Bulletin Edition July 2020

An experimental Christian

(Winslow, “This God is Our God”)

The religion of the true believer is experimental;

it is the religion of the heart. He has no dealings

with an unknown, imaginary God.

He does not know God from the hearing of the ear,

or from the reading of books, or from the religious

conversation of others merely; but He knows Him

from personal acquaintance, from heartfelt

experience, from close and constant dealings.

There has been a manifestation of God in Christ to his

soul, and with Job he can say, “I have heard of You

by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You.”

And with the converted Samaritans, “We no longer

believe just because of what you said; now we have

heard for ourselves, and we know that this man

really is the Savior of the world.” John 4:42

Oh to be a true, an experimental Christian!

The religion of the ear, or of the eye, or of the

imagination, or of the intellect, will not, and

cannot bring the soul to heaven!

The abodes of endless woe are peopled with

souls who went down to its regions of despair

with no better religion than this!

Oh, give me…

the humility of the publican,

the trembling faith of the diseased woman,

the flowing tears of the penitent Magdalene,

the last petition of the dying thief,

rather than the most intellectual religion or

the most gorgeous ceremonial that the mind

ever invented, or the eye ever beheld.

“Lord, give to me your mercies, the salvation that you promised me. Then I will have an answer for those who taunt me, for I trust in your word.” Psalm 119:41-42


A living soul wants to return an answer to the one who reproaches him. But he cannot do it of himself, for he has not a word to speak in self-justification; that is utterly cut off; and therefore he needs to have that which shall furnish him with an answer to these reproaches. And what alone can furnish him with an answer? The mercies of God in his soul. “Lord, give to me your mercies, the salvation that you promised me. Then I will have an answer for those who taunt me, for I trust in your word.” The coming in of “mercies” into the soul, and the manifestation of “salvation” to the heart afford an answer “for those who taunt me.”

If you will observe, the word “mercies” is in the plural number, there being many mercies; but “salvation” is in the singular number, there being only one salvation. In what way, then, did the Psalmist want these mercies? Merely as standing in the letter of the word? Only as recorded in the inspired word of truth? As things to look at, as objects hung up, as it were, in a picture, merely for the eye to gaze upon? No; he wanted them in his heart, to “come to him,” to visit him, to be breathed into him, to be made part and parcel of him, to be the life-blood that should circulate in his veins, to be the very kingdom of God set up with power in his soul.

And why did he want internal mercies? Because he had internal reproaches. Why did he need mercies in his soul? Because condemnation was in his soul. It was there the sentence of death was written; it was there the sentence of acquittal was to be recorded. It was there that reproach was felt; it was there the answer to the reproach was to be given. If the reproach were merely outward, the answer might be outward also; but the reproof being inward, in the heart, in the conscience, in the feelings, it was needed that the answer should be in the same place, written in the same spot, engraved in the same tablets, and brought home with the same or far greater power, so as to be a sufficient answer to the reproaches of him that reproached him.

Theological controversies and disputes

(Letters of John Newton)

I am not to expect others to see with my eyes! I am deeply convinced of the truth of John the Baptist’s aphorism in John 3:27, “A man can receive nothing—except it be given him from Heaven.” I well know, that the little measure of knowledge I have obtained in the things of God—has not been owing to my own wisdom and teachableness, but to God’s goodness. Nor did I learn everything all at once—God has been pleased to exercise much patience towards me, for the past twenty-seven years—since He first gave me a desire of learning from Himself. He has graciously accommodated Himself to my weakness, borne with my mistakes, and helped me through innumerable prejudices, which, but for His mercy, would have been insuperable hindrances! I have therefore no right to be angry, impatient, or censorious to others, especially as I have still much to learn, and am so poorly influenced by what I seem to know!

I am weary of theological controversies and disputes, and desire to choose for myself, and to point out to others, Mary’s part—to sit at Jesus’ feet, and to hear His words. I cannot, I must not, I dare not—be contentious! Only, as a witness for God, I am ready to bear my simple testimony to what I have known of His truth, whenever I am properly called to it.

“What is hope? The beauteous sun

Which colors all it shines upon.

The beacon of life’s dreary sea,

The star of immortality.

Fountain of feeling, young and warm;

A day-beam bursting through the storm.

A tone of melody, whose lute

Is, oh! too sweet for earth!

A blossom of that radiant tree,

Whose fruit the angels only see.

A beauty and a charm, whose power

Is seen, enjoyed, confessed each hour.

A portion of the world to come,

When earth and ocean meet-

the last overwhelming doom.”

