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nChrist
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« Reply #330 on: April 16, 2009, 01:31:16 AM »

_______________________________
Evening Thoughts
or
Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )
Free From Grace Gems
http://www.gracegems.org/
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April 15

"A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, until he send forth judgment unto victory."  Matthew 12:20

SURELY, it is a question of all others the most interesting and important, "Am I, or am I not, a true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ?" We do not say that the state of doubt and uncertainty from which this inquiry arises necessarily invalidates the evidence of grace which already exists; nor would we have it inferred, that the question itself indicates a healthy, vigorous tone of mind. But what we affirm is, that where there exists the principle of life, and a growing acquaintance with the plague of the human heart, with a conscience increasingly tender, the question will sometimes arise-"Am I a living soul in Christ?"

In enabling us to meet and satisfy this inquiry, how kind and condescending is God the Holy Spirit! A state of uncertainty as to his personal salvation cannot be regarded by the believer as the most favorable for the cultivation of personal holiness. He, indeed, is the most heavenly-minded, happy, and useful child of God, who, with the lowly confidence of the great apostle, can say, "I know in whom I have believed." But we must admire the love of the Spirit in providing for the necessities of the weakest state of grace. If saints of advanced stature in Christ can but little sympathize with the timidity, the fearfulness, and the weakness of children of more dwarfish proportions, not so the loving, faithful Spirit of God. He is never above His own work. The smallest part is too precious to His heart, to allow of the withdrawment of His eye from it for a single moment. It is not the extent of the territory which He has subjugated to Himself in the soul, that most thrills His heart with delight-this He is sure to perfect-but it is His having at all effected an entrance, and established Himself permanently there. This is the ground of his greatest triumph, the source of His highest joy-that after all the opposition and the difficulty, He should at last have gotten Himself the victory. Is it possible, then, that the tenderest bud of grace, or the faintest glimmering of light in the soul, can be a matter of indifference to Him? Ah no! Would Titian have despised a painting, upon whose outline He had stamped the impress of his genius, because its pencilings were not complete? Would Canova have destroyed his sculpture, almost breathing with life, because its chiselings were unfinished? And will the Holy Spirit, in drawing the moral likeness of God upon the soul, in modeling the mind for heaven, slight this, His master-piece of wisdom and of power, because of its present incompleteness? No! The faintest outline of the Divine image, the roughest shaping of the Divine nature in man, presents to His eye more beauty, and symmetry, and skill, than the finest pencilings of nature, or the most perfect modelings of are. The universe of loveliness and of wonder contains nothing that can compare with it.
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nChrist
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« Reply #331 on: April 16, 2009, 01:32:50 AM »

_______________________________
Evening Thoughts
or
Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )
Free From Grace Gems
http://www.gracegems.org/
_______________________________


April 16

"For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart fails me."  Psalms 40:12

IN the more advanced stages of the Christian life, we find much into the experience of which the believer is brought, tending to cast down the people of God. Without minutely describing the many causes of soul-disquietude which exist, we may group together in one view those, the most fruitful, which conspire to this abasement of the spirit. We may mention, as among the most powerful, the clinging body of sin, to which his renewed spirit is enchained, from which it sighs to be delivered, but from which death only frees it; consequently, there is the daily battle with a heart of unbelief, incessantly departing from God. Then there are the labyrinths of the desert, the straitness of the narrow way, the fears within, and the fightings without, the trials of faith, the chastisements of love, the offence of the cross, the intricacies of truth, the woundings of the world, the unkindnesses of the saints, and the varied difficulties and afflictions of the wilderness-all these create oftentimes great disquietude and despondency of soul. When to these are added the yet more painful and humbling remembrance of his sins since conversion, his stumblings and falls, his unkind requitals of God's love, the base returns which he has made, and the deep ingratitude which he has felt for all the Divine goodness, with the consequent hidings of God's face, and the withdrawments of Christ's presence, he exclaims in the bitterness of his spirit, "My soul is cast down within me;" "my heart fails me."

Ah! there is no humiliation like that which a sight and sense of sin produces, the heart laid open and the soul laid low before God. The world's bitter scorn, the creature's cold neglect, are nothing in comparison. In the one case, the heart is only mortified; in the other, it is truly humbled. The one is a feeling that has to do with man only-the other is an emotion that has to do with God. And when once the believer is solemnly conscious of acting beneath the eye of God, the gaze of other eyes affects him but slightly. Oh how little do some professors deport themselves as though they had to do only with God! How imperfectly do they look upon sin as God looks upon it! But did they live more as setting the Lord always before them, how superior would they rise to the poor opinion of their fellow-sinners! To them it would then appear a very little matter to be judged of man's judgment.
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« Reply #332 on: April 16, 2009, 01:35:56 AM »

_______________________________
Evening Thoughts
or
Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )
Free From Grace Gems
http://www.gracegems.org/
_______________________________


April 17

"God, that comforts those that are cast down."  2 Corinthians 7:6

IF there is much to cast down the child of God, there is more to lift him up. If in his path to glory there are many causes of soul-despondency, of heart- sorrow, and mental disquietude, yet in that single truth-God comforts the disconsolate-he has an infinite counterbalance of consolation, joy, and hope. That "God comforts those that are cast down," His own truth declares. It is in His heart to comfort them, and it is in His power to comfort them. He blends the desire, deep and yearning, with the ability, infinite and boundless. Not so with the fondest, tenderest creature. The sorrow is often too deep and too sacred for human sympathy to reach. But what is fathomless to man is a shallow to God.

