Biographical Sketch of Charlotte Elliot

CHARLOTTE Elliott, the gifted writer of
the well-known Hymn ” Just as I am,”
was bom 18th March, 1789;, and died
September 22nd, 1871. She was the
third daughter of the late Charles Elliott,
Esq., of Clapham and Brighton. During
many years her parents formed the centre of a very
interesting religious circle at both those places.
Her uncle, the Rev. John Venn, was rector of
Clapham; and her mother, Mrs. Elliott, was the
eldest daughter of the Rev. Henry Venn, of Hud-
dersfield and Yelling, one 61 the leaders of the
religious awakening in the last . century, and to
her, as Eling Venn, are addressed many of the
letters that appear in the published memoir of his
life. Her two brothers, the late Rev. H. V. Elliott,
of St. Mary’s, Brighton, and the Rev. E. B. Elliott,
author of the “Horae Apocalypticae,” are well
known by their characters and their works.

From early years she was more or less an in-
valid, and consequently her life was one of much
seclusion, offering but few incidents and little
variety. Her life was a hidden one. She always
rallied during the summer months, and was able to
pay visits to friends at a distance, who loved and
valued her society, and appreciated the charm of
her conversation and her brilliant imagination.

Amongst those whose friendship she specially
enjoyed, I must mention the Cunningham family,
at Harrow; our cousin, Mrs. Batten, who was a
Venn ; Bishop Shirley ; and the Moneys, who
were specially beloved. Visits to these friends
always brightened the ordinary monotony of her
life ; and the zest with which she entered into
the beauties of scenery and the charms of intel-
lectual society, will never be forgotten by those
who knew her.

Naturally she had a strong will, but this be-
came gradually subdued, as her religious princi-
ples deepened. Her temperament was eminently
poetical ; and her tender sympathy in every joy
or sorrow of those whom she loved is fully testified
in many of her letters and poems.

She was always exceedingly fond of music, with
a very fine and delicate ear ; and it was only the
continual interruption of ill health that prevented
the successful development of this talentj as well
as the kindred accomplishment of drawing, for
which she showed much taste and aptitude. In
younger years her voice blended sweetly with
the family choir, and to the close of life her
enjoyment of music was exquisite. Such tastes
as these, combined witli her unusual powers of
conversation, her high intellectual capacity, and,
her zest for every interesting subject, made h^r
companionship very deUghtful and highly valued.

There was a period, before my father’s final
Temoval from- Clapham to Brighton, when her
remarkable talents and accomplishments made
her a welcome guest in circles where she met
some of the most brilliant wits and writers of the
day. To one of her temperament such society as
this had an almost irresistible fascination. But
there was an absence of religion, if not hostihty
to it, in many of, those with whom she was thus
brought into connection, so as to endanger that
higher spiritual life, of which even then she was
conscious. But He who had loved her with an
everlasting love, and who well ki’ew how perilous
a snare this would prove to her, was pleased to
lay her on a bed of sickness, and thus to withdraw
her from the scene of danger and temptation.
This was, I think, in the year 1821.

Then followed a period of much seclusion and
bodily distress, from the continuance of feeble
health. Her views, too, became clouded and con-
fused, through an introduction to religious contro-
versy, and the disturbing influence of various
teachers, who held inadequate notions of the
efficacy of Divine grace. She became deeply
conscious of the evil in her own heart, and having
not yet fully realised the fulness 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 an
one as she felt herself to be could be saved.

At this conjuncture it pleased God graciously
to provide for her a spiritual teacher fully adapted
to her necessities. It was an era in her life never
to be forgotten. On the 9th of May, 1822, she
was for the first time introduced to Dr. Csesar
Malan, of Geneva, in her father’s residence. Grove
House, Clapham, through the kind intervention of
Miss Waddington, afterwards the wife of Bishop
Shirley. From that time, for forty years, his con-
stant correspondence was justly esteemed the
greatest blessing of her life. The anniversary of
that memorable date was always kept as a festal
day ; and on that day, so long as Dr. Malan lived,
commemorative letters passed from the one to the
other, as upon the birthday of her soul to true
spiritual life and peace. The tenor of these com-
munications may be justly estimated from a letter
written about a fortnight after their first interview,
of which the following is a translation : —

Manchester : May \%th, 1822.

