Octavius Winslow

Winslow Soul Heights and Depths

Winslow Soul Heights and Depths is a nine chapter work on the ups and downs of the Christian life, and prayer, waiting and watching for what the Lord wants.

Winslow Soul Heights and Depths is a nine chapter work on the ups and downs of the Christian life, and prayer, waiting and watching for what the Lord wants. See Wikipedia.org


by Octavius Winslow

Soul Depths
Prayer Out of Soul Depths
Contrition and Confession
Forgiveness and Fear
Waiting and Watching
Watching for the Morning
Hoping in the Lord
Final and Full Redemption
Soul Heights

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Excerpt from first chapter

SOUL HEIGHTS and SOUL DEPTHS by Octavius Winslow
Soul Depths

“Out of the depths have I cried unto You, O Lord.” — Psa 130:1.

It is of little moment to our present exposition that we determine the precise occasion in David’s history on which this Psalm was composed. Suffice, that it forms one of the richest and most tuneful of his poetical compositions, and unfolds one of the most spiritual and instructive chapters in his remarkable history. As such, it reflects the lights and shadows, the depths and heights of the Christian life, as more or less vividly portrayed in every believer’s history.

That there are these opposites of soul-exercise in the experience of all the spiritual seed of David, of all to whom belong his “sure mercies”— not excepting David’s Lord— the history of the Church of God fully attests.

The Christian life is tortuous and chequered in its course. The royal path to glory is a divine mosaic paved with stones of diverse lines. Today, it is a depth almost soundless; tomorrow, a height almost scaleless. Now, a shadow drapes the picture, somber and rayless; then, a light illumines the camera, brilliant and gladsome. Here, the “song” is of mercy, sweet and entrancing; there, it is of judgement, sad and mournful. “When men are cast down, then you shall say, There is lifting up.” But, a divine Hand, veiled and invisible to all but faith’s eye, shapes and directs the whole; and, assured of this, the believing soul is trustful and calm.

“He led them about, He instructed them,” was the history of the Church in the wilderness; and each stage was a school, each condition a blessing, each event a lesson learned, and a new beatitude experienced,— learned and experienced as in no other. Variety, rich and endless, is stamped upon all God’s works and operations; not less is this seen in the circuitous path by which He is leading His people home to Himself. It is this ever-dissolving, ever shifting scenery of the Christian’s life that unfolds new views of God’s character, and brings him into a closer acquaintance with his own.

To the consideration, then, of these “depths” and “heights” of the Christian life, let us now devoutly and thoughtfully address ourselves. And may the Eternal Spirit unfold and apply His truth to the edification of the reader, and to the glory of His own name, for Christ Jesus’ sake! “Out of the depths have I cried unto you, 0 Lord.”

It may be proper to intimate in the commencement of our treatise, that the experience described in this, its opening chapter, must not be interpreted as that of an unregenerate soul. That there are “depths” of temporal adversity and mental distress, deep and dark, in the life of the unregenerate, is manifest; but, they are not the “depths” of God’s people. It is recorded of the wicked who prosper in the world, that they have “no changes in their life,” and “no bands in their death, and are not as other men.” But the saints of God dwell among their own people, and walk in paths untrodden by the ungodly. The experience, then, which we are about to describe is peculiar to the saints.

However profound these ‘depths,’ they are not the depths of hell, draped with its mist of darkness, and lurid with its quenchless flames. There is in them no curse, nor wrath, nor condemnation. Sink as the gracious soul may, it ever finds the Rock of Ages beneath, upon which faith firmly and securely stands. Whatever may be the depressions of the believer, it is important to keep in mind his real standing before God. From this no chequered spiritual history can move him. There is not an angel in heaven so divinely related, so beauteously attired, or who stands so near and is so dear to God, as the accepted believer in Christ, though earth is still his abode, and a body of sin his dwelling.

A practical lesson grows out of this truth. Let it be your aim to know your present standing as in the sight of God. Upon so vital a question not the shadow of a doubt should rest. “We believe, and are sure.” Faith brings assurance, and assurance is faith. The measure of our assured interest in Christ, will be the measure of our faith in Christ. This is the true definition of assurance, the nature of which is a question of much perplexity to sincere Christians.

Assurance is not something audible, tangible, or visionary— a revelation to the mind, or a voice in the air. Assurance is believing. Faith is the cause, assurance is the effect. Assurance of personal salvation springs from looking to, and dealing only with Jesus. It comes not from believing that I am saved, but from believing that Christ is my Savior.

The object of my salvation is not my faith, but Christ. Faith is but the instrument by which I receive Christ as a sinner. As the eaglet acquires strength of vision by gazing upon the sun, until at length, when fledged, it expands its wings and soars to the orb of day,— so the eye of faith, by “looking unto Jesus” only, gradually becomes stronger; and in proportion to its clear and still clearer view of Christ, brings increased, sweet, and holy assurance to the soul.
One simple, believing sight of Christ will produce more light and peace and joy than a lifetime of looking within ourselves for evidences and signs of grace.