I have said, that it is in the heart of God to comfort His people. Everything that He has done to promote their comfort proves it. He has commanded His ministers to "speak comfortably" to them. He has sent forth His word to comfort them. He has laid up all comfort and consolation for them, in the Son of His love. And in addition to all this, He has given them His own Spirit, to lead them to the Divine sources of "all consolation" which He has provided. Who could comfort the disconsolate but God? Who could effectually undertake their case but Himself? He only knows their sorrow, and He only could meet it. There is not a moment in which God is not bent upon the comfort of "those that are cast clown." All His dealings with them tend to this-even those that appear adverse and contrary. Does He wound?-it is to heal. Does He cause deep sorrow?-it is to turn that sorrow into a deeper joy. Does He empty?-it is to fill. Does He cast down?-it is to lift up again. Such is the love that moves Him, such is the wisdom that guides Him, and such too is the end that is secured in the Lord's disciplinary conduct with His people. Dear reader, it is in God's loving heart to speak comfortably to your sorrowful heart. Let but the Holy Spirit enable you to receive this truth in simple faith, and your grief, be its cause and its degree what they may, is more than half assuaged. Not a word may yet be spoken by the "God of all comfort," not a cloud may be dispersed, nor a difficulty be removed; yet to be assured by the Divine Comforter that the heart of God yearns over you, and that consolation is sparkling up from its infinite depths, waiting only the command to pour its tide of joyousness into your sorrow- stricken bosom, and it is enough. Yes, I repeat it-for every reiteration of so precious a truth must still be but a faint expression of its magnitude-it is in the loving heart of God to lift up your disconsolate soul from the dust. Listen to His words-there is melody in them such as David's harp spoke not when its soft and mellow strains soothed the perturbed spirit of Saul-"I, even I, am He that comforts you." Mark with what earnestness He makes this declaration. How solicitous does he appear to impress this truth upon the heart-that to comfort His own tried saints is His sole prerogative, and His infinite delight. "I, even I, am He that comforts you."
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« Reply #333 on: April 16, 2009, 01:38:04 AM »

_______________________________
Evening Thoughts
or
Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )
Free From Grace Gems
http://www.gracegems.org/
_______________________________


April 18

"For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and in much assurance; . . . And you became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit."  1 Thessalonians 1:5-6

THUS does the Spirit of God empty the soul, preparing it for the reception of the grace of Christ. He 'sweeps and garnishes' the house. He dislodges the unlawful inhabitant, dethrones the rival sovereign, and thus secures room for the Savior. He disarms the will of its rebellion against God, the mind of its ignorance, and the heart of its hatred. He prostrates the barrier, removes the veil, and unlocks the door, at which the Redeemer triumphantly enters. In effecting this mighty work, He acts as the Divine Forerunner of Christ. What the Baptist was to our Lord, "crying in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the Lord," the Holy Spirit is, in heralding the entrance of Jesus to the soul. He goes before, and prepares His way. The Divinity of the Spirit furnishes Him with all the requisites for the work. He meets with difficulty, and He removes it-with obstruction, and He overcomes it-with opposition, and He vanquishes it. His power is omnipotent, His influence is irresistible, His grace is efficacious. There is no soul, however filled with darkness, and enmity, and rebellion, which He cannot prepare for Christ. There is no heart of stone which He cannot break, no brazen wall which He cannot prostrate, no mountain which He cannot level. Oh, for more faith in the power of the Holy Spirit in the soul of man! How much do we limit, and in limiting how do we dishonor, Him in His work of converting grace!

The providential dealings of God are frequently instrumental in the hand of the Holy Spirit of accomplishing this emptying process, thus preparing the soul for the reception of Christ. The prophet thus strikingly alludes to it: "Moab has been at ease from his youth, and He has settled on his lees, and has not been emptied from vessel to vessel." It was in this way God dealt with Naomi. Listen to her touching words: "I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty." Thus it is that the bed of sickness, or the chamber of death, the loss of creature good, perhaps the loveliest and the dearest, has prepared the heart for Christ. The time of bereavement and of solitude, of suffering and of loss, has been the Lord's time of love. Providence is the hand-maid of grace-and God's providential dealings with man are frequently the harbingers of the kingdom of grace in the soul. Ah! how many whose glance falls upon this page may testify "Even thus has the Lord dealt with me. I was rich, and He has impoverished me. I was exalted, and He has laid me low. Not one cup only did He drain, not one vessel only did He dash to the earth, but many. He has emptied me 'from vessel to vessel.' " Happy shall you be if the result of all this emptying and humbling shall be the filling and enriching of your soul with larger communications of grace and truth from Jesus. A cloud of witnesses around you testify to this invariable principle of the Lord's procedure with His people-that He enriches by impoverishing them; strengthens by weakening them; replenishes by emptying; and exalts by laying them low.
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« Reply #334 on: April 16, 2009, 01:39:25 AM »

