Bulletin Edition November 2020

Who makes you different from anyone else?

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Who maketh thee to differ from another?

 What hast thou, that thou did’t not receive?

 And if thou dids’t receive it, why dost thou boast as if thou hads’t not received it?” 1 Corinthians 4:7

It is grace—free sovereign grace, which has made you to differ!

Should any here, supposing themselves to be the children of God, imagine that there is some reason “in them” why they should have been chosen—let them know that as yet they are in the dark concerning the first principles of grace, and have not yet learned the gospel.

If ever they had known the gospel, they would, on the other hand, confess that they were . . .

  the off-scouring of all things,



  and Hell-deserving!

They would ascribe it all to distinguishing grace, which has made them to differ; and to discriminating love, which has chosen them out from the rest of the world.

Great Christian, you would have been a heinous sinner—if God had not made you to differ!

O! you who are valiant for truth, you would have been as valiant for the devil—if sovereign grace had not laid hold of you!

A seat in Heaven shall one day be yours, but a chain in Hell would have been yours—if grace had not changed you!

You can now sing His love; but a licentious song would have been on your lips—if grace had not washed you in the blood of Jesus!

You are now sanctified, you are quickened, you are justified; but what would you have been today—if it had not been for the interposition of the divine hand?

There is not a crime you might not have committed—there is not a folly into which you might not have run.  Even murder itself you might have committed—if grace had not preserved you.

You shall be like the angels; but you would have been like the devil—if you had not been changed by grace!

Therefore never be proud, though you now have a wide domain of grace.

Once you had not a single thing to call your own—except your sin and misery.

You are now wrapped up in the golden righteousness of the Savior, and accepted in the garments of the Beloved! But you would have been buried under the black mountain of sin, and clothed with the filthy rags of unrighteousness, if He had not changed you!

And are you proud?

Do you exalt yourself?

O! strange mystery, that you who have nothing but sin and misery, should exalt yourself!

That you, a poor dependent pensioner upon the bounty of your Savior, should be proud!

Go, hang your pride upon the gallows as high as Haman! Hang it there to rot, and execrate it to all eternity!

Surely of all things most to be despised—is the pride of a Christian. He, of all men, has ten thousand times more reason than any other to be humble, and walk lowly with his God, and kindly and meekly toward his fellow-creatures.

“By the grace of God I am what I am!” 1 Corinthians 15:10

“The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.” Isaiah 2:11


How does the Lord humble? By discovering to man what he is; by opening up the depth of his fall; by making him feel what a vile and guilty wretch he is before the footstool of mercy; by breaking him to pieces; by slaughtering and laying him low; by making him abhor himself in dust and ashes. Was not that the way the Lord took with the saints of old? How did he humble Isaiah? Was it not by some discovery of his divine Majesty, to make him cry, “I am a man of unclean lips!” How did he humble Daniel? Was it not by manifesting himself in his almighty purity, and turning Daniel’s loveliness into corruption? How did he humble Hezekiah? By laying him upon a sick-bed, and laying his sins and iniquities with weight and power upon his conscience. None of these men produced humility in themselves. How did the Lord humble Job? By sifting him in Satan’s sieve, and discovering as that riddle moved to and fro in Satan’s hands the pride, peevishness, and self-righteousness of his carnal mind.

There are many who cannot bear to hear the malady touched upon. They cannot bear to hear the corruptions of the heart even hinted at. But what real humility can a man have except through a knowledge of himself? How can I be humbled except I feel that in myself which covers me with shame and confusion of face, and makes me loathe and abhor myself before the eyes of a heart-searching God? Therefore the more the glorious majesty of heaven is pleased to unfold itself in all its divine purity in my conscience, and the deeper discovery I have of what I am as a fallen wretch, a guilty sinner, the more will my heart be humbled, the more shall I be lowly and abased, the more shall I loathe myself in dust and ashes.

I am persuaded that love and humility are the highest attainments in the school of Christ—and the brightest evidences that He is indeed our Master. John newton

“But none saith, Where is God my Maker, who giveth songs in the night?” Job 35:10

Octavius Winslow

Who but God could give songs in the night? No saint on earth, no angel in heaven, has power to tune our hearts to a single note of praise in the hour of their grief; no, nor could any creature above or below breathe a word of comfort, of hope, or of support, when heart and flesh were failing. Who but the incarnate God has power enough, or love enough, or sympathy enough, to come and embosom Himself in our very circumstances—to enter into the very heart of our sorrow—to go down into the deepest depth of our woe, and strike a chord there that, responding to His touch, shall send forth a more than angel’s music? It is God who gives these songs. He is acquainted with your sorrows: He regards your night of weeping: He knows the way that you take. He may be lost to your view, but you cannot be lost to His. The darkness of your night-grief may veil Him from your eye, but the “darkness and the light are both alike to Him.” Then repair to Him for your song. Ask Him so to sanctify your sorrow by His grace, and so to comfort it by His Spirit, and so to glorify Himself in your patient endurance of it, and so to make you to know the why of your trial, and your trial so to answer the mission on which it was sent, as will enable you to raise this note of praise—”You have turned for me my mourning into dancing: You have put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; to the end that my glory may sing praise to You, and not be silent.”

