That he might be the firstborn among many brethren

“That he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29
THE Son of God sustains to us the relation of the Elder Brother. He is emphatically the “Firstborn.” In another place we read, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same.” He is the “Brother born for adversity.” Our relation to Him as our Brother is evidenced by our conformity to Him as our model. We have no valid claim to relationship which springs not from a resemblance to His image. The features may be indistinctly visible, yet one line of holiness, one true lineament, drawn upon the heart by the Holy Spirit, proves our fraternal relationship to Him the “Firstborn.” And how large the brotherhood!—“many brethren.”
What the relative proportion of the Church is to the world—how many will be saved—is a question speculative and profitless. But this we know—the number will be vast, countless. The one family of God is composed of “many brethren.” They are not all of the same judgment in all matters, but they are all of the same spirit. The unity of the family of God is not ecclesiastical nor geographical, it is spiritual and essential. It is the “unity of the Spirit.” Begotten of one Father, in the nature of the Elder Brother, and through the regenerating grace of the one Spirit, all the saints of God constitute one church, one family, one brotherhood—essentially and indivisibly one. Nor is this relationship difficult to recognize.
Take an illustration. Two brethren in the Lord of widely different sections of the Church, and of much dissonance of sentiment on some points of truth, meet and converse together. Each wonders that, with the Word of God in his hand, the other should not read it as he reads it, and interpret it as he interprets it. But they drop the points of difference, and take up the points of agreement. They speak of Christ—the Christ who loves them both, and whom they both love. They talk of the one Master whom they serve; of their common labors and infirmities, trials and temptations, discouragements, failures, and success; they talk of the heaven where they are journeying; of their Father’s house, in which they will dwell together for ever; they kneel in prayer; they cast themselves before the cross; the oil of gladness anoints them; their hearts are broken, their spirits are humbled, their souls are blended; they rise, and feel more deeply and more strongly than ever, that they both belong to the same family, are both of the “many brethren,” of whom the Son of God is the “Firstborn,” the Elder Brother.
Oh, blessed unity! What perfect harmony of creed, what strict conformity of ritual, what sameness of denominational relation, is for a moment to be compared with this? Have you, my reader, this evidence that you belong to the “many brethren”?

But the end of all things is at hand

“But the end of all things is at hand: be you therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” 1 Peter 4:7
WATCH unto prayer, with all diligence and perseverance. Expect an answer to your prayer, a promise to your request, a compliance with your suit. Be as much assured that God will answer, as that you have asked, or that He has promised. Ask in faith; only believe; watch daily at the posts and at the gates of the return; look for it at any moment, and through any providence; expect it not in your own way, but in the Lord’s; do not be astonished if He should answer your prayer in the very opposite way to that you had anticipated, and it may be dictated. With this view, watch every providence, even the smallest. You know not when the answer my come—at what hour, or in what way. Therefore watch. The Lord may answer in a great and strong wind, in an earthquake, in a fire, or in a still small voice; therefore watch every providence, to know which will be the voice of God to you. Do not pray as if you asked for or expected a refusal. God delights in your holy fervency, your humble boldness, and your persevering importunity. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Pray submissively, expect hopefully, watch vigilantly, and wait patiently.
Behold then the throne of grace! Was ever resting-place so sacred and so sweet? Could God himself invest it with richer, with greater attraction? There are dispensed all the blessings of sovereign grace—pardon, justification, adoption, sanctification, and all that connects the present state of the believer with eternal glory. There is dispensed grace itself—grace to guide, to support, to comfort, and to help in time of need. There sits the God of grace, proclaiming Himself “the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth; keep mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin.” There is extended the scepter of grace, bidding welcome the sons of daughters of want, the weary and the heavy laden, the guilty, the broken in heart, the poor, the friendless, the bereaved. There stands Jesus the High Priest and Mediator, full of grace and truth, waving to and fro His golden censer, from which pours forth the fragrant incense of His atoning merits, wreathing in one offering, as it ascends, the name, the needs, and the prayer of the lowly worshiper. And there, too, is the Spirit of grace, breathing in the soul, discovering the want, inditing the petition, and making intercession for the saints according to the will of God. Behold, then, the throne of grace, and draw near! You are welcome. Come with your cross, come with your infirmity, come with your guilt, come with your want, come with your wounded spirit, come with your broken heart, come and welcome to the throne of grace! Come without price, come without worthiness, come without preparation, come without fitness, come with your hard heart, come and welcome to the throne of grace! God, your Father, bids you welcome. Jesus, your Advocate, bids you welcome. The Spirit, the Author of prayer, bids you welcome. All the happy and the blessed who cluster around it, bid you welcome. The spirits of just men made perfect in glory, bid you welcome. The ministering spirits, “sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation,” bid you welcome. All the holy below, and all the glorified above, all, all bid you, poor trembling soul, welcome, thrice welcome, to the throne of grace!
Octavius Winslow

Only Trust Me

What is faith, but trust? what is believing in Jesus, but trusting in Jesus? When Jesus says, “Only believe Me,” He literally says, “Only trust Me.” And what a natural, beautiful, soothing definition of the word faith is this! Many a volume has been written to explain the nature and illustrate the operation of faith–the subject and the reader remaining as much mystified and perplexed as ever. But who can fail to comprehend the meaning of the good old Saxon word, trust? All can understand what this means. When, therefore, Jesus says–as He does to every individual who reads these words–”Only believe Me,” He literally says, “Only trust Me.” Thus He spoke to the anxious father who besought Him to come and heal his child; “Only believe–only trust my power, only trust my compassion, only trust my word, be not afraid, only trust Me.” And thus He speaks to you, believer. Oh, for a heart to respond, “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears!”

Octavius Winslow