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Gems written at the age of 14

By Whitmore Winslow


      The Hidden Life

      Gleanings from the journal of Whitmore Winslow
      written at the age of 14.

      His journal, which was previously unknown to his family,
      was found among his papers after his unexpected death,
      at the age of 21. He died in 1856, and was the son of
      Octavius Winslow.

      How frail the thread!
      How short is time, and what a small portion
      is allotted to man to prepare for another world!

      And yet how careless is he of that time!

      How frail the thread upon which life hangs!

      A few hours' illness may carry him away into
      a world of endless happiness or of endless woe!

      What a vain world it is!
      What a fallen creature is man!

      Day by day calls forth more hidden depravity
      of his heart; and yet his whole affections are
      set upon the very object which is fostering
      and encouraging that depravity.

      His great ambition is to win the approbation
      of the world; a world that slew the King of kings;
      a world full of sin and sorrow, the medium by
      which Satan endeavors to blind the eyes of the
      children of men.

      And yet, after all, what a vain world it is!

      It promises much, but realizes nothing.

      The more we expect pleasure, the more are we
      disappointed in it.

      Oh, what would man be, if instead of seeking
      the friendship and the love of a dying world, he
      would seek that of Jehovah!

      And yet how prone are we to lament when we
      are frowned upon by the world. If we did not
      seek its smiles, we would not mind its frowns.

      But the more we are delighted at the world's
      praise, the more are we discomforted and made
      unhappy by its disapprobation.

      But take the world as a whole; what is it?
      A speck in the universe; a ball floating in
      the air, surrounded by other worlds greater
      and more magnificent than itself.

      Shall we love the world which hated and scorned,
      and ultimately slew our loved Redeemer?

      That ever promising, yet ever deceiving world?
      How little have appearances to do with realities!

      The outward show has often the effect of deceiving.

      Deceit is, indeed, one of the prominent features
      in man; he deceives others, he deceives himself.

      The world is truly a false world. And does it not
      show the depravity of man's heart when after tasting
      its bitters, feeling its pains, and experiencing its
      disappointments and sorrows, he should still cling
      to that ever promising, yet ever deceiving world?

      Changeable!
      What a changeable world is this, and what
      changeable creatures are we! But what a
      glorious thought that there is a Being who
      changes not!

      We chase it like a bubble in the air!
      What could the Christian do in a poor world
      like this if he had not Christ for his Friend?

      Truly is he often seeking other friends, but
      God will make him know, by sad yet blessed
      experience, that there is no friend like Jesus;
      and that while other friends are fickle and
      changeable, He changes not.

      Oh that we followed not this poor world as we do!

      We chase it like a bubble in the air, and with
      all its apparent beauty, it fades into nothing!

      But oh, when we taste the preciousness of Jesus,
      what a heavenly morsel it is! It raises our drooping
      spirits to contemplate the joy that awaits us in
      another world, the happiness that is laid up for
      us above, the glory that will crown the final end
      of our weary pilgrimage through a dying and
      unsatisfying world.

      Pride eats at the root of all happiness!
      Ah! blessed is he to whom God shows his own weakness
      and insufficiency to do anything of himself. Deem it not
      a curse, but a blessing, when God humbles your pride,
      however severe the discipline may be by which He does it.
      When He teaches you to lean upon Him alone for support,
      thank Him for it.

      Pride eats at the root of all happiness; and a proud
      spirit God will abase, but the humble spirit He will exalt.

      Toilsome journey through this weary world
      I had some sweet sights of Jesus by faith, some
      feeble glimmerings of the happiness and glory
      which we shall realize above.   It is only these
      glorious feelings that will solace the Christian in
      his toilsome journey through this weary world.

      Come what may, pleasure or pain, happiness or
      woe, life or death, I am in the hands of the Lord
      of Creation, the King of kings, and in His keeping
      no evil will befall me.

      Surrounded with trouble at almost every step?
      Today I have been surrounded with trouble at
      almost every step. But with all this, I can fly to
      Jesus as my never failing Friend, and He can give
      me all I need.

