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28 November, 2013

Three Degrees of Christ's Manifestation by Octavius Winslow - Part 2

By Octavius Winslow, 1849



"Now he is looking in through the windows." The Church of Christ is His house. "Christ is a Son over his own house; whose house we are." The ordinances of His Church are the windows of this house, and in these ordinances Christ appears and manifests Himself to His people. But here let me remark how sadly are these windows obscured, these ordinances mystified, perverted, and abused by many. What numbers in their blindness substitute the mere window, for 'Christ appearing' in the window; as if an ordinance without Christ were anything. Every institution of the Christian Church in which Christ is not recognized, seen by faith, and by faith lived upon; is a window closed, darkened, and obscured; it exhibits no object and admits no light. And yet to thousands, the Lord's Supper is nothing more!

But to the soul hungering and thirsting for the Lord Jesus in the ordinance, Jesus presents Himself. He draws back the shutter, opens the window, stands within it, and looks forth upon His people, clustering around His table, desiring to remember His love. "Precious Jesus!" is the meditation of a soul, thus looking for its Beloved, "I have come to Your ordinance invited by Your love, drawn by Your Spirit, but what is it to my soul without You? The minister may open this institution with clearness and power, but if You do not manifest Yourself, to break and heal my heart- if I do not catch one glimpse of You, my Lord, it is no ordinance of grace or sweetness to my soul. I need by faith to see You in the baptism of Your sufferings, to feed upon Your flesh, and to drink of Your blood. I need to enjoy communion with You. 

You know, Lord, the workings of my heart; You know that this is the great desire of my soul, that I might enjoy fellowship with You. Oh that I might have more of Christ, that I might meet with Christ, that I might have some further manifestation of Christ, and that I might have my soul closer knit to Christ. I come with thirsting after Jesus, knowing my infinite need of Him, and His infinite excellency and fulness to meet my case. My soul does famish and perish without Christ; but in the enjoyment of Christ there is a sufficiency for the satisfying of my soul. That which I have had of Christ, sometimes in the word, and sometimes in prayer, has been sweet unto my taste; but I look for closer communion, for a clearer manifestation of Christ here, for this is the great 'communion of the body and blood of Jesus.' Behold, Lord, I approach these windows of Your house, a poor, unworthy, backsliding child, tried and tempted; yet just as I am, dear Lord, I come. 

I dare not, I cannot stay away from You, You Divine loadstone of my heart, You precious magnet of my soul! Draw me, and then I run after You; You show Yourself in the window; You overcome me with Your beauty and Your love- I exclaim, 'Turn away Your eyes from me, for they have overcome me.' Blessed Spirit! I have been taught to believe that You will take of the things of Jesus and show them unto me. Open the window of this ordinance, and let me behold my soul's Beloved standing within it. I cannot live, I cannot die, without Him. Living or dying I must have Christ. 'I am my Beloved's, and His desire is towards me;' and truly my soul's desire is towards Him. There is to my soul no love like Christ's love. There is no voice like Christ's voice. There is no sympathy like Christ's sympathy. 

There is no friend like this Friend- there is no Christ like my Christ. The window is open! 'The voice of my Beloved! behold, He comes, leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.' He looks forth at the window; and lively faith, and ardent love, and sweet contrition, and joy, possess and overwhelm my soul!"
"I love the windows of Your grace,
In which my Lord is seen.
And long to meet my Savior's face
Without a glass between."
"Oh that the happy hour were come
To change my faith to sight!
I shall behold my Lord at home
In a diviner light."
"Hasten, my Beloved, and remove
These interposing clays
Then shall my passions all be love,
And all my powers be praise."...........................