Bulletin Edition November 2021

It is the blood of Jesus, applied by the Spirit

(Octavius Winslow)

There is a perpetual proneness to seek our fruitfulness from anything but a close, spiritual, and constant dealing with the cross of Jesus. But as well might we expect the earth to clothe itself with verdure, or the tree to blossom, and the blossom ripen into fruit, without the sun’s genial warmth — as to look for fruitfulness in a regenerate soul, without a constant dealing with the Lord Jesus Christ. For just what the sun is to the kingdom of nature, Jesus the Sun of righteousness is to the kingdom of grace — the blessed source of all its verdure, fragrance, and fruitfulness. Then, let all your expectations be centred here.

No real good can come to you, no healing to your spirit, no fruitfulness to your soul, from a perpetual living upon convictions of sin, legal fears, or transient joys — the Divine life can derive no nourishment from these. But live upon the atoning blood of Jesus — here is the fatness of your soul found. This is that which heals the wound, wins the heart, and hushes to repose every fear of condemnation. This is that which enables a poor sinner to look fully at God — feeling that justice, holiness, truth, and every Divine perfection are on his side.

It is the blood of Jesus, applied by the Spirit — which moistens each fibre of the root of holiness in the soul, and is productive of its fruitfulness. This is that which sends the warm current of life through every part of the regenerate man, quickening the pulse of love, and imparting a healthy and vigorous power to every act of obedience.

And when the spiritual seasons change — for it is not always spring-time with the soul of a child of God; when the summer’s sun withers, or the autumnal blast scatters the leaves, and winter’s fiercer storm beats upon the smitten bough — then the blood and righteousness of Christ, lived upon, loved, and cherished — will yet sustain the Divine life in the soul, and in due season the spring blossom and the summer fruit shall again appear, proving that the Divine life of a believer is “hid with Christ in God.”

Then shall be said of you, as was said of the church by her Beloved:

Song 2:10 My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.

Song 2:11 For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;

Song 2:12 The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;

Song 2:13 The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.

Then let your heart respond, Song 4:16 Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.

We were dead men rotting in a dunghill of sin!

(Charles Spurgeon, “Treasury of David”)

“The Lord raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill!” Psalm 113:7

What a gracious stoop of love! He frequently lifts the lowest of mankind out of their poverty and degradation, and adopts them into His family.

His gracious Spirit is continually visiting the down-trodden, giving beauty for ashes to those who are cast down, and elevating the hearts of His mourners until they shout for joy.

These upliftings of grace are here ascribed directly to the divine hand, and truly those who have experienced them will not doubt the fact that it is the Lord alone who brings His people up from the dust of sorrow and death. When no hand but His can help, He interposes and the work is done.

“And lifts the needy from the dunghill” whereon they lay like worthless refuse, cast off and cast out—left as they thought, to rot into destruction, and to be everlastingly forgotten.

How great a stoop from the height of His throne, to a dunghill! How wonderful is that power which occupies itself in lifting up beggars, all befouled with the filthiness in which they lay! For He lifts them out of the dunghill, not disdaining to search them out from amidst the base things of the earth—that He may bring to nothing the great ones, and pour contempt upon all human glorying.

What a dunghill was that upon which we lay by nature!

What a mass of corruption is our original estate!

What a heap of loathsomeness we have accumulated by our sinful lives!

We could never have risen out of this corruption by our own efforts—we were dead men rotting in a dunghill of sin!

Almighty were the arms which lifted us, which are still lifting us, and will lift us into the perfection of Heaven itself!

A hidden life!

(From Winslow’s “The Solitude of the Cross”)

“For ye are dead, and your life is hid

with Christ in God.” Col. 3:3

The Divine life in the believer, the life of

God in the soul of man, is a hidden life!

Not only is it invisible to the world, except

in its outward actions, and these are often

misunderstood and misinterpreted; but very

much so to the saints also. It is often but

dimly perceived, and we are slow to recognize it.

It is of all things the most deeply veiled.

Its existence and aspirations, its depressions,

defeats, and victories, are known only to Him

in whom that life emphatically lives and moves

and has its being.

And, then, touching the growth of this hidden

spiritual life; it is in the solitude of the Cross

that it derives its strongest impulse, and exhibits

its mightiest development. The Divine life in the

believer is a divine plant which only grows beneath

this sacred shadow. If we would advance in grace

we must recede frequently from the sun’s heat of

this world, and dwell amid the solemn shadows of

Gethsemane and the deeper solitude of Calvary.

Viewless as the wind, silent as the dew, is that

influence which the most vitalizes and promotes

our real sanctification. Oh, how blessed to sit there,

with myriads like ourselves, silently growing in

heavenliness near that marvellous Cross; frail and

feeble tendrils entwining around the stem of that

glorious Tree of Life.

Let us often heed the invitation of our Lord, “Come

with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some

rest,” gently led by His outstretched hand to the

solitude of His Cross.

Union with Christ

John Newton’s Letters

Dear Sir,

The union of a believer with Christ is so intimate, so unalterable, so rich in privilege, so powerful in influence, that it cannot be fully represented by any description or similitude taken from earthly things. The mind, like the sight, is incapable of apprehending a great object, without viewing it on different sides. To help our weakness, the nature of this union is illustrated, in the Scripture, by four comparisons, each throwing additional light on the subject, yet all falling short of the thing signified.

In our natural state, we are driven and tossed about, by the changing winds of opinion, and the waves of trouble, which hourly disturb and threaten us upon the uncertain sea of human life. But faith, uniting us to Christ, fixes us upon a sure foundation, the Rock of Ages, where we stand immovable, though storms and floods unite their force against us.