      A bountiful Savior and a needy sinner just suit
      each other!

      This precious jewel, where can it be located?
      Happiness! Where is it to be found?

      This precious jewel, where can it be located?

      Is it to be obtained in the world, its pleasures and
      delights? No! the Christian will answer it cannot!

      Happiness, if there be such a thing in this world,
      can only be obtained from Jesus. In His bosom
      alone can we find repose.

      I am persuaded that the more the believer has
      of sanctified sorrow, tribulation, and affliction in
      this dying world, the more he will have of happiness
      and glory in the blessed realms above.

      I feel now as if death would be a welcome messenger
      to my soul, to waft me from this sinful world to
      Canaan's joyful shore. Ah! it is a blessed thing to
      be able to meet death with a beaming countenance
      and a gladsome heart.

      There have been times when amid pleasure and
      enjoyment I have loathed the very thought of death.
      But when God afflicts a man, then he feels the vanity
      and deceitfulness of the world; and if he is a believer
      in the Lord Jesus Christ, he will long to see his Redeemer,
      and be with Him in the abodes of happiness and light
      throughout an endless eternity!

      I'm a poor sinner, and nothing at all,
      But Jesus Christ is my all in all.

      All the troubles and afflictions of His people
      How gracious has the Lord been to me today! His
      promises, they never fail. They have been indeed
      my chief support.

      Oh, to have a simple trust in the Savior! He will not
      betray your confidence. He is a faithful and just God,
      merciful and gracious, and ever ready to lend an ear
      to all the troubles and afflictions of His people.

      Open all your heart to Jesus, and He will open the
      fountain of His mercy to you.

      Afflictions come from God!
      How soon can God change a man's circumstances!

      He is elevated today, and is cast down tomorrow.

      So it is, and so it will be in this changeful world,
      until we arrive at a better and brighter one, where
      there will be no sin, and consequently no sorrow.

      But oh, we should remember, that afflictions come
      from God! When a Christian neglects prayer, for
      instance, God places him, perhaps, in a situation
      of great trial, and he is driven to pray.

      Or, when a man's affections are set upon the world,
      God makes that world his greatest enemy (and I feel
      it to be mine), and he is compelled to make Christ
      his Friend.

      Oh, may every afflicted saint of God profit by the
      trials which God shall see fit to lay upon him! But
      even in judgment, our heavenly Father will remember
      mercy.

      If the world satisfies you?
      No being knows the trials I have undergone the past
      week, but Jesus. And as He only knows, so He only
      can help me through.

      I have felt such a willingness to die! a feeling that
      death would be no dreadful thing to me, having a
      wish to leave this more dreadful world. But painful,
      yet no less blessed trial has done it all.

      And oh, may I be able from my heart to thank God
      for having made the world my enemy, and Christ
      my Friend!

      But mark this: if the world does not suit you, you
      will be sure to have a welcome in heaven. But if the
      world satisfies you, hell will be the most adapted
      to receive you.

      While we sojourn in this world
      Oh, to realize the happiness in store for us in the
      next world! If we more anticipated the blissful future,
      we should not so much mind the miserable present.

      A few short years will bring the Christian to the end of
      his pilgrimage, and to the beginning of his eternal rest!

      But, oh, let us never forget that while we sojourn in
      this world we have a never failing Friend to whom we
      can take all our trials and sorrows!

      God is our guide
      Oh, that we did but realize that we are the Lord's
      and the Lord is ours! No harm can befall us which
      is not for our benefit.

      And were it not for the corruption within, and
      our guilty consciences, no evil from without
      could materially affect us.

      But may we remember that God is our guide
      through life, and will be unto death.

      Decay is inscribed on earth's fairest flower!
      January, 1851. We have entered upon another year,
      which, like the preceding ones, will flit quickly by.

      Solemn thought!

      We also shall soon pass away, and the place
      where we dwelt and lived will know us no more.

      The ravages of time, written in letters too
      deeply engraved to be erased, are stamped
      upon everything mortal.

      Decay is inscribed on earth's fairest flower!

