Bulletin Edition January 2021

Untried, untrodden, and unknown

(Octavius Winslow, “The Untrodden Path” 1860)

“You have not passed this way before.” Joshua 3:4

How solemn is the reflection that with a

new cycle of time, commences a new and

untrodden path with each traveler to Zion.

New events in his history will transpire;

new scenes in the panorama of life will unfold;

new phases of character will develop;

new temptations will assail;

new duties will devolve;

new trials will be experienced;

new sorrows will be felt;

new friendships will be formed;

new mercies will be bestowed.

How truly may it be said of the pilgrim, journeying

through the wilderness to his eternal home, as he

stands upon the threshold of this untried period of

his existence, pondering the unknown and uncertain

future, “You have not passed this way before.”

But there is another thought inexpressibly soothing.

Untried, untrodden, and unknown as that new path

may be, it is each step mapped and arranged, and

provided for in the everlasting and unchangeable

covenant of God. To Him who leads us, who accepts

us in the Son of His love, who knows the end from the

beginning, it is no new, or uncertain, or hidden way.

We thank Him that, while He wisely and kindly veils all

the future from our reach; all that future, its minutest

event, is as transparent and visible to Him as the past.

Our Shepherd knows the windings along which He

skillfully, gently, and safely leads His flock. Oh! it

is a thought replete with strong consolation, and

well calculated to gird us for the coming year: the

Lord knows and has ordained each step of the

untrodden path upon which I am about to enter!

The infinite forethought, wisdom, and goodness

which have marked each line of our new path

have also provided for its every necessity . . .

  each exigency in the new year has been anticipated;

  each need will bring its appropriate and adequate supply;

  each perplexity will have its guidance;

  each sorrow its comfort;

  each temptation its shield;

  each cloud its light;

  each affliction will suggest its lesson;

  each correction will impart its teaching;

  each mercy will convey its message of love.

The promise will be fulfilled to the letter,

“As your day so shall your strength be.”

The religionists of the day


And ye shall be hated of all men for My name’s sake. Luke 21:17

Professors of religion have always been the

deadliest enemies of the children of God.

Who were so opposed to the blessed Lord as the

Scribes and Pharisees? It was the religious teachers

and leaders who crucified the Lord of glory!

And so in every age the religionists of the day

have been the hottest and bitterest persecutors

of the Church of Christ.

Nor is the case altered now. The more the children

of God are firm in the truth, the more they enjoy its

power, the more they live under its influence, and

the more tenderly and conscientiously they walk in

godly fear, the more will the professing generation

of the day hate them with a deadly hatred.

Let us not think that we can disarm it by a godly life;

for the more that we walk in the sweet enjoyment of

heavenly truth and let our light shine before men as

having been with Jesus, the more will this draw down

their hatred and contempt.

Who chose whom?

 by Don Fortner

“The decision is yours… Now it is all up to you… God has

done all He can to save, the rest is up to you… You must

choose Christ for yourself…You must make the final decision.”

How often we have all heard statements like those from the

pulpit. I want to raise a question regarding this matter of

eternal salvation: WHOSE CHOICE IS IT? Our Lord

Jesus Christ has answered the question very plainly:

“You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you”

(John 15:16).

Divine election is a very humbling, and at the same time it

is a very encouraging and blessed doctrine of Scripture.

It is humbling to know that we would never have chosen Christ.

Our needs were so many, our hearts were so hard, that we

would never have sought the lord.

Yet, it is exceedingly comforting to hear our Savior say,

“I have chosen you.”

Our Lord Jesus Christ loved us long before we ever loved him.

He loved us even when we were dead in sin.

Had He not loved us, we would never have loved Him.

Had He not chosen us, we would never have chosen Him.

Language could not be clearer. Our Savior tells us that man,

by nature, will never choose Christ. It is true, in one sense,

that every believer chooses Christ. This is the result, however,

not the cause, of Christ’s choosing him.

The natural ear is so deaf that it cannot hear.

The natural eye is so blind that it cannot see.

The natural heart is so hard that it cannot feel.

Man sees no beauty in Christ.

He feels no need of Christ.

He has no desire for Christ.

Only after God by almighty grace opens the blind eye,

unstops the deaf ear, quickens the dead heart, and gives

strength to the withered hand is the sinner made willing to

seek Christ and given the strength of faith to embrace Him.






Accurate statements on this doctrine are essential. No doctrine

in the Bible has suffered so much damage from the erroneous

views of its foes and the inaccurate statements of its friends.

Election may be defined this way: God has been pleased from

all eternity to choose certain men and women, whom He has

determined to save by the righteousness and shed blood of Christ.

None are finally saved except those whom He has chosen.

Therefore, the Word of God calls His people “the elect.”

And the choice, or the appointment of them to eternal life,

is called “the election of God.”

All those whom God was pleased to choose in eternity were

redeemed by Christ at Calvary. All who were chosen and

redeemed are (in due season) called to salvation and eternal

life by the Holy Spirit.

He convinces them of sin.

He leads them to Christ.

He works repentance and faith in them.

He keeps them by His grace from falling entirely away.

He brings them all safely to eternal glory.

In short, election is the first link in the chain of salvation, of which

eternal glory is the end. All who are redeemed, justified, called,

born again, and brought to faith in Christ are elect. The primary and

original cause of the saint’s being what he is, is God’s eternal election.

What does the Word of God Teach about Election?

