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nChrist
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« on: May 25, 2008, 10:47:09 AM »

May 20

"Until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only has immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man has seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting." Amen. 1 Timothy 6:14-16

STRONG is the testimony of the Holy Spirit in the word to the essential Deity of our blessed Lord. And if He has laid such amazing stress upon it, surely it should be a solemn matter with us how we think of and treat it. The great, the grand glory of Immanuel is His essential glory-the glory of His Godhead. It is only in this light that we can approach Him with the hope of pardon and acceptance. It is then we talk of Him as a Mediator-it is then we view Him as the Sin-bearer of His people-it is then we contemplate Him as their Surety, their Righteousness, their covenant Head. In vain we speak of His atoning blood, of His finished righteousness, of His mediatorial fullness, if we look not up to Him in the "glory He had with the Father before the world was." This it is that imparts such efficacy to His work, and throws such surpassing luster around it. And what is the witness of the Spirit to this doctrine? It is this; that all the names, the perfections, the works, and the worship proper only to Deity belong to Christ-thus proclaiming Him with a loud voice to be, what He really is-Jehovah Jesus.

Reader, ponder the testimony. Jesus of Nazareth, the anointed Savior of poor sinners, is emphatically styled the "great God," Titus 2:13; the "mighty God," Isaiah 9:6; the "only wise God," Jude 25; the "true God," 1 John 5:20; the "only Lord God," Jude 4. The name Jehovah peculiarly belongs to God: it is never in a solitary instance applied to a mere creature. "I am Jehovah; that is my name." And yet the very name is ascribed to Jesus by the Holy Spirit, "This is the name whereby He shall be called, Jehovah our Righteousness." He is then Jehovah Jesus, "God over all, blessed for evermore." Could testimony be more clear and decisive? O precious truth on which to live-O glorious rock on which to die! Jesus is Jehovah He is "Immanuel, God with us"-"God manifest in the flesh." Hold fast to this truth, reader. Let nothing weaken your grasp upon it. It is your plank, your life-boat, your ark, your all. This gone, all goes with it! You will need it when you come to die-in that solemn hour when all else fails you-when sin in battle-array rises before you, and you think of the holiness of a holy God-then you will want a rock to stand upon; and as the Spirit leads you to Jesus the Rock, testifies to your soul of His blood, witnesses to His Godhead, unfolds Him in His essential glory, you shall be enabled to shout "Victory! victory!" as you pass safely and triumphantly over Jordan. The blood that speaks peace will be felt to be efficacious-and the righteousness that justifies will be seen to be glorious-and the Rock that sustains will be felt to be firm and immovable, just as the blessed Glorifier of Christ witnesses to the truth of His Deity. Oh then to see the Lawgiver in the character of the Law-fulfiller-to behold the God-man obeying, suffering, dying-and therefore the law honored, justice satisfied, and the Father well pleased-truly may the believing soul adopt the triumphant language of the apostle, and take up H is challenge-"Who is he that condemns? it is Christ that died." Dear reader, set a high value on the doctrine of our Lord's Deity-guard it with a jealous eye, pray to be established in its full experimental belief; for the more you see of the dignity of His person, the more you will see of the glory of His work.


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Evening Thoughts
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« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2008, 10:49:45 AM »

May 21

"And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance." Hebrews 9:15

VIEWED in its proper aspect, the humanity of our Lord will be found to occupy a place in the scheme of salvation, as important and essential to its perfection as His Deity; that the humanity was pure humanity, and the Deity absolute Deity, while the mysterious union of the two, in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, constituted Him the proper and the "one Mediator between God and man." Glorious is this aspect of our Lord's complex person; full and clear is the testimony of the Spirit to its truth. Where Christ speaks of Himself as inferior to the Father-as having received "glory from the Father,"-as receiving "life from the Father,"-of "the Father being greater than He,"-He must invariably be regarded as alluding to Himself in His mediatorial office only, and not in His Divine character. He is equal to the Father in nature, subordinate to Him only in office. On this truth hinges all the glory and efficacy of redemption.

It was, then, essential to His fitness as the Surety and Mediator of His covenant people, that He should be "bone of their bone, and flesh of their flesh." That forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; "it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren." The nature of His office, and the success of his undertaking, required that the union of every Divine and human perfection should meet and center in Him. He was to be the middle person between God and man. He was to bring together these two extremes of being-the Infinite and the finite. He was to mediate for the offended Creator and the offending creature. How could He possibly accomplish this great and peculiar work, without a union of the two natures-the Divine and the human? Jehovah could admit of mediation only by one of equal holiness and glory, and man could negotiate in this great business of reconciliation but with one "in all points (sin excepted) like canto himself." Behold this wondrous union in the person of Jesus. As man, he was made under the law-honoring it in its precepts by His obedience, and in its penalty by His sufferings. As God, He imparted a dignity to that obedience, and a virtue to those sufferings, which rendered them eternally efficacious in the salvation of men, glorious in the sight of angels, and infinitely satisfactory to law and to justice.