_______________________________
Evening Thoughts
or
Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )
Free From Grace Gems
http://www.gracegems.org/
_______________________________


April 19

"And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads."  Revelation 14:1

DO NOT FORGET, O believer, that you are journeying to the mount of God, and will soon be there. Behold it in the distance! What wonders encircle it! What glory bathes it! The exile of Patmos, lifting a corner of the veil, has presented it to our view in the words of our motto. Oh what a spectacle of magnificence is this! There is Jesus the Lamb as it had been slain. To Hin every face is turned, on Him every eye is fixed, before Him every knee bends, and every tongue chants His praise, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain." Around Him are gathering each moment the One Church of God, redeemed from among men. In the light and splendor of the scene all distinctions are absorbed, all minds assimilate, all hearts blend, all voices harmonize, and the grand, visible manifestation of the Unity of the Church is perfected.

To this consummation you are hastening-keep it full in view. Turn not aside, yielding to the enchanting scenes through which you pass; but forgetting the things that are behind, press forward to the mark of the prize of your high calling of God in Christ Jesus. To Mount Zion you will certainly arrive at last. Your feet shall stand upon its summit. Your voice shall blend with its music. Your heart shall thrill with its gladness. Your soul shall bathe in its glory. Oh! kindles not your spirit with ardor, and is not your heart winged with love, while the mount of God unveils its splendor to your view? Speak, Elijah! for you have reached that exaltation, and tell us what it is to be there! No, you cannot tell. You have heard its deep songs of joy-but their strains are unutterable. You have seen its ineffable glory-but that glory is unspeakable. Let but your mantle fall upon us, and a double portion of your spirit be ours, and at our departure let your chariot of fire convey us to the skies, and we will be content to wait and gaze for awhile upon the distant vision-like some early traveler pausing upon the mountain's side to admire the ascending sun, until his features and his vestments borrow the crimson glow-until, "changed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord," we reach it at last, and delight ourselves forever amid its transcendent beams-ceasing from our conflict, and reposing from our toil, in the beatific presence of God!
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« Reply #335 on: April 16, 2009, 01:41:25 AM »

_______________________________
Evening Thoughts
or
Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )
Free From Grace Gems
http://www.gracegems.org/
_______________________________


April 20

"When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Elijah the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses."  Matthew 8:16,

IN one respect only may it be said, that our Divine and adorable Lord would seem to have been exempted from the physical infirmities peculiar to the nature which He so voluntarily and entirely assumed-it does not appear that He was ever, in His own person, the subject of sickness or disease. It is indeed declared by His inspired biographer, thus confirming at the same time a prediction of one of the prophets, "Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses;" but this He did in the same manner in which He bore our moral sicknesses, without any personal participation. He bore our sins, but He was Himself sinless. He carried our sicknesses, but He Himself was a stranger to disease. And His exemption from the one will explain His exemption from the other. His humanity knew no sin; it was that "holy thing" begotten by the Holy Spirit, and as stainless as God Himself. As sin introduced into our nature every kind of physical evil, and disease among the rest, our Lord's freedom from the cause necessarily left Him free from the effect. He was never sick, because He never sinned. No, He had never died, had He not consented to die. With a nature prepared and conceived totally without moral taint, there were no seeds of decay from which death could reap its harvest. Under no sentence of dissolution, death had no power to claim Him as its victim. As pure as our first parents before the fall, like them in their original state of holiness, He was naturally deathless and immortal. Had He not, by an act of the most stupendous grace, taken upon Him the curse and sin of His Church, thereby making Himself responsible to Divine justice for the utmost payment of her debt, the "bitterness of death" had never touched His lips. But even then His death was voluntary. His relinquishment of life was His own act and deed. The Jew who hunted Him to the cross, and the Roman by whose hands He died, were but the actors in the awful tragedy. The "king of terrors" wrenched not His spirit from Him. Death waited the permission of Essential Life before he winged the fatal dart. "Jesus yielded up the spirit," literally, made a surrender, or let go His spirit. Thus violent though it was, and responsible for the crime as were its agents, the death of Jesus was yet voluntary. "I lay down lay life," are His expressive words.

The control and power of Christ over bodily disease form one of the most instructive and tender pages of His history when upon earth. We can but briefly refer the reader to a few of the different traits of the Divine Physician's grace, as illustrated by the various cures which He effected. His promptness in healing the nobleman's son, John 4:43-54. His unsolicited cure of the sick man at the pool of Bethesda, and the man with a withered hand, John 5:1-9; Mark 3:1-6. The humility and delicacy with which He heals the centurion's servant, Matthew 8:5-13. The tenderness with which He restored the widow's son, Luke 7:11-17. The simplicity with which He recovered the man born blind, John 9:1-7. The gentle touch with which He cured the man, sick of the dropsy, Luke 14:1-6. The natural and spiritual healing of the paralytic, Luke 5:17-28. The resistless compassion with which He cured the daughter of the Syrophenician woman, Mark 8:24-3O. The wisdom and the authority with which He healed the lunatic child, Luke 9:37-43. The power with which He ejected the demons from the man, permitting their entrance into the swine, Matthew 8:28-34. Truly the name of our Divine Physician is "Wonderful!" All this skill and power and feeling He still possesses; and in their exercise, in His present dealings with His suffering saints, is He glorified.
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« Reply #336 on: April 25, 2009, 04:00:01 AM »

