Archive for the ‘James Smith’ Category

19
Jan

The Christian’s Daily Prayer

   Posted by: jmueller

(James Smith, 1865)

“O Lord, remember me, and visit me.” Jeremiah 15:15

The prophet was in great trouble! Life was almost a burden. Yet the Lord had promised to show him special favor. He had promised to be with him, and that it should be well with his remnant. But the promises which support us — do not always cheer us. We have always more wealth in our possession — than we turn to account. But he falls upon his knees, he looks up to his God. Oh, what a relief is prayer! We never value prayer — as we do in deep affliction, when the heart must find vent or burst!

He cries, “O Lord, you know my sincerity and deep suffering.” He had sincerely sought the people’s good, and done the Lord’s will. But sincerity often exposes to suffering — but while it does so, it soothes the spirit. “Lord,” he says, “remember me, and visit me.” How beautifully simple! How expressive! How suited to us! Let us look at this prayer, and make it our own.

It is a prayer for times of trouble. Most are suffering from one cause or another. Oh, that the Lord would sanctify the sorrows of his people, and make the sufferings of his foes — the means of their conversion!

“O Lord, REMEMBER me!” Who can bear to be forgotten? Especially by a kind, wealthy, and powerful friend. How could we bear to be forgotten by the Lord? But though he never will forget us — yet we may plead for a special remembrance:

“Lord, I am tried, troubled, and cast down! Remember that I am your child! You have put me among your children. I have called you, Abba, Father. You have owned me at your throne of grace, and I cannot live contented without your smile and your blessing. Lord, I am your weeping child. The sorrows of my heart are enlarged; oh, bring me out of my distresses!

Oh Lord, remember that I am your friend. I have been reconciled to you by the death of your Son. I have committed my all unto you. I have been familiar with you. I have poured out all my heart before you. I cannot be happy — except you think of me, send to me, and show me friendship.

Oh Lord, remember that I am your soldier, engaged in your cause and quarrel. I wear your armor. I fight under your banner. I am jealous of your honor. But I am wounded in the field. I find my foes too strong for me. My heart betrays me. My courage fails me. I cannot conquer — unless you appear for me, and strengthen me with strength in my soul.

Oh Lord, remember that I am your servant. I have been long in your family. I love your children. I sometimes enjoy your work. But I am weak, beset with fears, and discouraged in the path of duty! Lord, oh, remember me!

Oh Lord, remember me, for I am in an enemy’s land. It is not the country I love and long for. I am in a howling wilderness, where there are few friends, little pleasant food, or refreshing rest. I am in a house of disease and death. All are suffering, and many are dying around me.

Oh Lord, remember . . .
my weakness — for it is great;
my fears — for they are many;
my temptations — for they are violent;
my infirmities — for they are numerous and painful; and
my present circumstances — for they are very trying.

Oh Lord, remember . . .
my prayers — and answer them;
my desires — and grant them;
my needs — and supply them;
my sorrows — and sanctify them;
my labors — and crown them with your effectual blessing!

Oh Lord, remember me — though I am so sinful — though I am so unworthy. Remember me, for I do remember you, and long for your presence and your love.

Oh Lord, remember me, for Jesus did so when he suffered in Gethsemane, and died on the cruel tree.

Oh Lord, remember me, or I shall be miserable now, and wretched for evermore! Oh Lord, remember me, for it does not matter who else remembers me or who forgets me — if I only have the assurance of your love and favor. Remember me, O Lord, with the favor you bear unto your people. Oh, visit me with your salvation, that I may see the good of your chosen people, and glory with your inheritance.”

“O Lord, VISIT me!” What is life — without God’s presence! What would the world be — if God did not visit us! How could we bear it — if he were to say, “You have had the last visit — I will come to you no more!” But he will see us again, and our hearts shall rejoice. He will come unto us, and he will bless us. Still, promises are not enough — if we are really alive to God. We want their fulfillment. We cannot be satisfied unless the Lord comes, and manifests himself unto us.

O Lord, visit me — and soften my heart — it is hard and unfeeling! I have tried to melt it in vain. I have taken it to Sinai — there it grows harder. I have taken it to Gethsemane and Calvary — but no place, no scene, no subject will do. It must be your presence, your smile, the sense of your love. Only come unto me, and my hard heart will yield, and flow with streams of penitential tears.

O Lord, visit me — and sanctify my temper. It is harsh and unlovely. It is trying to myself and others. I have had a long and severe conflict with it — but it is unlovely still. But your presence will make me meek, gentle, loving, kind-hearted, and good-tempered with all about me. In my very worst moods, a visit from you fills me with shame, self-abhorrence, gratitude, and humility; and then I am good-tempered in a moment.

