By Whitmore Winslow
The Hidden Life
Gleanings from the journal of Whitmore Winslow
written at the age of 16 to 18.
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
When He afflicts, it is only out of kindness
Sweet it is not only to believe, but also to experience
that as much affliction as God is pleased to give, so
much of His divine blessing He invariably bestows with it.
He causes us to feel His rod that His blessing may
be experienced the more. He makes us to taste the
bitter only to prepare us for the sweet.
And when He finds that prosperity weans us from
Him and assimilates to the world, He chastens us.
Oh, how sweet to be resigned to His will, feeling
assured that He does all things for our best welfare;
that when He afflicts, it is only out of kindness;
and that when He accomplishes the end, He returns
to us laden with blessing.
O the demon SELF!
Alas! our noblest actions are so mixed with SELF.
Such is the real fact, I need not disguise it. This
it is that chills our warmest feelings, and mars our
happiness in looking to Jesus.
O the demon SELF! it will ever come in to spoil
that which is holy.
Alas, alas! how cold we are! How insensible
to the greatest mercies, perpetually reminded that
we are not only mortal, but sinful.
When I reflect upon the spiritual blessings which
I have received, and feel how insensible I am, oh
it is a cause of mourning. I think nothing is so
ungracious as a thankless spirit, and yet how
often do we manifest it when God has been so
good! We take care not to be ungrateful to an
earthly friend for the slightest benefit, and yet
how careless in thanking God!
How has God led me these many years! How has
He been the Protector and Guide of my youth! And
how has He brought me to what I am! When I
thought of all this I did lift up my heart in gratitude.
What He has done for me is overwhelming.
Oh, my precious Savior
What a blessed thing it is that we are not to live
here always, that our existence is not bounded by
this lower sphere!
Holy Father, may our hearts, while aching, praise
You that Your chastenings but wean us from this
sinful and disappointing world, and fill our minds
with holy joy, and longing hope for the blessed
heaven to come. Oh, may Your love more completely
fill these truant hearts! May Your ceaseless affection,
changeless ever, when we wander, link our souls in
closer union with You.
Oh, my precious Savior, may that look of pity and
love, which beamed so gloriously from Calvary, light
upon Your weak and sinful child! May I find in Your
loving bosom a shelter from the storm. And though
the world, or those I love, cease to sympathize,
precious Savior, You will never look coldly down,
but will open Your heart of love to receive me.
How low and humbled do we feel
As truly as the sinner feels himself unfit for heaven
and for heavenly society on earth, so truly does the
child of God feel sad and unhappy when in the society
of the wicked.
How low and humbled do we feel when accidentally
or necessarily obliged to listen to unholy conversation,
or to witness some open act of sin.
Alas! next to our own sinfulness we ought to deplore
the wickedness of those we are constantly coming in
contact with. All we can do is to observe a marked
silence, and show by our conduct and example how
painful it is to our spirits, though we would desire
openly to rebuke.
Words, however, are sometimes less significant
than conduct, and I have often found how powerful
is the effect of silent example. But we need much
wisdom and much grace both to speak and to act
as we ought and when we ought.
But, blessed thought, that with all our deficiencies,
the righteousness of Christ is our complete covering,
and by its merit we shall soon reach the realms of
purity where sin can never enter.
O Father, preserve me from the deadening
influence of all within and without; and grant
me an eye to see, and a heart to feel, all your
tenderness, forbearance, and love.
It grasps an airy bubble floating by in momentary splendor
Amid all the characters given by poets and philosophers
to Life, perhaps the least regarded is the IMAGINATION.
Life in its loveliest forms consists in a great measure
in the imagination. Thus thought loves to dwell upon
scenes of future or imagined happiness, grouping into
the most felicitous shapes all one's future career.
Thus it grasps an airy bubble floating by in momentary
splendor, and builds upon it a destiny of the highest and
most substantial happiness.
How one's youthful imagination seems to bear us on, blind
to the misery and woe all around us; blind to the stern and
sometimes sickening realities of existence, and alive only
to the beautiful and happy, the gay and glorious.
How imagination, that wonderful power of the soul, can
magnify a transient beam of sunshine into an ever abiding
and increasing stream of effulgent radiancy! How a look
from the eye, a smile of the countenance, a trifling act
of love, can kindle a flame in the soul, which our fond
imagination would persuade us to believe is enduring,
giving power and warmth!
How gladdening are feelings of youth; how keen its
susceptibilities to the beautiful!
But alas, alas! how Life in its onward progress alters
this beautiful picture! How soon do the dark shades
pencilled by the experience of sin and sorrow cast their
chilling influences upon the canvas once so gaily tinted!
How soon the keen blast of adversity sweeps away, as
with a whirlwind, all that before seemed so beautiful and
promising! How soon the slow but fearfully sure disease
cuts down the budding flower!
Yes, how strange a mystery is Life!
Yes, when once the eye has been turned in the right
direction, and the mists and phantoms have disappeared,
we shall see that life is the theater of action, and the
prelude to eternity; an eternity whose untold wonders
are beyond the highest flight of the imagination!
Can a man suppose that he was made for himself?
What a glorious motto for a man, "I Live for God!"
It is religion's truest definition.
It is a motto for a life.
Can a man suppose that he was made for himself?
Yet the world acts upon this belief. They devise, and
scheme, and accomplish apparently for others; but
the spring of action and the end of action is, SELF.
This is a course abhorrent to God.
A mere bubble, a toy, an insignificant nothing!
How blessed when one is low and downcast in mind
and body, to feel a little uplifting, and to trace, yet
more blessed, the healing hand of the Great Physician.
To see the Shepherd of the sheep stooping to take and
embrace in His arms of love the weak and feeble lamb.
"When men are cast down, then You shall say, There
is lifting up." Oh, the delightful feeling, this 'lifting up!'
Who can express it but the man who has been down
into the lowest depths, and then brought up so high
that the world appears, as it were, a mere bubble,
a toy, an insignificant nothing! The world no longer
is visible to him; lost in the glorious light shed upon
his soul by the sight of Jesus.
We sometimes reason ourselves into the belief, that
the world, with all its grandeur, beauty, and wonder,
must be something worth our attention.
But, oh! five minutes' communion with God, in spite
of reason and of ourselves, convinces us that nothing
but the object upon which our soul rests is truly great.
The way we read the Bible
What a difference there is in the way we read the
Bible; taking it up sometimes as a matter of form and
duty, perusing some of its most precious truths, and
laying it down again without sensible benefit.
There can be no mistake as to where the fault lies;
a cold or worldly heart, an eye covered with the film
of sensuous objects, are the real causes.
We do not know what Popery really is!
(The following was written by Whitmore Winslow
at the age of 18, after visiting a Roman Catholic
Cathedral in France.)
In England, we do not know what Popery really is!
We imagine it to be something repulsive, and cannot
conceive how people can be deceived by it.
But once to witness it as it really is, with its gorgeous
paraphernalia, you are admitted to the secret of its
power. The whole structure seemed to look down upon
you in conscious magnificence, and is intended to
inspire you with awe and reverence.
No system could possibly have been invented more
captivating to the senses, or better adapted to the
It allows its devotee free scope to sin, while covering
him with a cloak of religion.