What answer can you give to these very important questions?
(James Smith's autobiography, "Marvelous Mercy!" 1862)
On the last day of this year, I wrote in my diary as follows:
"Through the richest mercy, I am now brought to the close of another year, let me therefore ask you, my soul — What are your improvements this past year?
Is Christ more precious?
Do His work, righteousness, and blood, appear inestimable?
Do you see more of His suitability, and feel a stronger attachment to Him?
Is His glory dearer to you, and His honor more precious in your sight?
Do you feel more devoted to Him, and find greater pleasure in His service?
Do you lie lower at the foot of the cross, and is Jesus more lovely in your eyes?
Are you more humbled before God under a sight and sense of your sinfulness?
Is your temper, disposition, and will — more subdued by grace?
Does grace reign, and sway its scepter over all your powers?
Is sin more hateful, death less fearful, and Heaven more desirable?
Is the Bible more prized, and are you better acquainted with its contents, living under the influence of its holy precepts?
Is holiness and entire devotedness to God more sought after?
Are you seeking to live nearer to Jesus, to trust more unreservedly to Him, and to leave all your concerns in His hands?
Are you more earnest in your desires to be made useful to His flock and family?
Are you more prayerful, more given to meditation?
Is it your one grand desire and aim, to crown Jesus Lord of all?
Speak, my soul — what answer can you give to these very important questions? Speak as in the sight of God, as though you were placed before the tribunal of the Most High God! Let the Holy Spirit, who searches all things, be your witness that you speak the truth, and nothing but the truth!"