All the sinner’s merit, all his worthiness, beauty, and salvation, is centered in Christ, is from Christ, and Christ alone. And, by simply believing the great truth of the gospel, that Christ died for sinners— receiving Christ, not purchasing Him,— as God’s “unspeakable gift” of free and sovereign grace, will awaken in the soul the assured and grateful acknowledgment, “He loved me, and gave Himself for me.” But let us enumerate some of those soul-depths into which many of God’s people are frequently plunged, in which grace sustains, and out of which love delivers them. “Out of the depths have I cried unto you, 0 Lord.”

We place in the foreground of these “depths,” as constituting, perhaps, the most common— soul-distress arising from the existence and power of indwelling sin in the regenerate. There is not a fact in the history of the saints more clearly taught or more constantly verified than this: that, while the Holy Spirit renews the soul, making it a new creature in Christ Jesus, He never entirely uproots and slays the principle and root of sin in the regenerate. The guilt of sin is cleansed by atoning blood, and the tyranny of sin is broken by the power of divine grace, and the condemnation of sin is cancelled by the free justification of Christ; nevertheless, the root, or principle of original sin remains deeply and firmly embedded in the soil, ever and anon springing up and yielding its baneful fruit, demanding unslumbering watchfulness and incessant mortification; and will so remain until death sets the spirit free.

The inhabitants of Canaan were allowed by God still to domicile in the land long after His chosen people had entered and possessed it. They were to contract no covenant with them, either by marriage or commerce; but, laid under tribute, they were to remain subject to a gradual process of extermination, contributing to, rather than taking from, the wealth and power of Israel’s tribes. This is an impressive and instructive emblem of the regenerate! The old inhabitants still domicile in the new creature: original sin, individual corruption, and constitutional infirmity— surviving the triumphant advent of the converting grace of God— often challenging the forces of the Most High, and inflicting upon the soul many a deep and grievous wound.

Winslow Soul Heights and Depths

Octavius Winslow

Octacius Winslow
Octavius Winslow

Octavius Winslow (1 August 1808 – 5 March 1878), also known as "The Pilgrim's Companion", was a prominent 19th-century evangelical preacher in England and America. A Baptist minister for most of his life and contemporary of Charles Spurgeon and J. C. Ryle, he seceded to the Anglican church in his last decade.

Historical family information

Winslow was a direct descendant of John Winslow and Mary Chilton who braved the Atlantic to travel to America on the Mayflower in 1620. Legend has it[citation needed] that Mary was the first female of the little band to set foot in the New World. In 1624 she married John, brother to Edward Winslow (1595–1655), a celebrated Pilgrim leader. [expand title="see more on Octavius Winslow"]

Education and American Ministry

It is suggested that Winslow began his ministerial training in Stepney, London, but then moved to Columbia College, New York. Twice he was granted the privilege of receiving honorary degrees. The first was a Masters of Arts (M.A.) by the University of the City of New York (NYU) in 1836. Secondly, in 1851, Columbia College in New York City conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity (D.D.). The second degree was given mostly because of the body and scope of his written works. Winslow's official ordination would later be on 21 July 1833 at the Oliver Street Baptist Church.

After completing a short service as a moderator at a Stanton Street church, he was dismissed on 18 May 1831 and he went on to found or "plant" the 20 members Bowery Baptist Church which was organized in March 1833 and met in the Military Hall on the Bowery. After meeting in this Hall for a year, they relocated to Broadway Hall and renamed the church Central Baptist Church. These years would bring the church a "moderate degree of prosperity" and would bring Winslow trials of depression. When Winslow would later leave this flock, there would be no written records as to why he left.

He is said to have ministered in the newly started Second Baptist Church there in Brooklyn on the corner of Tillary and Lawrence Streets in 1836 and 1837, the work sadly closing in 1838 and the church was sold to the Free Presbyterian congregation. In 1839 he moved back to England where he became one of the most valued ministers of his time. This was largely due to the earnestness of his preaching and the excellence of his prolific writings.

Ministry in England

Winslow spent most of his life in England. He pastored a Baptist church on Warwick Road in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire (1839–1858) where he followed Rev. D.J. East. In 1858 he became the founder and first minister of Kensington Chapel, Bath. In 1865 the church became a Union Church (mixed credobaptist and paedobaptist). This latter event probably marks a changing attitude in Winslow who in 1867 left the Baptist pastorate and in 1870 was ordained an Anglican deacon and priest by the Bishop of Chichester. For his remaining years, he served as minister of Emmanuel Church, Brighton, on the south coast. In 1868 he had produced a hymn book for this very congregation. This church was destroyed in 1965 and a Baptist church erected in its place.[/expand]

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