Bulletin Edition April 2020

Consider Jesus– as Forsaken by God

Octavius Winslow

“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” –Matt. 27:46

My soul! was it not enough that your Lord should be forsaken of man in His sorrow? Was it essential to the accomplishment of your salvation, and to your support and comfort in seasons of soul desertion and darkness, that He should likewise be forsaken of God? Yes! it must be so. The history of the universe never presented such an abandonment–a being so holy, and yet so entirely and so severely forsaken of God and man–as that which Jesus was now experiencing upon the accursed tree. With what a depth of emphasis that word must have sounded from His pale lips, quivering with agony–“‘My God, my God, why have YOU FORSAKEN me?’ You, my Father–You whose glory I am vindicating, whose government I am honouring, whose Name I am glorifying, whose Church I am redeeming–why, my God, my God, have YOU forsaken me? I can endure to be abandoned by man, but to be forsaken by YOU, my Father, in the hour of my deepest sorrow, at the moment of my keenest suffering, is the bitterest ingredient in my cup of bitter, the darkest hue in my cloud of darkness.” Let us devoutly consider Jesus as passing through this eclipse of His soul, and receive the holy instruction and comfort the spectacle was designed to convey.

Of WHOM was Jesus forsaken? His Father. And when, O my soul! you walk in a sense of divine desertion, who is it that says to you, “For a small moment have I forsaken you, but with great mercies will I gather you?” –it is your Father in heaven. It is a Father’s momentary withdrawment; and although this thought adds keenness to the discipline and intensity to the cloud, is there no consolation in knowing that the hiding is paternal–a Father secreting Himself from His child–and but for a moment? Thus, though He hides Himself, He is a Father still.

But, what was a cloud of thick, all-enshrouding darkness to Jesus is salvation’s light to us. Even as His sorrow is our joy, His wounds our healing, His death our life–so His abandonment on the cross, as a foreign divine expresses it, is “our bridge to heaven; an unfathomable abyss for all our sins, cares, and anxieties; the charter of our citizenship, the key whereby we may open the secret chamber of communion with God.”

Thus, if you are, O my soul! walking in darkness and have no light, let the thought be as a ray playing on the brow of your cloud, that, it is not the darkness of hell and condemnation, but the darkness only through which all the ‘children of light’ more or less travel–the darkness with which the Sun of Righteousness Himself was enshrouded–and which, when it is past, will make the sunshine of God’s love and the Saviour’s presence all the sweeter, dearer, brighter.

And how did Jesus deport Himself in this season of Divine forsaking? What supported and comforted Him during this total and dreadful eclipse through which His sinless soul passed? He trusted in God. His faith could still exclaim, “MY God, MY God.” So lean upon your covenant God, O you children of light walking in darkness. As the veiling clouds, though they hide, cannot extinguish the sun, neither can your gloomy seasons of Divine desertion extinguish one beam of the Saviour’s love to you. If all is dark–a hidden God, an absent Saviour, a frowning providence–now is the time to have faith in God. “Who is among you that walks in darkness, and has no light? let him trust in the name of the lord, and stay upon his God.” Stay yourself upon His covenant faithfulness and unchanging love, and believe that Jesus intercedes for you in heaven, and that soon you shall reach that blissful world where your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself.

“Through waves, and clouds, and storms,

He gently clears your way:

O Wait His time–your darkest night

Shall end in brightest day.”

Supernatural light

(Joseph Philpot, “The Heir of Heaven Walking in

Darkness, and the Heir of Hell Walking in Light”)

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out

of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the

light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the

face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Cor. 4:6

Until, then, this supernatural light of God

enters into the soul, a man has no saving

knowledge of Jehovah. He may . . .

say his prayers,

read his Bible,

attend preaching,

observe ordinances,

bestow all his goods to feed the poor,

or give his body to be burned;

but he is as ignorant of God as

the cattle that graze in the fields!

He may call himself a Christian, and be

thought such by others, talk much about

Jesus Christ, hold a sound creed, maintain

a consistent profession, pray at a prayer

meeting with fluency and apparent feeling,

stand up in a pulpit and contend earnestly

for the doctrines of grace, excel hundreds

of God’s children in zeal, knowledge and


And yet, if this ray of supernatural light has

never shone into his soul, he is only twofold

more the child of hell than those who make

no profession!

Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon those who fear him, upon those who hope in his mercy; To deliver their soul from death. Psalm 33:18-19

Octavius Winslow

A FATHER’S eye beaming with tenderness upon a rebellious, wandering child, inviting, welcoming his return—what adamant can resist it? The deepest, bitterest, truest grief for sin is felt and expressed beneath God’s eye alone. When the wakeful pillow of midnight is moistened, when the heart unveils in secret to the eye of Jesus, when the chamber of privacy witnesses to the confidential confessions and pleadings of a contrite heart, there is then felt and expressed a sorrow for sin, so genuine, so touching, as cannot but draw down upon the soul a look from Christ the most tender in its expression, and the most forgiving in its language.

Let us always endeavour to realize the loving eye of Jesus resting upon us. In public and in private, in our temporal and spiritual callings, in prosperity and in adversity, in all places and on all occasions, and under all circumstances, oh! let us live as beneath its focal power. When our Lord was upon earth, “a man of sorrows,” His eyes were dim with grief; but now that He is in heaven, they are as “a flame of fire,”—to His saints not a burning, consuming flame, but a flame of inextinguishable love. Deem not yourself, then, secluded believer, a banished and an exiled one, lost to all sight. Other eyes may be withdrawn and closed, distance intercepting their view, or death darkening their vision; but the eye of Jesus, your Lord, rests upon you ever, with unslumbering affection. “I will guide you with mine eye,” is the gracious promise of your God. Be ever and intently gazing on that Eye—”looking unto Jesus.” He is the Fountain of Light; and in the light radiating from His eye you shall, in the gloomiest hour of your life, see light upon your onward way. “By His light I walked through darkness.”

