Words of Wisdom from Mary Winslow

The Mother of Octavius Winslow,  Mary Forbes (1774–1854) had Scots roots but was born and raised in Bermuda and was the only child of Dr. and Mrs George Forbes. On September 6, 1791, when she was just 17, she married Army Lieutenant Thomas Winslow of the 47th Regiment. Shortly after this, she came under spiritual convictions and was brought to gospel deliverance while pleading the promise, “Ask, and ye shall receive”. Christ Himself powerfully told her heart, “I am Thy salvation!” and she was saved.

Mary and Thomas Winslow went on to live in England and Octavius was born in Pentonville, a village near London, on August 1, 1808. He was the eighth of 13 children. Those children recorded in the family bible of Robert Winslow, brother of Octavius, are:

  • Thomas Forbes (1795)
  • Isaac Deblois (1799)
  • Edward (1801)
  • George Erving (1804)
  • Henry James (1806)
  • Robert Forbes (1807)
  • Octavius (1808,
  • Forbes (1810)
  • Emma (1813)
  • Mary (1814)

Sadly, Thomas and Mary had three children who died before their first birthday. They are:

  • Mary (1814)
  • Robert Deblois (1798)
  • Mary Elizabeth (1803).

Octavius seems to have been given his name because he was then the eighth surviving child.

Thomas was from a wealthy family but by 1815, following his retirement from the army, he suffered ill-health and the loss of his fortune due to one of several national financial disasters that occurred in this period. A decision was soon made to move to America, but before Mr. Winslow could join his wife and children in New York, he died. At the same time, their youngest child died too. Octavius was but 7 years old.

Widowed at 40, responsible for a large family, and scarcely settled in America, Mrs Winslow’s entire life was turned upside down. Worst of all, spiritual darkness and despondency overwhelmed her for many months. They were a deeply religious family and Octavius later wrote a book about their experiences from his mother’s perspective in a book entitled Life in Jesus.

Family historian D. Kenelm Winslow recorded their plight:

Mary had the youngsters out on the streets of New York selling matches and newspapers as soon as they were old enough for such tasks. She set them to any job they could tackle, gathering them around her at night for scripture reading followed by a good sound evangelical harangue and prayers.

Mary and her children lived in New York City until 1820. Then, after a four month visit back to England, they would then move to Sing Sing, NY on the Hudson River for “four years of congenial repose”. In 1824, they would move back to New York City for a season of “special revival” where brothers Octavius, Isaac, and George would become converted and later convinced of God’s calling to ministry.

Winslow was saved under the ministry of Samuel Eastman, pastor of Stanton Street Baptist Church in New York City. On Wednesday, April 11, 1827, Octavius shared his testimony and professed his faith in his Savior. He would later be baptized in the Hudson River on the Lord’s Day of May 6 at 4pm. Mary would later pen this:

My children are earnestly engaged in bringing sinners where the Holy Ghost is displaying His mighty power. They visit from house to house, dealing faithfully with all they meet who know not God

Wonderful Article from Theology for Girls.

Mary Winslow

What a constant source of temptation the world is, in some shape or other, to the believer all through his journey homeward!  Its cares and its pursuits, its pleasures and its claims, lawful though they be, yet, through the weakness of the flesh, are a constant snare to the heavenly pilgrim!  Its principles and its spirit are adverse to the prosperity of the soul, which struggles on through a host of foes. “Precious Jesus, strengthen Your poor dust, and enable me to cling closer and closer to You.”

“At times my heart is overwhelmed with a sense of His unmerited love towards one so utterly unworthy. I long to be with Him. The thought of heaven is very sweet. I long to see Him in glory who has so frequently and tenderly dealt with me. 

Live much in heaven, and earth will grow less attractive. 

Whatever draws or drives us to Jesus is good. The oftener we go the better. The Lord frequently places us in such peculiar circumstances as compel us to apply to Him for the help we can get nowhere else. May the Lord enable us more and more to look alone to Him, for He is a present help in every time of need. His heart overflows with tenderness, sympathy, and love. 

It is good to feel that we are in the Lord’ hands, and that all our trials, small and great, are designed by Him for the furthering His work in our souls. They are great blessings in disguise to a child of God. Nothing takes place, within or without, but is designed for our especial benefit and the glory of His own dear name. We shall have to thank Him for all when we see Him face to face. What a blessed time will that be! How much do we need of weaning from this poor disappointing world; a world lying in the wicked one; and yet so closely do we cling to it. He who loves us is compelled to give us many a wrench to tear us from it. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.” 

from “WALKING WITH JESUS”
by Mary Winslow
Mary Winslow (1774-1854) married Thomas Winslow an army captain stationed in London. Widowed at forty, this 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 Winslow was one of them and later wrote a book entitled “Life In Jesus” about his family’s experiences from his mother’s perspective.
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5 responses to “Words of Wisdom from Mary Winslow

  1. What an encouragement Mary Winslow is to me. Thank you for sharing! I also saw your reply to my comment over at Christina’s blog ‘Faithful in Adversity’. I left (or tried to leave) a comment saying, “Luke 18:1-8, God’s perfect word telling us not to give up!” It was part of my routine Bible reading today and just jumped out at me and latched on! Don’t you just love the practical ways in which God lets us know that He is right in our midst? Nothing is routine, who am I kidding? Love and hugs!

    • Teresa

      Petra I am just discovering Mary. Thanks to Christina I have really enjoyed reading about her life and enjoying her writing. Petra I love how God does that! It never fails that no matter what is going on, He is in our midst and often wraps his loving arms around us, letting us know these things through His word. Thank you for the comments…what an encouragement you are today. Snow is piling up outside but I am going to make the best of it today, blogging and reading and making crafts….it’s going to be a wonderful day spent with our Father in His word and reading the wonderful musings of many friends…God bless you today !

      • Wow, Teresa! What a sweet tribute to this mighty woman of God whose prayers, I believe, are still being answered. If wonder if she even had an inkling during those dark days how God would answer her prayers, and then some!, and bless the body of Christ in such an abundant way, namely through her son, Octavious. That, in and of itself, is an encouragement. Reminds me a little of my grandmother who was a praying woman.

        Love and blessings to you my sweet sister!! And you too, Petra!

      • Teresa

        Thank you Christina, after reading about her and reading some of her work I decided she needed a mini tribute of sorts. What an amazing Godly woman, and what a blessing that her prayers were indeed answered. She is a blessing so many years after her passing. Praise God!

  2. I really liked this post. These words are full of much wisdom and encouragement:

    “Whatever draws or drives us to Jesus is good. The oftener we go the better. The Lord frequently places us in such peculiar circumstances as compel us to apply to Him for the help we can get nowhere else. May the Lord enable us more and more to look alone to Him, for He is a present help in every time of need. His heart overflows with tenderness, sympathy, and love.
    It is good to feel that we are in the Lord’ hands, and that all our trials, small and great, are designed by Him for the furthering His work in our souls. They are great blessings in disguise to a child of God. Nothing takes place, within or without, but is designed for our especial benefit and the glory of His own dear name. We shall have to thank Him for all when we see Him face to face. What a blessed time will that be! How much do we need of weaning from this poor disappointing world; a world lying in the wicked one; and yet so closely do we cling to it. He who loves us is compelled to give us many a wrench to tear us from it. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.”

    Thank you for sharing this.

    Theresa

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