Bulletin Edition March 2020

The sins and slips of the saints?-JCP

The Scriptures faithfully record
the falls of believers . . .
the drunkenness of Noah,
the incest of Lot,
the unbelief of Abraham,
the peevishness of Moses,
the adultery of David,
the idolatry of Solomon,
the pride of Hezekiah,
the cowardice of Mark and
the cursing and swearing of Peter.

But why has the Holy Spirit left on record
the sins and slips of the saints?

First, that it might teach us that they were
saved by grace as poor, lost, and ruined sinners;
in the same way as we hope to be saved.

Secondly, that their slips and falls might be
so many beacons and warnings, to guard the
people of God against being overtaken by
the same sins; as the apostle speaks, “All
these events happened to them as examples
for us. They were written down to warn us.”

And thirdly, that the people of God, should
they be overtaken by sin, might not be cast
into despair; but that from seeing recorded
in the Scripture the slips and failings of the
saints of old, they might be lifted up from
their despondency, and brought once more
to hope in the Lord.

In the great mirror of eternity!

(John MacDuff, “The Faithful Promiser”)

“You do not realize now what I am doing — but you will understand hereafter.” John 13:7

As the natural sun sometimes sinks in clouds — so, occasionally, the Christian who has a bright rising, and a brighter meridian, sets in gloom. It is not always “light” at his evening time; but this we know, that when the day of immortality breaks, the last vestige of earth’s shadows will forever flee away!

To the closing hour of time, Divine Providence may be to him a baffling enigma; but before the first hour has struck on Heaven’s clock — all will be cleared up! My soul! “in God’s light, you shall see light.” The Book of His decrees is a sealed book now! “A great deep” is all the explanation you can often give to His mysterious ways. The why and the wherefore, He seems to keep from us . . .

to test our faith,

to discipline us in trustful submission,

to conform us to the image of Christ, and

to lead us to say, “May Your will be done!”

But rejoice that ‘hereafter’ — light awaits you! Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror — but then, face to face! In the great mirror of eternity — all the events of this chequered earthly scene will be reflected. The darkest of them will be seen to be bright with mercy; the severest of His dispensations will prove to be “only the severer aspects of His love!” Pry not, then, too curiously! Do not judge too censoriously on God’s dealings with you. Wait with patience, until the grand day of disclosures; one confession shall then burst from every tongue, “He has done all things well!”

We must be taught of God

“No man can come to Me, except the Father who sent Me draws him.” John 6:44

Four things are absolutely necessary to be experimentally known and felt before we can arrive at any saving or sanctifying knowledge of the truth—

1. Divine light in the understanding.

2. Spiritual faith in the heart.

3. Godly fear in the conscience.

4. Heavenly love in the affections.

Without light we cannot see. Without faith we cannot believe. Without godly fear we cannot reverentially adore. Without love we cannot embrace Him who is the way, the truth, and the life. We must be taught of God and receive the kingdom of heaven as a little child—or we shall never enter therein.


Salvation by Grace!

by Spurgeon-

No sinner will ever come to Christ apart from the quickening,

enlightening, drawing, converting power of the Holy Spirit,

supernaturally exercised upon the conscience and heart.

Until grace comes into our souls we have no heart for the things

of God. We may be fussily religious so far as to be attentive to

every ‘outward form of worship’; but there is no heart-work, no

light of truth in all our devotion. But when once the divine light

comes in, then we become intensely real in our dealings with God.

When the grace of God comes, the Holy Spirit brings us out from

under the dominion of the old nature by creating within us a

new life, and he brings us out from under the tyranny of the

Prince of Darkness by opening our eyes to see, and our minds to

understand celestial truth. The opening of our blind eyes and

the pouring in of the light of truth are from the Lord.

The entrance of God’s word into the mind by the power of the Holy

Spirit gives us light as to– ourselves, our sin, and our danger.

With this comes light as to the way of salvation through Jesus

Christ, and light as to the mind of God concerning our

sanctification. True knowledge takes the place of ignorance,

and a desire for purity becomes supreme over the love of sin.

Not all the temptations of life, nor all the terrors of death,

nor all the furies of hell, shall prevent any soul upon whom God

has begun his work of grace from reaching eternal salvation.

What a blessing is this, and what a comfort it is!

“The salvation of the righteous is of the Lord.”

John Newton’s Letters

On the gradual increase of gospel illumination

Dear Sir,

The day is now breaking: how beautiful its appearance! how welcome the expectation of the approaching sun! It is this thought makes the dawn agreeable, that it is the presage of a brighter light; otherwise, if we expect no more day than it is this minute, we should rather complain of darkness, than rejoice in the early beauties of the morning. Thus the life of grace is the dawn of immortality: beautiful beyond expression, if compared with the night and thick darkness which formerly covered us; yet faint, indistinct, and unsatisfying, in comparison of the glory which shall be revealed.