” Very dear Friends,

“Since the Lord our God, our Saviour
and our Father, has deigned to make me ‘ find
favour in your eyes,’ and since the word of His
minister has been agreeable and precious to you,
I can in peace and confidence continue to discuss
with you those things which belong to our eternal
salvation.

” The love of the Lord is over all His works :
His compassion is higher than the heavens. He
forgets not any of His promises. He is faithful.
We do not believe it, dear friends;’ our hearts
can neither imagine nor admit the love which God
bears us, unless they have been changed, renewed,
turned again unto the Lord by the powerful grace
of God. Even in the Christian world, amongst those
who speak most freely of religion, the sentiment
least found, and most seldom seen, is the simple,
sincere consciousness of the love of God. One
may converse for hours on the Gospel, or Church
business; or discourse with learning and spiri-
tuality on some high doctrine, or question of
morals, and- thus may have it said, nay, even
persuade ourselves, that there has been much
edification in such and such a visit, or social
gathering, or public service; and, nevertheless,
remain as far from the life of God as are the
men of the world in their calculations and vain
pursuits.

” Dear friends, one look, silent but continuous
and faithful at the cross of Jesus, is better, is more
efficacious than all beside. It, at least, connects
us with eternity ; it is a look of life, aye, of life
Divine. To say to oneself that the Lord loves us,
that He is our Father, that He cherishes us, that
He sees, follows, guides, guards us ; to believe, but
to believe indeed, that Jesus is our friend each day,
each hour ; that His grace surrounds us, that His
voice continually bids us be happy and holy in
Him ; to dwell, child-like, in the joy of that love,
and to repeat to one’s soul, ‘ O my soul, my soul,
dwell thou in peace, and bless thy God : ‘ — all
this which is life, and without which there is no
life, either here below, or in the world above, is
not the work of our own will ; it is the direct
achievement of the merciful and freely given
power of Him who is ‘ over all, God blessed for
ever;’ who is love, and who desires to be called
and recognized as the Father of infinite compas-
sion.

” But, dear, truly dear friends and sisters, in our
vanity, in frivolous presumption, in foolish error,
we may flatter ourselves that we live,’without this
life ; that we are wise, though ignorant of this
truth ; that we are content, happy, peaceful in the
midst of our own agitation and in a path we try
to trace in the quicksand of our glory, of the
approbation of acquaintances, of our sciences, our
lectures, our pleasures,^ etc. Then (and then very
happily, Charlotte !) there is no more peace for
an immortal soul thus deceived, bound, tenfold
vanquished by the craft and seductions of Satan,
of the world, of its own folly. For such a soul
there are only bitter restlessness, long feebleness,
tears, regrets, and continual sighings after a life it
cannot attain, yet of which it feels the imperative
need.

“But Jesus remains the same above this gloomy
ignorance, this culpable wandering : Jesus wliose
name is Saviour, Jesus who does not watch a
wretched soul to condemn and destroy it, but to
draw it to Himself, and to restore its life by par-
doning all ; Jesus looks upon this soul, and the
dear soul is astonished to feel once more, to find
repentant tears, and hope of grace and pardon,
and joys which it had thought never to know
again. Jesus looks upon Peter, and Peter can at
last say, ‘ Thou k?wwest that I love Thee.’

“Ah, well ! my very dear friends, since such a
look has lighted on your beloved souls, since to-
day you can say, ‘ We have found the Messiah,’
and can rejoice in the light of His countenance,
remain in that glorious possession while remaining
single-minded, and only occupying yourselves, espe-
cially during these early days, with this consecra-
tion, with this joy : oh leave, I pray you in the
name of your Redeemer, of your King who desires
to reign over your whole heart, leave Martha’s
occupations, and be happy to sit tranquil at the
feet of the Saviour, listening to what He has to
tell you.

” Dear Eleanor, offer to Christ a sacrifice, a
whole sacrifice,- — do not keep back any part of
your heart. Dear Charlotte, cut the cable, it will
take too long to unloose it; cut it, it is a small
loss ; the wind blows and the ocean is before you
— the Spirit of God, and eternity.

