Bulletin Edition March 2020

The religion which I want


I am quite sick of modern religion—it is such

a mixture, such a medley, such a compromise.

I find much, indeed, of this religion in my own

heart, for it suits the flesh well—but I would

not have it so, and grieve it should be so.

The religion which I want is that of the Holy Spirit.

I know nothing but what He teaches me.

I feel nothing but what He works in me.

I believe nothing but what He shows me.

I only mourn when He smites my rocky heart.

I only rejoice when He reveals the Savior.

This religion I am seeking after, though miles and

miles from it—but no other will satisfy or content me.

When the blessed Spirit is not at work in me,

and with me, I fall back into all the . . .






infidelity, and


of my Adam nature.

True religion is a supernatural and mysterious thing.

The Gospel

(Octavius Winslow, “Morning Thoughts”)

The gospel is the master-work of Jehovah,

presenting the greatest display of His manifold

wisdom, and the most costly exhibition of the

riches of His grace. In constructing it He would

seem to have summoned to His aid all the

resources of His own infinity . . .

His fathomless wisdom,

His boundless love,

His illimitable grace,

His infinite power,

His spotless holiness,

all contributed their glory, and conspired

to present it to the universe as the most

consummate piece of Divine workmanship!

The revelations it makes,

the facts it records,

the doctrines it propounds,

the effects is produces,

proclaim it to be the “glorious

gospel of the blessed God.”

We live encircled by shadows . . .

our friends are shadows,

our comforts are shadows,

our supports are shadows,

our pursuits are shadows, and

we ourselves are shadows passing away.

But in the precious gospel we have substance,

we have reality, we have that which remains

with us when all other things disappear, leaving

the soul desolate, the heart bleeding, and the

spirit bowed in sorrow to the dust.

But the gospel . . .

guides our perplexities,

mitigates our griefs,

sanctifies our sorrows,

heals our wounds,

dries our tears,

because it leads us to . . .

the love,

the tenderness,

the sympathy,

the grace of Jesus.

The gospel . . .

reveals Jesus,

speaks mainly of Jesus,

leads simply to Jesus,

and this makes it “glad tidings of great joy,” to

a poor, lost, ruined, tried, and tempted sinner!

“Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22


The very word “confirm” implies that the souls of Christ’s disciples need strengthening. If there were no temptations to try, no sharp sorrows to grieve, no painful afflictions to distress them; or if, on the other hand, there were no sensible weakness of soul, no sinking of heart, no despondency of spirit, no giving way of faith and hope, no doubt or fear in the mind, how could the souls of the disciples be strengthened? The souls of God’s people are not made of cast iron, against which arrow after arrow may be discharged and leave no dent, make no impression. The hearts of the Lord’s people are in a measure conformed to the heart of Christ. And what was his heart? “My heart,” he says, “is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my affections.”

And thus the Lord’s people, who carry in their bosom broken hearts and contrite spirits, made so by grace, are often sinking, often shaken, often cast down through the many trials they have to encounter. It is for this reason that they need confirming, supporting, strengthening, and that the Lord himself would lay his everlasting arms underneath them, lift them into his bosom, and make his strength perfect in their weakness.

And is not this the gospel way? Can I, by dint of creature exertion, brace up my soul to a certain pitch? If trouble comes, am I like a patient sometimes under the keen knife of the surgeon to brace up my nerves to bear the operation more unflinchingly? This is nature, flesh, reason; not grace. The Lord does not require this of his people. He dealt not so with his beloved Apostle, according to the account which he gives in 2 Corinthians 12. What did the Lord speak into his heart, under trial and temptation, that he might proclaim it upon Zion’s walls to the Church of the living God, “My grace is sufficient for you; for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, he adds, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” But it is very painful to the Lord’s people to find no strength when they need it most, no faith when they have the greatest need of it, no help when most required. To pass through this experience baffles and disconcerts many of the living family; but when the Lord is pleased in a mysterious way to communicate his own strength, and to make it perfect in weakness; when he deals with them, as with the worthies of old, who “out of weakness were made strong,” they can then bless the Lord for their very weakness, and, like Paul, glory in their infirmities, because the power of Christ rests upon them.

No oil?

(Bonar, “Religion Without the Holy Spirit”)

“The five who were foolish took no oil for

their lamps.” Matthew 25.3

This parable has many sides and aspects.

It is prophetical; it is also practical.

It suits all ages, but especially the last days.

It suits the world, but especially the church of God.

It is searching and sifting.

It is also quickening and comforting.

It suits us well in these days of . . .


fashionable religion and


It is a parable for the church.

It comes in to the inner circle of Christian

profession, and sifts it, divides it.

There are points of likeness between the two classes.

They get the same name, virgins;

they wear the same dress;

they are on the same errand;

they both have lamps;

they both slumber and sleep.

They have thus many features in common.

The peril of mere externalism is that which our

Lord points out here. This externalism may not

always be hypocrisy, but it is imitation. It is not

the flower in its natural color and growth, but

painted, artificial. Let us watch against an

artificial life, and an artificial religion. What

does it profit now? What will it profit in the

day of wrath? The name, the dress, the lamp,

the outward show, will all go for nothing in

that day of universal discovery and detection.

