Bulletin Edition July 2020

“Therefore brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if you do these things, you shall never fall.” –2 Peter 1:10


Have you any testimony to your effectual calling? Has grace indeed laid hold of your heart? O that you might know more fully—more powerfully—what a blessed hope of eternal life is laid up in the bosom of this heavenly calling, that it might cheer and encourage you to press on more and more to realize all that is given you in Christ, both for here and hereafter, in present grace and in future glory! In knowing what is the hope of their effectual calling, the saints of God learn that this hope embraces all things which are made theirs in Christ, whether life or death, or things present or things to come, that all are theirs; and for this blessed and all-sufficient reason, that they are Christ’s and Christ is God’s. It is by making sure our calling that we make sure our election—for the one is the sure evidence of the other; and thus, if doubt and uncertainty hang over our calling, the same doubt and uncertainty must rest upon our election to eternal life. But as these doubts and fears are removed by the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ, and we can clearly see and fully believe that the grace of God effectually called us out of darkness into his marvelous light, then we see by faith what is laid up in the bosom of this calling, and what a glorious hope of eternal life is thereby afforded as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and thus abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.


John MacDuff

“This is the resting place, let the weary rest; and this is the place of repose”—

“What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:8

The “loss of all things” bringing with it rest—tranquility! This seems a contradiction in terms. Worldly loss generally, and as an almost necessary consequence, leads to unrest, unquiet, trouble. Yet in Paul’s case it was sublimely true—the surrender of former grounds and subjects for exultation and boasting led him to the truest, to the only stable rest. We are reminded of another of his seeming paradoxes: “Having nothing, yet possessing all things.”

We may readily believe, indeed, that it would be no small effort for him to discard what he once so fondly loved and prized, and to which he so proudly clung. Sad to go to that gallery of pleasant pictures which he himself had hung in the chambers of his soul, and with his own hand to wrench one by one from its place—to tear sculpture by sculpture from niche and pedestal, and to write upon these walls, so lately gleaming with fancied righteousness, “All loss for Christ!”

In the words of the entire passage, he has undoubtedly reference to that wild night in the Adriatic Sea, to which in former pages we have incidentally referred, when pursuing his voyage to Rome in the Alexandrian ship. The tempest was threatening; the safety of the ship seemed to demand a lightening of the cargo. But that precious corn! must it be sacrificed for the safety of the vessel? It was “gain;” but must it come to be counted as “loss,” and tossed overboard? Yes, the tempest decides the question. It must be consigned to the waves, otherwise the vessel will sink. There is no room for debate; the crew make up their minds to “suffer the loss of all.” No, more, when the tempest howls with greater fury, and danger and death stare them full in the face, they go a step further. The “loss” is never thought of. They do not now pause in uncertainty and indecision, saying, ‘Cannot we save these precious barrels of merchandise?’ Imminent danger makes them glad to plunge them into the roaring sea. When the question is between the loss of the wheat, and the loss of the ship, there can be no hesitation. They account them as absolutely worthless—of no value. They are glad to see them pitching against one another in the dark abyss. They look upon them now, not as gain or treasure, but as having proved an absolute hindrance, endangering their safety.

And this was the process in Paul’s mind. First, there was a clinging to all these birthright gains and self-righteous confidences. He was unwilling to part with them. Secondly, he underwent the “loss,” but it was accompanied with “suffering.” It was an intense effort for him to renounce that which he had once so fondly treasured and trusted in. But the third stage of feeling was when he was brought to say, ‘I hate them all! they are as rubbish—they are worthless: they are endangering the vessel’s safety; they are endangering my soul’s interest; let them go, every one of them! They were once “gain to me;” once I endured “suffering” at the thought of losing them; but now, heave them into the raging sea. I count them as refuse, sweepings, husks, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him.’

Is this our case? Can we, as voyagers on the sea of life, make such a declaration, that all in which we once trusted and gloried, as a ground of justification in the sight of God, we toss overboard, in order that the giant deed of Christ’s doing and dying may stand out alone in solitary grandeur? “Not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”

“Accepted in the Beloved,” says Hedley Vicars, “What a healing balm is there here, for a weary, heavy-laden sinner!”