Beloved reader, stand not aloof from the pure humanity of your blessed Lord. It was humanity that obeyed, that bled, and that died for you. Cling to the doctrine of His Deity. It was God in the man that rendered His obedience meritorious for your justification, and His death effectual for your redemption. Oh glorious person of the God-man Mediator! What a foundation is here laid for a poor condemned sinner to build upon! What a "new and living way" to God is opened-what a wide door to His very heart! He may come now, and feel that not a perfection of Jehovah is trampled upon in His coming-that not an iota of His law is dishonored in His salvation-but that the law appears in its richest luster, and every perfection shines in its resplendent glory, in the full and free redemption of a sinner through the blood and righteousness of the Son of God. Is it any wonder that over the door of mercy should be written in letters of brightness that might dazzle an angel's eye, "Whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life"?


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Evening Thoughts
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Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )

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« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2008, 10:51:30 AM »

May 22

Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. Hosea 2:14

How does God comfort those who are cast down? His method is various. He adapts the comfort to the sorrow. He first writes the sentence of death upon all comfort out of Himself. If you have been accustomed to scrutinize narrowly God's way of dealing with you, you will often have marked this peculiar feature-that before He has unsealed the fountain, He has cut off the spring. In other words, He has suspended all human channels of comfort, preparatory to the fulfillment of his own exceeding great and precious promise-"I, even I, am He that comforts you." It was thus He dealt with His Church of old, as described in our motto. In that wilderness, as a "woman of a sorrowful spirit," she is brought; in that wilderness, she is separated from her companions; yet in that dreary, lonely wilderness, the God of all comfort speaks to her heart. Then follows the song of the Lord in the strange land-the music of the wilderness-"And she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt." Overlook not this process. It may be painful, humiliating, and trying to faith; but the issue, like all the conduct of our heavenly Father, will be most blessed and holy. Is He now, in your case, writing the sentence of death upon all creature-comfort? Does no eye pity you, no heart feel for you, no tongue address you, and is no hand outstretched to rescue you? Look now for God; for He is on the way, in this the time of the creature's failure, Himself to comfort you.

Take heed that it is God, and not man, who comforts you-that your consolation is Divine, and not human. It may be the duty of your minister, and the privilege of your friend, to speak a promise to the ear, and to spread out before you the riches of Divine comfort in the word; but it is the prerogative of the Holy Spirit alone to apply the promise, and to give a heartfelt possession of those comforts. Jealous of His love to you, and of the glory that belongs to Himself, God will delegate the office and commit the power of lightening the burden of your oppressed spirit, of soothing the sorrow of your disconsolate heart, to no created hand. "As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you." Beware, then, of a creature-comfort and of a false peace. Let no one comfort you but God Himself, and let nothing give you peace but the peace-speaking blood of Jesus. A wound may be covered, and yet not be healed; a promise may be spoken, and yet not be applied. To the "God of all comfort," then, repair in your grief. To the precious blood of the Incarnate God go with your burden of sin. Oh! how welcome will you be, coming just as you are! How sacred will be your sorrow to His heart, how eloquent your pleadings to His ear, and how precious in His sight the simple child-like faith, that severs you from all other dependences, and leads you to Him alone for comfort! Then will you exclaim-and not David's harp could discourse sweeter music-"My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped. You have turned for me my mourning into dancing you have put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; to the end that my glory may sing praise to you, and not be silent. I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear unto me, therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live."


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« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2008, 10:55:47 AM »

May 23

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and those who hear shall live." John 5:25

THE condition from which the renewed man passes is that of death. This was his Adamic, or natural state. The sinner is by law dead; the curse is upon him, and condemnation awaits him. No, he is now condemned. "He that believes not is condemned already." As in a state of grace heaven is commenced below, so in a state of nature hell is commenced below. Grace is the beginning of glory, and nature is the beginning of condemnation. The one has in it the element of eternal happiness; the other has in it the element of eternal woe.

But the believer in Jesus is one who has "passed from death unto life." The Spirit of God has breathed into him the breath of life, and He has become a living soul. What an amazing truth is this! We see into what a new and holy life the believing sinner has passed. Quitting forever the low life of sense, he now enters on the exalted life which every believer lives-the life of faith on the Son of God. He has now learned to lean upon Jesus, his righteousness and his strength, his consolation and his support. He is happy in sorrow, joyful in tribulation, strong in weakness, as by faith he leans upon Christ. What a life, too, is the life of communion with God, springing from his life of oneness with Christ! The believer now holds communion with essential life, with essential holiness, with essential love. The holy breathing of his soul is the fellowship of Christ below with the Father above. It is the one life in heaven and on earth. What is prayer to you, my reader? Is it communion? is it fellowship? Does God meet you, and open His heart to you? Are you ever sensible that you have, as it were, attracted His eye, and possessed yourself of His ear? Is prayer the element in which your soul lives? Do you make every circumstance of life an occasion of prayer? As soon as sorrow comes, do you take it to the Lord's heart? As soon as burdening care comes, do you take it to the Lord's arm? As soon as conscience is beclouded, do you take it to the Lord's blood? As soon as the inward corruption rises, do you take it to the Lord's grace? This, beloved, is the life of faith. Mistake not the nature of prayer. True prayer is never more eloquent and prevailing than when breathed forth in real desires, and ardent longings, and groans that cannot be uttered. Sighs, and words, and tears, flowing from a lowly, contrite heart, have a voice more powerful and persuasive than the most eloquent diction that ever clothed the lips of man. Oh to be led by the Spirit more perfectly into a knowledge of the nature and the power of prayer! for this is the grand evidence of our spiritual life. "Behold, he prays."


