Thursday, June 26, 2008

Your Sinfulness Far Exceeds All That You Have Stated

A portion of a letter written by Charles Simeon of Cambridge, to Lord Harrowby, whose son, Granville, had been deeply depressed. Simeon told Lord Harrowby about a conversation he had had with the son. Simeon gave advice quite different than he had been receiving from his friends. The letter was written in February, 1823. Mr. Simeon told the lad:

You see yourself guilty of sins which preclude a hope of forgiveness. Your friends have endeavoured to shew you that you judge yourself too hardly. In this they have erred for, if they have succeeded, they have given you a peace founded on your own worthiness, a peace that would last no longer than till the next temptation arose in your mind… If they have not succeeded, they have only confirmed you in your views. I say to you the very reverse. Your views of yourself (your own sinfulness) though they may be erroneous, are not one atom too strong. Your sinfulness far exceeds all that you have stated, or have any conception of. “Your heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it?” But I have an effectual remedy for them all – “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin.” I grant that you are lost and utterly undone. So are all mankind – some for gross sins – some for impenitence – some for other sins. You are lost for the very sins you mention, hardness of hear, indifference, etc…

Do this then, take a book as large as any that is in the Bank of England. Put down all the sins of which either conscience or a morbid imagination can accuse you. Fear not to add to their number all that Satan himself can suggest.

And this I will do. I will put on the creditor side “the unsearchable riches of Christ” and will leave you to draw the balance…

Charles Simeon of Cambridge, by Hugh Evan Hopkins, Hodder & Stoughton, 1977, p. 126.

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