Charlotte Elliot, born March 18th, 1789, suffered throughout her long life with great physical pain and distress. Though she was physically unable to accomplish much of the ministry she would have liked to help with, her gifted pen has reached millions through the decades since her first published work.
"Just As I Am" was the epitome of Miss Elliott's experience. Her sister says that in 1821 "she became deeply conscious of the evil in her own heart, and having not yet fully realized the fullness and freeness of the grace of God in the Lord Jesus Christ, she suffered much mental distress under the painful uncertainty whether it were possible that such a one as she felt herself to be could be saved.
After groping her way through darkness for a year, Dr. Malan of Geneva (also a renowned hymnist) paid her a visit at her father's house on the ninth of May 1822. Seeing how she was held back from the Saviour by her own self-saving efforts, he said: "Dear Charlotte, cut the cable, it will take too long to unloose it; cut it, it is a small loss." and then bidding her give "one look, silent but continuous at the cross of Jesus," she was enabled at once freely to say:--
"Just as I am-- without one plea,
But that thy blood was shed for me,
And that thou bid'st me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come!"
"From that memorable day," it is said her spiritual horizon was for the most part cloudless," until, in the bright vision that attended her dying moments, she could say in the language of her last verse;--
"Just as I am-- of that free love,
The breadth, length, depth and height to prove,
here, for a season, then above,
O Lamb of God, I come!
Calmly she closed her eyes in death, September 22nd, 1871."
The quoted passage is from the "Illustrated History of Hymns and Their Authors," published in 1875, page 171.
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