work of man's device!
No, more, it will engraft itself upon our holy things!
How much sinful, hateful pride of heart is intermixed
with all our service for Christ! We are proud of our
spiritual gifts and graces, proud of our ecclesiastical
place and power, proud of our popularity and usefulness,
we taint and shade and mar all we do for God.
Pride compasses you about as with a chain; and
that chain, unless broken by the power of God,
will bind you down to regions of eternal despair!
If you are to be saved by Christ, the pride of
your heart, rising in rebellion against the doctrine
of a gratuitous salvation, must be brought down,
mortified, and slain root and branch.
Christ, must receive all the honor and glory...
of emancipating you from your sins,
of delivering you from condemnation, and
of bringing you to heaven.
But the grace of Christ is all sufficient, and
the believing soul will be entirely emptied,
root and branch, of this hideous, this God
abhorring sin, when it reaches that bright and
holy world where all bow in the profoundest
humility before the throne of God, and all the
glory of the creature is lost in the splendor
of the Lamb!
Self Righteous and Proud
"An unforgiven person is always self
righteous and proud. It is the free, the
complete forgiveness of the cross, that
humbles the soul and melts the heart."
(Horatius Bonar, "The Sin Bearer")
This great world?
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"The Drought of Nature, the Rain of Grace,
and the Lesson Therefrom" #2115. Jer.14:3,4,22.
Apart from God's preserving, the whole
race of men would be turned to dust,
and cease from the land of the living.
All creation exists by the will of the Lord;
and if his will should cease to send forth
conserving power to maintain the created
things in existence, they would all cease to be.
This great world; the sun, the moon, the
stars; would all dissolve; and, as a moment's
foam dissolves into the wave that bears it,
they would be lost forever.
At the Lord's will the universe would be gone,
as yonder bubble which your child was blowing
but a moment ago, which now has vanished,
and left no trace behind.
Yes, all for you!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"Overwhelming Obligations" #910. Psalm 116:12.
I bid you come to that famous garden, where
in the dead of the night Jesus knelt and prayed,
until in agony he sweat drops of blood. It was
for you, for you, believer, that there the bloody
sweat drops fell to the ground.
You see him rise up. He is betrayed by his friend.
For you the betrayal was endured.
He is taken.
He is led off to Pilate.
They falsely accuse him;
they spit in his face;
they crown him with thorns;
they put a mock scepter of reed into his hands.
For you that ignominy was endured. For you
especially and particularly the Lord of Glory
passed through these cruel mockings.
See him as he bears his cross, his shoulder is
bleeding from the recent lash. See him, as
along the Via Dolorosa be sustains the cruel
load. He bears that cross for you. Your sins
are on his shoulders laid, and make that cross
more heavy than had it been made of iron.
See him on the cross, lifted up between heaven
and earth, a spectacle of grievous woe. Hear him
cry, "I thirst!" and hear his cry more bitter still,
while heaven and earth are startled by it, "Why
have you forsaken me, my God, my God?"
He is enduring all those griefs for you!
For you the thirst and the fainting.
For you the nakedness and the agony.
For you the bowing of the head.
For you the yielding up the spirit.
For you the slumber in the cold and silent tomb.
For you his resurrection when he rises in the glory
of his might, and for you afterwards the ascension
into heaven, when they sing, "Lift up your heads,
O you gates, and be lifted up, you everlasting doors."
For you his constant pleading at the right hand of the Father.
Yes, all for you!
What then, should be done for him?
What tribute shall we lay at the pierced feet?
What present shall we put into that nailed hand?
Where are kisses that shall be sweet enough for
his dear wounds?
Where is adoration that shall be reverent enough
for his blessed and exalted person?
Daughters of music, bring your sweetest songs!
You men of wealth, bring him your treasures!
You men of fame and learning, come lay your
laurels at his feet! Let us all bring all that we
have, for such a Christ as this deserves more
than all. What shall we render to You for all
your benefits towards us?