And if being clothed in the imputed righteousness of Immanuel is a blessed truth to live on, what a blessed truth to die on! What a joyous garment this, with which to wrap around us when the billows are high, and we are plunging into Jordan! We can imagine, when that solemn hour arrives; when, perhaps suddenly, we are laid on the pillow from which we are to rise no more; and when, despite our well-grounded confidence in the Gospel, gloomy visions and memories of former guilt will gather around, filling us with trembling and dismay—oh! in the midst of the thick darkness, to feel clothed with a garment, which the rush of waters cannot penetrate, and of which the King of terrors cannot rob us—the robe which we received at the cross, and which we are to wear before the throne!

Yes, children of God, of every age and rank and experience, tune your hearts and lips for the joyous strain. Aged believers, sing it! you whose earthly pilgrim-garments are soiled and travel-worn, but whose robe of righteousness is fresh as in the day of your betrothals with the Heavenly Bridegroom. Young believers, sing it! you who may have but recently stood at the marriage-altar with your Lord, and received at His hands the glistering apparel; who may have a long journey, it may be, still to travel, before you reach the King’s Palace. Sorrowing believers, sing it! take down your harps from the willows of sadness. You are in mourning attire; but through your garments there shines this “clothing of wrought gold,” which the shadows of death and the grave cannot dim or alloy. Let the whole Church of the living God, divided on other themes—mute with other songs—kindle into holy rapture with this—

“Jesus, Your blood and righteousness

My beauty are, my glorious dress;

‘Mid flaming worlds, in these array’d,

With joy I shall lift up my head.

“This spotless robe the same appears

When ruined nature sinks in years;

No age can change its glorious hue—

The robe of Christ is ever new.

“And when the dead shall hear Your voice,

And all Your banish’d ones rejoice,

Their beauty this, their glorious dress—


“To the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves

“The Lord God has given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary.” Isaiah 50:4

Octavius Winslow

THE Lord Jesus gives His people the tongue of the learned, the they may sometimes speak a word in season to His weary ones. Have you not a word for Christ? May you not go to that tried believer in sickness, in poverty, in adversity, or in prison, and tell of the balm that has often healed your spirit, and of the cordial that has often cheered your heart? “A word spoken in due season, how good is it!” A text quoted, a sentiment repeated, an observation made, a hint dropped, a kind caution suggested, a gentle rebuke given, a tender admonition left—oh! the blessing that has flowed from it! It was a word spoken in season! Say not with Moses, “I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue;” or with Jeremiah, “Ah! Lord God! behold, I cannot speak; for I am a child.” Hear the answer of the Lord: “Who has made man’s mouth? have not I, the Lord? Now therefore go: I will be with your mouth, and teach you what you shall say.” And oh! how frequently and effectually does the Lord speak to His weary ones, even through the weary. All, perhaps, was conflict within, and darkness without; but one word falling from the lips of a man of God has been the voice of God to the soul. And what an honor conferred, thus to be the channel conveying consolation from the loving heart of the Father to the disconsolate heart of the child! to go and smooth a ruffled pillow, lift the pressure from off a burdened spirit, and light up the gloomy chamber of sorrow, of sickness, and of death, as with the first dawnings of the coming glory! Go, Christian reader, and ask the Lord so to clothe your tongue with holy, heavenly eloquence, that you may know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary. Ah! it is impossible to speak of the preciousness of Christ to another, and not, while we speak, feel Him precious to our own souls. It is impossible to lead another to the cross, and not find ourselves overshadowed by its glory. It is impossible to establish another in the being, character, and truth of God, and not feel our own minds fortified and confirmed. It is impossible to quote the promises and unfold the consolations of the gospel to another, and not be sensible of a tranquillizing and soothing influence stealing softly over our own hearts. It is impossible to break the alabaster box, and not fill the house with the odor of the ointment.

In contending for the faith, remember that the Lord Jesus can give you the tongue of the learned. Listen to His promises—”I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.” Thus the most unlearned and the most weak may be so deeply taught, and be so skillfully armed in Christ’s school, as to be able valiantly to defend and successfully to preach the truth, putting to “silence the ignorance of foolish men.”

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