"YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN"
~100 WELL - KNOWN
MEN IN ALL
RANKS OF LIFE
A Rt. Honourable, M.P. and P.C.
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE SAMUEL SMITH, Privy Coun-
cillor, for twenty years M.P. for the County of Flint,
passed away at Calcutta on 28th December, 1906, aged 70.
In the volume entitled "My Life Work," he gives an
account of his conversion as follows: "I had been carefully
trained in religious knowledge in youth, was much in-
terested in religious themes, and at times truly concerned
about my personal convictions as touching the higher life.
I had been a church member for several years, was a
regular attendant at church, and attentive to the private
exercise of religion, yet, as I afterwards discovered, there
was something lacking, and this lack touched the very
kernel of Christianity. A young man, a well-known
cricketer in Birkenhead, WILLIAM P. LOCKHART, had just
come out as a preacher to his fellows. He was advertised
to speak in the old Egremont Assembly Rooms early in
1861, and I went with other young men to hear him.
That address changed my life-current, and I believe it did
so to others. I went in, supposing in a vague and general
way that I was a Christian. I came out knowing that I
was not, at least in the deeper sense of the word. The
preacher's merciless analysis showed how hollow was all
religion that was not founded on living, personal faith in
a living, personal Saviour. I saw plainly that I did not
possess it. I discovered that the vital change was wanting,
and that it must be obtained if I was to possess salvation
(John 3. 3).
"Dr. Temple, Channing, Martineau, and Robertson
considerably influenced my religious views. There is
much that is admirable in the writings of these great men,
but they lack the deeper note of New Testament theology--
the blood of Jesus Christ his [God's] Son cleanseth us from
all sin (1 John 1. 7). Is not the true explanation of these
spiritual phenomena given in the words of Paul: the
natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: ...
neither can he know them, because they are spiritually dis-
cerned (1 Cor. 2. 14)? It needs an inner revelation to
show us that we cannot save ourselves, and that Christ is
able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by
[H]im[!] (Heb. 7. 25). When once the soul is enabled to see
this, all fancied self-righteousness disappears, and the
beauty and perfectness of God's salvation shine into the
heart. Is it not the fact that in every genuine case of con-
version there is repeated the essence of our Lord's words:
Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom
of God (John 3. 3)? The intellect cannot of itself discern
spiritual truth: the wisdom of this world is foolishness
with God (1 Cor. 3. 19). These truths I had to learn
through months of deep anxiety, but at last I got my feet
on the Rock, and found that my experience was exactly
expressed in the well-known lines of Toplady:"Rock of Ages, cleft for me,And I may add that now, fully forty years after, these lines
Let me hide myself in Thee," etc.
just as truly express my faith."
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