“Bend not your light-desiring eyes below,

There your own shadow waits upon you ever;

But raise your looks to Heaven—and lo!

The shadeless sun rewards your weak endeavour.

Who sees the dark, is dark; but turns toward the light,

And you become like to that which fills your sight.”

“We all, with open face, beholding, as in a glass , the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

“And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.” Genesis 1:5


Was it so even in the beginning? Did light and darkness divide the realm of time in the first day? Then little wonder is it—if I have also changes in my circumstances, from the sunshine of prosperity to the midnight of adversity. It will not always be the blaze of noon even in my soul concerns, I must expect at seasons to mourn the absence of my former joys, and seek my Beloved in the night. Nor am I alone in this, for all the Lord’s beloved ones have had to sing the mingled song of judgment and of mercy, of trial and deliverance, of mourning and of delight.

It is one of the arrangements of Divine providence, that day and night shall not cease either in the spiritual or natural creation, until we reach the land of which it is written, “there is no night there.” What our heavenly Father ordains is wise and good. What, then, my soul, is it best for you to do? Learn first to be content with this divine order, and be willing, with Job, to receive evil from the hand of the Lord as well as good. Study next, to make the outgoings of the morning and the evening to rejoice. Praise the Lord for the sun of joy when it rises, and for the gloom of evening as it falls. There is beauty both in sunrise and sunset, sing of it, and glorify the Lord. Like the nightingale, pour forth your notes at all hours. Believe that the night is as useful as the day. The dews of grace fall heavily in the night of sorrow. The stars of promise shine forth gloriously amid the darkness of grief.

Continue your service under all changes. If in the day your watchword be labor, at night exchange it for watch. Every hour has its duty, so continue in your calling as the Lord’s servant until He shall suddenly appear in His glory. My soul, your evening of old age and death is drawing near—dread it not, for it is part of the day; and the Lord has said, “I will cover him all the day long.”

All doctrine, all experience, all precept

(J. C. Philpot, “The Precepts of the Word of God”)

All doctrine, all experience, all precept centre, as one

grand harmonious whole, in the glorious Person of the

Son of God. From Him they all come; to Him they all flow.

Severed from Him . . .

doctrine is seen to be but a withered branch;

experience but a delusive dream;

precept but a legal service.

But His light enlightening, His life quickening, His power

attending the word of His grace—doctrine is seen to be

no longer doctrine dry and dead, but glorious truth;

experience to be not a mere matter of fluctuating feeling,

but a blessed reality, as the very kingdom of God set up

with a divine power in the heart; and obedience not a

legal duty, but a high, holy, and acceptable service.

If you want to see what sin really is

(Philpot, “Sin Condemned and Righteousness Fulfilled”)

To cast the sinning angels out of heaven;

to banish Adam from Paradise;

to destroy the old world by a flood;

to burn Sodom and Gomorrah with fire from heaven–

these examples of God’s displeasure against sin were

not sufficient to express His condemnation of it. He

would therefore take another way of making it manifest.

And what was this?

By sending His own Son out of His bosom, and offering

Him as a sacrifice for sin upon the tree at Calvary, He

would make it manifest how He abhorred sin, and how

His righteous character must forever condemn it.

See here the love of God to poor guilty man in not

sparing His own Son; and yet the hatred of God against

sin, in condemning it in the death of Jesus.

It is almost as if God said, “If you want to see what

sin really is, you cannot see it in the depths of hell. I

will show you sin in blacker colors still– you shall see

it in the sufferings of My dear Son; in His agonies of

body and soul; and in what He as a holy, innocent

Lamb endured under My wrath, when He consented

to take the sinner’s place.”

What wondrous wisdom,

what depths of love,

what treasures of mercy,

what heights of grace

were thus revealed and brought to light in God’s

unsparing condemnation of sin, and yet in His

full and free pardon of the sinner!

If you have ever had a view by faith of the suffering

Son of God in the garden and upon the cross; if you

have ever seen the wrath of God due to you, falling

upon the head of the God-Man; and viewed a bleeding,

agonizing Immanuel; then you have seen and felt in

the depths of your conscience what a dreadful thing

sin is. Then the broken-hearted child of God looks

unto Him whom he has pierced, and mourns and grieves

bitterly for Him, as for a firstborn son who has died.

Under this sight he feels what a dreadful thing sin is.

“Oh,” he says, “did God afflict His dear Son? Did

Jesus, the darling of God, endure all these sufferings

and sorrows to save my soul from the bottomless pit?

O, can I ever hate sin enough? Can I ever grieve and

mourn over it enough? Can my stony heart ever be

dissolved into contrition enough, when by faith I see

the agonies, and hear the groans of the suffering,

bleeding Lamb of God?”

Christians hate their sins. They hate that sinful, that

dreadfully sinful flesh of theirs which has so often,

which has so continually, betrayed them into sin.

And thus they join with God in passing condemnation

upon the whole of their flesh; upon all its actings and

workings; upon all its thoughts and words and deeds;

and hate it as the prolific parent of that sin which

crucified Christ, and torments and plagues them.

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