December 31, 1855

The following is an excerpt from the diary of James Smith:
December 31, 1855.

The last day of the year 1855—a year characterized by . . .
many severe trials,
many sore temptations,
and innumerable mercies.

In some things, it closes differently to what I expected—but how differently it may have closed!
I might have been in Hell! O terrible thought!
I might have been on a sick bed, tormented with excruciating pain, or reduced to a state of infantile weakness.

I might have been in great and sore troubles, tossed with tempests, and not comforted.

I might have been without a pastorate—and without a loving people.

Or I might have been guilty of some heinous sin, lost my character, and been a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth!
Blessed, forever blessed be the Lord—that such is not my case!

My health is good,
my hope in Christ is steady,
my congregation good, and I trust the Lord will yet work a great work by me.

And now, Lord, I desire to confess before you the sins of this past year:

I have sinned with my tongue—and with my temper.
I have sinned in my heart—and in my life.
I have omitted duties.
I have committed sins.
My motives have often been impure.
My aims have not been sufficiently high and holy.
I have been impatient, fretful, irritable, rash, jealous, envious, discontented, and ungrateful.

O may the blood of Jesus wash out every stain!
I renounce all hope—but what centers in Jesus!
I have no refuge, no hiding-place, no strong tower, no place of safety—but Jesus.
Christ in His person,
Christ in His finished work,
Christ in His glorious intercession—is all my hope, all my confidence, all my joy!
I am His servant—and wish to serve Him alone.
I am His subject—and wish to be ruled by Him alone.
I am His purchased property--and wish to be consecrated entirely, eternally, and altogether to Him!

~ James Smith, "Marvelous Mercy!" 1862

The Chestnut Mare
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by frost.
- - - -JRR Tolkien "Lord of the Rings"