Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chapter 2 quotes from Personal Declension

Here are some quotes from chapter 2 of Personal Declension and Revival of Religion in the Soul (Winslow, Octavius. Personal Declension and Revival of Religion in the Soul. 5th ed. London: John Farquhar Shaw, 1853 )

Chapter 2: Declension in Love

The spiritual state of the soul, and the vigor and promptness of its obedience, will correspond with the state and tone of the believer's affections toward God. If decay, coldness, declension, exist here, it is felt and traced throughout the entire obedience of the new man. Every grace of the Spirit feels it; every call to duty feels it; and every throb of the spiritual pulse will but betray the secret and certain declension of Divine love in the soul. Let the Christian reader, then, imagine what must be the spiritual unhealthiness of the believer, what his outward and visible declensions from God, when love, the spring of all spiritual duties, ceases to exert a vigorous influence, and when, as the heart of experimental godliness, it transmits but sickly and sluggish streams of life throughout the spiritual system. (55)

God has so constituted man, implanting in him such a capacity for happiness, and such boundless and immortal desires for its possession, as can find their full enjoyment only in infinity itself. He never designed that the intelligent and immortal creature should sip its bliss at a lower fountain than himself. Then it was infinitely wise and good in God, that he should have presented himself as the sole object of supreme love and worship to his intelligent creatures. His wisdom saw the necessity of having one center of supreme and adoring affection, and one object of supreme and spiritual worship to angels and to men. His goodness suggested that that center and that that object should be himself, the perfection of infinite excellence, the fountain of infinite good. That, as from him went forth all the streams of life to all creatures, it was but reasonable and just that to him should return, and in him should center, all the streams of love and obedience of all intelligent and immortal creatures: that, as he was the most intelligent, wise, glorious, and beneficent object in the universe, it was meet that the first, strongest, and purest love of the creature should soar towards, and find its resting-place in him. (57)

It is most true that God has benevolently connected supreme happiness with supreme love, and has threatened supreme misery, where supreme affection is withheld; yet, independent of any blessing that may accrue to the creature from its love to God, the infinite excellence of the Divine nature, and the eternal relation in which he stands to the intelligent universe, render it irreversibly obligatory on every creature to love him with a supreme, paramount, holy, and unreserved affection. (58-9)

A holy, self-denying, cross-bearing life, is not the drudgery of a slave, but the filial, loving obedience of a child: it springs from love to the person, and gratitude for the work of Jesus; and is the blessed effect of the spirit of adoption in the heart. (61)

The blood and righteousness of Christ, based upon the infinite dignity and glory of his person, and wrought into the experience of the believer by the Holy Spirit, expel from the heart all fear of death and judgment, and fill it with perfect peace. (63)

The day is not far distant, when faith will be turned to sight, and hope will be lost in full fruition, but love will never die; it will live on, and expand the heart, and tune the lip, and inspire the song, through the unceasing ages of eternity. (66)

This spiritual and influential truth cannot be too frequently nor too strongly insisted upon, - that through faith and love, and hope, and zeal, and their kindred graces, may greatly decline in their vigor, fervor, and real growth; yet that they may entirely fail even in their greatest decay, or severest trial, the Word of God assures us can never be. To believe the opposite of this, is to deny their Divine origin, their spiritual and immortal character, and to impeach the wisdom, power, and faithfulness of God. Not a grain of wheat can ever be lost in the sifting, not a particle of the pure gold in the refining. (69)

If there is coldness in the affections, if the mind grows earthly, carnal, and selfish, dark and gloomy shadows will gather round the character and the glory of God. He will become less an object of supreme attachment, unmingled delight, adoring contemplation, and filial trust. (71)

Our views of Jesus must be materially affected by the state of our affections towards him. Where there is but little dealing with the atoning blood, leaning upon the righteousness, drawing from the fullness, and bearing daily the cross of Christ, the love of a believer waxes cold. We would judge the depth of a man's Christianity, by his reply to the question, "'What think you of Christ?' (78)

If we love God with a sincere and deepening affection, we must love his image wherever we find it. It is true, the picture may be but an imperfect copy, the outline may be but faintly drawn; there may be shades we cannot approve of; yet, recognizing in the work the hand of the Spirit, and in the outline some resemblance to Him whom our souls admire and love, we must feel a drawing out of our holiest affections towards the object; we shall not pause before the surrender is made, to inquire to what section of the church of Christ he belongs, what name he bears, or what the color of his uniform; but, discovering the man of God, the meek and lowly follower of Jesus, our heart and our hand are freely offered. (79)

To be humbled as we should be, we must know ourselves; there must be no disguising of our true condition from ourselves, nor from God: the wound must be probed, the disease must be known, and its most aggravated symptoms brought to view. (88)

Here is the grand secret of a constant ascending of the affections to God. If you do find it difficult to comprehend the love of God towards you, read it in the cross of his dear Son. (91)

Dwell upon this amazing fact; drink into this precious truth; muse upon it, ponder it, search into it, pray over it, until your heart is melted down, and broken, and overwhelmed with God's wondrous love to you, in the gift of Jesus. O how will this rekindle the flame that is ready to die in your bosom! how it will draw you up in a holy and unreserved surrender of Body, soul, and spirit! Do not forget, then, to deal much with Jesus. Whenever you detect a waning of love, a reluctance to take up the daily cross, a shrinking from the precept, go immediately to Calvary; go simply and directly to Jesus; get your heart warmed with ardent love by contemplating him upon the cross, and soon will the frosts that gather round it melt away, the congealed current shall begin to flow, and the "chariots of Amminadab" shall bear your soul away to communion and fellowship with God. (92)

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