_______________________________
Evening Thoughts
or
Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )
Free From Grace Gems
http://www.gracegems.org/
_______________________________


April 21

"And Jesus answering said unto them, Those who are whole need not a physician; but those who are sick."  Luke 5:31

THAT Physician is He who spoke these words. The power of the Son of God over the moral and physical diseases of men, prove Him to be just the Physician which our circumstances require. Want we skill? He possesses it. Sympathy? He has it. Patience, tenderness, perseverance? all belong to Jesus. Wonderful Physician! No disease can baffle You, for You are Divine. No suffering can fail to move You, for You are human. Are your deep anxieties awakened, my reader, on behalf of some loved object, now pining in sickness, perhaps, to all appearance, in circumstances of extreme danger? In simple faith call in the aid of this Physician. Let the prayer of Moses for Miriam be yours, presented with the faith and urged with the importunity of the Syrophenician mother, "Heal her now, O Lord, I beseech You." "I will come and heal her," will be His reply. Deem not the case beyond His skill. Thus reasoned the sister of Lazarus: "Lord, if You had been here, my brother had not died. But I know that even now, whatever You will ask of God, God will give it You." Go in prayer and faith, and lay your sick one at His feet. Jesus is with you. One word from Him, and the disease shall vanish; one touch of His hand, and health shall be restored. He who raised Lazarus from the grave, can bring back from its brink the dear one around whose fast- waning life the veins of your heart are entwined. Ask believingly, ask submissively, ask importunately, and then leave the result with Him.

When human power has come to its end-when skill and affection can do no more-when man retires, and hope is extinguished, and the loved one is despairingly abandoned to death-then to see the Lord step forward and take the case in His hands, arresting the disease, rebuking the distemper, bringing back the glow of health to the cheek, vigor to the frame, elasticity to the limb, and brilliance to the eye, raising as from the very grave itself-oh how glorious does He appear in that chamber of sickness! Who bowed down His ear to the whisper that faintly cried for help and support? Who heard the fervent agonizing prayer that that precious life might be spared, which in another room broke from the lips of some anxious, holy wrestler-a parent, a brother, a sister, a friend, it may be? It was the Son of God! and oh how is He glorified in the recovery! Or, if that sickness terminates in death's slumber, is He less glorified? Ask the spirit just emerged from its shattered tenement, and soaring away to its home on high-ask it as it enters the portals of heaven, the blaze of eternal glory bursting upon its view-ask it as it finds itself before the throne of God, once an earthly, polluted creature, now whiter and brighter than an unfallen angel-ask it as it rests in the bosom of its redeeming Savior, blissfully conscious of its final and eternal safety, and reposing in expectation of its complete glorification, when its reunion with the spiritual body shall take place on the morning of the first resurrection-ask, and it will testify how great was the glory brought to the Son of God, by the termination of a sickness which, while it left kindred and friends weeping around the death-bed below, demonstrated His life, and power, and love, "who has abolished death, and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."
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« Reply #337 on: April 25, 2009, 04:01:33 AM »

_______________________________
Evening Thoughts
or
Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )
Free From Grace Gems
http://www.gracegems.org/
_______________________________


April 22

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."  1 Timothy 3:16,

IT has seemed good to the Holy Spirit, the Divine Author of the Bible, to embody and exhibit some of the most important spiritual and magnificent truths of His word in the form of type, symbol, and similitude. Neither His wisdom nor His love, in thus throwing a veil of apparent obscurity around revelations so momentous, can be questioned. It cannot be reasonably denied that God, who saw proper to unveil His own mind, and in a way of extraordinary relation communicate His will to man, could as easily, if so it pleased Him, not only have accompanied that revelation with the self- evident assurance that He, and no other, was the speaker; but that also He could have cleared away whatever was mysterious and obscure from each truth, causing it to stand forth, palpable and demonstrative, bathed in the splendor of its own Divine effulgence. But with a view, doubtless, of simplifying the meaning, of heightening the grandeur, and of deepening the solemnity of truth in the estimation of the human mind, this peculiar mode of conveying it is, in part, adopted.

Nor for these reasons alone. The spirit of earnest and persevering research is the spirit which a proper and successful study of the Bible demands. It is not everywhere upon the surface of God's word, that the most important instruction is found; though even there truths the most spiritual and precious are sometimes scattered, like brilliant constellations pendant from the firmament, and visible to the naked eye, or as gems detached from the ocean's cave are sometimes thrown upon the shore, and gathered up by the passing traveler. But in most cases the truth of God lies deep and invisible. A superficial and careless research will not conduct the investigator to its richest revelations. The mine must be excavated, the firmament must be explored, the ocean must be fathomed-in other words, the Scriptures must be searched with much prayer for the Spirit's teaching, and with "patient continuance," or their greatest beauties and their costliest treasures will remain concealed. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God," and there is no type, nor symbol, nor parable, nor story, nor song, which enfolds not some profound truth, and which conveys not some deep practical lesson of wisdom, some rich word of comfort, or some precious unfolding of Jesus, the "price of which is above rubies."
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« Reply #338 on: April 25, 2009, 04:04:45 AM »

