THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

By Octavius Winslow, 1808-1878

 

Selected Articles
Enmity Against God
Spiritual Death
Encouragement
The Savior Revealed
The Throne of Grace



Enmity Against God (p.44)

Enmity against God, O awful thought! Enmity to the best of beings, the dearest of friends! Enmity to Him whose nature and whose name is love!—who is holy, yes, holiness itself—good, yes, goodness itself—true, yes, truth itself! Enmity to Him, outside of whom nothing is good, nothing holy, nothing true; who is the Fountain from where all the streams flow, the Sun from which all the rays emanate. Enmity to Him, who gave His Son to die for sinners! "For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." "God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Yes, to die for His enemies. "When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son."

"Son of God, is it for this they hate Thee, despise Thee, reject Thee?"
Enmity to Jesus who thus died; who flew on wings of love to the rescue and the redemption of fallen man; who took the place, bore the sins, endured the curse; all this for rebel man; who gave His life, His obedience, all He could give—Himself; all this for the poor, the vile, the worthless; who suffered, bled and died—was not this enough? Could He have done more? The law said, "it is enough "; Justice said, " I am satisfied "; all this—and who can estimate it? all this for sinners, for rebels, for enemies! Son of God, is it for this they hate Thee, despise Thee, reject Thee? Oh, the enmity of the carnal mind!

 

Spiritual Death (p.45-46)

What are the symptoms? Is insensibility a mark of death? Then it is here. No spiritual sensation—no feeling—no emotion; all is stagnant, quiet and motionless as the river of death. .... We speak to the soul dead in trespasses and sins; we employ the language of terror, we preach the law; we unfold its authority, its purity, its demands; we announce its curse, its threatening, its fearful doom. We speak of a holy God, a sin-seeing, sin-hating, sin-avenging God; we uncover hell and reveal its darkness, its quenchless flame, its undying worm, the smoke of its eternal torments; we look—but not a bosom heaves, not an eye weeps, not a lip quivers, not a feature wears the aspect of terror—all, all is still, cold and motionless; death is there!

We change our theme. We speak in the language of persuasive tenderness. We preach the Gospel. We proclaim its divinity, its design, its fulness, its freeness, the mercy it promises, the blessings it breathes, the glory it unfolds. We lift up Jesus, as loving sinners, dying for sinners, receiving sinners, saving sinners. We unveil heaven, and bring to view its light, its holiness, its cloudless day, its eternal sunshine, its deep songs of joy, its never-dying, ever-growing bliss; we look—but not a heart throbs, not an eye glistens, not a lip praises, not a countenance beams with delight—all, all is quiet, cold, and silent—for death is there! Awful picture of the unrenewed man!

 

 

 

 

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Encouragement (p.54)

Let not the Christian reader close this chapter with a burdened heart. Let no dear child of God "write hard and bitter things against himself" as he reads this last sentence. Let him not come to any hasty, unbelieving, doubting and God-dishonoring conclusions. What are you to yourself— worthless—vile—empty? What is Jesus to you—precious—lovely—all your salvation and all your desire? What is sin to you—the most hateful thing in the world? And what is holiness—the most lovely, the most longed for? What is the throne of grace to you—the most attractive spot? And the cross—the sweetest resting-place in the universe? What is God to you—your God and Father—the spring of all your joys—the fountain-head of all your bliss—the center where your affections meet? Is it so?

"That soul never perished that felt itself to be vile, and Jesus to be precious!"
 
Then you are born again—then you are a child of God—then you shall never die eternally. Cheer up, precious soul! the day of your redemption draws near. Those low views of yourself—that brokenness, that inward mourning, that secret confession, that longing for more spirituality, more grace, more devotedness and more love does but prove the existence, reality and growth of God's work within you. God the Holy Spirit is there, and these are but the fruits and evidences of His indwelling. Look up, then, reader, and let the thought cheer you—that soul never perished that felt itself to be vile, and Jesus to be precious!

