Winslow Soul Heights And Soul Depths is a 9 chapter devotional seeing when men pray to God. Winslow Soul Heights And Soul Depths
SOUL HEIGHTS and SOUL DEPTHS
by Octavius Winslow
Winslow Soul Heights And Soul Depths
Table of Contents of Soul Heights and Soul Depths
1. Soul Depths
2. Prayer Out of Soul Depths
3. Contrition and Confession
4. Forgiveness and Fear
5. Waiting and Watching
6. Watching for the Morning
7. Hoping in the Lord
8. Final and Full Redemption
9. Soul Heights
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Winslow Soul Heights And Soul Depths
Sample Chapter 2. Prayer Out of Soul Depths
Winslow Soul Heights And Soul Depths
Prayer Out of Soul Depths
“Out of the depths have I cried unto You, 0 Lord. Lord, hear my voice: let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.” Psalm 130:1-2.
Seasons of soul-depths are ever seasons of heart-prayer in the Christian’s experience. At no period does the divine life of the regenerate so strongly and triumphantly vindicate its nature, and assert its reality and power, as then. This was the case under consideration. “Out of the depths have I cried unto you, O Lord.” That must indeed be a “depth,” a soundless depth of spiritual despondency, in which the soul is either debarred from prayer, or is so imprisoned, that it cannot send up its cries to God. But this was not the case of David. He gave himself immediately and unreservedly to prayer. “I cried unto you, O Lord.”
What irrefragable evidence he affords of the existence of that spiritual life in the living soul which cannot die; of that faith in the believing soul which cannot be repressed; of that divine love in the loving soul which many waters cannot quench! Communion with God is the outbreathing of the quickened soul, and no distance can arrest, or condition stifle it.
“From the end of the earth will I cry unto you, when my heart is overwhelmed.” Deep exercise of soul is often God’s mode of rousing the slumbering spirit, and quickening the sluggish energy of prayer. Its potency and pre-eminence are only learned to any great extent when faith is tried, and the heart is overwhelmed, and the soul is plunged into great “depths.” But, sink the soul as it may, the arrow of prayer, feathered with a divine promise, springing from the bow of faith, and winged by the power of the Spirit will overcome every obstacle, pierce every cloud, and fasten itself upon the throne of the Eternal God!
Was not this the experience of Jonah? “I cried by reason of my affliction unto the Lord, and He heard me; out of the belly of hell (his watery grave) cried I, and you heard me.” But a greater than Jonah shall testify. Were there ever such fathomless soul depths as Christ’s, when, as their Divine substitute, He bore their sins, endured their curse, and suffered the wrath of God on behalf of His people? “Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing.” Behold, He prays! And as He advanced into the tornado of the curse, the storm thickening and darkening around Him- as He sank deeper and yet deeper into the mountain billows of divine wrath- the huge breakers surging and foaming around His holy soul- as He exhausted drop by drop ‘the cup of trembling,’ until the very lees touched His quivering lips, lo! “He Prayed More Earnestly!” The intensity of His prayer rose with the agony of His spirit; its earnestness gathered strength with the anguish of His soul. “Being in an agony He Prayed More Earnestly.”
Sinking, suffering saint, learn the secret of your support! “He prayed more earnestly.” “Who in the days of His flesh, when He offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared.” Go you and do likewise. Pray- pray- PRAY! Out of the depths of your difficulty, your need, your sorrow, cry mightily unto God. There is no ‘depth’ so profound, no darkness so dense, no need so pressing, or perplexity so great, but from it you may cry unto God, the Lord inclining His ear to the softest, faintest breathing of your soul. “For this shall every one that is godly pray unto you in a time when you may be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come near unto him.” Cries out of the depths of soul-distress have a peculiar eloquence and an irresistible success with God just as the plaintive wail of a sick and suffering child reaches and penetrates a parent’s heart more quickly and more deeply than all others. It is a beautiful thought embodied in the Psalmist’s prayer: “My soul hangs upon God. “
Look for a moment at the Object upon which the believing, sinking soul thus hangs. It is upon DEITY. The world around is hanging upon every object but God. Some are hanging upon self, some upon their wealth- some upon their intellectual powers-some upon their bodily strength- some upon their long life- some upon the creature- some upon their own righteousness; all are hanging upon some object below Christ and God. How frail and fatal the support! Soon the prop bends- the stirrup breaks- the fulcrum yields- the sands glide away- and great is the fall of him who suspended upon such created and fragile support his happiness in this life, and his hope of the life that is to come.
But, the believing soul, though a desponding and sinking soul, hangs upon GOD. Listen to the language of David: “O God, you are my God; early will I seek you: my soul thirsts for you, my flesh longs for you in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.” Again: “Whom have I in heaven but You? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside You.” This is the support of every gracious soul; and he who hangs not upon this divine support, hangs upon air, hangs upon nothing.
