Bulletin Edition April 2022

“A certain Samaritan.”Luke x. 33.

Look, my soul, beyond the letter of the parable, and see if thou canst not instantly discover who it is that is here meant. Mark how he is described: “A certain Samaritan.” Not any indifferent undetermined one among the whole mass of men called Samaritans, but an identical certain one: and who but Jesus answers to this character? “Said we not well, (said the Jews) that thou art a Samaritan?” Yes, truly, thus far ye said right; for our Jesus is the true Samaritan, that came a blissful stranger from his blessed abode, to deliver us from our lost estate, for his mercy endureth for ever. And, my soul, observe how exactly corresponding to all that is said of this certain Samaritan in the parable, thy Jesus proves to have been. Our nature, universally speaking, was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when it fell among thieves, and when it was left more than half dead by the great enemy of souls; for we had all miserably departed from the Lord, when Jesus came from heaven to the Jericho of this world, to “seek and save that which was lost.” And what could the priest or levite do by law or sacrifice, to help our ruined nature? But when Jesus came and bound up the wounds which sin and Satan had made, by pouring in the balsam of his own precious blood, then he proved himself to be this certain Samaritan; for none but Jesus could have done this, since there is salvation in no other; “neither is there any other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved.” And what is it now, but the same gracious mercy carrying on the same blessed purpose in completing the perfect recovery of our nature. It is Jesus, Samaritan-like, which hath brought us to the inn of his church, hath appointed his servants and angels, who are ministering spirits, to minister in all divine things to the heirs of salvation. He hath commissioned the whole train of ordinances, and providences, and promises, to minister to our good. His holy word, his Holy Spirit, are unceasingly engaged to the same blessed end. And what crowns all, and makes our state and circumstances most safe and blessed indeed, is, that Jesus hath commanded all the remaining costs and expenses of our cure to be put down to his account. He saith himself to me, a poor worthless sinner as I am, and to every individual of his redeemed, “Whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay.” And is it so, my soul? Is not the blessing too great to be bestowed, and thou too worthless to receive it? Oh no! for it is Jesus who promiseth: that is enough. Hail, then, thou certain Samaritan, thou Almighty Traveller through our miserable world! Since the first day that thou didst pass by, and didst behold me in my blood, cast out to perish, and didst bid me live, how hath my soul hailed thee, and now and unceasingly will hail thee, as my life, my hope, my joy, my portion for ever! 


-John Newton

Those passages of Scripture wherein the Gospel-truth is compared to LIGHT lead to this familiar illustration. Men by nature are stark blind with respect to this LIGHT; by grace the eyes of the understanding are opened. Among a number of blind men, some may be more ingenious and of better capacity than others. They may be better qualified for such studies and employments which do not require eyesight than many who can see, and may attain to considerable skill in them; but with respect to the true nature of light and colors, they are all exactly upon a level. A blind man, if ingenious and inquisitive, may learn to talk about the LIGHT, the sun, or the rainbow, in terms borrowed from those who have seen them; but it is impossible that he can have (I mean a man born blind) a just idea of either; and whatever hearsay-knowledge he may have acquired, he can hardly talk much upon these subjects without betraying his real ignorance. The case of one mentioned by Mr. Locke has been often quoted. He believed, that after much inquiry and reflection, he had at last found out what scarlet was; and being asked to explain himself, “I think,” says he, “scarlet is something like the sound of a trumpet.” This man had about the same knowledge of natural light as Nicodemus had of spiritual. Nor can all the learning or study in the world enable any person to form a suitable judgment of divine truth, till the eyes of his mind are opened and then he will perceive it at once.

Neither education, endeavors, nor arguments, can open the eyes of the blind. It is God alone, who at first caused light to shine out of darkness, who can shine into our hearts, “to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

John Newton

I hear men talk of progressive sanctification. I am told that God’s people grow in holiness and righteousness. Some men will even dare to assert, ‘I am holier than thou.’ They think that their good works, their piety, their devotion, their prayers, their meditations and their Bible reading since they professed faith in Christ make them more holy, inwardly and outwardly, before God. But it is all a self-righteous delusion. God says of all such pretenders of piety, ‘These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.’ It is true, God’s elect grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. We grow in faith, devotion, submission and even obedience to Christ. But never in all the Word of God do I read of a man who trusted Christ claiming to grow in holiness, purity, or sanctification before God. In fact, the very opposite is true. When Isaiah saw the Lord, he said, ‘Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips.’ When Job had grown the most in grace and had seen the most of God’s glory, he cried, ‘Behold, I am vile!’ When David had the greatest assurance of God’s pardoning grace, he had also the greatest awareness of his own sin. He said, ‘I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.’ When Paul had faithfully preached the gospel for many years he said, ‘I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing.’ When Paul was about to lay down his life in martyrdom, when he reached a far higher degree of faithfulness and dedication than anyone I know, he did not call himself the holiest of all saints, he called himself the chief of all sinners.

Where do you find sanctification? I can tell you where all of God’s saints find it – Christ is our sanctification. He is all my righteousness, all my redemption, all my sanctification and all my holiness before God. Sanctification is not by the works of the flesh any more than justification is. Sanctification is the work of God’s sovereign grace whereby he has separated us to be holy in Christ by election, declared us to be holy in Christ by redemption, and made us to be holy in Christ by regeneration. 

D S Fortner

On our learning this lesson depends our comforting walk heavenward

(Letters of William Romaine, 1714-1795)

When the Holy Spirit takes of the things of Christ and preaches them to the heart—oh, what a sweet peace follows! For the believer then finds himself saved from all the miseries of sin, and entitled to all the blessings of eternal glory.

