Monday, March 31, 2008

An Experimental Knowledge of the Precious Truths of God

One of my favorite names in Christian history is Octavius Winslow. Octavius Winslow was a Reformed Baptist contemporary of Charles Spurgeon. The following is a brief biography of this 19th Century pastor.

Octavius Winslow, 1808-1878, descended from Edward Winslow, a Pilgrim leader who braved the Atlantic to come to the New World on the Mayflower in 1620. The father of Octavius, Thomas Winslow, an army captain stationed in London, died when he was seven years old. Shortly after that, his God-fearing mother took her family of ten children to New York. All of the children became Christians, and three sons became evangelical ministers. Octavius later wrote a book about his family’s experiences from his mother’s perspective, titled “Life in Jesus”.

Winslow was ordained as a pastor in 1833 in New York. He later moved to England where he became one of the most valued nonconformist ministers of the nineteenth century, largely due to the earnestness of his preaching and the excellence of his prolific writings. He held pastorates in Leamington Spa, Bath, and Brighton. He was also a popular speaker for special occasions, such as the opening of C. H. Spurgeon’s Metropolitan Tabernacle in 1861. After a short illness, he died on March 5, 1878, and was buried in Abbey Cemetery, Bath.

Winslow wrote more than forty books, in which he promoted an experimental knowledge of the precious truths of God.

That last comment I love – ‘an experimental knowledge of the precious truths of God’. What does that mean? It means that the truths of God’s word, particularly about the saving work of Jesus Christ, are so soaked into our lives that our thoughts come alive with the implications of grace. This week let me share an example of experimental knowledge with you from the writings of Octavius Winslow, courtesy of the brothers at First Importance.

“So completely was Jesus bent upon saving sinners by the sacrifice of Himself, He created the tree upon which He was to die, and nurtured from infancy the men who were to nail Him to the accursed wood.”

Octavius Winslow, “The Foot of the Cross”)

Such is the love of the Savior for us. Such is the stuff of experiential knowledge of the precious truths of God.

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