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« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2008, 10:58:38 AM »

May 24

"For whatever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith." 1 John 5:4


How does victory over the world mark one born of God? It proves it in this way. That which overcomes the world must be superhuman, of almighty power. It cannot be anything of the world, nor can it be of the flesh; for the flesh has no power over the flesh, and the world will never oppose itself. The flesh loves itself; and the world is too fond of power, quietly and unresistingly to yield its dominion. What then is that which overcomes the world? Faith is the conquering grace-this it is that gives the victory-this it is that crushes this tremendous foe. And what is faith but the "gift of God," and the work of the eternal Spirit in the soul? So that He who possesses that faith which is of the operation of the Spirit is "born of God;" and "whatever is born of God overcomes the world," and the instrument by which he overcomes the world is faith-"Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God?"

And how does faith overcome the world? By leading the believer to the cross of Jesus. True faith deals with its great object, Jesus. It goes to Him in the conflict, it goes to Him when hard pressed, it goes to Him in its weakness, it goes to Him in deep distress-on Him it leans, and through Him it always obtains the victory. Of the martyrs it is recorded, that they "overcame through the blood of the Lamb;" and Paul employs similar language in describing his victory: "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." It is faith in Christ that gives us the victory. How could a feeble saint, with no strength or wisdom in himself, overcome so powerful and subtle an enemy as this, without supernatural aid? Never could he. Look at the world! There are its ten thousand temptations-its temptations of pleasure-its temptations of ambition-its temptations of wealth-its false religion-its temporizing policy-its hollow friendship-its empty show-its gay deceptions-its ten thousand arts to ensnare, beguile, allure, and charm; oh, how could one poor weak believer ever crush this fearful, powerful foe, but as he is "strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus"? The cross of Christ gives him the victory. Christ has already conquered the world, and faith in His blood will enable the feeblest soul to exclaim, while the enemy lies subdued at his feet, "Thanks be unto God, which always causes us to triumph in Christ."

Reader, have you obtained the victory over the world, or has the world obtained the victory over you? One of the two is certain-either you are warring against it, or you are its passive and un resisting victim; either you are "born of God," and "have overcome the world," or you are yet unregenerate, and the world has overcome you. On whose side is the victory? Perhaps you are a professor of the Lord Jesus, and yet loving the world, and conforming to its maxims, its policy, its principles, its fashions, its dress, its amusements, yes, its very religion-for it has its hollow forms of religion. Is it so? Then hear what the word of the Lord says to you: "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." Solemn declaration for you, you professors of Christ, and yet lovers of the world! You cannot love God and love the world at the same time. Do not be deceived! The outward garb will not save you. The mere name, the empty lamp-these will avail you nothing when you come to die. If the world has never been ejected from your heart-if you have never been crucified to it, then the love of God is not there; and the love of God absent, you are a stranger to the new birth.


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Evening Thoughts
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by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )

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« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2008, 11:00:55 AM »

May 25

"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened." Romans 1:20-21

WE cannot forget that the God of revelation is the God of nature-that in exploring this vast territory, we trespass upon the domain of no foreign potentate, we invade no hostile kingdom, we tread no forbidden ground. The spiritual mind, fond of soaring through nature in quest of new proofs of God's existence, and fresh emblems of His wisdom, power, and goodness, exults in the thought that it is his Father's domain he treads. He feels that God, his God, is there; and the sweet consciousness of His all-pervading presence, and the impress of His great perfections which everywhere meets his eye, overwhelm his renewed soul with wonder, love, and praise. Oh the delight of looking abroad upon nature, under a sense of pardoning, filial love in the soul, when enabled to exclaim, "This God is my God." Let it not therefore be supposed that nature and revelation are at war with each other. A spiritual mind may discover a close and beautiful relation and harmony between the two. The study of God in His external operations is by no means discouraged in His word. "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night shows knowledge." And in the first verse of our motto, the apostle refers to the rejection of this source of evidence by the heathen.