In giving you a throne of grace, God has given you a song, methinks, one of the sweetest ever sung in the house of our pilgrimage. To feel that we have a God who hears and answers prayer—who has done so in countless instances, and is prepared still to give us at all times an audience—oh! the unutterable blessings of this truth. Sing aloud then, you sorrowful saints; for great and precious is your privilege of communion with God. In the night of your every grief, and trial, and difficulty, do not forget that in your lowest frame you may sing this song—”Having boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, I will draw near, and pour out my heart to God.” Chant, then, His high praises as you pass along, that there is a place where you may disclose every need, repose every sorrow, deposit every burden, breathe every sigh, and lose yourself in communion with God—that place is the blood-besprinkled mercy-seat, of which God says, “There will I meet with you, and I will commune with you.”

Ah! but perhaps you exclaim, “Would that I could sing! I can weep, and moan, and even trust, but I cannot rejoice.” Yes, but there is One who can give even you, beloved, a song in the night. Place your harp in His hands, all broken and unstrung as it is, and He will repair and retune it; and then, breathing upon it His Spirit, and touching it with His own gentle hand, that heart, that was so sad and joyless, shall yet sing the high praises of its God. How much of God’s greatness and glory in nature is concealed until the night reveals it! The sun is withdrawn, twilight disappears, and darkness robes the earth. Then appears the brilliant firmament, studded and glowing with myriads of constellations. Oh the indescribable wonder, the surpassing glory, of that scene! But it was the darkness that brought it all to view; thus is it in the Christian’s life. How much of God would be unseen, how much of His glory concealed, how little should we know of Jesus, but for the night-season of mental darkness and of heart-sorrow. The sun that shone so cheeringly has set; the grey twilight that looked so pensively has disappeared; and just as the night of woe set in, filling you with trembling, with anxiety, and with fear, a scene of overpowering grandeur suddenly bursts upon the astonished eye of your faith. The glory of God, as your Father, has appeared—the character of Jesus, as a loving tender Brother, has unfolded—the Spirit, as a Comforter, has whispered—your interest in the great redemption has been revealed—and a new earth redolent with a thousand sweets, and a new heaven resplendent with countless suns, has floated before your view. It was the darkness of your night of sorrow that made visible all this wonder and all this glory; and but for that sorrow how little would you have known of it. “I will sing of mercy and of judgment: unto You, O Lord, will I sing.”

Suffering, sorrowful believer! pluck your harp from your willow, and, with the hand of faith and love, sweep it to the high praises of your God. Praise Him for Himself—praise Him for Jesus—praise Him for conversion—praise Him for joys—praise Him for sorrows—praise Him for chastenings—praise Him for the hope of glory—oh praise Him for all! Thus singing the Lord’s song in a strange land, you will be learning to sing it in diviner sounds—

“With those just spirits that wear victorious palms,

Hymns devout, and holy psalms

Singing everlastingly.”

“And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God almighty; just and true are Your ways, O King of saints. Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? for You only are holy: for all nations shall come and worship before You.”


John MacDuff

“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

“Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart–and you shall find rest unto your souls.” Matt. 11:29).

This is the sequel to our motto-verse, the expansion of the rest-saying of the loving Rest-Giver. None who have entered into the spirit of these words, but must recognize and find in them a gracious Hospice–a chamber of the “House Beautiful.”

“No man,” says Luther, “if he were the gentlest and kindest in the world, could have such a gentle bearing as Christ had.” He further tells of a legend regarding the Apostle Peter, that his eyes were always red with weeping and on being asked the cause; the reply was–“I weep when I recall the most sweet gentleness of Christ with His apostles.” Possibly the remembrance of that sweet gentleness and forbearance towards himself was the most touching of all.

Note the Savior’s special message, in the meditation of today, to His burdened and weary ones. He virtually says–“Exchange burdens. Part with your own and take Mine. Make trial of My yoke, and bear it for My sake. It will be heavy without Me; but with My grace and blessing it will be easy and light. I do not promise in the rest I confer to ‘remove your shoulder from the burden,’ to give you immunity from care, and trial, and exactions; but I will do better–I will impart strength and endurance to bear.”