Dyed in the purple stream of His own heart's blood!
(From Octavius Winslow's "Watching for the Morning")
"Born of a woman, and made under the law,"
our Divine Lord, the moment His infant feet
pressed our earth, came under the curse,
began His work of obedience, and wove the
first thread of that seamless, stainless Robe
of Righteousness for the full and free justification
of His believing people; which, when completed,
He dyed in the purple stream of His own heart's
blood upon the cross. "He was a man of sorrows,
and acquainted with grief."
Beloved, you are, perhaps, now in a measure
assimilated to your suffering Lord. It is with
you a night of grief and solitude, of weeping
God has smitten you.
The hand of the Almighty is upon you.
What is the cup your Father has given you to drink?
Have riches fled?
Has health faded?
Have friends changed?
Has death bereaved?
Are earthly hopes blighted?
Are worldly expectations disappointed?
Are human plans frustrated?
Is your path shaded?
Is your life lonely?
Are your actions misunderstood?
Are your motives misconstrued?
Is your work unrewarded?
Are your sensibilities wounded?
Is your spirit crushed?
Be it so. Jesus passed through all this
before you, and you are but treading the
lonely, tearful path He trod.
You are looking for...
some ray of hope,
some means of deliverance,
some source of supply,
some drop of comfort,
some avenue of escape
from a present and a crushing trial.
In the heat of the conflict with suffering and
trial, with temptations and tears, you exclaim,
"O that my Savior would appear!"
And so it will be! The Lord will not leave you
comfortless. It shall not be all night, all sorrow,
all tears. Joy will succeed your sorrow, laughter
your tears, and your long and dreary night will
dissolve into the splendor of perfect and endless day!
An irrevocable loss!
(Octavius Winslow, "Spiritual Diligence")
The loss of an affliction or a trial, is an
irrevocable loss! It cannot be repaired.
There was a necessary reason for the 'rod of
correction' with which our Heavenly Father visited us . . .
some sin to be removed, or
some backsliding to be restored, or
some evil to be checked, or
some lesson to be learned, or
some blessing to be bestowed.
If, then, we are not diligent in seeking a
sanctified possession of the discipline,
earnest in securing the end for which our
God chastened us, we have lost the mission
and the blessing for which it was sent; and
O how great and irreparable that loss!
Let us, then, see that we lose not one of our
sorrows; they are too precious and valuable to
be lost; but that we turn them all to a good
account; diligent to extract some sweet thing
from the bitter, some nourishing thing from
the eater, and to find a penciling of light in
the somberest cloud.
Let us see that under the afflictive hand of
God we become more humble, more spiritually
minded, more dead to the world, more prayerful,
more Christlike, and Christ more precious; in a
word, made by our Father's corrections more
"a partaker of the Divine holiness."
O hallowed fruit of sanctified sorrow!
No tongue can adequately describe the costly,
sacred blessings flowing from one hallowed sorrow.
We have, perhaps, become more intimately
acquainted with the character of God, more
experimentally know the Lord Jesus Christ,
and more spiritually understand the meaning
of God's holy Word, in one sanctified affliction,
than we ever attained to in all our previous history!
The wounded and wounding hand of the Savior!
(Winslow "The Obscurations of Spiritual Life")
There are some believers who only become
fruitful in times of trial, who make no headway
in their spiritual voyage but in a storm!
Affliction times are 'fruit promoting' times
to God's "trees of righteousness."
Afflictions deepen the roots, and clothe the boughs
with the foliage and fruit of righteousness.
Oh, who can fully estimate the real advance of
the spiritual life of the soul in one hallowed trial,
through one sanctified sorrow?
The slumbering spirit of prayer is roused!
The truant heart is recalled!
Trembling faith is strengthened!
The spirit shaded with sorrow, and the soul
bowed with calamity, turns to Jesus, and
finds in the wounded and wounding hand
of the Savior, the balm and the succor which
'heals the broken in heart, and binds up their
When does the trial end?