But if natural theology has its advantages, it also has its limitations. It must never be regarded as taking the place of God's word. It may just impart light enough to the mind to leave its atheism "without excuse," but it cannot impart light enough to convince the soul of its sinfulness-its guilt-its exposure to the wrath of a holy God, and its need of such a Savior as Jesus is. All this is the work of the eternal and blessed Spirit; and if my reader is resting his hope of heaven upon what he has learned of God and of himself in the light of nature only-a stranger to the teaching and operations of the Holy Spirit upon his mind-he is awfully deceiving himself. Natural religion can never renew, sanctify, and save the soul. A man may be deeply schooled in it as a science-he may investigate it thoroughly-defend it ably and successfully, and even, from the feeble light it emits, grope his dark way to the great edifice of revelation-but beyond this it cannot conduct him: it cannot open the door, and admit him to the fullness of the gospel therein contained. It may go far to convince him that the word of God is true, but it cannot "open the book and loose the seals thereof," to disclose to the mind its rich and exhaustless treasures. Oh no! another and a diviner light must shine upon his soul; another and a more powerful hand must break the seals. That light, that hand, is God the Holy Spirit. He only can make the soul acquainted with this solemn truth, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked." He only can explore this dark chamber of imagery, and bring to light the hidden evil that is there. He only can lay the soul low in the dust before God at the discovery, and draw out the heart in the humiliating confession-"Behold, I am vile!" He only can take of the blood of a precious Savior, and the glorious righteousness of the God-Man Mediator, and, working faith to receive it, through this infinitely glorious medium seal pardon and acceptance, and peace upon the conscience. Oh you blessed and loving Spirit! this is Your work, and Your alone. Your to empty, Your to fill; Your to lay low, Your to exalt; Your to wound, Your to heal; Your to convince of sin, and Your to lead the soul, all sinful, guilty, and wretched as it is, to the precious blood of Jesus-"the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness." You shall have the praise, and wear the CROWN!


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« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2008, 11:03:10 AM »

May 26

"O God, you have taught me , from my youth: and hitherto have I declared your wondrous works. You, which have showed me great and sore troubles, shall quicken me again, and shall bring me up again from the depths of the earth. You shall increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side." Psalms 71:17; 71:20; 71:21.


A CAREFUL reader of David's history cannot but be impressed with the early discipline into which this eminent servant of God was brought. He had scarcely slain Israel's vaunting foe, while yet the flush of victory was upon his youthful brow, and the songs of applause were resounding on his ear, when he found himself placed in a position of the keenest trial and most imminent peril. The jealousy of Saul at the unbounded popularity of the youthful warrior, in whom he at once beheld a rival in his people's affection, if not a successor to the throne, instantly dictated a policy the most oppressive and murderous. From that moment the king sought his life. And thus from being the deliverer of the nation, whom he had saved with his arm-an idol of the people, whom he had entranced with his exploit, David became a fugitive and an exile. Thus suddenly and darkly did the storm- cloud rise upon his bright and flattering prospects.

Two deeply spiritual and impressive lessons we may gather from this period of his history. How rapidly, in the experience of the child of God, may a season of prosperity and adulation be followed by one of trial and humiliation! It is, perhaps, just the curb and the correction God sends to check and to save us. We can ill sustain too sudden and too great an elevation. Few can wear their honors meekly, and none apart from especial and great grace. And when God gives great grace, we may always expect that He will follow it with great trial. He will test the grace He gives. There is but a step from the "third heaven" to the "thorn in the flesh." Oh, the wisdom and love of God that shine in this! Who that sees in the discipline a loving and judicious Father, would cherish one unkind rebellious thought?

Another lesson taught us is, that our severest and bitterest trials may be engrafted upon our dearest and sweetest blessings. It was David's popularity that evoked the storm now beating upon him. The grateful affection of the people inspired the envy and hatred of the king. How often is it thus with us! God bestows upon us blessings, and we abuse them. We idolize the creature He has given, and cling too fondly to the friend He has bestowed-settle down too securely in the nest He has made-inhale too eagerly the incense offered to our rank, talents, and achievements-and God often adopts those very things as the voice of His rebuke, and as the instruments of our correction. Thus may our severest trials spring from our sweetest mercies. What a source of sorrow to Abraham was his loved Isaac; and to Isaac was his favored Jacob; and to Jacob was his precious Joseph; and to Jonah was his pleasant gourd! And what deep spiritual truth would the Holy Spirit teach us by all this?-to seek to glorify God in all our blessings when He gives them; and to enjoy all our blessings in God, when He takes then away.


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« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2008, 11:04:45 AM »

May 27

"The Lord has done great things for us; whereof we are glad. Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy." Psalms 126:3; 126:5

TURN we again to David. What would be the result of his review in after- years of the early and severe discipline in which the God of love placed him? Would He not, when his great enemy was laid low, and He had come to the throne, awaken his harp to the sweetest praise and thanksgiving, for the schooling of trial in the morning of life? Oh yes, when binding his sacrifice upon the horns of the altar, or administering the kingdom, he would think of the cave of Adullam, and of the wilderness of Ziph; and as he recounted all the way God had led him, and remembered the deep lessons he had learned in those seasons of deep trial, with what a swelling heart and tuneful voice would he exclaim, "Blessed is the man whom You chasten, O Lord, and teach him out of Your law; that You may give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be dug for the wicked."

What an echo to its truth does this sweet strain awaken in many a heart! We, too, can praise God for trial. We, too, can thank God for sorrow. It has been to us, though a painful, yet a much needed and a most blessed school. The cave and the wilderness have been heavenly places on earth. True, it may be, the sorrow early came. It distilled its bitter into our cup, and flung its shadow upon our path, when that cup was so sweet and that path was so bright with life's young dream of joy; yet it was well for us that we bowed to the yoke in our youth, it was good for us that we were early afflicted. The lessons which we have been taught, the truths which we have learned, the preciousness of the Savior which we have experienced, the love of God which we have felt, the sweetness in prayer we have tasted, and the fitness for labor we have derived, all, all testify, as with one voice, to the unutterably precious blessings that flow through the channel of early, sacred, and sanctified sorrow.