Listen to Jehoshaphat’s prayer in his distress, when the mighty hosts of the Ammonites came against him to battle. See how he hung upon God! “O our God, will you not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that comes against us; neither know we what to do: our eyes are upon You. ” And the Lord delivered them into his hand that day, and all that he did was to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. And thus was it with Asa. Oppressed by a powerful enemy, too strong for his scanty forces, he thus hung upon God in his extremity. “Lord, it is nothing with you to help, whether with many, or with those who have no power.” And what a “nail in a sure place” is the Lord Jesus Christ, the true, spiritual Eliakim, upon whom the soul may hang its sins, and sorrows, and hope of glory. “I will fasten him,” says the Father, “as a nail in a sure place. . . And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father’s house …. all the vessels.”
Sin-burdened soul, sinking into depths of guilt and despair, come; and hang in faith upon this Divine, this most sure nail, and you shall be saved! Hang upon Him as a personal Savior! Hang upon His blood to cleanse, upon His righteousness to justify, upon His grace to subdue, upon His fullness to supply, upon His willingness and power to save you to the uttermost extent of your sin and guilt. Hang upon God upon His strength to deliver you, upon His wisdom to counsel you, upon His love to comfort you, upon His infinite resources to meet your every need; and your song shall be,
“Other refuge have I none,
HANGS my helpless soul ON YOU.”
Oh give yourself to prayer! If words fail you- if by reason of the anguish of your spirit there is no outlet for your feelings but in the plaintive language of sighs and groans and tears -still uplift your soul to God in mental supplication and heart breathing, and your testimony shall be that of David: “The Lord has heard the voice of my weeping.” “Lord, all my desire is before You; and my groaning is not hid from You.” And thus, when by reason of the anguish of your spirit, the cloud-veil of your mind, and the infirmity of your body, you can neither think nor pray, let the reflection cheer you that Jesus is thinking of, and praying for, you. “When I cannot think of Jesus,” said a sick one whom He loved, “Jesus is thinking of me.” Happy thought!
It is a truth fraught with the richest comfort that, sink the tried and desponding soul as it may, it can never sink below the everlasting arms of God. God is frequently wont to permit His children to descend into great “depths” of spiritual and mental conflict, and even temporal need, that He might display His love and power in stooping to their necessity. “I was brought low, and He helped me.” “Bow down your ear to me; deliver me speedily: be my strong rock, for a house of defense to save me.” Winslow Soul Heights And Soul Depths
We are but imperfectly aware how low the great God can bend to our case- how condescendingly Christ can stoop to our condition! We may be brought very low- our case sad and desperate: riches may flee; poverty may come upon us as an armed man; character may be assailed; children may try; friends may change; enemies may wound; death may bereave; and our soul be plunged as into fathomless depths. Nevertheless, sink deep as we may, we shall but sink more deeply into the embrace of Christ, ‘the everlasting arms’ still underneath us. “He sent from above, He took me; He drew me out of many waters.” Oh we must descend into great depths of affliction, of trial, and of need, to fathom, in some measure, the soundless depths of God’s love, of the Savior’s fullness, of the Spirit’s comfort!
More Modules from Christian Life Category
- Aitken – Temptation and Toil
- Anderson, Sir Robert – The Way
- Arnold -The Christian Life: Its Course, Its Hindrances, and Its Helps.
- Arthur Timothy Shay – Extravagant Living
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- Brookes, J.H. – Mystery of Suffering
- Brooks – Legacies of Thomas Brooks
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And still our strong refuge is prayer- prayer in all depths. “Out of the depths have I cried unto You, O Lord.” “From the end of the earth will I cry unto You, when my heart is overwhelmed.” Oh, give yourself to prayer! No difficulty is too great, no trial too severe, to take to Jesus. If your sins and guilt appear to you a depth so abysmal that no line could fathom it, remember that God’s mercy in Christ Jesus is infinite; that, if there are great depths in your sinfulness and unworthiness, there are infinitely greater depths in the sin-forgiving love of God, in the sin-atoning blood and sinner-justifying righteousness of the Redeemer.
Sunk though you are in sin, steeped in crime and guilt, countless and great your departures from God, your rejection of the Savior, your religious unbelief, stifled convictions, and scarred conscience; nevertheless, you have not sunk below the depths of God’s love and of Christ’s grace. The prodigal had wandered far from his father, he had sunk into great depths of poverty and degradation and need; yet, when he ‘came to himself’ he exclaimed, “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned; and his father saw him a great way off, and had compassion, and ran, and embraced him.” That Father is your heavenly Father, and waits to enfold you to His loving and forgiving heart!
Depth of mercy! can there be
Mercy still reserved for me?
Can my God His wrath forbear,
Me, the chief of sinners, spare?
I have long withstood His grace,
Long provoked Him to His face;
Would not hearken to His calls,
Grieved Him by a thousand falls.
JESUS, answer from above,
Is not all Your nature love?
Will You not the wrong forget?
Suffer me to kiss Your feet?
If I rightly read Your heart,
If You all compassion art,
Now Your ear in mercy bow,
Pardon and accept me now.”