By nature we are separated from the divine life, as branches broken off, withered and fruitless. But grace, through faith, unites us to Christ the living Vine, from whom, as the root of all fullness, a constant supply of sap and influence is derived into each of his mystical branches, enabling them to bring forth fruit unto God, and to persevere and abound therein.

By nature we are hateful and abominable in the sight of a holy God, and full of enmity and hatred towards each other. By faith, uniting us to Christ, we have fellowship with the Father and the Son, and joint communion among ourselves; even as the members of the same body have each of them union, communion, and sympathy, with the head, and with their fellow-members.

In our natural estate, we were cast out naked and destitute, without pity, and without help, Ezek. 16:1-63; but faith, uniting us to Christ, interests us in his righteousness, his riches, and his honors. Our Redeemer is our husband; our debts are paid, our settlements secured, and our names changed.

Thus the Lord Jesus, in declaring himself the foundation, root, head, and husband, of his people, takes in all the ideas we can frame of an intimate, vital, and inseparable union. Yet all these fall short of truth; and he has given us one further similitude, of which we can by no means form a just conception until we shall be brought to see him as he is in his kingdom. John 27:21: “That they all may be one, as you, Father, are in me, and I in you; that they also may be one in us.”

Well may we say, What has God wrought! How inviolable is the security, how inestimable the privilege, how inexpressible the happiness, of a believer! How greatly is he indebted to grace! He was once afar off, but he is brought near to God by the blood of Christ: he was once a child of wrath, but is now an heir of everlasting life. How strong then are his obligations to walk worthy of God, who has called him to his kingdom and glory!

Lord, I feel my own utter helplessness!

(J. C. Philpot, “Sending Out of Light and Truth” 1841)

“O send out Your light and Your truth,

 let them lead me.” Psalm 43:3

The Christian is often dissatisfied with his state. He

is well aware of the shallowness of his attainments

in the divine life, as well as of the ignorance and the

blindness that are in him. He cannot perceive the path

of life. He sees and feels so powerfully the workings

of sin and corruption, that he often staggers, and is

perplexed in his mind.

And therefore, labouring under the feeling of . . .

  his own shortcomings for the past,

  his helplessness for the present,

  and his ignorance for the future,

he wants to go forward wholly and solely

in the strength of the Lord, to be . . .





not by his own wisdom and power—but by

the supernatural entrance of light and truth

into his soul.

When thus harassed and perplexed, he will at times

and seasons, as his heart is made soft, cry out with

fervency and importunity, as a beggar that will not

take a denial, “O send forth Your light and Your truth,

let them guide me!” As though he would say, “Lord,

I feel my own utter helplessness! I know I must go

astray, if You do not condescend to guide me. I have

been betrayed a thousand times when I have trusted

my own heart. I have been entangled in my base

lusts. I have been puffed up by presumption. I have

been carried away by hypocrisy and pride. I have been

drawn aside into the world. I have never taken a single

step aright when left to myself. And therefore feeling

how unable I am to guide myself a single step of the

way, I come unto You, and ask You to send forth Your

light and Your truth, that they may guide me, for I

am utterly unable to lead myself.”

The child of God—feeling his own ignorance, darkness,

blindness, and sinfulness—causes him to moan, and

sigh, and cry unto God—that he might be . . .

  led every step,

  kept every moment,

  guided every inch.

“O send forth Your light and Your truth,

 let them guide me.” Psalm 43:3

“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Romans 4:5

Octavius Winslow

Faith has to do with the understanding and the heart. A man must know his lost and ruined condition before he will accept of Christ; and how can he know this, without a spiritually enlightened mind? What a surprising change now passes over the man! He is brought, by the mighty power of the Holy Spirit, to a knowledge of himself. One beam of light, one touch of the Spirit, has altered all his views of himself, has placed him in a new aspect; all big thoughts, his affections, his desires, are diverted into another and an opposite channel; his fond views of his own righteousness have fled like a dream, his high thoughts are humbled, his lofty looks are brought low, and, as a broken-hearted sinner, he takes his place in the dust before God. Oh wondrous, oh blessed change! to see the Pharisee take the place, and to hear him utter the cry, of the Publican—”God be merciful to me a sinner!”—to hear him exclaim, “I am lost, self-ruined, deserving eternal wrath; and of sinners the vilest and the chief.” And now the work and exercise of faith commences; the same blessed Spirit that convinced of sin presents to the soul a Savior crucified for the lost—unfolds a salvation full and free for the most worthless—reveals a fountain that “cleanses from all sin,” and holds up to view a righteousness that “justifies from all things.” And all that He sets the poor convinced sinner upon doing to avail himself of this, is simply to believe. To the momentous question, “What shall I do to be saved?” this is the only reply—”Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.” The anxious soul eagerly exclaims—”Have I then nothing to do but to believe?—have I no great work to accomplish, no price to bring, no worthiness to plead?—may I come just as I am, without merit, without self-preparation, without money, with all my vileness and nothingness?” Still the reply is, “Only believe.” “Then, Lord, I do believe,” exclaims the soul in a transport of joy; “help my unbelief.” This, reader, is faith—faith, that wondrous grace, that mighty act of which you have heard so much, upon which so many volumes have been written, and so many sermons have been preached; it is the simple rolling of a wounded, bleeding heart upon a wounded, bleeding Savior; it is the simple reception of the amazing truth, that Jesus died for the ungodly—died for sinners—died for the poor, the vile, the bankrupt; that He invites and welcomes to His bosom all poor, convinced, heavy-laden sinners. The heart, believing this wondrous announcement, going out of all other dependencies and resting only in this—receiving it, welcoming it, rejoicing in it, in a moment, all, all is peace. Do not forget, reader, that faith is but to believe with all the heart that Jesus died for sinners; and the full belief of this one fact will bring peace to the most anxious and sin-troubled soul.

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