Dear reader, painful and sad as may be the path you now are treading, fear not; the issue will be most glorious. The seed you are sowing in tears shall yield you a golden harvest of joy. Adversity is the school of heaven. And in heaven-where no sorrow chafes, where no tears flow, where no blight withers, where no disappointment sickens, and where no change or coldness chills, wounds, and slays-the sweetest praises will be awakened by the recollection of the early and sanctified sorrows of earth. Thus the moral beauty of the redeemed soul here, and its inconceivable glory hereafter, will be found to have been deepened by those very circumstances that threatened to deface and becloud it.


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« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2008, 11:06:18 AM »

May 28

"Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, you which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering yourself, lest you also be tempted." Galatians 6:1


THE duty of brotherly admonition and reproof is a perfectly legitimate exercise of Christian love. It may be found the most difficult, but the result will prove it to be the most holy and precious operation of this grace. The Church of God is one family, linked together by ties and interests the closest, the holiest, and the tenderest. It is natural, therefore, that each member should desire for the others the utmost perfection of Christian attainment, and must feel honored or dishonored, as the case may be, by the walk and conversation of those with whom the relationship is so close. In Christian friendship, too, the same feeling is recognized. We naturally feel anxious to see in one whom we tenderly love the removal of whatever detracts from the beauty, the symmetry, and the perfection of Christian character. Here, then, will the duty of brotherly admonition and reproof find its appropriate sphere of exercise. Few things contribute more to the formation of Christian character, and to the holy walk of a church, than the faithful, Christ-like discharge of this duty. It is true it requires no ordinary degree of grace in him who administers, and in him who receives, the reproof. That in the one there should be nothing of the spirit which seems to say, "Stand by, I am holier than you," nothing to give needless pain or humiliation, but the utmost meekness, gentleness, and tenderness; and that in the other, there should be the tractable and humble mind, that admits the failing, receives the reproof, and is grateful for the admonition. "Let the righteous smite me," says David, "it shall be a kindness; and let him reprove me, it shall be an excellent oil." Thus, while this duty is administered and received in the spirit of the meek and lowly Jesus, the church will be kindly affectioned one to another, knit together in love, and growing up into that state in which she will be without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.

True Christian love will avoid taking the seat of judgment. There are few violations of the law of love more common than those rash and premature judgments, which some Christians are ever ready to pronounce upon the actions, the principles, and the motives of others. And yet a more difficult and delicate position no Christian can be placed in than this. To form a true and correct opinion of a certain line of conduct, we must often possess the heart-searching eye of God. We must be intimately acquainted with all the hidden motives, and must be fully in possession of all the concomitant circumstances of the case, before we can possibly arrive at anything like an accurate opinion. Thus, in consequence of this blind, premature pre- judgment, this rash and hasty decision, the worst possible construction is often put upon the actions and the remarks of others, extremely unjust, and deeply wounding to the feelings. But especially inconsistent with this love, when small unessential differences of opinion in the explanation of scriptural facts, and consequent nonconformity in creed and discipline, are constructed into rejection of the faith once delivered to the saints, and made the occasion of hard thoughts or of unkind and severe treatment. Let us then hear the Lord's words, "Judge not, that you do not be judged;" and the apostle's, "Why do you judge your brother? or why do you set at nothing your brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ."


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Evening Thoughts
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by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )

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« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2008, 11:07:56 AM »

May 29

"Why are you cast down, O my soul? and why are you disquieted within me? Hope you in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God." Psalms 42:11

In all His dispensations-the severest and the darkest-have faith in God. This is, perhaps, one of the greatest achievements of faith. To believe in God when He smiles, to trust in Him when conscious of His nearness, to have faith in Him when the path is flowery and pleasant, were an easy task. But to have faith in Him when "He holds back the face of His throne, and spreads His cloud upon it; to love Him when He frowns; to follow Him when He withdraws; to cleave to Him when He would seem to shake us off; to trust in Him when His arm is raised to slay-this were faith indeed. And yet all this the faith of God's elect can achieve. If not, of what value is it? Of what possible use to the mariner would be the compass which would only work in the day, and not in the night? which only served to steer the vessel in light winds, and not in rough gales? Faith is the believing soul's compass, guiding it as truly and as certainly to the heavenly port through the wildest tempest as through the serenest calm. To change the figure, faith is that celestial telescope which can pierce the thickest haze or the darkest cloud, descrying suns and stars glowing and sparkling in the far distance. It can discern God's smile under a frown; it can read His name to be "love" beneath the dark dispensation; it can behold the Sun of Righteousness beaming through the interstices of gloomy clouds; and now and then it can catch a glimpse of the harbor itself, with the towering turrets and golden spires of the "new Jerusalem" glittering in the distance. Oh, it is a wonderful grace, the precious faith of God's elect!

