I wish I could have the time to blog about every book I read! But then, I would not have time to read...
I mentioned few weeks ago that I was going to be part of this reading group hosted by Matthew Blair at the Octavius Winslow Archive, so yes, I have been reading along and enjoying this book a lot. The chapters are short and very meaty; you don't have to buy the book, because Matthew Blair posts the chapters on his blog, and you can also find them at Grace Gems.
I also said that I was not planning to write about this book, but this week I will. (and who knows... maybe next week too)
It is chapter 4, The Clouds of the Christian, The Chariot of God; this title means that whatever comes to our life that seems like a cloud, is indeed what God has brought us to our lives to bring us closer to Him, to Heaven. We are not to fear, if we are children of God because we have hope in God; Because He has justified us, who can condemn us?
"the darkest dispensations in which He hides Himself shall presently unveil the brightest views of His character and love; and thus the lowering cloud that deepened in its darkness and grew larger as it approached, shall dissolve and vanish, leaving no object visible to the eye but Him whose essence and name is Love. Oh, it is because we have such shallow views of God’s love that we have such defective views of God’s dealings. We blindly interpret the symbols of His providence, because we so imperfectly read the engraving of His heart. Faith finds it difficult to spell the word “Love,” as written in the shaded characters of its discipline; to believe that the cloud which looks so sombre and threatening is the love-chariot of Him who for our ransom gave Himself unto the death, because He so loved us!"
If we could understand this Perfect Love! If we could only see Him in the darkest clouds.
Seeing Him... is the only way to live through hard providences; seeing His glory brighter than any storm, and the greatest storm, the greatest cloud of darkness is our sinful nature, but Jesus came and took it away.
"So divine, blinding, and overpowering is the essential glory of our redeeming God, that a believing sinner, enveloped by its beams, is changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. All his unrighteousness, his sins, and hell-deservings are consumed and destroyed by the Divine Sun of righteousness: Jesus makes this cloud His chariot, and waits to bless us with its vision."
Winslow says that also the Divine Truths, (for example, are the revealed doctrines of the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Atonement, Election, Sovereignty, the New Birth, and the Resurrection) maybe regarded as the cloud-chariots of God.
"The gospel is the vehicle in which Christ makes his constant advent to our souls"
We don't need to understand every single doctrine, every single mystery in the Word; but that we are sinners and Christ is the only Saviour.
"Regard it as one of your chief mercies that your salvation depends not upon reason but upon faith: that you are not called upon fully to comprehend, but unquestioningly to believe and love: that you are not the less saved because your faith deals with obscurity, nor is your faith less real, precious, or saving, because it abjures the wisdom of the sage for the docile spirit of the child, and the learning of the philosopher for the humility of the disciple. Let your great study be the mystery of Christ’s love to sinners—the mystery of Christ’s love to you."
God's providential government over our lives brings us Heavenward, Winslow says:
"Those clouds of providential dispensations, which turn our day into night, bring out to view such constellations of Divine promises, discover such perfections of the Divine character, and present such discoveries of Divine love, as to make even night more wonderful and resplendent than day. Ah, beloved! we should know but little what Christ’s chariot of love was, but for the clouds in which He comes to us."
Let us fix our eyes not on the cloud but on the One who is blowing the winds, on the One who brings storms and calms tempests.
"It is our wisdom and our happiness to know that there is not an event or circumstance, a cloud or a sunbeam, in our personal history and experience, that is not a vehicle of Christ. He maketh the clouds His chariot; and His providential dispensations, whatever their form or their hue, are His means of approaching and visiting us. “The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.”
Let us no fear the storm, let us find our hiding place, the Cross of Christ; let us hide beneath the wongs of the Almighty, let His Love be our shelter!
The last chariot the Lord has prepared for us to help us Heavenward is death; which shall bring us to our home where we will be able to see the Lord and be with Him forever!
"Let us so live detached from, and above, the world, and creatures, and earthly delights; let us so live in fellowship with God, and in communion with Divine and eternal things, that when the Lord’s chariot gently knocks at our door, we may have nothing to do but to step into it and away to heaven!... Be patient and trustful; the Lord’s time is best, and ere long thou shalt exclaim, “It is the voice of my Beloved that knocketh! the Master is come and calleth for me. Earth, farewell! friends, farewell! parents, kindred, wife, children, home, farewell! Sorrow, suffering, trial, sin, farewell! I go to be with Jesus for ever!” And then a cloud of glory shall receive you out of their sight, and so shall you ever be with the Lord."
As I read these words I was reminded of Paul, he too knew that to be with Christ is far better...
Under His sun and by His grace.... Daily On My Way to Heaven
Next week we'll talk about Chapter 5, Bonds Loosed