” Your brother and friend,

” C. Malan.”

Dr. Malan, as a skilful spiritual physician, had
carefully probed the wound, and led her to the
true remedy for all her anxiety, — namely, simple
faith in God’s own Word, directing her attention
to such passages as the following : ” Ho, every one
that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that
hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea,
come, buy wine and milk without money and
without price.'” And again : “God so loved the
world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in Him should not perish,
but have everlasting life.”^ And again : “”He
that hath the Son hath life.”3 Whilst he thus
showed her the fulness and freeness of this
blessed Gospel, He also, with his own peculiar
earnestness and tenderness, impressed upoff her
the guilt of ” making God a liar by refusing to be-
lieve the record that He hath given of His Son.”*

I Isa. Iv. i. ^ John iii. i6.

» I John V. 12. ‘ I John. v. lo.

The Spirit of God accompanied his teaching.
The burden was lifted off that weary spirit ; and
from that ever memorable day, my beloved sister’s
spiritual horizon became for the most part cloud-
less. It is true that the suffering body would at
times weigh down her soul to the dust ; but no
doubt ever again assailed her. Her faith never
was shaken. She might shrink from present suf-
fering, or from unknown imagined terrors as to the
circumstances of her dying hour. But all beyond
was light and joy. Her constant testimony was :
” I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded
that He is able to keep that which I have com-
mitted unto Him against that day.” ‘

Previous to the time of Dr. Malan’s visit, my
sister’s reading had been very discursive. The
noblest earlier writers in our own language, and
especially our poets, were her unceasing delight.
And all the best specimens of modern literature
were devoured with avidity as they appeared.
Dr. Malan at once perceived the spiritual danger
of such pursuits, so eagerly followed, to one of her
temperament. Under his advice, she threw aside
for a time the authors that she had found most

^ 2 Tim, i. 12.

attractive, and confined herself to the exclusive
study of Holy Scripture.

The result fully proved the wisdom of this
advice. The blessed truths of the Bible laid hold
on her mind irresistibly. She found there a more
satisfying ,and elevating exercise for her thoughts,
than in the highest efforts of human genius. The
graphic power of the historical and biographical
narratives, the dissection of character, the full
development of Divine providence in all, created
an interest in her mind that she had never equally
experienced from the ordinary histories of man-
kind. Then the drapery, too, the brilliant imagery,
the word painting, the rich orientali»m of the
poetry, and the colouring of the whole, so rich,
and yet ever so true to nature, surpassed in her
estimation all human compositions.’ But, above
all, she found the words of this holy Book speak
with such power to her own soul, so accurately
dissect her inmost thoughts, reveal to her so

1 I find these lines written in her own private Bible :
” i?z^ dee^ in this precious golden mine,
Toii, and its richest ore is thine ;
Search, and the Saviour will lend His aid
To draw its wealth f^om its mystic shade :
Strive, and His Spirit will give thee light
To work in this heavenly Tnitte aright.
Pray without ceasing, in Him confide,
? Into all truth His light will guide.”

clearly the dealings of God with herself, so fully
set before her her own interest in the free grace of
the blessed Saviour, that from that time forth to
the end of life it was her principal study, her
most delightful companion, and by day and by
night her most unceasing meditation. She could
say, as few others could, ” The law of Thy mouth
is better to me than thousands of gold and silver,
sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.”
And thus it was that she was prepared for that
office which in later life devolved upon her for
more than twenty-five years, the editing of the
” Christian Remembrancer Pocket – Book ; ” the
daily texts for which were for so long, a time
chosen by herself, and carefully arranged to illus-
trate the particular series of spiritual subjects
which in each year she thought fit to select.

From this time her poetical talents became con-
secrated to religion ; and though she had in earlier
jears composed humourous poems, which were
much admired by competent judges, she willingly
renounced the eclat which this style of writing
secured, and counting those things but loss which
once were gain, devoted all the efforts of her pen
henceforward to one object — the glory of God,
and the benefit of others.

