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