_______________________________
Evening Thoughts
or
Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )
Free From Grace Gems
http://www.gracegems.org/
_______________________________


April 23

"For the Lord will not forsake his people for his great name's sake: because it has pleased the Lord to make you his people. " 1 Samuel 12:22

GOD rests in the immutability of His love. It is a love that knows no change in its character, and no variation in its degree. There never has been a period in which the love of God in Christ towards His people has been more or less than it is at this moment. It must have been great before conversion, because then it was that He gave His only begotten Son, that they might live through Him. Then, too, it was He sent His own Spirit to regenerate their minds, and to make them new creatures in Christ Jesus. If He thus loved them before conversion, when they were yet sinners, do you think, dear reader, that His love can be less since conversion! Impossible! God rests in the unchangeableness of His love towards His saints. Nothing can move Him from it. When He set His heart upon His people, He foresaw and foreknew all that was in them. He knew when they would revolt, when they would start aside like a broken bow, when they would startle and fall. He knew all their waywardness, folly, and ingratitude. "I knew that you would deal very treacherously," says God. And yet He loved them. Acquainted with their sin, does He not chasten it? and in chastening, does He withdraw His love from them? Listen to His own words-"If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; if they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; then will I visit their transgressions with the rod, and their iniquities with stripes. Nevertheless my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail." What language can more strongly set forth the Lord's determination to correct the departures of His people, while yet resting in the unchangeableness of His love towards them?

If God thus rests in His love towards us, how jealous ought we to be of the fervor and fidelity of our love to Him! Ah! how inconstant, wavering, and restless have been our affections! How little have we rested in our love to Christ! Other objects have attracted us away from it; we have been as changeable as the wind, and as unstable as the sea. But let us watch over this holy affection, apart from which God takes no pleasure in our sacrifices or services. Let it be our aim to yield up whatever rivals Christ. He sacrificed all for the love He bore us; let us sacrifice all that He requires for the love we bear Him. Jesus is worthy-oh how worthy!-of our deepest, strongest, most self-consuming affection. And God, who gave us His Son, asks nothing in return but that we give Him our hearts. Let His love, then, constrain us to a more unreserved obedience, to a holier walk, to a more ardent, inseparable attachment to Him, to His people, and to His cause. Let us, in this day of easy and abounding profession-this day of papal encroachment and of popish imitation-this day of exaltation of human authority above the word of God-this day of error, of rebuke, and of blasphemy-this day of rapid and of excited action-this last solemn dispensation of the world, the events of which are rapidly ushering in the coming of the Son of man-let us, under the influence of more simple faith, more fervent love, and brightening hope, "go forth unto Jesus without the camp, bearing His reproach," resting amid our conflict and our toil, where the Father rests-where the sinner rests-where we may rest-in Jesus.
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« Reply #339 on: April 25, 2009, 04:06:46 AM »

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Evening Thoughts
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Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )
Free From Grace Gems
http://www.gracegems.org/
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April 24

"Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, you would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me."  John 8:42

THIS is the key to the infinite grace of God. "I am in the Father," said Christ, "and the Father in me." Glorious announcement! Collecting together all the riches of His grace, the Father places them at the disposal of His Son, and bids Him spread them out before the eyes of a fallen world. True to His covenant engagement, the Eternal Son appears, "made like unto His brethren," and announces that He has come to lift the veil, and show to us the heart of a gracious, sin-pardoning God. In declaring that the "Father Himself loves us," and that "he that had seen Him," so full of grace, "had seen the Father," He affirms, but in other words, that He is a copy, a representation of the Father. That the love, the grace, the truth, the holiness, the power, the compassion, the tenderness, that were exhibited by Him in such a fullness of supply, and were distributed by Him in such an affluence of expenditure, had their origin and their counterpart in God. Oh how jealous was He of the Divine honor! He might, had He willed it, have sought and secured His own distinction and advancement, His own interest and glory, apart from His Father's. He could, had He chosen it, have erected His kingdom as a rival sovereignty, presenting Himself as the sole object of allegiance and affection, thus attracting to His government and His person the obedience and the homage of the world. But no! He had no separate interest from His Father. The heart of God throbbed in the bosom of Jesus-the perfections of God were embodied in the person of Jesus-the purpose of God was accomplished in the mission of Jesus-the will of God was done, and the honor of God was secured, in the life and death of Jesus.

"I seek not mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me," was a declaration emblazoned upon His every act.