During many succeeding years, the personal
intercourse with Dr. Malan was not unfrequent.
For although his home was in Geneva, he visited
England from time to time, and never without
renewing his converse with those to whom his
ministry had been so singularly beneficial.

It pleased God also about this period (1823),
that many family illnesses and bereavements
occurred, which deeply affected my beloved sister,
and gave occasion to some of her most beautiful
poems which appear in ” The Hours of Sorrow.”

During the autumn of the year 1823, an urgent
invitation was received from Miss Waddington
and her brother, asking my two sisters, with my
brother Henry, to pay them a visit at St. Remy,
in Normandy, their family estate. As the change
was thought likely to benefit our dear invalid,
arrangements were made at once for the journey
to France, oar brother Henry, who was tenderly
attached to her, becoming the escort. She greatly
enjoyed the novelty of French society and cus-
toms, and the foreign air agreed with her so well,
that she felt equal to visit Paris before returning
home. In November the travellers came back to
Brighton, refreshed in mind and invigorated in
bodily health.

During the following year, much occurred that
was full of interest to my sister. A District
Society was formed under the supervision of Mrs.
Fry and the Rev. Edward Irving, who became our
guests. Mrs. Fry was peculiarly attracted by my
sister’s character ; and a warm friendship from
this time was formed between them, which lasted
through life. In some respects they were kindred
spirits, each having experienced trial, and its
blessed and refining influences.

About this time, also, we had a circle of very
superior and delightful friends, most of them
visitors for a time at Brighton. I may mention
amongst those most valued and loved, the Cun-
ningham family, Mr. Levison Gower and family,
Mr. Owen of the Bible Society, Archdeacon and
Mrs. Hoare, Dr. Macneile, the Wilberforces, and
the family, of Mr. and Mrs. Money. Though my
sister was unable usually to join our family party
when these guests were with us, she greatly
enjoyed their converse in her own private room.

During the next three or four years, there does
not occur to my memory much to record. Each
winter was to her one of confinement and suf-
fering ; and when summer weather arrived, visits
were made in various directions. But her health
gave way entirely in 1829, and she became
too weak to leave her room. In the following
summer, it was thought that travelling, and entire
change of air and scene and medical treatment,
might prove of the greatest .benefit. Arrange-
ments were, therefore, made for her leaving home.
She was so weak at the time that it was necessary
to have her carried down-stairs and lifted into the
caniage. A sister and a maid accompanied her,
first into Devonshire, and then, in October, to
Leamington, where she was at once placed in the
hands of Dr. Jephson, a most skilful physician,
and one who, from his discernment and intel-
lectual character, was especially quahfied to be
useful to my sister, acting upon her body, as she
often said, through her mind and understanding.

There Ive remained till the following May, Dr.
Jephson proving as successful a physician for the
body as Dr. Malan had been for the soul. Very
gradually from this time my sister’s habits of life
were greatly changed. At the cost of much daily
self-denial, earlier hours were adopted, and a diet
strictly according to rule, with gentle walking
exercise. Her state of mind at this period is
illustrated by the following letter (written after
our father’s death) :

Shirley : JVifz/. \-2tk, 1833.

” To-morrow is your birthday, my Eleanor, and it
is the second passed by you in a state of suffering,
and after a bereavement ?wiiich has made so affect-
ing an alteration in our lives. I would, if it were
possible, feel more tender sympathy and offer more
earnest prayers on your behalf than I have ever
done before, and infuse into these poor lines such
balm and consolation as your own dear affection
and sympathy have often dropped sweetly on my
suffering heart.

“I would tell you also, my love, that though I did
hope that your path would lie through a brighter
and more flowery region than mine, yet even in
the vale of suffering there are blessed companions
to associate with— sweet consolations to partake of,
heavenly privileges to enjoy. For myself, I am
well content to tread it, and to remain in it, till
my weary feet stand on the brink of Jordan.

‘ It costs me no regret that she
Who followed Christ, should follow me ;
And though, where’er she goes.
Thorns spring spontaneous at her feet,
/ love her, and extract a sweet
E’en from my bitterest woes.’

{Madame Guiotis “Address to Sorroxay)

But I have been many years learning this diffi-
cult lesson, — and even now am but little skilled
in this blessed alchemy.

