Dear Brethren,

I would like to share a portion of a New Year article written by James Smith in 1855. It is very meaningful and spiritually provoking as we just entered into the new year 2014. May the Lord help us to reflect, repent and reform ourselves to be more like Christ in this new year.

A NEW YEAR – James Smith, 1855

The commencement of a new year calls for reflection, repentance, and reformation. We should . . .

reflect upon the past,
repent at present, and
aim at reformation in future.

If we reflect rightly, we shall repent sincerely; and
if we repent sincerely, we shall reform immediately.
“Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord.”

Flying time cries, reflect;
approaching eternity cries, repent;
and the God of time and eternity cries, reform.

But who can bear close and serious reflection upon the past? It demands . . .
honesty of heart,
determination of spirit, and
zeal for the divine glory.

It is no trifling business to reflect upon . . .
sins committed,
mercies received,
duties neglected,
favors bestowed,
opportunities lost,
and kindness displayed.

But if we do not reflect — we shall not repent;
if we do not repent — we shall not walk humbly with God;
if we do not walk humbly with God — we shall not be happy;
and if we are not happy — we shall not honor our profession.

Reader, are you a Christian? If so, take the first quarter of an hour you have to spare, and go aside quietly to reflect upon the past year. Think of its twelve months, its fifty-two Sundays, its three hundred and sixty-five days. Turn over the book of remembrance, and see if you can reckon up . . .
the mercies you have received;
the evils from which you have been preserved;
the temptations you have escaped;
the sins you have committed;
the opportunities for doing or getting good;
and the privileges by which you have been distinguished.

Inquire . . .
what use you have made of your talents,
what motives have influenced your conduct,
what use you have been in the Church,
what good you have done to the world, and
what honor you have brought to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Alas! who of us can go over the ground we have trodden during the last year — without being covered with shame and confusion of face. Brethren,
let us seriously consider the past,
let us, then, heartily confess our transgressions unto the Lord,
let us repair to the ever open fountain,
nor let us rest until the Holy Spirit bears his inward witness that our sins are all forgiven.

Let us all give up ourselves more unreservedly to the Lord. Let us make his glory the main business of our lives. Let us not live unto ourselves — but unto Him who died for us and rose again. Living, may it be our aim to exhibit and exalt Christ — and then dying will be to us everlasting gain. Let us seek the salvation of sinners more ardently, perseveringly, and prayerfully than we have ever done. Let us strive, in every possible way, to rouse up the Churches from their present sleepy state; nor rest, nor let others rest, until our chapels are crowded, our converts multiplied, our additions great, and our members holy. Let us realize the fact, that “the Lord Almighty is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge — “that his arm is not shortened that it cannot save, nor his ear heavy that it cannot hear; that he is saying to us, “Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it!” and, “You have not because you ask not, or because you ask amiss. Ask and receive, that your joy may be full.”

Beloved, the writer wishes you all a holy, happy, and successful New Year!

Elder John Leong