James Smith (1802-1862)


“Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.”  Psalm 71:18 (kjv)

Old age and its infirmities will creep in on us; and with old age come weakness, pains, and fears. But an aged Christian should be a happy person; for he has proved the Lord to be faithful so many years, he has had answers to prayer so many times, and the God of his youth stands pledged never to leave nor forsake him. Will the Lord forsake an old servant? Never! Will the Father of mercies forsake one of His children when compassed with the infirmities of old age! Impossible! No, no! The Lord, who has borne with us so long — will bear with us to the end. The Lord, who has glorified Himself in our life — will get glory to Himself in our death.

As the God of all comfort, He will comfort us on the bed of languishing, and will make all our bed in our sickness; and when heart and flesh are failing — He will be the strength of our heart, and our portion forever!

Aged believer — doubt not, fear not! God has given you His Word — trust it. He has confirmed His Word by the death of His Son — therefore exercise confidence in Him. He has been a Friend and a Father to you for many years; and He will be your Friend and Father to the very last!

Be much with Him in prayer. With all the simplicity of a little child — let your requests be made known unto Him. He has grace for old age — as He had for youth; and He has grace for a dying bed — as He had grace for all the conflicts of life. Believe His word, rest in His love, expect His blessing to the end — and you shall be more than a conqueror through Him who loved you. God never loved you more than He does now in your weakness, pains, and old age; and — sweet thought! — He will never love you less! His love is infinite, everlasting. Having loved you — He loves you to the end!

Father in Heaven, I thank You for the mercies of my life. Help me to trust You through to the end of my life — in spite of my weakness and human frailty.

And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you. Isaiah 46:4 (kjv)

“Be ye thankful.” Col. iii:15

WHAT cause to be thankful, what reason to be grateful have we!

Surrounded by mercies both temporal and spiritual. If we look back we ought to rejoice that God hath chosen us in Christ Jesus, before the foundation of the world; that He sent His only begotten Son into the world, to be a propitiation for our sins; that He sent His Holy Spirit in to our hearts, to convince us of sin, lead us to Jesus, and make us meet for heaven. We have His word in our hands, His grace in our hearts, His mercies in our houses, and His heaven before our eyes. O for a thankful heart! But let us take our poor hard, ungrateful hearts to Jesus; He can soften them and fill them with gratitude. Let us confess our ingratitude before Him, and mourn over our unthankfulness at His feet. He is ready to forgive. He can sanctify us wholly. He will hear our cry, and pity our complaints. O Jesus, grant us a deep sense of our utter unworthiness, and of Thine unmerited goodness, that our souls may daily praise Thee with joyful lips! May we live as thoughtful dependants; as grateful, loving children, before our Father and our God; and daily be thankful.

Through all eternity, to Thee
A joyful song I’ll raise’
But oh! eternity’s too short
To utter al Thy praise.

“Ye are not your own” 1 Cor. vi.19

No-Jesus has purchased you with His own blood, quicken you by His Spirit, espoused you to Himself, and intends to glorify you with Himself for ever. He claims you, and says “I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine.” He will provide for you as His own, and spare you as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. You re His beloved bride, His portion. A member of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. In loving you, He loveth Himself. He requires you to live under the daily conviction that you are His; that all you have is His. You have nothing of your own; all you have He freely gave, and all you have you profess to have surrendered to Him. Think more of Jesus than of His gifts, cleave to Him, and not to what you may be called to surrender. He will never take anything from you, but He will give you something better. If He strip you, it is to teach you; to lead you to live upon Himself; and to find your heaven in His company, grace, and offices. Do you live, walk, and act, so as to leave the impression upon the minds of observers that you are the Lord’s? Do you expect Him to preserve, guide, and supply you? Let conscience answer.

Lord! Am I thine, entirely thine?
Purchased and saved by blood divine?
With full consent thine I would be,
And own thy sovereign right in me.   

“I will heal your backslidings,” Jer. iii: 22

SIN brings sickness. The believer can only be healthful as he walks with God, lives above the world, and looks for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. At the feet of Jesus we are safe, and shall be healthy; but if we wander from Him, spiritual diseases will seize upon us. The backslider feels too weak, to run in the way of God’s commandments; too confused, to read His interest in God’s promises; too guilty to call God Father; too wretched to rejoice in hope. He has no liberty in prayer; no enjoyment of his Bible; no peace in his conscience; no delight in God’s ways. But the Lord  says, “Return ye backsliding children; I WILL HEAL YOUR BACKSLIDINGS,” This is a message from the GREAT PHYSICIAN, an invitation from our Father’s throne, a promises of our Saviour’s love. Oh, let us return unto Him with weeping and supplication, adopting David’s prayer as our own, “Heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee.” Let us take gup the determination of the church, “Behold, we come unto thee, for thou art the Lord our God,” He will receive us graciously, and love us freely

Give me Thy pardoning love to feel,
And freely my backslidings heal,
Repair my faith’s decay:
Restore the sweetness of thy grace,
Reveal the glories of thy face,
And take my sins away.   