Is God dealing with you now in a way of deep trial, of dark providence, mysterious to your mind, and painful to your heart? Is He even chastening you for your backslidings, correcting you for your sins? Still "have faith in God." Sensible appearances, second causes, cannot in the least degree affect the ground of your faith which is God Himself-His immutable nature, His unchangeable love, His eternal purpose, His everlasting covenant, His own Divine and glorious perfections. Believe that you are in His heart, and that your interests are in His hands. Have faith in His wisdom to guide, in His love to direct, in His power to sustain, in His faithfulness to fulfill every promise that now relates to your best welfare and happiness. Only believe in God-that all things in His disposal of you, in His transactions with you, are working together for our present and eternal good. All that He expects and requires of you now is to have faith in Him. The cloud may be dark, the sea tempestuous, but God is in the cloud, and "the Lord sits upon the flood." Even now it is the privilege of your faith to exclaim, "My soul, hope you in God. He is my God; I will trust, and not be afraid."

Oh, what inspiring words are these-"hope you in God!" I hesitate not to say, my reader, you may hope in God. Though your case may seem desperate, to your eye cheerless and hopeless, not merely too intricate for man, but too unworthy for God-yet you may hope in God. Take your case to Him, hoping against hope, and believing in unbelief. Will He close His heart against you? Never! Will He repel you when you fly to Him? Never! It is not in the heart of God, no, nor is it in His power, to do so. Take hold of His strength-I speak it humbly, reverentially-and you have overcome God. You disarm Him of the instrument and of the power to punish you; you have laid your hand of faith upon the strength of His love, and have made peace with Him. You cannot cherish a hope too sanguine, nor exercise a faith too implicit in God, hopeless, cheerless, and extreme as your case may be. Impossible! God never appears so like Himself, as in the season of the believer's darkness and suffering. At the very moment in which he sees the least of God, God appears the most what He is. The tenderest unfoldings of His heart are in sorrow, the brightest exhibitions of His character are in darkness, and the most glorious displays of His wisdom, power, and grace are seen gleaming through the mist.


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Evening Thoughts
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« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2008, 11:09:39 AM »

May 30

"Whoever eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, dwells in me, and I in him." John 6:54-56

FROM where do the ordinances derive their efficacy and power, but from the vitality of the Redeemer's blood? There could be no life, for instance, in the ordinance of the Lord's Supper but as that institution presented in a lively picture to the faith of the recipient the life-blood of the Savior. With what clearness and solemnity has He Himself put forth this truth, in the verses of our motto; thus declaring that he who in lowly and simple faith drinks of the blood of Jesus, partakes of the life of Jesus, because the life of Jesus is in the blood. Should the eye of an unconverted soul light upon this page, or should it arrest the attention of an unbelieving and therefore an unworthy recipient of the ordinance, let that individual seriously ponder these solemn words of Jesus-"Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you have no life in you." The ordinance has no life of itself; the mere symbol possesses no spiritual vitality whatever; it cannot impart life, nor can it sustain life. But the life in the ordinance flows from the exercise of faith, through this medium, with the life-blood of Jesus. Therefore, if you rest only in the symbol, if in this ordinance you partake not by faith of the blood of Jesus, your soul is destitute of spiritual life. In the words of Jesus Himself,

"You have no life in you."

But oh what life does the believing communicant find in the atoning blood! what food, that refreshment, what nourishment! Is it any wonder that Jesus should be to Him the chief among ten thousand, and that the blood of Jesus should be the most precious thing in the universe? If the death of Jesus is his life, what must the life of Jesus be! If the humiliation of Jesus is his honor, what must the exaltation of Jesus be! If the cross of Jesus is his glory, what must the throne of Jesus be! If Jesus crucified is his boast, what must be Jesus glorified! "If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life."

Reader, is the blood of Jesus the life of your soul? So momentous is this truth, bear with me in pressing it upon your attention. Believe me when, with all affection and solemnity, I say that Your religion, your creed, your profession, are lifeless if they are not vivified, pervaded, and animated by the blood of the Son of God. God have no dealings with you in this great matter your salvation, but through the blood. He cannot "reason" with you about your sins of "crimson" and of "scarlet" dye, but on the footing of the blood. He cannot meet you for one moment in any other character than as a "consuming fire," but as He meets you at, and communes with you from above the mercy-seat sprinkled with blood. The blood of atonement is everything to God in the way of satisfaction, of glory, and of honor; and should be everything to you in the way of acceptance, pardon, and communion. There is not a moment in which God's eye of complacence is withdrawn from the blood of His Son in the perpetual acceptance of the believer; and there should not be a moment in which our eye of faith, in every circumstance of our daily walk before Him, should not also be upon this "blood of sprinkling, that speaks better things than that of Abel."


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« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2008, 11:12:31 AM »

May 31

"I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love." Hosea 11:4

THE word of God teaches us, that "a soft answer turns away wrath." And, again, it is said, "By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaks the bone." It was by kindness that David calmed down the enraged temper of Saul, obtaining thus a two-fold victory-a victory over himself; and a victory over the wrathful king. Kindness is the great law of the Divine government; and in man is the strongest element of human power. How does God overcome an evil; is it not by good? And based upon this is a like precept enforced upon us: "If your enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing you shall heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." There is no weapon so powerful as kindness. It is by the love of the cross the enmity of the carnal mind is subdued, and its inbred evils overcome; and would we be exquisitely severe to the faults and delinquencies of the erring and the hardened, we must be exquisitely kind. The very severity of love will more quickly and effectually subdue, win, and reclaim, than all the harsh, cruel treatment, unfeeling upbraiding, and bitter threats, that sternness ever invented. The human heart expands to the looks, and words, and actions of human kindness and sympathy; just as the wild rose and the delicate flower nurtured in our gardens open to the light and warmth of the morning sun.

