Joseph Denham Smith was born at Romsey, Hants, circa 1816. After studying for some time in the Dublin Theological Institute, he entered the Congregational ministry in 1840. In 1849 he became pastor of the congregational Church at Kingston, near Dublin, and in 1863 began a series of services at Merrion Hall, Dublin, and subsequently at other places. His evangelistic work in England and Ireland is well known. In connection therewith he has published a large number of tracts, pamphlets and small books. One of them "Times of Refreshing Illustrated in the Present Revival of Religion, 1860" included several of his hymns which were sung during that time at his special services at Kingston. He also published "Seven Hymns for the Present Time, circa 1870-6" and "The New Times of Refreshing. Hymns for General and Special Use, compiled by J. Denham Smith, Lond. J.E. Hawkins (N.D)". In this collection his signed hymns are 36 in all, and deal with the subjects usually associated with what are known as 'Gospel Hymns'. There are several in "The Enlarged London Hymn Book, 1873". His hymns "Just as Thou art—how wondrous fair" (1860) is in Spurgeon's 0.0. Hymn Book. 1866, and "Yes, we part, but not for ever" (parting) is in several minor collections. Mr. Smith's hymns have not been incorporated into the leading hymnals of G. Britain or America.
Smith's hymn in 'Spiritual Songs', is no. 35, a very sweet and popular hymn in the gatherings of the saints: "Rise my soul! Behold 'tis Jesus". It was not in G.V. Wigram's edition of 1856, but Mr. Darby included it in his edition of 1881 and 1894, 1903, 1928 and 1978 repeated its inclusion.
A few extracts from J. Denham Smith in 'Chief Men among the Brethren':-
Joseph Denham Smith had a happy childhood and possessed a buoyancy of spirit which never forsook him. His widowed mother, a devoted Christian, longed for his early conversion and abundantly were her prayers answered.
At the age of sixteen he first preached the Gospel, and many were thrilled by his lifting up of Christ. Hearing of Ireland's need, he determined to settle in that land, and there for many years spent a happy and blessed life in pointing sinners to Christ. In 1841 he commenced his more recognised public ministry at Newry, where his memory is still held in affection and gratitude. He flung himself with zeal into the great revival in Northern Ireland in 1859 and was greatly used of the Lord in bringing blessing to needy souls. Mr. Shuldham Henry, afterwards a well-known preacher of the Gospel, was converted to God through the instrumentality of Mr. D.Smith. Because of his intense labours in the gospel, Mr. D. Smith felt he could no longer be bound by denominational bonds. He retired from his pastorate in his church at Kingston in order to take his stand as a servant of the Church at large. In prose and in sacred verse he served the Lord to the best of his ability.
In the calling home of this beloved Christian, the Church of God on earth lost one of its brightest ornaments, and one of its most faithful servants; one who unswervingly followed his Lord and counted it, throughout his ministry of fifty years, his brightest joy to spend and be spent in his Master's service. That ministry, so redolent with the savour of Christ, endeared him to many thousands in this and other lands, who never had the privilege of his personal acquaintance or of his viva voce exposition of the Word.