O Lord, visit me — and revive my graces. My faith is weak. My hope is languid. My love is unsettled and wandering. A visit from you will fill me with confidence, raise my expectations, and cause my whole soul to glow with love! Then zeal will burn, repentance will work, fortitude will spring up, and every grace that should adorn the Christian character — will be in lively act and exercise.

Oh Lord, visit me — and brighten my evidences. They are often so dim, so unsatisfactory, that I can derive no comfort from them. I want to feel sure that I am a Christian: to have no doubts, no misgivings; to have every satisfactory evidence in my heart and life; but unless you visit me, I feel certain that I shall not.

Oh Lord, visit me — and cheer my spirits. I am dejected and cast down. My comforts droop and die. I am low — in a low place.

Oh Lord, visit me — and confound my foes. They are many. They are powerful. They get access to my heart. They bewilder, confuse, and mislead me! They often cast me down wounded, and fill me with fear and dread.

Oh Lord, visit me — and perfect my resignation. I would yield to your will in everything. I would prefer your choice to my own. I would be perfectly satisfied with all your arrangements.

Oh Lord, visit me, and produce this blessed, this desirable state of mind.

Beloved, God’s remembrance is always fruitful, it always brings us good things. God’s visits are always beneficial. They check every evil, nourish every grace, revive every virtue, and satisfy every really good desire. In this short prayer — is all we shall need in life or in death.

Are you concerned that God should remember you? Could you bear to be forgotten of God? Did God ever visit you in mercy? Has he visited you lately? Can you be satisfied without his visits? Oh, make the prophet’s prayer your own, and daily cry, “O Lord, remember me, and visit me!”

“Lord, when I quit this earthly stage,
Where shall I fly, but to your breast?
For I have sought no other home,
For I have desired no other rest.

I cannot live contented here,
Without some glimpses of your face;
And Heaven without your presence there,
Would be a dark and tiresome place!

When earthly cares engross the day,
And hold my thoughts aside from thee,
The shining hours of cheerful light,
Are long and tedious years to me.

And if no evening visits paid,
Between my Savior and my soul,
How dull the night! how sad the shade,
How mournfully the minutes roll!

My God! and can a humble child,
That loves you with a flame so high,
Be ever from your face exiled,
Without the pity of your eye?

Impossible! for your own hands
Have tied my heart so fast to thee,
And in your book the promise stands,
That where you are — your friends must be!”

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(James Smith, “PROCRASTINATION” 1865)

“As Paul reasoned with them about righteousness and self-control and the coming day of judgment, Felix trembled and replied: Go away for now. When it is more convenient, I will send for you!” Acts 24:25

Here is Felix listening to the apostle Paul. He is attentive. He is interested. He is affected. He trembles. He realizes something of the solemnity of eternity. He feels concern–but it is not deep enough, therefore he says, “Go away for now. When it is more convenient, I will send for you!” He does not positively refuse–but he postpones the matter. He thought there would be a more convenient time–but there never was! Felix has had some eighteen hundred years in Hell to rue his folly! He is regretting it at this moment–and he will regret it forever!

Many have imitated his foolish conduct. They say to God’s ministers, “Go away for now. When it is more convenient, I will send for you!”
What they are really saying is, “I love sin. It is my element. It is my delight. I cannot give it up just now. The dance–the jovial party–the customs of the present world–these are things that I like. I am not prepared to part with them, and embrace the gospel you preach. Go away for now. I had rather remain as I am–at least a little longer. I do not wish to be saved at present. By and bye, when I am too old to enjoy sin, or when sickness has made me too weak to follow any carnal pleasures–then, at this convenient season, I will send for you.”

Oh, sinner, sinner! Will you spurn God’s gracious invitation–will you turn a deaf ear to the message of mercy?

Will you persevere in sin–until you lie down in black despair?

Will you go to Hell–when so near the gates of Heaven?

Will you perish in your own deceivings?

Have you no fear of God?

Have you no dread of eternal torments?

Have you no wish to escape from the wrath to come?

What will you do in that dread day . . .
when death arrests you,
when the just Judge passes sentence upon you,
when Satan seizes you,
when Hell opens to engulf you, and
when the gates of the infernal pit close upon you forever?

What will you do?

What can you do?

To whom will you flee for help?

How will you, how can you, escape?

Alas! escape then, will be impossible!

Then the door of hope will be forever shut!

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8
Oct

Suppose Your Child Was Dying

   Posted by: jmueller

(James Smith, “Our Father and Comforter”)

Surely, if parents realized the value of their children’s souls; if they had a vivid sight of the danger to which they are exposed; if they felt that they must be saved by the Lord Jesus–or perish for ever–then they would act very differently toward them!

Could a parent, if he believed the Scriptural representation of hell, as a place of torment; and saw that his child hung over that ever-burning lake as by a thread–and might, at any moment, by some accident, be plunged into the bottomless abyss; I say, if he saw and believed this–could he let his child go on, day after day, and month after month, without the tender expostulation, the affectionate appeal, and the heart-felt prayer with him? I think not!