      Oh, how solemn is the reflection! Our short period
      of existence here on earth should be taken up with
      preparation for another and a better world.

      And yet poor, blind, fallen man seldom gives the
      question a moment's consideration, while his whole
      thoughts are absorbed in obtaining that which,
      even while he seizes it, crumbles in his grasp.

      I feel this with regard to myself; and oh, that I
      always may have a keen perception of it! The
      least prosperity or participation in happiness, as
      the world terms it, sets me mad after chasing
      the poor baubles, as if I had never known their
      deceitfulness and insufficiency. Does not this
      show the fallen nature of man in a glaring light?

      'I know the right, and yet the wrong pursue.'

      Ah, have you cause to mourn over sin?
      Do you see that in you which is hateful to yourself,
      and which causes you sorrow? Then thank God for it,
      as the most decided proof that He has planted within
      you the germs of a being that shall one day burst the
       bonds of natural corruption, and with all the beauty
      and purity of the God who created it, start forth a
      glittering gem, forever to shine in the crown of the
      Redeemer.

      But what is the sequel?
      Truly it becomes a Christian to be always happy.

      What reason has he to be otherwise, when every
      step of his journey, every incident, however minute,
      that occurs in his pilgrimage through life, is ordered
      and ordained by his heavenly Father, his loving
      Savior, his best Friend?

      True it is that he has often more care, more affliction,
      than the worldling has; while the worldling prospers in
      his way, the believer is often bowed down with care
      and trouble, scarcely able to struggle through life.

      But what is the sequel?

      The ungodly enjoy the pleasures and wealth of this
      world, only to realize more bitterly their loss in the
      world to come; while the Christian sees the worst
      side of this world, and tastes more of its bitters,
      only to enhance the happiness of a better world,
      where he will enjoy the sweetest bliss.

      But even in the deepest afflictions the believer in
      Christ has cause to be happy, if he can but realize
      the truth that the All seeing Jehovah, who framed
      and created out of nothing the vast universe, and
      who guides its great machinery, has ordered that
      event for his essential good.

      Love so undeserved, so great, so free!
      Oh, what a loving Father He must be! Ah, yes! that
      love so undeserved, so great, so free, gave from
      His own loving bosom His only beloved Son a sacrifice
      for man, when every heart rankled with hatred to God.

      Are there no choice beings who reap the fruits of
      their Redeemer's love? Yes! God has a chosen church,
      and for them the blood of Jesus was shed, to redeem
      them from the curse and to bring them to heaven!

      I am utterly helpless!
      I have been led to feel that in myself I am utterly
      helpless. God has made me to see that all my hard
      studying, and all my talents, abilities, and boasted
      knowledge, will be of no avail to me in this crisis,
      if He withholds His blessing.

      I have been led to leave the outcome of it all in
      God's hands, and to feel that He will do all for the
      best, yes, better than the wisest of us could imagine
      or desire. One mightier than all is for me!

      When we can trace His loving hand
      Brief, but sweet, is my diary of today. Oh, how
      savory every morsel when the blessing of God is
      upon it! When we can trace His loving hand,
      what unequaled happiness does it give!

      Oh, to trust Him, though He may seem at the
      time to blight our fond hopes; to have a thankful
      heart for mercies undeserved!

      How has He especially appeared to me today
      none but Himself can tell. And to repay it is
      out of the power of mortal.

      O what changeable and fluctuating creatures!
      Man, with all his boasted wisdom, understanding,
      and sagacity, seldom learns the necessary lesson
      of profiting by the past.

      That which at one time made an apparent and
      indelible impression upon his mind is now entirely
      forgotten, or, if not forgotten, viewed in a careless
      and indifferent light.

      O what changeable and fluctuating creatures
      are the human race! We travel with time in all its
      changes and fluctuations; and wherever it tends
      and winds its onward course, we often pursue the
      same given track, and, unsuspecting and unalarmed,
      are led to the brink of a fearful precipice, and are
      lost to all eternity!

      It is good for a man that he should reflect upon
      his own condition: what he is? and where bound?
      

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