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Gems written at the age of 15

By Whitmore Winslow


      The Hidden Life

      Gleanings from the journal of Whitmore Winslow
      written at the age of 15.

      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.

      A picture repulsive to every refined feeling.
      Truly does the world present a picture repulsive to
      every refined feeling. It is devoid of all sources of
      true happiness to its earnest seekers, and produces
      no end of evils, embittering the life of man, and
      ensnaring his heedless steps.

      It is a field of conflict between two opposite powers.

      The one winning his foes to his side by overwhelming
      love, and subduing them into perfect submission by the
      power of irresistible goodness.

      The other, enlisting his adherents by the offer of
      false happiness, alluring them by spurious pleasures,
      only to disappoint their hopes, and when life has
      spun out its last thread of existence to engulf them
      in eternal despair.

      How it ensnares, and allures,
      and taunts, and disappoints!
      What a wretched world it is! How it ensnares,
      and allures, and taunts, and disappoints!

      I am persuaded that a Christian cannot remain
      in worldly company, or be engaged in anything
      worldly, without his heavenly mindedness being
      damaged, and his holy feelings and resolutions
      being vitiated and weakened.

      Christ's unchanging love and tenderness
      Christ's unchanging love and tenderness scatter
      all the gloomy mists and dark clouds of our pilgrimage,
      and gladden the drooping spirit.

      Cheer up, tried and tempted Christian!

      A blissful eternity will make up for all the crosses
      and trials, the bitters and woes of the present. Then
      shall real happiness dawn upon your spirit, warming
      and delighting your soul through eternity.

      Strive not for the world's smiles; they are deceitful.
      And fear not its scorn while God smiles upon you.

      This bewitching world, these alluring pleasures!
      What a changeful world is this, and
      what changeable creatures are we!

      Oh, how have I seen this in myself and in others!
      Friends whom I have most trusted have suddenly
      grown cold and indifferent, freezing my affections
      by their unfaithfulness and wavering.

      But, oh, has not this some end? Methinks I see it.

      The world's charms have too much allured my gaze
      from Jesus and fixed it upon its empty bubbles.

      And was not this trial sent to deaden my affections
      to the world, and fix them upon something more
      substantial? O yes, it was all for my good.

      This bewitching world, these alluring pleasures,
      how they ensnare! O God, keep me from their power.

      May I be weaned from them, and attracted to
      Jesus, finding the center of my happiness in
      leaning in sweet repose upon His bosom who
      never changes nor forsakes those who put
      their trust in Him.

      We sometimes envy the wicked
      How sweet is a calm after the tempest! It would
      not do for us were it always smooth. The little
      roughness of the way increases the pleasantness
      of the calm.

      How little do we value a blessing until it is taken
      from us; and yet how unconcerned and lifeless we
      are until stirred up by adverse circumstances. O
      how should we value every chastisement we receive!

      We sometimes envy the wicked because they seem
      to go on sinning, and yet unpunished. Did we but
      realize that it is a Father's hand that is guiding us,
      and that it is because He loves and cares for us
      that He chastises us.

      The ungodly He leaves to themselves until their
      eternal punishment. But He watches over His children
      with the eye of a father, and all that He does is for
      their good now and hereafter.

      O what a blessing to be one of His children, to have
      such a Protector, such a Friend! He is worth all the
      dearest friends the world can produce.

      The believer's life
      The believer's life, though short and passing as a
      vapor, is eventful of circumstances of the greatest
      significance. It is a period allotted to him to prepare
      for another world. And oh, what a blessed thought
      that there is another and a better world!

      We shall soon leave our present abode, full of sin
      and full of sorrow, changeful as the wind. Friends
      change, circumstances change, age changes; soon
      the light and joyous childhood of our youth begins
      to taste the bitters of life, and his sincere and
      happy brow becomes wrinkled with anxiety and
      care; old age creeps on, and we apparently are
      insensible of it. But soon it will be over, and a
      happy eternity follows.

      The Christian has his happiness to anticipate;
      the sinner his eternal misery to look forward to.

      Oh, it is better to be at the disposal of God than
      at any moment to have the full control of ourselves!

      Infectious, ensnaring, delusive
      So infectious is the world, so bright and ensnaring,
      yet in reality so delusive, that before you are aware,
      it will arrest your glance, steal upon your affections,
      and so deaden your spirituality and communion with
      God, and thus call for some gentle chastening of your
      heavenly Father to bring you back again to His bosom.

      Look not for happiness in anything connected with the world.

      I, as a youth, have done so, and have been disappointed.

      There is no pleasure of any description, I am fully
      persuaded, that is not accompanied with some bitter.

      God has wisely ordained that Christians in general
      should partake but little of this world's enjoyments,
      that they may not make the world their home, but
      that, all their thoughts taken up with Christ, their
      eyes may be blind to its pleasures and enjoyments.

      Oh, what will be the ecstasy of that moment!
      If there are two things that will more fill us with
      wonder and amazement when we arrive at heaven
      than another, it will be, first, that we ever got there;
      and second, the vast difference of the world we have
      left to the one we shall then enjoy! Oh, what will be
      the ecstasy of that moment when we find ourselves
      in heaven!

      And yet we are so mad and so blind as to fear to die,
      still clinging to this poor world! Sometimes in solitude
      I look forward and enjoy the anticipation of a better
      state.

      Oh, if this should ever meet the eye of an afflicted
      child of God, whatever may be your trials, dry up
      those untimely tears, brighten up that saddened
      countenance, and look forward with the confident
      and blessed assurance of an eternity of bliss.

      Your thoughts of affliction are not as God's thoughts.

      If your limited comprehension cannot take in the
      wisdom of all His plans with regard to you. What
      you deem most unfavorable, God regarding as
      most beneficial. Yet thank Him, if He is weaning
      you from this poor world, although the means
      He uses may appear to you most grievous.

      True religion
      The religion of God has to do with the heart,
      whatever may be the sect to which a man belongs.

      In the matter of his salvation he has not to do with
      churches, or with opinions, or with creeds, but with God.

      True religion consists not in notions, forms, or outward
      profession. These can avail a man but little when he
      is laid upon a dying bed, and is about to appear before
      God, when the great question will be, not to what sect
      or church he belonged, but how he, a vile and fallen
      sinner, can be justified before God?

      No sect, or church, or religion, can possibly be
      honoring to God which sets aside Christ and His
      atonement, and lays its foundations in wretched
      SELF.

      When is affliction sweet?
      When can we thank God for it.

      When it brings us near to Jesus.

      When it fixes our wandering thoughts and desires
      upon One that is mighty; mighty not only to save,
      but to make us happy in this dark valley of tears.

      Oh, it compensates us for all the humblings and
      disappointments which we may experience.

      'Sweet affliction,
      That brings Jesus to my soul.'

      A glimpse of Jesus is a little heaven below.

      Who would not part with the world's honors,
      reputation, or wealth, to gain it? And yet we
      are so prone to fix our affections upon these
      poor baubles which must soon pass away.

      Happy is he whose lot is cast with the tried,
      the poor, the humble of Christ's flock, for there
      Jesus abides.

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