The existence of many is a pursuit after spurious and counterfeit rest, misnamed happiness–an aimless, vapid life of pleasure engrossed with objects which bring with them no sense of satisfaction or compensation–a dull, weary round in the world’s monotonous tread-mill. This is not the rest Christ promises to His weary ones. Often the world’s burdens, too, are weighted with unworthy accompaniments–wounded pride, injured self-love, disappointed ambition, the harboring of proud, vain-glorious thoughts. Here is a recipe for tranquillity of soul which the gospel may well claim as all its own–“For I am meek and lowly in heart.” It has well been called the birth-song of Christianity–“He has put down the mighty from their seats, and has exalted the humble and meek.”

It was by these principles the new creed won its way on earth–not by material agencies. The martial spirit, the greatest of the old-world forces, had its day and its collapse. The serene, gentle spirit, nurtured among the hills of Nazareth, fought a bloodless war and conquered, with the sole weapons in His armory–weapons which He Himself assayed–“meekness and lowliness.” Rich and poor, master and slave, owned the magic of “this new thing on the earth;” they took His yoke upon them, and, by strange paradox, all who tried found in the bearing of it rest.

Further–gather from this gracious saying the bliss of endurance, submission, forbearance, love; lifted above the fret and fever of the world, the clash of debasing rivalries. Be not aspiring after great things, or envious of others, tempted to quarrel with outer circumstances–in other words, showing dissatisfaction with the appointments of God, making base surrender of duty to self-interest.

The quiet mountain-lake is a beautiful thing, sleeping on its shadows, no ripple to disturb the placid mirror. But what is more inspiring and invigorating is the stream which issues from it, hurrying impetuously onward, battling its way over rock and boulder, to water and fertilize the plains below. Build your Hospice in the faithful study of Christ’s spotless character and example, in its humility and self-sacrifice, combined with active consecration in doing His Father’s will. “I am meek–I am lowly.” These are the two silver and golden bells–curfew-chimes ringing to deepest and truest rest. They together constitute the true “patent of nobility.” In the possession of calm, elevated peace in Himself, as on a mount of transfiguration, the tumults of passion are hushed, and with the favored disciple on Hermon you are able to exclaim–“It is good for us to be here.” Moreover, included in this is the blessed privilege, taught by the meek and lowly Master, of helping other weary ones to bear their burdens and carry their crosses.

“I know we are not here

For our own selfish ease;

The kingliest One the earth has known

Lived not Himself to please.

And they who have truly learned of Him

How a burden can give rest,

And joyfully share the great human care,

Have learned life’s secret best.”

Beautiful and touching is the plea of the apostle immediately following–“Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.”

“I beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ.”

“This is the resting place, let the weary rest. This is the place of repose.” Isaiah 28:12

“Thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest.” Jeremiah 45:5


There is a life given to the elect when the blessed Spirit quickens their souls–a life eternal, communicated to them out of the fullness of the Son of God. This life is a personal, individual life; and thus there seems to be a sweetness contained in the expression, “your life.” “Your life will I give unto you for a prey.” This life which is treasured up in the fullness of Christ is breathed into the soul in the appointed time by the Holy Spirit, is kept alive there by his almighty power, and will burn brighter and brighter in the realms of endless day.

But we may observe, from the expression made use of in the text, that this life which is given to the child of God, is given to him in a peculiar way. “Your life will I give unto you for a prey.” The word “prey” points out that this life is an object of attack. We hear of “beasts of prey,” and of “birds of prey,” and the expression implies a carnivorous animal. Thus the words, “Your life will I give unto you for a prey,” imply that there are ravenous beasts that are continually seeking to devour this life, voracious enemies upon the watch, who are eager to prey upon this life, which God the Holy Spirit has kindled in the soul. How accurately and how experimentally do these words describe the inward kingdom of God! Eternal life is given by God; and kept by him when given; preserved by his power from ever being extinguished. And yet preserved by a perpetual miracle, like a burning lamp set afloat upon the waves of the sea; or, to use a figure that I have somewhere seen, like a lighted candle carried over a hill in the midst of a gale of wind.

Thus, “our life is given us for a prey;” and the power, faithfulness, and wisdom of God are manifested in keeping this life unhurt amid all its enemies. As Daniel was preserved in the den of lions; and as the three men were preserved in the burning fiery furnace; so the life of God is preserved in the soul, in the midst of lions, as David says, “My soul is among lions” (Ps. 57:4), and amid the fires, “Glorify you the Lord in the fires” (Isaiah 24:15). So that the life of the child of God is one continual conflict between faith and unbelief, between enmity and love, between the grace of God and the rebellion of the carnal mind, between the sinkings of the drooping spirit and the liftings-up of the light of God’s countenance.

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