Charlotte Elliott (1789-1871)

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Hymn #332.
How often have our hearts been touched at gospel meetings when singing that precious hymn, “Just as I am without one plea!” It tells out the satisfaction of a heart won by Christ and His love. This hymn was written by Miss Charlotte Elliott, who was born March 18, 1789, at Westfield Lodge, Brighton, England. The preacher Henry Venn was her maternal grandfather, as his daughter Eling was married to Charles Elliott of Clapham and Brighton. Charlotte was the third daughter of six children. Two of her brothers became clergymen and her uncle Dr. John Venn was one also. From her childhood she was surrounded with culture and piety, but was in a state of chronic ill health. In 1821 she became and remained a confirmed invalid. In 1822 This affliction was blessed of God to her through Dr. Caesar Malan, man of God from Geneva, who was then visiting her father. She had not yet realized the fullness of salvation which is in Christ Jesus. Seeing that she was held back from the Savior by her own sell-saving efforts, he said, “Dear Charlotte, cut the cable, it will take too long to unloose it—.” She greatly resented his efforts to bring her to Christ and perhaps because of the irritability caused by her poor health she was very abrupt with him on one occasion. Later she apologized for her sharpness and told him that she was miserable-”I want to come to Jesus, but I don’t know how.” Dr. Malan answered, ‘Why not come just as you are! You have only to come to Him just as you are.” She soon found her resting place on the value of the blood of Christ.
“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.”
Her father died in 1833 and from this time she was able to get much consolation from the employment of her pen in prose and verse. On the death of her mother and two sisters in 1843 the home was broken up; and in 1845 she and her surviving sister went to live (after a visit to the Continent) in Torquay in Devonshire, England. While there a doctor, under whose care she was, presented her with a leaflet which had been printed by a certain Christian woman, with her hymn “Just as I am.” The surprise and pleasure were mutual when she recognized her own hymn, and he discovered that she was the author!
On September 22, 1871, the Lord graciously took her home to Himself to enjoy more fully what she had expressed in another of her hymns:
“Let me be with Thee where Thou art,
My Savior, mine eternal rest;
Then only will this longing heart
Be fully and forever blest.”