Octavius Winslow

The free grace of God!

(Letters of John Newton)

“By the grace of God I am what I am!”

1 Corinthians 15:10

The true Christian is sensible and mindful of

indwelling sin. He confesses that in everything

he comes exceedingly short, and that his best

services are not only defective—but defiled. He

accounts himself as an unprofitable servant—and

is abased in his own eyes. He knows that all that

distinguishes him from the vilest of men—is the

free grace of God!

He derives all his hope and comfort, as well as his

strength—from Jesus, whom he has known, received

and loved, and to whom he has committed his soul.

He renounces all confidence in the flesh, and esteems

all things as loss—compared to the surpassing greatness

of knowing Jesus Christ his Lord, for whose sake he has

lost all things—considering them rubbish, that he may

gain Christ!

“O Lord, be gracious unto us; we have waited for you–be our arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.” Isaiah 33:2


Israel has often to pass through times of sorrow and trouble. Deep temporal and deep spiritual trouble is the allotted portion of many, if not of most of the people of God. But having found that the Lord is a Savior, and the only Savior who can support in trouble and deliver out of trouble, there is this conviction deeply implanted and firmly written upon their heart, that he is a Savior in the time of trouble. It is the purpose of God to hunt us out of all lying refuges, that we may believe in Jesus to the saving of our soul; that we may prove that he is able to save to the uttermost all who come unto God by him; that we may learn what salvation is, and that we may know it for ourselves as a divine and blessed reality.

Thus though he is always a Savior, yet he is not experimentally a Savior in times of worldly ease, carnal prosperity, and seasons of carelessness. But in times of trouble, when none can do us any good or stretch forth a healing hand but the Lord alone, then to come to his gracious Majesty and find there and then how he can and does save in trouble and out of trouble, this is that which endears such a Savior to believing hearts.

And observe the expression, “time of trouble,” and how it includes not only every trouble which may befall us temporally or spiritually, but clearly intimates that there is not a single season or time when trouble comes that the Lord is not able and willing to save us out of it. How well this corresponds with those gracious words and that sweet promise, “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”

The doctrine of creature merit?

(Winslow, “The God of Grace”)

“Salvation is of the Lord.”

Salvation is but the unfolding of the

boundless grace of God to lost, vile,

and hell deserving sinners.

All the religions of men; and their name

is “legion”; are based upon the principle

of human merit.

All are founded upon some imagined good

and power in the creature, the effect of

which is totally to set aside the Atonement

of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit in

the soul.

In fact, the doctrine of creature merit is

the fatal element of man’s religion, the

moral poison of his soul; the remedy for

which is only found in a believing reception

and heart felt experience of the free grace

salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The whole plan of salvation is based

upon free grace, or, in other words,

God’s unpurchased favor to sinners.

This idea, of course, repudiates and ignores

all worth and worthiness whatever on the

part of the creature, man.

Human merit, therefore, is entirely excluded

as an element entering into our salvation; the

whole scheme, from first to last, being by grace.

Christ died, not for saints, but for sinners.

He receives, not the worthy, but the unworthy.

He came to heal, not the whole, but the sick.

He came to call, not the righteous, but sinners, to repentance!

Salvation, from first to last, is of free grace!

The Rejection of the Gospel


When the gospel was first preached, instead of being accepted and admired, one universal hiss went up to heaven; men could not bear it; its first preacher they dragged to the edge of the cliff, and would have sent Him down headlong; yes, they did more-they nailed Him to a cross, and there they let Him spend His dying life in agony such as no man has borne since. All His chosen ministers have been hated and abhorred by the worldly; instead of being listened to, they have been scoffed at; treated as if they were rubbish, and the very scum of mankind.

Look at the holy men in the early days of the church, how they were driven from city to city, persecuted, afflicted, tormented, stoned to death, wherever the enemy had power to do so. Those friends of men, those real philanthropists, who came with hearts big with love, and hands full of mercy, and lips pregnant with celestial fire, and souls burned with holy influence; those men were treated as if they were spies in the camp, as if they were deserters from the common cause of mankind; as if they were enemies, and not, as they truly were, the best of friends. Do not suppose that men like the gospel any better now than they did then. There is an idea that you are growing better; but the heart within is still the same. The human heart of today dissected, would be just like the human heart a thousand years ago; the gall of bitterness within that bosom of yours, is just as bitter as the gall of bitterness of Simon of old. We have in our hearts the same inherent opposition to the truth of God; and hence we find men, just as in the past, who scorn the gospel. 

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