Anxious that the worship which they offered to His deity, the attachment which they felt for his person, the admiration which they cherished for the beauty of His character and the splendor of His works, should not center solely in Himself, He perpetually pointed His disciples upward to the Eternal Father. It would seem, that such was His knowledge of His Father's grace to sinners, such His acquaintance with His heart of love, that He could find no satisfaction in the affection, the admiration, and the homage yielded to Himself, but as that affection, admiration, and homage were shared equally by His Father. With Him it was an ever-present thought-and how could He forget it?-that the Father's grace filled to overflowing this glorious vessel. He had just left the bosom of the Father, and this was well near the first announcement which broke in music from His lips, "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." And as He pursued His way through the awe-struck and admiring throng, He might often be heard to exclaim, in a voice that rose in solemn majesty above their loudest plaudits, "I seek not mine own glory; I honor my Father."
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« Reply #340 on: April 25, 2009, 04:08:25 AM »

_______________________________
Evening Thoughts
or
Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )
Free From Grace Gems
http://www.gracegems.org/
_______________________________


April 25

"Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love."  2 John 1:3

THE spiritual mind will at once perceive, that our object in the preceding reflections has been to place the character of God, as the "Lord God, merciful and gracious," in its own proper light. It is possible that this truth may appear to the reader, as a newly-discovered planet in the firmament of revelation. It may be to him a new truth, presenting to his eye a fresh and a more kindly view of the paternal and gracious character of God. God, the original source of grace to sinners, has, perhaps, hitherto been but a timidly received doctrine, if received at all. In the first thirstings of your newly- quickened soul, you sought and found the gentle rivulet of grace issuing from some sequestered and shaded spot in your lone path, and you "tasted that the Lord was gracious." Grateful for its refreshing, but panting for larger draughts, you coursed the rivulet to the stream, and drank yet deeper of its fullness. Not satisfied with this, but longing to explore the glorious mystery of the supply, you traced the streamlet to the "broad river," transported with joy to find that "all fullness dwelt in Jesus," and into it you plunged. But here you have rested. Enamored of the beauty, and lost in wondering delight at the "breadth, and length, and depth, and height" of this river, you have reclined upon its green and sunny bank, forgetting that this river was but the introduction to an ocean, and that that ocean was nothing less than the heart of the Father, infinitely and eternally full of grace. Ah! little did you think, as you sipped from the rivulet, and drank from the stream, and bathed in the river of grace, that there was a depth still deeper, which, like Ezekiel's vision of the holy waters, was so deep that it "could not be passed over."

 "What!" exclaims some tried believer, "is the heart of Jesus a transcript of the heart of God? Is the Father as full of forgiveness, of love, of mercy, of compassion, of tenderness, as the Son? How different from all that I had conceived Him to be! I thought of God, and was troubled. His terrors made me afraid. His dealings with me have been severe. His way has been in the whirlwind and in the storm, and his 'path in the great waters.' His judgments have been 'a great deep.' He has set a hedge about me, that I cannot pass. He has spoken to me out of the thick cloud. He answered me by fire. He has spoiled my pleasant pictures, and dashed my cup with bitter. What! is this God all that you represent Him to be? Is He so full of grace and truth? Is He my God, my loving, reconciled Father?" Yes, even so! "It pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell."

Who can contemplate the work of Jesus, and not be convinced of the costliness and preciousness of this grace? How precious is the grace that pardons, that justifies, that adopts, that sanctifies, that comforts, the vilest who believe in Jesus! And yet all this Jesus does. He died for sinners. He receives sinners. He saves sinners to the uttermost. Oh, precious grace! that has opened a fountain which cleanses every stain; that has provided a robe which covers every spot; that "reigns through righteousness unto eternal life" in the soul it has renewed! Reader, have you felt the power, and tasted the sweetness, of this grace? If so, you will feel that no imagination can conceive its beauty, and that no words can express its preciousness. You will regard it as worthy of your warmest love and your highest praise. You will aim to live upon it constantly, to draw from it largely, and to magnify it holily. Nothing this side of glory will be so lovely in your eyes, or so dear to your heart, as the grace of Jesus. Ah yes! inestimably precious is it! There is more of God and of heaven, more of holiness and of happiness, unfolded and experienced in one drop of this grace, than in ten thousand worlds like this. Let others toil for wealth, or pant for glory, or plume themselves with gifts; Lord, give me your grace; this is all my salvation, and all my desire!
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« Reply #341 on: April 25, 2009, 04:10:52 AM »

_______________________________
Evening Thoughts
or
Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )
Free From Grace Gems
http://www.gracegems.org/
_______________________________


April 26

"And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn."  Zechariah 12:10

His this humiliation for your state reached your heart? Has this contrition for sin touched your spirit? Are you acquainted with that godly sorrow which is unto life, that repentance which needs not to be repented of? Do not think indifferently of this conviction. It is the first link in the chain of your salvation. It is the first step in your journey to the cross. No man will arise and go to Jesus, until convinced that he stands in need of Jesus. A Savior weeping, as it were, tears of blood, will only be looked upon by a sinner weeping tears of godly sorrow. A broken-hearted Savior, and a broken- hearted sinner, dwell together in the sweetest harmony. Thousands pass by the cross of Jesus, and never raise a glance towards it. And why? The problem is easy of solution. They have never experienced a heart pierced and sorrowing for sin. The veil that is upon their mind hides the cross of Christ from their view. The look of forgiveness beaming from the eye of that Divine Sufferer never meets their imploring look of sorrow and of faith. They have felt no burden of sin to lay upon Jesus-no sense of guilt to lay upon Jesus-no 'fears,' no 'changes,' no 'bands,' to lay upon Jesus-and so they pass Him blindly, coldly by. Oh awful condition! To be borne down with a load, which Jesus only can unbind; to be enchained by sins, which Jesus only can break; to be suffering from a distemper, which Jesus only can heal; to be dying a death, from which Jesus only can deliver; to be going down to a hell, whose door Jesus only can shut-and yet to remain insensible and indifferent, is appalling indeed.

