Sunday, August 12, 2007

Just As I Am

Just As I Am
Words by Charlotte Elliott
Music by William B. Bradbury

Without question, this hymn has touched more hearts and influenced more people for Christ than any other song ever written. The words were written by an invalid woman who wrote these words out of intense feelings of uselessness and despair.

Charlotte Elliott was born in 1789 in England. As a young person she was carefree and she gained popularity as a portrait artist and writer of humorous verse. By the time she was thirty, however, her health began to fail rapidly, and soon she was bedridden - an invalid for the remaining years of her life. Her failing health brought feelings of deep despondency. In 1822 Dr. Caesar Malan, a noted Swiss evangelist, visited the Elliott home. His visit was a turning point in Charlotte's life. While counseling Miss Elliott about her spiritual and emotional problems, Dr. Malan impressed on her the truth that "You must come just as you are, a sinner, to the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world." Every year, for the rest of her life, Miss Elliott celebrated the day on which her Swiss friend had led her to a personal relationship with Christ. It is apparent that she never forgot the words of her friend, for they are at the heart of this hymn that she wrote 14 years later.

Charlotte Elliott’s brother, Rev. Elliott, was planning to build a school for daughters of clergymen. Miss Elliott wrote the text for "Just As I Am" with the desire that it might help financially. As she thought of her weakness, she realized that since salvation was not of works, her Christian life was also to be by faith and trust and that God accepts the weakest person. Taking up her pen, she wrote this hymn of commitment. It is interesting to note that this one hymn from the pen of the clergyman's invalid sister brought in more funds than all of his bazaars and projects combined. In later years her brother said, "In the course of a long ministry, I hope to have been permitted to see some fruit of my labors; but I feel more has been done by a single hymn of my sister's."

Charlotte Elliott wrote approximately 150 hymns. After her death more than a thousand letters were found among her papers from individuals around the world expressing what this one hymn had meant in their lives. Only eternity will reveal the vast number of people whose lives have been dramatically changed through the use of this one hymn from the pen of an invalid woman. It is a hymn that should be used more often than just as an invitational number at the close of a service. Its message is one that we need to be reminded of frequently - our eternal standing and peace with God depends solely on Christ's merits and not our own.

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, Thy love unknown
Hath broken every barrier down;
Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

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, I come!

4 comments:

  1. I love this hymn also. I have heard of the wonderful lady who wrote it and what an inspiration she can be to us all!

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  2. Love that hymn. I enjoy a lot of contemporary Christian music, but nothing moves me like the hymns I grew up with. Did you find any good stuff on your garage saling trip? Tea with my new cups would be fun! What is your favorite kind? I like Earl Gray and just plain black tea. I also enjoy chai. Have you tried it? :>)

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