Though in most respects they were all alike,

yet there was a difference. It was within; it

was imperceptible from without; it could only

be discovered when the bridegroom came. Up

until then all were completely similar. Only

then the deficiency came out in the foolish.

Then was it seen who were wise, and who

were foolish. That day is the day of certain

and unerring detection. It is the day of

weighing in the balances! It is the separation

of the false from the true.

The difference was confined to a single point,

the lack of oil. The oil is the Holy Spirit. Thus

a man may be very like a Christian, and yet

not be one. He may come very near the kingdom,

and yet not enter in. He may have all the outward

features of a Christian, and yet be lacking in the

main one. He may have the complete dress of

the saint, and yet not be one.

He may have a good life, a sound creed, a strict

profession; he may be one who says and does

many excellent things; he may be a subscriber

to all the religious societies in the land, a member

of all their committees, or a speaker at all their

meetings, and supporter of all their plans; he

may profess to be looking for Christ’s coming,

and going forth to meet the bridegroom, yet

not necessarily a Christian!

He may lack the oil, the Holy Spirit.

A religion without the Holy Spirit profits nothing.

There is the religion . . .

of the intellect,

of the sense,

of the imagination,

of the flesh,

of the creed,

of the liturgy,

of the catechism,

of nature,

of poetry,

of sentiment,

of mysticism,

of humanity.

But what are these without the Spirit?

Christianity without Christ, what would that be?

Worship without God, what would that be?

So religion without the Holy Spirit, what would that be?

The five who were foolish took no oil for their lamps.

“Sir! Sir!” they said. “Open the door for us!”

But He replied, “I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.”

Modern manufacturers of gods?

(Spurgeon, “Joy in God” #2550 Romans 5:11)

Many are very busy trying to construct a god for

themselves, such as they think God ought to be.

And it generally turns out that they fashion a god

like themselves, for that saying of the psalmist

concerning idols and ‘idol makers’ is still true,

“And those who make them are just like them,

as are all who trust in them.” Psalm 135:18

These modern manufacturers of gods make

them blind because they are themselves blind,

and deaf because they are deaf, and dead

because they are spiritually dead.

Some quarrel with God as a Sovereign, and

no doctrine makes them grind their teeth like

the glorious truth of divine sovereignty.

They profess to want a god, but . . .

he must not be on a throne;

he must not be King;

he must not be absolute and universal Monarch.

He must do as his creatures tell him, not as

he himself wills. Their effeminate deity is not

worthy to be known by the name of God!

A religious man?

(Bonar, “The Doom of the Double Hearted”)

Then Balaam uttered this oracle… “Let me die

the death of the righteous, and may my end be

like theirs!” Numbers 23:7, 10

They have left the straight way and wandered

off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who

loved the wages of wickedness. 2 Peter 2:15

Balaam is a specimen of multitudes in these last

days. An educated and intelligent man, shrewd and

quick seeing, of respectable character, high in favor

with the rich and great, a religious man, too, after

a fashion.

But he is fond of the world, fond of money, fond

of preferment; one that would not let his religion

stand in the way of his advancement; who could

pocket all scruples if he could pocket a little gold

along with them; hollow of heart, but with a

acceptable outside.

His worldly interests are the main thing to him.

He would rather not risk offending God, but yet he

would not like to lose Balak’s rewards and honors.

He would rather not take up his cross, nor deny

himself, nor forsake all for his God.

So is it with multitudes among us.

They want as much religion as they imagine

will save them from hell; not an atom more!

The world is their real God.

Gold is their idol.

It is in mammon’s temple that they worship.

Love God with all their heart? They don’t so

much as understand the meaning of such a thing.

Sacrifice riches, place, honor, friends to Christ?

They scoff at the thing as madness.

Don’t trifle with religion.

Don’t mock God.

Love not the world.

Be religious in your inmost soul.

Don’t mistake sentimentalism for religion;

or a good character for the new birth.

This world OR the world to come, that is the

alternative; not this world AND the world to come.

Christ must be all, or nothing.

No middle ground; no half discipleship; no compromise.

The friendship of the world is enmity with God.

Come out and be separate.

The new birth, or no religion at all.

Then Balaam uttered this oracle… “Let me die

the death of the righteous, and may my end be

like theirs!” Numbers 23:7, 10

They have left the straight way and wandered

off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who

loved the wages of wickedness. 2 Peter 2:15

An apostolic face and a Judas heart


Many think that a minister is exempt from such

coldness, deadness, and barrenness, as private

Christians feel. And the hypocritical looks and

words of many of Satan’s ministers favor this

delusion. Holiness is so much on their tongues,

and on their faces, that their deluded hearers

necessarily conclude that it is in their hearts.

But, alas! nothing is easier or more common,

than an apostolic face and a Judas heart.

Most pictures that I have seen of the “Last Supper”

represent Judas with a ferocious countenance. Had

painters drawn a holy, meek-looking face, I believe

they would have given a truer resemblance.

Many pass for angels in the pulpit, who if the truth

were known, would be seen to be devils and beasts

in heart, lip, and life at home.

“How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious

law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! You are so careful

to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside

you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! You try

to look like upright people outwardly, but inside your

hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.”

Matthew 23:25, 28

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