When, like a faithful servant, it has discharged
its errand; when its 'heaven sent mission' is
fully accomplished, it will dissolve into the light
of joy, and issue in a new song of praise.
"Weeping may endure for a night,
but joy comes in the morning."
The medicine! The knife! Your song!
(From Octavius Winslow's "Soul Heights")
The believer has never known how deeply
God loves him, how truly a child of God he
was, and how tender and faithful his Father's
love, until God has afflicted him.
Then he sees love, and nothing but love...
in the calamity that has impoverished,
in the disease that has wasted,
in the bereavement that has crushed,
in the fickleness that has changed.
The moment tried and sifted faith disentangles
itself of 'second causes', and rests in God, that
moment the bitter and unlovely bulb bursts into
the sweet and beauteous flower, laden with the
dew and bathed in the sunshine of heaven!
It is thus that, sanctified sorrows yield to the
believer the richest fruit; and that in the 'valley'
he drinks from sweeter springs than flow from
the mountain's top!
But it is not always that the saints of God accept
this discipline of trial without murmur and rebellion.
They too often lose sight of....
the wisdom that appoints, and
the faithfulness that sends the trial, and
the immense good to themselves it was
designed to accomplish.
They do not see the hand of their Heavenly Father,
beneath whose loving corrections they lie.
As an old divine remarks, "The physician attacks
the disease, and not the patient; his object is to
cure him whom he causes to suffer. It is thus that
God, whose mercy is infinite, chastises us only to
bring us into the way of salvation, or to confirm
our course in it. You are not angry with your
physician when he applies the cautery or the
knife to your gangrened limb; on the contrary,
you can scarcely find language adequate to the
expression of your gratitude; you keep repeating
that he has saved your life by preventing the
disease from spreading, and you pay him liberally
for his attentions!
Yet you murmur against the Lord, who wounds
only for our good; and you are unwilling to
acknowledge that the afflictions with which He
visits us are the only means capable of restoring
health to our souls, or of securing the continuance
of it when it is restored to us."
Expect, then, the happiest results from this
curative process of your Divine Physician!
The prescription may be unpalatable, and the
excision painful; nevertheless, the richest
blessing to you and the highest glory to God
will be the happy and hallowed result!
"every branch that bears fruit, He prunes, that
it may bring forth more fruit." In this light, view
your present sickness, suffering, and sorrow.
The medicine is prescribed by Jesus,
the knife is in a Father's hand, and
your song shall be, "He has done all things well."
(Winslow "The Obscurations of Spiritual Life")
All is shadow here below!
The world is a shadow; and it passes away!
The creature is a shadow; and the loveliest
and the fondest may be the first to die!
Health is a shadow; fading, and in a moment gone!
Wealth is a shadow; today upon the summit
of affluence, tomorrow at its base, plunged
into poverty and dependence!
Human friendships and creature affections are
but shadows; sweet and pleasant while they
last, but, with a worm feeding at the root of
all created good, the sheltering gourd soon
withers, exposing us to the sun's burning heat
by day, and to the frost's cold chill by night!
Oh, yes! 'Passing Away' is indelibly
inscribed upon everything here below!
Yet how slow are we to realize the solemn lesson:
"What shadows we are, and
what shadows we pursue!"
Unconverted reader, what is your life but a vapor
that passes away? and what are its pursuits but
shadows; unreal, unsatisfying, evanescent?
Your rank, your wealth, your honors, your pleasures,
are but phantoms which appear but for a little while,
and then are lost in the deeper shadow of the grave,
and the still deeper and longer shadow of eternity!
Oh, turn from these dreams and hallucinations, and,
as a rational, accountable, immortal being, on your
way to judgment, fix your mind upon your solemn,
endless future! You are going to die! And, oh, when
that dread hour comes, so real and appalling, how
will your past life appear?