“During the last few months, I humbly trust I
have made some little progress, and oh ! that what
I have been taught by my heavenly Physician
might be of some benefit to a sister I so tenderly
love ! Oh how many bitter tears have I shed for
this cause, my Ellen; how many hard struggles
and apparently fruitless ones, has it cost me to be-
come resigned to this appointment of my heavenly
Father ; but the struggle is over now. He knows,
and He alone, what it is, day after day, hour after
hour, to fight against bodily feelings of almost over-
powering weakness and languor and exhaustion;
to resolve, as He enables me to do, not to yield to
the slothfulness and the self-indulgence, the de-
pression, the irritability such a body causes me to
long to indulge, — but to rise every morning, de-
termined on taking this for my motto : ‘ Jf any man
will come after me, let him deny himself, take up
his cross daily, and follow me;’ and I trust He
has made me willing to do this, and has also made
the sorrows and sufferings of my earthly life the
blessed means of detaching my heart from the
love of it, and of giving me a longing, which seems
each day to grow stronger, only to be made meet
for my great change, to be sanctified wholly in
body, soul, and spirit. And during these weeks
and months of separation from my nearest friends,
of seclusion and quietness, external and internal,
much has been passing, my Ellen, between my
soul and God,— such peace has been habitually
granted to me, — such a sense of pardoning love, —
such a bright hope that He has indeed chosen and
accepted me, and is preparing me for His heavenly
glory, refining and purifying me, that I shall ever
remember this period as one of the happiest
seasons of my life. The absence of agitation, and
excitement, and bustle, the unbroken hours of
reading and prayer, have been very helpful to me ;
the very feeling of being a passing guest — an un-
important and solitary person in the family — has
been useful to me, and has led me to draw
nearer to God as my only and all satisfying
portion.”

In 1834 we became acquainted with Miss Harriet
Kieman, of Dublin, who came to England by
medical advice, though, alas ! too late to arrest the
progress of fatal consumption. She became our
loved guest. before going to the Isle of Wight for
the winter, and a most warm friendship was estab-
lished from this time with our whole family, but
more especially with our Charlotte. It was in
compliance with her very earnest request, as a
sort of dying legacy, that my sister undertook the
editorship of the Christian Remembrancer Pocket-
Book, which till this year had been in the hands
of Miss Kiernan. During a period of twenty-five
years, strength and ability were granted her to pre-
pare annually the little volume, though few knew
how much painful effort this editorship cost her.
It was enriched by very careful selections from
private mss. and letters, and by many of her own
original poems, — so that the sale increased wonder-
fully, and a considerable sum was in consequence
sent yearly towards the funds of a charitable insti-
tution in Dublin (founded by the Miss Kiernans).
For my sister always considered as consecrated
money any profits that might accrue from any of
her printed volumes, and to the close of her life
would never appropriate any portion of it to her
own use.

It was in this year that Miss Kiernan, in her
last illness, had prepared a hymn-book for invalids,
but it was little known or inquired for. The Rev.
Hugh White, an unknown personal friend, but a
valued correspondent of my sister, who began life
as an oflicer in the army, but afterwards entered
into Holy Orders, much desired to have this book
revised; and in consequence, the present well-
known volume, called ” The Invalid’s Hymn-Book,”
was arranged by my sister, with the addition of
one hundred and twelve original hymns composed
by herself, and prefaced by Mr. White. In a
very short time the sale increased, and it now has
reached the eighteenth thousand. In it was first
published the widespread hymn, which has since
been translated into French, Italian, and German :

” Just as I am, without one plea
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come !”

A young lady friend was so struck with it, that she
had it printed as a leaflet and widely circulated,
without any idea by whom it had been composed.
It happened rather curiously that while we were
living at Torquay, our valued Christian physician
came to us one morning, having in his hand this
leaflet. He offered it to my sister, saying, ” I am
sure this will please you ;” and great indeed was
his astonishment at finding that it was written by
herself, though by what means it had been thus
printed and circulated she was utterly ignorant.
Shortly after we became acquainted with the lady
who had printed it.

