The temptation, and the opportunity
(James Smith's autobiography, "Marvelous Mercy!" 1862)
The following in an excerpt from the diary of James Smith:
I have just heard that an old friend, far advanced in life, has fallen into sin! May the Lord pardon and restore him.
In looking back, I wonder that I have not publicly fallen; for I have been powerfully tempted to other sins, equally as bad. I have regularly observed, that in my experience the Lord has not often allowed the temptation, and the opportunity — to meet! And when they have, fear has worked powerfully and kept me back.
"But as for me — my feet were almost gone! My steps had well near slipped!" Psalm 73:2
Ah, how frequently have I been almost gone! I can call to mind places and times, when I have been in the very mouth of danger, on the brink of a fearful fall — and yet the Lord has held me up! But for special keeping — where would I have been this morning? And what would I be? Blessed be God, though it was almost — it was not fully. This word, almost, has been sweet to my soul.
Almost Gone! — but altogether saved, through God's most free, and all-glorious grace!
But I would not merely be kept from open sin, I desire to be so deeply sanctified, that my soul may . . .
hate, abhor, and detest sin in every form,
tremble at its approach, and
flee from the very appearance of evil — to Jesus!
I find that my nature is still corrupt, depraved, and polluted; and that . . .
the blood of Jesus,
the restraining power of the Holy Spirit,
and the forgiving grace of God
— are as necessary as ever!
"Hold me up — and I shall be safe!" Psalm 119:117