We should remember this in our walks and labors of benevolence. Brought, as we sometimes are, into contact with extreme cases of guilt and crime, we should not overlook the material we yet possess, with which to repair the fallen structure. No heart should be considered too polluted-no mind too dark-no character too debased-for the power of God, working by human instrumentality, to restore. The surface may present to the eye the iron features of a hardened and a reckless character; nevertheless, there are springs of thought and feeling and memory, beneath that repulsive surface, which, if touched by a skillful and a delicate hand, will unlock the door of the heart, and admit you within its most sacred recesses. Thus with gentleness and kindness you may soften the most hardened, disarm the most ferocious, calm the most violent, and attain complete possession of a mind that has long resisted and repelled every other subduing influence. The true disciple of Christ, like the beloved John, who leaned on the bosom of Jesus, and felt and imbibed the warmth of its gentleness, tenderness, and love, will ever desire to exhibit the loving, sympathizing, forgiving spirit of his Lord and Master, from whose lips no words of harshness ever breathed.


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Evening Thoughts
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by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )

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« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2008, 03:13:35 PM »

June 1

"Howbeit you are just in all that is brought upon us; for you have done right, but we have done wickedly." Nehemiah 9:33

IT would be incorrect to suppose that the chastisements of our heavenly Father were in themselves pleasant and desirable. They are no more so than the physician's recipe, or the surgeon's lancet. But as in the one case, so in the other, we look beyond the medicine to its sanative qualities, we forget the bitterness of the draught in its remedial results. Thus with the medicine of the soul-the afflictions sent and sanctified by God. Forgetting the bitter and the pain of God's dealings, the only question of moment is, what is the cause and what the design of my Father in this? The answer is-our deeper sanctification.

This is effected, first, by making us more thoroughly acquainted with the holiness of God Himself. Sanctified chastisement has an especial tendency to this. To suppose a case. Our sense of God's holiness, previously to this dispensation, was essentially defective, unsound, superficial, and uninfluential. The judgment admitted the truth; we could speak of it to others, and in prayer acknowledge it to God; but still there was a vagueness and an indistinctness in our conceptions of it, which left the heart cold, and rendered the walk uneven. To be led now into the actual, heart-felt experience of the truth, that in all our transactions we had to deal with the holy, heart-searching Lord God, we find quite another and an advanced stage in our journey, another and a deeper lesson learned in our school. This was the truth, and in this way Nehemiah was taught. "Howbeit you are just (holy) in all that is brought upon us; for you have done right, but we have done wickedly." Oh blessed acknowledgment! Do not think that we speak unfeelingly when we say, it were worth all the discipline you have ever passed through, to a have become more deeply schooled in the lesson of God's holiness. One most fruitful cause of all our declensions from the Lord will be found wrapped up in the crude and superficial views which we entertain of the character of God, as a God of infinite purity. And this truth He will have His people to study and to learn, not by sermons, nor from books, not from hearsay, nor from theory, but in the school of loving chastisement-personally and experimentally. Thus beholding more closely, and through a clearer medium, this Divine perfection, the believer is changed more perfectly into the same moral image. "He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness."

The rod of the covenant has a wonderful power of discovery. Thus, by revealing to us the concealed evil of our natures, we become more holy.

"The blueness (that is, the severity) of a wound cleanses away evil." This painful discovery often recalls to memory past failings and sins. David went many years in oblivion of his departure from God, until Nathan was sent, who, while he told him of his sin, with the same breath announced the message of Divine forgiveness. Then it was the royal penitent kneeled down and poured forth from the depths of his anguished spirit the fifty-first Psalm-a portion of God's word which you cannot too frequently study. "I do remember my sin this day," is the exclamation of the chastened sufferer. Thus led to search into the cause of the Divine correction, and discovering it-perhaps after a long season of forgetfulness-the "blueness of the wound," the severity of the rod, "cleanses away the evil;" in other words, more deeply sanctifies the soul. "Show me why you contend with me."


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« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2008, 12:49:06 AM »

June 2

"For you, O God, have proved us: you have tried us, as silver is tried." Psalms 66:10

FAITH has its trials, as well as its temptations. Affliction is a trial of faith; sorrow in any of its multitudinous forms is a trial of faith; the delay of mercy is a trial of faith; the promise unfulfilled is a trial of faith; the prayer unanswered is a trial of faith; painful providences, mysterious dispensations, straitened circumstances, difficulties, and embarrassments, all are so many trials of faith, commissioned and designed by God to place the gold in the crucible, and the wheat in the sieve, that both may be purified and tried. Ah, is it no trial of the believer's faith, when the foundation upon which it rests is assailed? Is it no trial of faith to have distorted representations of God presented to its eye, dishonoring thoughts of God suggested to the mind, unbelieving apprehensions of Jesus, His love, His grace, and His works, foisted upon the heart? To entertain for one moment the idea that God is unfaithful to His word, or that in His dealings He is arbitrary and unkind? that Jesus is not what He represents Himself to be, an all-sufficient Savior of the lost, the healer of the broken in heart, the tender, gentle Savior, not breaking the bruised reed, but supporting it, not quenching the smoking flax, but fanning it? Oh yes, these to a holy mind are painful trials of faith, from which the tender conscience shrinks, and the sensitive heart recoils.