Alas! alas! We do not half believe . . .
in the horrors of hell,
in the danger of our children, and
in the absolute necessity of faith in Christ, in order to for them to be saved–or we could never live as we do!

What anxiety is manifested about their health and their education; and what indifference about their never-dying souls! One feels at times ready to conclude that many professing Christian parents must be half infidels, or wholly insane–to act as they do!

Reader, suppose your child was dying. His pulses are faint and few. He breathes short and hard. You approach his bedside. You take his hand in yours. He asks, “Father, did you believe I was a sinner? Did you know that it was possible I might die young? Were you aware that, without faith in Christ–I must perish forever? Did you, father?”

“I did, my child.”

“Then how could you be so cruel, so hard-hearted, as to treat me in the way you have? You never took me aside to talk to me seriously. You never endeavored to impress upon my mind the importance of spiritual things. You never earnestly warned me to flee from the wrath to come. You never lovingly invited me to the Lord Jesus Christ. You never prayed with me as if you believed I was in danger of going to hell, and could only be saved by the grace of God. You were very earnest about temporal things–but indifferent about spiritual realities. You knew that I was going to hell–and you did not try to prevent it. Now I am lost! Lost for ever–and you are the cause of it! Or, at least, you are accessory to my everlasting damnation!”

Or, suppose you were before the Great White Throne, and the Judge seated thereon, and you meet your children there. One of them points to you, and says, “There is my mother! She showed great concern about my body–but she never showed anxiety about my soul. She never knelt by my side in prayer. I never heard her plead with God for my soul, nor did she ever, in downright earnest, plead with me. I charge her, before the Judge of all–with cruelty to my soul; and throughout eternity I shall curse the day that ever I had such a parent! No name will excite my enmity, or draw forth my bitter reproaches, like the name of my mother! I am lost, lost forever–and my mother never heartily tried to prevent it!”

Parents, how could you bear this? Parents, parents! By all the tender ties that unite you to your children, I beseech you to seek, first, principally, and most earnestly–the conversion of your children!

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8
Aug

It leaves earth for Heaven–or for Hell!

   Posted by: jmueller

(James Smith, “CONSIDER!” 1859)

“This is what the Lord Almighty says: Consider your ways!” Haggai 1:7

God commands you to consider–and you cannot neglect to do so, but you sin. Your circumstances require it of you–and you cannot neglect to do so, but you must be losers thereby. God complains, “My people do not consider!”

Inconsideration has ruined thousands–and will ruin thousands more. But shall it ruin you? It will–if you give way to it. Let me entreat you to do so no longer.

Consider that you are immortal–and must live forever.
Your BODY will die–and perhaps soon.
But not so your SOUL–it never dies.
Death changes its place–but not its nature.
It leaves earth for Heaven–or for Hell! It lives as much when the body is dead–as it did before. It is conscious–and capable of enjoying the highest pleasures–or of enduring the most dreadful torments! And one or the other will be its lot.

Heaven–or Hell,
happiness–or misery,
always follows upon death!

Surely an immortal being ought to consider:

Where shall I be after death?

What shall I be?

Among whom shall I have my eternal portion?

Is it rational to confine our attention to the present time, and the present world–when time bears no comparison to eternity; and our stay in this present world must be brief?

Consider that you are a sinner.
You have broken God’s law.
You have incurred God’s displeasure.
You are condemned by God’s Word.
You deserve God’s wrath.
Your heart is alienated from God.
You act in opposition to God.
You lie absolutely at God’s mercy–and at any moment He could cut you down, and send you to Hell.
You have no right to expect anything but justice at His hands! And if He dealt with you after your sins, and rewarded you according to your iniquities–your doom would be indescribably dreadful!

Reader! “Consider your ways!”

Consider that you are immortal–and that you must live somewhere forever!

Consider that you are a sinner–and that you cannot live in Heaven as such!

Consider that you may be saved–for the Lord Jesus Christ is both able and willing to save sinners!

Consider that you can only be saved by sincere faith in Christ!

Consider that you must denounce your own righteousness, and rely solely on His finished work!

Consider that if you are saved by Christ–you will live to Christ.
He will be your Lord–as well as your Savior.
He will be your example–as well as your atoning sacrifice!

Consider that faith is the root of holiness, and a holy life alone proves our faith to be genuine.

“This is what the Lord Almighty says: Consider your ways!”

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21
Jul

Her life-lesson was comprised in four words

   Posted by: jmueller

(James Smith, “Keep Close to Christ” 1857)

A Christian minister was dying. He had a young sister whom he tenderly loved, and in whose welfare he felt the deepest interest. She came to pay the last visit, and receive from his lips the last words of advice. The words of a dying minister, realizing the value of the soul, and the solemnity of eternity, are important words. Taking her by the hand, and fixing his eyes upon her with a loving look, he said, “Keep close to Christ!”