God’s election of men to salvation is gracious and free, absolute and

sovereign. It is an unconditional act of sovereign mercy. He did not

choose us because he foresaw that we would repent and believe on

Christ. Our repentance and faith is the result of God’s election, not

the cause of it (John 10:16, 26; 15:16; Acts 13:48). God’s election

is personal: He chose not a mass of nameless faces, but individual

sinners, calling them his sons and daughters. This election of grace

is also eternal and immutable (Eph. 1:4). When the triune Godhead

existed alone in glorious self-sufficiency, we were chosen in

covenant mercy. God chose us because of His eternal love and

sovereign pleasure, simply because he would be gracious.

We were chosen in Christ Jesus.

Behold God’s strange choice! He chose not the noble, but the

common. He chose not the wise, but the foolish. He chose

not the righteous, but the wicked. He chose us, “that no flesh

should glory in His presence…that according as it is written,

He that glories, let him glory in the Lord: (I Cor. 1:29,31).

Let all who are born again confess, “By the grace of God,

I am what I am” (I Cor. 15:10).

Let us sing of electing love:

“Tis not that I did choose Thee,

For, Lord, that could not be;

This heart would still refuse Thee,

But Thou hast chosen me.

My heart owns none before Thee;

For thy rich grace I thirst;

This knowing, if I love Thee,

Thou must have loved me first.”

(Josiah Conder)

Some beloved idol?


For it is the land of graven images, and they are mad upon their idols.

Jeremiah 50:38

Have we not all in our various ways,

set up some beloved idol . . .

  something which engaged our affections,

  something which occupied our thoughts,

  something to which we devoted all the energies of our minds,

  something for which we were willing to labor night and day?

Be it money,

be it power,

be it esteem of men,

be it respectability,

be it worldly comfort,

be it literary knowledge,

there was a secret setting up of SELF in one or

more of its various forms, and a bowing down

to it as an idol.

The man of business makes money his god.

The man of pleasure makes the lust of the flesh his god.

The proud man makes his adored SELF his god.

The Pharisee makes self-righteousness his god.

The Arminian makes free-will his god.

The Calvinist makes dry doctrine his god.

All in one way or other, however they may differ

in the object of their idolatrous worship, agree in

this: that they give a preference in their esteem

and affection to their peculiar idol, above the one

true God.

“And the idols He shall utterly abolish.”

    Isaiah 2:18

There is, then, a time to break down these

idols which our fallen nature has set up.

And have not we experienced some measure of

this breaking down, both externally and internally?

Have not our idols been in a measure smashed

before our eyes, our prospects in life cut up and

destroyed, our airy visions of earthly happiness

and our romantic paradises dissolved into thin air,

our creature-hopes dashed, our youthful affections

blighted, and the objects from which we had fondly

hoped to reap an enduring harvest of delight

removed from our eyes?

And likewise, as to our religion . . .

  our good opinion of ourselves,

  our piety and holiness,

  our wisdom and our knowledge,

  our understanding and our abilities,

  our consistency and uprightness;

have they not all been broken down, and

made a heap of ruins before our eyes?

See this sad sight!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“The iniquity of the holy things.” Exodus 28:38

What a veil is lifted up by these words—and what a

disclosure is made! It will be humbling and profitable

for us to pause awhile—and see this sad sight!

The iniquities of our public worship—its hypocrisy,

formality, lukewarmness, irreverence, wandering of

heart and forgetfulness of God—what a full measure

have we there!

Our work for the Lord—its envious rivalry,

selfishness, carelessness, slackness, unbelief

—what a mass of defilement is there!

Our private devotions—their laxity, coldness,

neglect, sleepiness, and vanity—what a mountain

of dead earth is there!

If we looked more carefully, we would find this iniquity in

our holy things, to be far greater than appears at first sight!

Edward Payson, writing to his brother, says, “My parish,

as well as my heart, very much resembles the garden of

the sluggard. And what is worse, I find that very many

of my desires for the betterment of both, proceed either

from pride or vanity or indolence. I look at the weeds

which overspread my garden, and breathe out an earnest

wish that they were eradicated. But why? What prompts

the wish? It may be that I may walk out and say to myself,

‘In what fine order is my garden kept!’ This is pride! Or,

it may be that my neighbors may look over the fence and

say, ‘How finely your garden flourishes!’ This is vanity!

Or I may wish for the destruction of the weeds, because

I am weary of pulling them up. This is indolence!”

So even our desires after holiness may be polluted by

sinful motives. Under the greenest sods, ‘worms’ hide

themselves—we need not look long to discover them.

How cheering is the thought, that when the High Priest

bore the iniquity of the holy things he wore upon his brow

the words, “Holiness to the Lord” (Exod 28:36) and even

so while Jesus bears our sin, He presents before His Father’s

face not our unholiness—but His own holiness! O for grace

to view our great High Priest by the eye of faith!

Job’s religion


“Oh that I knew where I might find Him!” Job 23:3

What a mere shallow pretense to vital godliness

satisfies most ministers, most hearers, and most


But there was a reality in Job’s religion.

It was not of a flimsy, notional, superficial nature.

It was not merely a sound Calvinistic creed, and

nothing more. It was not a religion of theory and

speculation, nor a well-compacted system of

doctrines and duties. There was something deeper,

something more divine in Job’s religion than any

such mere pretense, delusion, imitation, or hypocrisy.

And if our religion be of the right kind, there will be

something deeper in it, something more powerful,

spiritual, and supernatural, than notions and doctrines,

theories and speculations, merely passing to and fro

in our minds, however scriptural and correct.

There will be a divine reality in it, if God the Spirit be

the author of it. And there will be no trifling with the

solemn things of God, and with our own immortal souls.

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