It is only true grace that is really tried. No man puts mere dross into his furnace, or mere chaff into his sieve. All his toils and pains-taking would go for nothing, for it would come forth in its nature unaltered and unchanged - the dross would still be dross, and the chaff would still be chaff. Now the Lord tries, and Satan tempts, nothing but genuine grace. It is the wheat, and not the tares, that is made to pass through the fiery trial. Thus do afflictions and trying dispensations prove tests of a man's religion. When there is nothing but tinsel in a profession of Christianity, the fire will consume it; when there is nothing but chaff, the wind will scatter it. The furnace of temptation and the flail of affliction often prove a man's work of what sort it is, long before the discovery is made in a world where no errors can be corrected, and when it will be too late to rectify mistakes. Thus it is that so many professors, who have not the root of the matter in themselves, but endure for awhile, are offended and fall away when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word.

And why is the "wheat" thus sifted? why is so Divine and precious a grace subjected to a process so humiliating and severe? Certainly not because of any intrinsic impurity in the grace itself. All the graces of the Spirit, as they proceed from God, and are implanted in the heart, are pure and holy; as essentially free from sin as the nature from where they flow. But in consequence of the impurity of the heart, and the defilement of the nature in which they are deposited - the body of sin and death by which they are encased - they become mixed with particles of earthliness and carnality, the fine gold with dross, and the pure wheat with chaff. To purify and separate the graces of the Holy Spirit from these things, so foreign to their nature, the Lord permits these temptations, and sends these trials of faith.

Not only may the faith of a child of God be severely assailed, but there are times when that faith may greatly waver. Is this surprising? No, the greatest wonder is, that with all these severe shocks, through which it passes, it does not entirely fail. Nothing but the Divinity that dwells within that grace keeps it. Were it not Divine and incorruptible, fail entirely it must. Look at Abraham - on one occasion in the strength of faith offering up his son, and on another occasion in the weakness of faith denying his wife! Look at David - in the strength of faith slaying Goliath, and in the weakness of faith fleeing from Saul! Look at Job - in the strength of faith justifying God in the severest of His dealings, and in the weakness of faith cursing the day that He was born! Look at Peter - in the strength of faith drawing his sword and smiting a servant of the high priest's, and in the weakness of faith forced by a little maid to deny the Lord whom he had but just defended! Oh! the wonder of wonders is, that there remains a single grain in the sieve, or a particle of metal in the furnace, or a solitary spark in the ocean - that all is not utterly scattered, consumed, and annihilated! Nothing but the power of God and its own incorruptible and imperishable nature, preserve it.

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Evening Thoughts
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by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )

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« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2008, 12:50:36 AM »

June 3

"Behold, he prays." Acts 9:11

WHAT a precious fruit of the renewed heart is true prayer! If there is a single exercise of the soul that places the fact of its regeneracy beyond a doubt, it is this. Prayer, that comes as holy fire from God, and that rises as holy incense to God - prayer, that takes me, with every want and infirmity, with every sin and sorrow, to the bosom of the Father, through the smitten bosom of the Son - prayer, that sweetens my solitude, that calms my perturbed spirit, that weakens the power of sin, that nourishes the desire for holiness, and that transports the soul, by anticipation, beyond the region of winds, and storms, and tempests, into the presence of God, where all is sunshine and peace - oh what a wondrous privilege is this!

That there is much of awful mystery yet to be unraveled, in relation to this holy exercise of the soul, we readily admit. How prayer operates upon God, we know not. That it can effect any alteration in His purpose, or change His will, or afford Him information, no one for a moment supposes. And yet, that it should be an ordained medium by which finite weakness seems to overcome Infinite strength, a human will seems to turn the Divine will, and man's shallow mind seems to pour knowledge into the fathomless mind of God - that it should arrest a threatened judgment, remove an existing evil, or supply a present want - is a marvel in which, like all others of Divine revelation, I submit my reason to my faith, receiving and adoring what my reason cannot, unless I were God, perfectly comprehend. The only solution which we have of this mystery of prayer is contained in these words: "He that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God;" the Holy Spirit thus inditing just that petition which is in harmony with the purpose, will, and love of Him who is emphatically the hearer and the answerer of prayer. What a volume might be composed on the subject of prayer, and yet the half would not be told! A compilation of its achievements would of itself be the work of the longest life. Blessed are they who can enter into the spirit of these words - "I give myself unto prayer." "It is good for me to draw near unto God." "Pray without ceasing." "Praying always with all prayer." "If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us; and if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him." Have you, reader, this fruit? Then restrain not prayer before God.

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Evening Thoughts
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Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )

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