Friday, January 30, 2009

Less Than Nothing and Vanity

A selection from a letter by Augusta Toplady to someone who had written him with words of admiration. He responded with a personal assessment of himself. The letter was written November 2, 1777.


Your letter quite distresses me, because it places excellencies to my account which I feel myself to be totally unpossessed of. Among all the weak and unworthy servants of Christ, I am the unworthiest and the weakest. If you know me as well as I know myself, you would be entirely of my mind.

For the Lord’s sake let us look to Jesus only, and learn to cease from man. Christ is all in all. Every other person and thing are vile, and wretched, and hateful, but so far as he deigns to smile and bless. “Less than nothing and vanity” is the only motto that belongs to me. If he vouchsafe to wash me in his blood, and to save me by his infinitely free and glorious redemption; a more worthless and helpless sinner will never sing his praises in the land of glory.

Instead of commending me, pray for me; that I may be kept from evil, and devote my few days (in humble and earnest attempt at least) to the honour of his name…

The Works of Augustus Toplady, Bookshelf Publications, reprint from the 1794 edition, p. 878.

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