Reader, if this is your state, of what are you thinking, of what are you dreaming? Of what opiate have you drunk, that you are so unconscious? By what spell are you bound, that you are so infatuated? With what delusions are you ensnared, that you are so insane? Do you imagine that your condition will always continue as it now is? Will not the fumes of that anodyne evaporate, and the world's spell be dissolved? Will not the mental hallucination vanish, and this corpse-like coldness and this grave-like darkness to all the great and momentous realities of eternity, give place to other and appalling emotions? Doubtless they will! There is fast approaching a period that will change the entire scenery of your future existence, and the relations of your present being. A sick and dying bed will impart another aspect to everything around you, and will place your character as a responsible, an accountable, and an immortal being, in a new and an awful light. Do you now anxiously inquire, "What then must I do?" The word of God supplies the answer, "Repent and be converted." Relinquish your hostility to God! Humble yourself under His mighty hand. Lay down the weapons of your rebellion before the cross. You must repent, or you cannot be converted. You must be converted, or you cannot be saved. The whole case resolves itself into this-repent or perish!
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« Reply #342 on: April 25, 2009, 04:12:20 AM »

_______________________________
Evening Thoughts
or
Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )
Free From Grace Gems
http://www.gracegems.org/
_______________________________


April 27

"Lord, I believe; help you mine unbelief."  Mark 9:24

IT must be the mournful acknowledgment of every spiritual mind, that, after all the clear revealings of truth, and the deep teachings of the Holy Spirit, our views of what God is in Himself, of what He is to His people, and, we

may add, of what His people are to Him, fall so far below what they ought to be. May not this disproportion of our conception of their magnitude and preciousness be traced, in a great measure, to the deficiency of our faith in the plain matter-of-fact statements of God's word? We stumble at the very simplicity of the truth. Take, for illustration, that single declaration-"God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." The most unhesitating, simple belief of this, shall we say, matter-of-fact, yet astounding announcement-faith just receiving it without any qualification or demur, exactly as it is found in the Bible-will teach us more in one hour of what God in Christ is to a poor penitential believer, than a century of human teaching. The truth is, we do but half believe the word of God. We doubt, we hesitate, we reason, we cavil, we add to it, and we take from it-we receive just so much as we can understand, and reject just so much as is not palatable or clear; and the sad consequence is, God reproves our unbelief, by leaving us for a season to its painful effects.

But although we believe not, yet He remains true to every jot and tittle of His revealed truth. The imperfect credence which we give to its statements cannot invalidate His promise, nor alter the word that has gone out of His mouth. In the midst of all our slowness of heart to believe, and insensibility of heart to love, "He abides faithful." There, more immovable than the rock of the ocean, more impregnable than the battlements of heaven, firmer than the pillars of the universe, our God, our own covenant God, abides; for "He will rest in His love."

The believer in Christ should of necessity be a happy man. Though like the Master whom he loves-and loving he serves-his path in some places may be paved with flint, or fenced with briar, yet amid it all, fed from the fullness of Christ, and living upon the supply of the covenant, yes, upon the God of the covenant, he is, and he must be, a truly happy man. Beloved reader, we live below, far below, our spiritual privileges. We claim not all the blessings of our birth-right, which, in this present time-state, are ours to enjoy. And if we rise not to the experience of what God has provided and promised for us now, what marvel that we so faintly imagine, and yet more faintly realize, the glories prepared for us hereafter?
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« Reply #343 on: April 25, 2009, 04:14:57 AM »

_______________________________
Evening Thoughts
or
Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )
Free From Grace Gems
http://www.gracegems.org/
_______________________________


April 28

"O God, you know my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from you. Draw near unto my soul, and redeem it: deliver me because of mine enemies. You have known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonor: mine adversaries are all before you."  Psalms 69:5; Psalms 69:18; Psalms 69:19.

SATAN, we know, is the great accuser of the saints. And yet how insensible are we of the great power which he still exerts over the people rescued forever from his grasp. It was Satan who stood up to persuade David to number Israel; it was Satan who would have prompted God to slay Job; and it was Satan who stood at the right hand of Joshua, to condemn his soul. Thus is He ever ready to assert his charge against the people of God. Not less malignant is the world. Infidel in its principles, God-hating in its spirit, and Christ-rejecting in its whole conduct, it is no marvel that it should be the antagonist and the accuser of the saints. Sitting in judgment upon actions, the nature of which it cannot understand-interpreting motives, the character of which it cannot decide-ingeniously contriving and zealously propagating reports of evil-ever ready to defame and to detract-all who live godly in Christ Jesus must expect no mercy at its hand. Nor Satan and the world only. How often, as the history of holy Job testifies, have the saints been found the accusers of the saints (and with the deepest humiliation be it written), with an uncharitableness and censoriousness which might have kindled the world's cheek with the blush of shame. Thus does the Church herself testify, "My mother's children were angry with me." "The watchmen that went about the city found me; then smote me, they wounded me: the keepers of the wall took away my veil from me." And from whom did our blessed Lord receive His deepest wounds? Were they not from those who ranked among His friends and followers.