It is, however, a sure pledge: so surely as we now see the light of the Sun of Righteousness, so surely shall we see the Sun himself, Jesus the Lord, in all his glory and luster. In the mean time, we have reason to be thankful for a measure of light to walk and work by, and sufficient to show us the pits and snares by which we might be endangered: and we have a promise, that our present light shall grow stronger and stronger, if we are diligent in the use of the appointed means, until the messenger of Jesus shall lead us within the veil, and then farewell shades and obscurity for ever.

I can now almost see to write, and shall soon put the extinguisher over my candle: I do this without the least reluctance, when I enjoy a better light; but I should have been unwilling half an hour ago. Just thus, methinks, when the light of the glorious Gospel shines into the heart, all our former feeble lights, our apprehensions, and our contrivances, become at once unnecessary and unnoticed. How cheerfully did the Apostle put out the candle of his own righteousness, attainments, and diligence, when the true Sun arose upon him! Phi. 3:7-8. Your last letter is as a comment upon his determination. Adored be the grace that has given us to be like-minded, even to “account all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord.”

While I am writing, a new luster, which gilds the house on the hill opposite to my study window, informs me that the sun is now rising; he is rising to others, but not yet to me; my situation is lower, so that they enjoy a few gleams of sunshine before me: yet this momentary difference is inconsiderable, when compared to the duration of a whole day. Thus some are called by grace earlier in life, and some later; but the seeming difference will be lost and vanish when the great day of eternity comes on. There is a time, the Lord’s best appointed time, when he will arise and shine upon many a soul that now sits “in darkness, and in the region of the shadow of death.”

I have been thinking on the Lord’s conference with Nicodemus; it is a copious subject, and affords room, in one part or other, for the whole round of doctrinal and experimental topics. Nicodemus is an encouraging example to those who are seeking the Lord’s salvation: he had received some favorable impressions of Jesus; but he was very ignorant, and much under the fear of man. He dared only come by night; and at first, though he heard, he understood not: but He, who opens the eyes of the blind, brought him surely, though gently, forward. The next time we hear of him, he dared put in a word in behalf of Christ, even in the midst of his enemies, John 7:50-53; and at last, he had the courage openly and publicly to assist in preparing the body of his Master for its funeral, at a time when our Lord’s more avowed followers had all forsook him, and fled. So true is that, “Then you shall know, if you follow on to know the Lord;” and again, “He gives power to the faint; and to them that have no might, he increases strength.”

Hope then, my soul, against hope; though your graces are faint and languid, he who planted them will water his own work, and not allow them wholly to die. He can make a little one as a thousand; at his presence mountains sink into plains, streams gush out of the flinty rock, and the wilderness blossoms as the rose. He can pull down what sin builds up, and build up what sin pulls down; that which was impossible to us, is easy to him; and he has bid us expect seasons of refreshment from His presence. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

For you are my lamp, O Lord; and the Lord will lighten my darkness.” 2 Samuel 22:29

Octavius Winslow

BLESSED Lord! You are my light. Accepted in Your righteousness, I am “clothed with the sun.” Dark in myself, I am light in You. Often have You turned my gloomy night into sunny day. Yes, Lord, and with a love not less tender, You have sometimes turned my “morning of joy” into a “night of weeping.” Yet have You made my very griefs to sing. Many a dark cloud of my pilgrimage has You fringed with Your golden beams. “In Your light have I seen light” upon many a gloomy and mysterious dispensation of my covenant God. “By Your light I have walked through darkness,” many a long and lonely stage of my journey. Oh, how have You gone before me each step You do bid me to travel. You, too, did pass through Your night of solitude, suffering, and woe. But You were deprived of the alleviations which You do so graciously and tenderly vouchsafe to me. Not a beam illumined, not a note cheered, the midnight of Your soul. The light of the manifested Fatherhood was hidden from Your view, and in bitter agony did You exclaim, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” And all this did You willingly endure, that I might have a song in the night of my grief. Thus Your darkness becomes my light; Your suffering my joy; Your humiliation my glory; Your death my life; Your curse my crown.

O Lord! that is a blessed night of weeping in which I can sing of Your sustaining grace, of Your enlivening presence, of Your unfaltering faithfulness, of Your tender love. In Your school how well have You instructed me! How patiently and skillfully have You taught me! I could not have done without Your teaching and Your discipline. With not one night of suffering, with not one chastising stroke, with not one ingredient in my cup of sorrow, could I safely have dispensed. All was needful. And now I can see, as faith, with a reflex action, surveys all the past, with what infinite wisdom and skill, integrity and gentleness, You were appointing all, and overruling all the incidents and windings of my history. With not less shame and self-abhorrence do I cover my face, and lay my mouth in the dust before You, because You has brought light out of my darkness, and educed good from my evil, and overruled all my mistakes and departures for my greater advance and Your richer glory, and are now “pacified towards me for all that I have done.” I have stumbled, and You have upheld me. I have fallen, and You have raised me up. I have wandered, and You have restored. I have wounded myself, and You have healed me. Oh, what a God have You been to me! What a Father! What a Friend! Shall I ever distrust You, ever disbelieve You, ever wound You, ever leave You more? Ah! Lord, a thousand times over, yes, this very moment, but for Your restraining grace. “Hold You me up, and I shall be safe.”

Comments are closed.