What could he say of more import? Her life-lesson was comprised in four words, “Keep close to Christ!” She had come to Jesus, she  loved Jesus, she found happiness in Jesus; but the dying brother knew . . .
the deceitfulness of the human heart;
the power of the world’s fascinations,
and the craft and subtlety of Satan,
therefore he exhorts, “Keep close to Christ!”

May the Lord give us grace to get near to Him; and then give us more grace, to keep near to Him; for alas! how many of us, like Peter, follow Him afar off!

What must we do–to keep close to Jesus?

We must keep close to His Word. Here He . . .
reveals His mind,
displays His love, and
exhibits His beauty!

It is a revelation of His deepest, sweetest, kindest thoughts!

It is an exhibition of His infinite, eternal, deathless love!

It is a mirror in which we may see His unparalleled beauty and excellency!

No one can keep close to Jesus–who does not daily, seriously, and prayerfully read His Word. That Word . . .
received into the heart by faith,
digested by meditation, and
reduced to practice in the life,
will bring the soul and Christ together!

For the more we know of Christ–the more we shall love Him, the more we shall prize, pant for, and seek to enjoy His presence!

Blessed Spirit, help us so to read the Word–as always to find Christ in it; and by it endear Him more and more unto us, and bring us into closer fellowship with Him!

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16
Jul

The Hiding Place!

   Posted by: jmueller

Be sure to listen to this precious song, “The hiding place!” as you read along with the lyrics!

The Hiding Place!

(James Smith, “Daily Bible Readings for the Lord’s Household”)

“A MAN will be as a hiding place from the wind,
And a refuge from the tempest,
As rivers of water in a dry place,
As the shade of a massive rock in an arid land!”
Isaiah 32:2

The present world is like a bleak and cheerless desert; the climate is very changeable, and we are exposed to piercing, cutting winds.

Sometimes dangerous errors,
sometimes deep afflictions,
sometimes soul-distressing trials,
like violent winds, blow upon us and fill us with alarm and dread!
At such times–a hiding place is necessary.

Jesus is our hiding place!

He will hide us from . . .
the wrath of God,
the rage of Hell, and
the injurious effects of trials and troubles!

Beloved, are you in this hiding place? If so, abide in it, for nowhere else will you find such safety, or enjoy such repose!

Hail, sovereign love which first began,
The scheme to rescue fallen man!
Hail, matchless, free, eternal grace,
Which gave my soul a hiding place!

Against the God who rules the sky,
I fought with hand uplifted high!
Despised the notion of His grace,
Too proud to seek a hiding place!

Enwrapt in thick Egyptian night,
And fond of darkness more than light!
Madly I ran the sinful race,
Secure without a hiding place!

But thus the eternal counsel ran:
“Almighty love–arrest that man!”
I felt the arrows of distress,
And found I had no hiding place!

Indignant Justice stood in view;
To Sinai’s fiery mount I flew!
But Justice cried, with frowning face,
“This mountain is no hiding place!”

E’er long, a heavenly voice I heard,
And Mercy’s angel soon appeared;
He led me on with gentle pace,
To Jesus as my hiding place!

Should sevenfold storms of thunder roll,
And shake the earth from pole to pole;
No thunder bolt could daunt my face,
For Jesus is my hiding place!

On Him almighty vengeance fell,
That would have sunk a world to hell!
He bore it for the chosen race,
And thus became their hiding place!

A few more rolling suns at most,
Shall land me on fair Canaan’s coast;
Where I shall sing the song of grace,
And see my glorious Hiding Place!

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29
Jun

The Price of Our Freedom

   Posted by: jmueller

(James Smith, “The Pastor’s Morning Visit”)

“Christ has made us free!”
Galatians 5:1

We were once the slaves of sin, Satan, and the world; but Jesus has made us free!

We are now delivered from the law–and are under grace.

We are dead to sin–and are justified from it.

We are delivered from Satan–and are at war with him.

We overcome the world–and are hastening out of it.

We are at liberty to serve God, and walk with Him in friendship and holy love.

The price of our freedom–was the life and death of Jesus!

The grand moving cause–was the infinite and everlasting love of God our Father.

The efficient cause of our freedom–was the power and operation of the Holy Spirit.

The instrument by which we are brought into our freedom–is the holy gospel.

The grace which puts us into possession of our freedom–is faith.

The end of our freedom–is that we may serve our God in righteousness and holiness all the days of our life, and then be glorified with Him forever!

We are freed from sin–that we may be holy and happy.

Let us stand fast in the liberty with which Christ has made us free!

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