But what so keen and so bitter as self-reproach? Accusations proceeding from others are often most unfounded and unjust. We have felt at the time the secret and pleasing consciousness that we "suffer wrongfully." The shaft flies, but the arrow falls not more pointless and powerless than it. But far different is the accusation which the true believer brings against himself. Seeing sin where others see it not-conscious of its existence and its perpetual working, where the saints applaud, and even the world admires-he lays his hand upon his heart, his mouth in the dust, and exclaims, "I am vile! I abhor myself!" Ah! no reproaches are like those which an honest, sincere child of God charges upon himself. No accusation so true, no reproof so keen, no reproaches so bitter. Happy are they who deal much in self-condemnation. If we judged ourselves more, we should judge others less; and if we condemned ourselves more, we should be less condemned. But what a privilege in all times of accusation, come from what quarter it may, to be alone with Jesus! With Him, when we know the charge to be untrue, to appeal to Him as an all-seeing, heart-searching, and righteous Judge, and say, "Lord, You know my principles, my spirit, my motives, my aim, and that with honesty, purity, and singleness, I have sought to walk before You." Oh it is a solace, the preciousness of which the throbbing heart may feel, but the most eloquent pen cannot describe. And when the accusation is just, and the believer feels, "Vile as I am in the eyes of others, yet more vile am I in my own eyes;" yet even then to be left alone with Jesus, self-reproved, self-condemned, is to be thrown upon the compassion of Him, "very great are whose mercies." Alone with Him, not a reproving glance darts from His eye, nor an upbraiding word falls from His lips. All is mercy, all is tenderness, all is love. There before Him the self-condemned may stand and confess; at His feet the penitent may fall and weep, and find, alone with Jesus, His arm a shield, and His bosom an asylum, within which his bleeding, panting heart may find safety and repose.
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« Reply #344 on: April 25, 2009, 04:16:23 AM »

_______________________________
Evening Thoughts
or
Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )
Free From Grace Gems
http://www.gracegems.org/
_______________________________


April 29

"In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink."  John 8:37

LOOK at the false teaching of the day. What are the heretical doctrines which are now defended with such ability, and propagated with such zeal, but so many cisterns of error hewn out by man as substitutes for the fountain of revealed truth? Doctrines that sink Revelation and exalt tradition, and so deny the word of God; that ascribe regenerating grace to sacraments, and so deny the Holy Spirit; that teach the "real presence" in the Lord's Supper, and so do away with the sacrifice and atonement of Christ; that make religion to consist in a mere observance of external rites, and so deceive and ruin immortal souls; that obliterate the revealed truth of future and eternal punishment, thus weakening the power and shading the glory of God's moral government. We hesitate not to say, that these, and their kindred heresies, are the inventions of man, and designed to beguile souls from the pure fountain of truth. They are cisterns of human contrivance, which hold no water but the water of death.

Shall we find nothing in the true Church of God which would seem to indicate a proneness to substitute some object in the experience of the believer for Christ? Verily, we think so. To adduce an example, alas! but too common.-When the act of faith is substituted for the object of faith, what is this but the hewing out of a broken cistern? Whatever I put in Christ's place necessarily becomes a substitute for Christ. If I look to my faith for comfort, and peace, and evidence, instead of my faith looking to Christ for these, I exchange the Fountain for the cistern. We are now touching upon a truth of vital moment. Jesus is the fountain of all life, light, grace, and love to the believer. Faith is but the channel through which these blessings are received. And yet, who has not detected in his heart a tendency to look to faith for the evidence of his Christianity, instead of to Christ? thus making the act of believing a substitute for the object in which we believe.

You have long been pleading, as your reason for the unsettled and unhappy state of your mind, the weakness of your faith. What, I ask, is this, but the making a Savior of your faith? It was not faith that died for you-it is not faith that saves you. It is Christ, and Christ alone. Your evidences, your peace, your joy, your hope, all, all must flow from Jesus. "You have made me glad through your work," was the Psalmist's experience. And your soul also will be made glad through the atoning, finished work of Christ. That you should have found faith a broken cistern of soul-comfort, should create in you no surprise. The Lord is jealous of His glory-He will not give it to a creature, nor will He give it to a grace. Precious as that grace may be, it never can be a substitute for Christ's precious work. If by any means I exclude the sun from my garden, should I wonder that my seed did not germinate, that my flowers did not appear, and that my plants drooped and died? Surely not. And if I veil the Sun of Righteousness from my soul-if some intervening object is allowed to arrest His beams, so that they fall not directly and warmly upon the "incorruptible seed" sown in my heart, need I wonder that it springs not forth in blossom, or that the blossom falls before it sets in fruit? But turn, O believer, from this broken cistern, to Jesus the fountain. Draw your comfort, not from the channel, but from the source where it proceeds. Stumble no longer at the weakness of your faith. Turn your eye from every object but the Lord our Righteousness, in whom you may stand before God, the object of His love and delight.
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