 

The Savior Revealed (p.70-71)

But, there is the special, direct and effectual call of the Spirit, in the elect of God, without which all other calling is in vain God says, "I will put my Spirit within them." Christ says, "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." .... Now there is an energy put forth with the call which awakens the conscience, breaks the heart, convinces the judgment, opens the eye of the soul and pours a new and an alarming sound upon the hitherto deaf ear. Notice the blessed effects. The scales fall from the eyes, the veil is torn from the mind, the deep fountains of evil in the heart are broken up, the sinner sees himself lost and undone—without pardon, without a righteousness, without acceptance, without a God, without a Savior, without a hope! Awful condition! "What shall I do to be saved?" is his cry: "I am a wretch undone! I look within me, all is dark and vile; I look around me, everything seems but the image of my woe; I look above me, I see only an angry God: whichever way I look, there is hell!—and were He now to send me there, just and right would He be."

"Thou are just the Savior that I need. I needed one that could and would save me with all my vileness, with all my rags, with all my poverty—I needed one that would save me fully, save me freely, save me as an act of mere unmerited, undeserved grace—I have found Him whom my soul loveth—and will be His through time, and His through eternity."
 

But blessed be God, no poor soul that ever uttered such language, prompted by such feelings, ever died in despair. That faithful Spirit who begins the good work, effectually carries it on and completes it. Presently, He leads him to the cross of Jesus—unveils to his eye of glimmering faith, a suffering, wounded, bleeding, dying Savior—and yet a Savior with stretched-out arms! That Savior speaks—oh, did ever music sound so melodious?—"All this I do for you—this cross for you—these sufferings for you—this blood for you—these stretched-out arms for you. Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest—him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out—look unto Me, and be ye saved—only believe. Are you lost? I can save you. Are you guilty? I can cleanse you. Are you poor? I can enrich you. Have you sunk to the depths? I can raise you. Are you naked? I can clothe you. Have you nothing to bring with you—no price, no money, no goodness, no merit? I can and will take you to Myself, just as you are; poor, naked, penniless, worthless; for such I came to seek, such I came to call, for such I came to die."


"Lord, I believe," exclaims the poor, convinced soul, "help Thou my unbelief. Thou are just the Savior that I need. I needed one that could and would save me with all my vileness, with all my rags, with all my poverty—I needed one that would save me fully, save me freely, save me as an act of mere unmerited, undeserved grace—I have found Him whom my soul loveth—and will be His through time, and His through eternity." Thus effectually does the blessed Spirit call a sinner, by His special, direct and supernatural power, out of darkness into marvellous light. "I will work," says God, "and who shall let it?" (marg. turn it back).

 

The Throne of Grace (p.188-189)

O the inconceivable preciousness of a throne of grace! To have a God to go to, who knows the mind of the Spirit, a God who can interpret the groan and read the language of desire; to have promise upon promise inviting the soul to draw near—how precious this is! When from the fulness of the heart the mouth has been dumb, and from the poverty of language thought could not be expressed, then God, who searches the hearts and knows what is the mind of the Spirit, has said, "Never before did you, My child, pray to Me as you did then; never before was your voice so sweet, so powerful, so persuasive; never before were you so eloquent as when My Spirit made intercession for you with groanings which you could not utter." It was, perhaps, your last resource. Refuge failed you, no man cared for your soul. Friends failed you, feelings failed you, all forsook you and fled, and in your extremity you went to God—and He did not fail you. You found the throne of grace accessible; you saw a God of grace upon it, and the sweet incense of the Redeemer's precious merits going up; and you drew near, sighing and groaning and breathing out your needs, and said, "It is good for me to draw near to God." Yes! "He knows the mind of the Spirit." The secret desire for Jesus, the longing for Divine conformity, the hidden mourning over the existence and power of indwelling sin, the feeblest rising of the heart to God, the first sign of the humble and contrite spirit—all are known to God. "He searcheth the heart, and he knoweth the mind of the Spirit." O let this encourage you, when you feel you cannot pray by reason of the weakness of the flesh, or the depth of your feeling; if the Spirit is interceding in you, your heavenly Father knows the mind of the Spirit, and not a sigh or a groan can escape His notice.