Can this be — for such a vile wretch like me?

(James Smith's autobiography, "Marvelous Mercy!" 1862)

"By the grace of God I am what I am!" 1 Corinthians 15:10

Lord, You have said, "I will cast all your sins into the depths of the sea!" They shall be carried into a land of everlasting forgetfulness. And to confirm all, You have added, "I will never leave you nor forsake you!" Is this, can this be — for such a vile wretch like me? O wondrous mercy! O boundless sovereign, everlasting, unchangeable, love! Yes, it suits me, because it is all of grace, free grace, from first to last — without works, and without boasting.

O how shall I sufficiently admire, bless, praise, and adore the grace "that buries all my sins" and rejoice in that glorious righteousness in which I stand perfect before a holy God! I feel ready to cry out, "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, for He has clothed vile, polluted, Hell-deserving me — with the garments of salvation! He has covered me with the robe of righteousness!"

Why is this? O Lord, why is this — that I am made to hear your pardoning voice — while thousands are left to perish in their sins, who are much better than I am? It is even so, Father — for so it seems good in Your sight.

O wondrous depth of sovereign grace, without either a shore or a bottom! Lord, lead me into it, and there let me bathe to all eternity! May I know the wondrous love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge! I now feel as if I was lost in an endless subject — the astonishing love of Christ — the sovereign, boundless, bottomless, free, and eternal love of Christ! O how wonderful that such a poor, vile, wretched, nothing creature, as I am — should be interested in it! Surely none but Jesus could, and none but Jesus would — so love one so vile as me; but He has done it!

What shall I render unto the Lord, my covenant God — for His boundless mercy to such a guilty, Hell-deserving, sinner as I am? O Lord, may I gaze, admire, and adore!