Winslow Soul Heights And Soul Depths
But, prayer is necessary, not only when in our depths, but to be preserved from them. And to prayer must be united sleepless vigilance. “Watch and pray,” is our Lord’s twofold injunction, given on the most impressive occasion and amid the most affecting circumstances of His life. The calling of a child of God is high and holy. It is all the more essential that he should walk carefully, watchfully, and prayerfully, lest his feet slide; and thus, losing his steadfastness in the faith and his close communion with God, he fall into “the depths of Satan,” the seductions of the flesh, and the allurements of the world; and so plunging into ‘depths’ of doubt, darkness, and despondency.
The path of spiritual declension is an ‘sloped plane’, each step accelerating the rapidity of the soul’s descent. It commences at the closet. The restraining of prayer- especially private devotion is the first stage in the decay and declension of the believer in the divine life. Soon will follow the fascination and power of the world; and when the world enters like a flood, Christ and prayer and eternal realities are swept before its impetuous torrent, then the gracious soul is stranded upon the bleak, rock-bound coast of bitter remorse and dark despair. Winslow Soul Heights And Soul Depths
What an appalling picture does the inspired penman draw of the final condition of the unregenerate apostate from his profession of Christ and the faith! “It is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.” Whatever interpretation these awful declarations will admit- and to the truly regenerate they cannot by any ingenuity of criticism, or justness of exegesis, properly apply, since a true child of God, though he may sadly backslide, and be sorely chastened, cannot finally perish- they yet are words of solemn significance, well calculated to fill the soul of the Christian professor, and even the true believer, with holy trembling, rousing him to the imperious and difficult task of unswerving self-vigilance and unwearied prayer.
The present chapter speaks pointedly and solemnly to the unconverted reader. There is beyond this present life a “depth” awfully and significantly termed “the bottomless pit.” It is the final and eternal doom of all who die out of Christ. It is immeasurable and soundless. No line of grace can fathom it, no arm of mercy can reach it, no voice of love ever wakes its echoes, and eternity alone will see the end of its woe. “These shall go away into everlasting punishment.” “The wicked shall be turned into hell.”
But, is there no escape from a final and eternal doom so appalling? Listen to the voice of divine love. “Save him from going down to the pit; I have found a ransom!” That ransom is the atoning blood of Jesus, and He the sinner’s Ransomer. Escape for your life! Look not behind; but in faith hasten to Christ, the City of Refuge, and you shall be saved from the wrath that is to come! Oh, blessed thought! No poor awakened sinner ever betook himself to that Divine refuge and found the door closed against him. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.” Winslow Soul Heights And Soul Depths
Soon the soul-desponding saint will ascend from the lowest depths of earth to the loftiest height of heaven. Long before the body springs from the dust, your soul, O believer, will have taken its place amid the blood-ransomed throng, clustering in shining ranks around the throne of God and the Lamb. And, reviewing all the way the Lord your God led you, through the wilderness and across the desert, you shall blend the old song of free grace with the new song of eternal glory, and exclaim,
“I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay,
and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
And he has put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God.”
“PARDON, my Master, pardon for my weakness,
Thus shrinking, fainting, beneath my Father’s rod;
Oh, grant to me Your pure and patient meekness!
Sincerely would I say, ‘No will but Yours, O God.’
“Even as a reed by the rough tempest shivered,
Trembling I bend before Your chastening breath,
And low within my heart faith’s flame has quivered,
Until all seemed shadowed like the vale of death.
“I strive to walk the stormy wave, upheaving
Its angry might, but sink wherever I tread;
I know Your covenant sure, but scarce believing,
Still hangs upon my breast my aching head.
“Your promises like countless stars are shining:
I see them not; for the clouds the heavens obscure!
I wrestle hard against each vain repining,
And fear to murmur when I would endure.
“Come to my help, O Master! once in sorrow,
My more than brother, King of glory now;
Even in my tears a gleam of hope I borrow
From the deep scars around Your radiant brow.
“Come to my help, as once God’s angels hastened
To cheer You in Your midnight agony;
O Lord of angels, by man’s suffering chastened,
Forget not I am dust, infirmity.
“Come to me quickly, even as You have spoken
Your faithful word. Let me but hear Your voice;
Say You are with me, and the heart all broken
Again with holy gladness shall rejoice.
“Now round the ‘bruised reed’ Your grace enwreathing,
Upward to heaven once more I shall aspire;
Now on my darkened soul Your Spirit breathing,
Brightly shall flame again the failing fire.
“Walk You the wave with me, the tempest stilling;
Let me but feel the clasping of Your strength,
Your righteous strength, through all my pulses thrilling;
Nor shall I fear to reach the shore at length.
“Beam forth, O Morning Star, in mercy glorious,
With Your day-promise, from the troubled sky;
Hold forth the fadeless crown, and palm victorious,
You who have fought and won, to cheer my eye.
“What means that strain, sweeter than angels’ singing?
Oh, can it be Your own responsive word,
Mysterious music on my senses ringing
‘Fear not, you trembler; for your prayer is heard’?
Winslow Soul Heights And Soul Depths