A Mediator Gal. iii.20

GOD is and must be eternal enemy of sin. He cannot be reconciled to it; it is the abominable thing which He hates. He cannot look upon it but with abhorrence. How then can God receive, bless or commune with us? Only through a Mediator; Jesus fills this office; He stands between God and us; He honours all the Father’s perfections: and renders us and our services acceptable through His glorious righteousness and precious blood. God can only love us, receive us, commune with us, or bless us, in Jesus. He represents us to God, and we are accepted in the BELOVED; He represents God to us, and we prove Him to be gracious. When going to the throne of grace, never forget that Jesus is the Mediator; the middle-man; present your persons, your petitions; and your praises to God through Him. You have nothing to fear, for Jesus wears your nature; He has a heart that beats in unison with yours; He calls you BROTHER; He uses all His influence with the Father on your behalf; all He did and suffered is employed for you: and at this moment He pleads your cause. 

Oft as guilt, my soul, torments thee,
Turn thine eyes to Jesu’s blood;
This will comfort, cheer, and cleans thee.
Seal thy peace, and do thee good:
Peace and pardon,
Flow to thee through Jesu’s blood.

“As having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” 2 Cor. vi. 10.5

THE Lord’s family are generally poor; men may look at them as having nothing valuable, important, or calculated to make them happy: but in reality they possess all things, because God is theirs. Our God has said, “I am their inheritance,” and we say, “Thou art my portion O Lord.” His eternity is the date of our happiness-His unchangeableness, the rock of our rest-His omnipotence our constant guard-His faithfulness, our daily security-His mercies our overflowing store-His omniscience, our careful overseer-His wisdom, our judicious counsellor-His justice our stern avenger-His omnipresence our sweet company-His holiness, the fountain from which we receive sanctifying grace-His all-sufficiency, the lot of our inheritance-and His infinity, the extent of our glorious portion. This is the blessedness of the people of the Lord; they have God for their God, and all His perfections engaged to make them blessed. O love the Lord! Live upon the Lord! Glorify God in the day of visitation! Make him your portion and everlasting all! He is enough in the absence of all besides.    

To us the privilege is given
To be the sons and heirs of heaven;
Sons of the God who reigns on high,
And heirs of joys beyond the sky:
Oh, may our conduct ever prove
Our filial piety and love.

“Go forward.” Exodus xiv. 15

BELOVED, there is no standing still in religion: we are either going forward or going back. Our Captain’s command is, “GO FORWARD.” This is our direction. Go forward in the Lord’s way; in the Lord’s work; to the Lord’s kingdom. The command contains great encouragement. Go forward, remembering the Lord’s wisdom; trusting in the Lord’s power; and believing in the Lord’s love. Go forward in union with the Lord’s people; with zeal for His glory; until summoned into your Master’s presence. Go forward, notwithstanding difficulties, fears, and discouragements. Go forward, because God has bidden you; He has promised to go with you; He will crown your journey’s end. Let us imitate ardent and holy Paul, who said, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which I am also apprehended of Christ Jesus.” Let us look for, and hasten to the coming of the day of God. There is nothing behind us worth a thought, if compared with what is set before us by the gospel. Be this then, our daily motto, “Go forward, forward.”

Much in sorrow, of in woe,
Onward, Christian, onward go;
Shrink not, fear not, dare not yield.
Never quit he battle field:
Forward press and win the prize,
Then to endless glory rise.

“Look unto me.” Isaiah xlv. 22.

A NEW year’s morning opens upon us, and we are still exposed to sorrow. Satan, and disappointment; sin lives in us; and a thousand things are ready to distress us; but our God says, “LOOK UNTO ME.” Look unto me as the source of happiness, the giver of grace, and your Friend. Look unto me in every trial, for all you want, and in every place. Look unto me TO-DAY. I have blessings to bestow. I am waiting to be gracious. I am your Father in Jesus. Believe that I am deeply interested in your present and eternal welfare: that all I have promised, I will perform: that I am with you, purposely to bless you. I cannot be unconcerned about anything that affects you: and I pledge myself to make all things work together for your good. You have looked to self, to others, in times past; but you have only met with trouble and disappointment; now look unto me ALONE, TO ME FOR ALL. Lift up the eye and the heart to me to-day, and every day throughout the year; and walk beforer me in peace and holiness. Prove me hereby, if I will not thus make you holy, useful and happy; try me, and find my word of promise true; true to the very letter.

Look to Him, till His mighty love
Thy ev’ry thought control;
Its vast constraining influence prove,
O’er body, spirit, soul.

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“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,” Titus 2:11