Being thus persuaded of his safety by believing in the sin-atoning blood of our Great High Priest, the Holy Spirit then teaches him how to live upon Christ, and how to make use of Christ’s fullness.

On our learning this lesson depends our comforting walk heavenward. For Christ does not give us a stock of grace and expect us to improve it by being faithful to grace given. No, no, that is not His way. Our souls must depend upon Him, just as our bodies do upon the elements of this world. Every moment we must live by faith upon His fullness, and be every moment receiving out of it grace upon grace.

And this is our happiness—to have all in Christ!

A beggar in myself, but rich with unsearchable eternal riches in Him.

Ignorant still in myself, but led and taught by His unerring wisdom.

A sinner still, but saved by His blood and righteousness.

Weak and helpless still, but kept by His Almighty love.

Nothing but sorrow in myself, nothing but joy in Him.

Oh, this is a blessed life!

No tongue can tell what a Heaven it is, thus to live by faith upon the Son of God. Thanks be to Him, that I do know a little of it. Surely I could not have thought, some years ago, that there was such a Heaven upon earth as I now find. May you find it more and more! Sweet Jesus keep you, my dear friend!


William Romaine

“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4


“Man shall not live by bread alone.” There is heavenly food to support his soul, as well as natural food to support his body. If a man is supported spiritually by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, if this be the only food the Lord’s people enjoy, how little they have! If you and I have no more religion than that which comes from what God has spoken into our soul; if that be the bread we are to live upon; if that be the strength of our heart; if that be our living portion and our dying sufficiency–how it narrows up our religion into so small a compass, that sometimes we seem to require a microscope to see whether we have any or not.

But thus we learn this lesson, “that man lives not by bread alone.” He cannot live by doctrines in the head. He cannot live by bodily gestures. He cannot live by rites and forms and ceremonies. He cannot live by anything that springs from the creature. His life is first given by God, and his life is maintained by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. What the Lord teaches, he knows; what the Lord works, he feels; what the Lord gives, he possesses; what the Lord speaks to his heart, he has in his soul, as from the lips of the sovereign Majesty himself.

But what a narrow path is this! How it cuts up all creature righteousness! How it lays the creature low in the dust of abasement! With all your religion, you have none but what God gives, nor can you procure a grain; for you have to live, not by bread alone, as in your natural life, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. How then are you spiritually to live, except from time to time the Lord speak a word to your soul?


John 6:63

Don Fortner

The success of our labors in this world for the glory of Christ and the souls of men is entirely dependent upon the power of God the Holy Spirit. Talented musicians, eloquent preachers, and religious entertainment can draw crowds and fill our church buildings; but the Spirit of God alone can give life to dead sinners. It is the Spirit who makes the Word of God a Word of life. It is the Spirit who convicts men of sin. It is the Spirit who reveals Christ in the heart. It is the Spirit who regenerates. It is the Spirit who gives faith in Christ and repentance toward God.

                For us to attempt the work of God without the presence and power of the Holy Spirit of God is futile; and our efforts would be vain. A man can pray, but he is only saying words unless the Spirit makes intercession for him with groanings which cannot be uttered. A man can preach, but his preaching is empty and powerless unless the Spirit of God speaks through him. Without the Spirit of God working in the hearts of his people and speaking through the voice of his servants, preaching is just an exercise of speech, nothing more than the multiplication of sounds and syllables. IT IS GOD IN US THAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE! Without the Spirit of God our worship is dead worship, our praying is dead praying, our singing is dead singing, our preaching is dead preaching. It is all empty religious ritualism. It is just the exercise of religious habit. Without God the Holy Spirit working in us and through us we are sterile. We cannot do anything for the souls of men and the glory of Christ. We will serve no useful purpose in our generation.

                I have said all of this, not to discourage you, but to encourage you to cry unto God continually for the unction of his Spirit upon us. “Come from the four winds, O Breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live!”

True or False?

(by Don Fortner)

1. False faith may be greatly enlightened

and knowledgeable of gospel truth. Judas was.

True faith receives the love of the Truth.

2. False faith excites the affections, like

the stony ground hearers of the parable,

and causes people to spring up like

shooting stars, only to fade quickly.

True faith is the abiding, growing gift of God.

3. False faith reforms the outward life and

causes people to live better before men.

True faith arises from a regenerate

heart and causes people to seek the

will and glory of God.

4. False faith may speak well of Christ,

as the Jews did. True faith loves Christ.

5. False faith confesses sins, like King Saul.

True faith confesses sin, like David.

6. False faith may humble itself in

sackcloth and ashes, like Ahab.

True faith humbles itself before God.

7. False faith may repent in terror, like Esau

and Judas. True faith repents in contrition,

being convinced of God’s way of salvation in Christ.

8. False faith often performs religious works

very diligently. Saul of Tarsus did.

True faith is a faith, which “works by love.”

9. False faith is sometimes very generous and

charitable (Ananias and Sapphira). True faith

causes ransomed sinners to be generous,

willingly, constrained only by love and gratitude.

10. False faith may tremble at the

Word of God, like Felix.

True faith trembles and bows.

11. False faith often experiences much in religion.

True faith trusts no experience, no matter how

great, and looks to Christ alone.

12. False faith often enjoys great religious

privileges, like Lot’s wife. True faith

places no confidence in the flesh.

13. False faith may preach, perform miracles,

and cast out demons, like Judas. True faith

rejoices in having one’s name written in heaven.

14. False faith often attains high office in the

church, like Diotrephes, and walks with great

preachers, as Demas walked with Paul.

True faith is honored to keep the doors

of God’s house and walk with Christ.

15. False faith may be peaceful and carnally

secure, like the five foolish virgins.

True faith presumes nothing, but looks

constantly to Christ.

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