Davidson Coll. Apr 26th
My dear Mother: I am now doing what I have’nt done before since I came here that is write a letter on Sunday. But I think I could not find a better time to tell you what I am going to tell. Mother I think that you already know from some of the letters that I have written to you, that I have been thinking seriously on the affairs that pertain to my soul.
I have for a long time– even before leaving home– felt that the Holy Spirit was at work in my
heart. I have often felt my great sinfulness and need of my Saviour, but through the wicked[ness] of my heart put off coming boldly and openly to Christ & enlisting under his banner.
I found very lately that I was drifting farther from God every day instead of finding a more suitable opportunity of coming to Him. I saw the wickedness of my course, humbled myself before my Savior in prayer, and have hope that my prayer was heard. I found peace in believing on His Great & Holy name. I was led by His grace to put my trust in Jesus. Oh what a sweet consolation to know that Jesus is ready to receive & pardon every sinner that
will come unto Him!
Two weeks ago this evening, by the advice of a classmate, I went to see Dr McPha[?] who gave me great consolation by his good counsels. He advised me to come forward and join Christs church, and this I felt a privilege as well as a duty to do. To day was Communion day and I today publicly professed faith in Christ and partook of the Lord’s Supper.
I feel that through the influences of the Holy Ghost I have been made willing to “give myself up to God as a living Sacrifice.” Eight students joined the church today, which shows that God is with us. Myself & roommate
have both at the same time taken upon ourselves the vows of christianity.
Mother will you pray for me and those other young christian[s] with me, that we may have grace from on high to walk in the paths of the Lord, and never forget Him who died for us — who became poor that we through His poverty might become rich.
Mother write me a long letter of encouragement in my new life, and write as soon as you can to,
Your own dear Son J.B.S. P.S.I am enjoyin tolerable health now,I have a slight cold but it will soon pass off.
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From: DC0083s Smith, James Bayliss, 1849-1872 (1870). Papers, 1868-1870. (View Finding Aid)
Smith, James Bayless. Letter to Mother. 26 April 1868. DC0083s. James Bayless Smith Papers. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC. Available: https://davidsonarchivesandspecialcollections.org/archives/digital-collections/james-bayliss-smith-letter-26-apr-1868/.