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 keepingwhere 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