By Alexander Smellie
This is how I am justified and forgiven. Not by the hopeless endeavor to win and fight my way to the favor of God and the Celestial City–but by looking to Jesus only, and by leaning on Him absolutely.
“Nothing in my hands I bring, Simply to Your cross I cling!”
This is how I find assurance. I am tossed with tempest, overcast with doubt, haunted with fear–while I scrutinize my own frames and feelings. But when I fix my gaze steadfastly on Him, so all-sufficient, so perfect–the morning awakens and the shadows decay; behold, the winter is past, and the flowers appear! For my own comfort, I would see Him as a glorious Sun filling my sky.
This is how I grow holy. While indeed I am bidden work out my own salvation with fear and trembling, it must not be as if everything depended on me. It must rather be by a perpetual faith in Him, and a perpetual prayer to Him, who works in me to will and to do according to His good purpose! The battle is not mine, but His. He sows the seed, and He ripens the harvest. He lays the foundation, and He puts the top-stone in its fitting place.
This is how I shall be glorified in the end. Self will have vanished in the better country, and Christ will be ALL! I shall follow the Lamb wherever He goes. I shall find my safety, my peace, my victory–in keeping very close to Him. He will be familiar, and yet He will be new every morning. And I shall discover in Him a subject of study, and wonder, and worship, and love–which is illimitable and unfathomable!
“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith!” Hebrews 12:2
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Alexander Smellie (pronounced ‘Smiley’) was a Scottish Presbyterian minister (1854-1923). Graham Scroggie said of Smellie, “He was perhaps the greatest devotional writer of his generation, and by reason of his spiritual penetration, the literary force and beauty of his style, together with the simplicity and profoundness of his thought–he was read in all sections of the Christian church, and was loved as well as read.”
As an eyewitness said of Smellie, “He preached with eternity stamped upon his brow! I yet see his seraphic countenance, and hear his sweet and tender voice. I was spell-bound, and could not keep my eyes off him for a moment. What a sermon! I trembled, and never felt God so near. His appeals went to my heart, and, as he spoke of the last day in the darkening twilight, for once I began to pray!”