In 1835 her health was so far restored, that she
yielded to the earnest request of some attached
Scotch friends that she would pay them a visit at
Dalgetty Manse. She travelled slowly by road
the whole distance, and to her poetic eyes and
imagination the Scotch scenery was full of charms.
In reference to this journey she writes : ” After
Doncaster all the coujitry was new to me ; we had
delightful weather and great enjoyment. Durham
Castle and the Palace, from the bridge, have left
a picture in my memory, as they stood out in fine
antique relief, with the grey tint of time and its
ivy upon them. Otherwise, till we entered Scot-
land, there was- little to make any impression, but
that which cultivated and undulating country, seen
under a bright sun in fine weather, will always
produce.

” When we crossed the Tweed, and entered the
land I have so long loved and so often thought of,
and so earnestly desired to visit, I felt sensations
of unusual delight, blended with heartfelt gratitude
to Him who, even in this our brief earthly pil-
grimage, provides for us, and delights to bestow,
so many varied enjoyments and sweet refresh-
ments. Our friends contrived that I should enter
Scotland by a road rich in beauty and in objects
of interest. The silvery transparent Tweed, its
richly-wooded banks, the fine seats embosomed in
wood around it, with the beautiful range of the
Pentland Hills, far more beautiful than our
favourite Malvern, — all these things woke up
feelings that long had slept in my bosom ; and
often and often the tear of rapture started to my
eye, as ‘ above, around, and underneath,’ every
object seemed to touch some responsive chord
within, and to draw my heart towards Him ‘ with-
out whom nothing that is made was made, and for
whose pleasure all things are and were created.’
How much is our delight in His exquisite works
increased by our growing acquaintance with Him
as our Creator, Father, Saviour, Mediator, Sancti-
fier, Comforter ; and how often as I looked at the
glorious firmament, the hills, the woods, the waters,
the cattle, all reposing in their beauty so peacefully,
the words came to my mind, ‘ All Thy works praise
Thee, and Thy saints bless Thee ! They show the
glory of Thy kingdom and talk of Thy power, that
Thy power. Thy glory, and the mightiness of Thy
kingdom might be known unto men.’ . . In spite of
almost wintry weather, cold winds and rains, your
sister feels herself so completely blest and happy,
with such a sense of the Divine benediction resting
upon her, that I think the actual vision of my
blessed and only Saviour, and the actual sound of
His own voice, saying, ‘/ am with thee, My
presence shall go with thee, and give thee rest,’
could not exceed in certainty and sweet assurance
the conviction I now feel, that in this place, and at
this time. He does deal thus graciously with my
soul.”

Other thoughts and feelings, written the same
year, find expression in the following letter :

‘*Westfield Lodge, Brighton;

*’ April T-itk, J.835.

” You will receive this on the sweet dg,y of rest,
,my beloved one, the day of nearest and fullest
access to that King of Glory, who is ever ready to
listen to us, and to grant all our petitions, if it be
for His glory and our real good, that they shall
be granted. May it be a, day of refreshment and
holy joy to ray beloved companion, with whom,
in spirit, I feel so closely, so inseparably united !
‘ Our bodies may far off remove, but still we’re .
joined in heart ;’ and I find myself hour by hour,
all day long, thinking of you, referring to you,
talking of you, and most tenderly cherishing your
remembrance within my heart. To – day I am
thinking of your journey, and rejoicing in the
beautiful gleams of vernal sunshine, and the sweet
spring feeling in the air, which will, I trust, make
travelling very pleasant, notwithstanding the num-
ber of little people and great people contained
in the chariot, rendering it, perhaps, close and
crowded. Oh, how much I wish I could really
look upon all the painful incidents and circum-
stances of daily life, as only the passing unim-
portant annoyances of a journey, — a journey of
which I trust far the larger part is accomplished,
of which but a few short stages remain, — the one
object I would bear in mind is its rapidly ap-
proaching termination.

‘ May I but safely reach my homi!.
My God, my heaven, my all.’

” If I am weary on my way ; ‘ in heaviness ‘
through bodily suffering ; or harassed by the scenes
I witness around me, in these fearful times, how
tranquillising is the thought, that none of these
things can for a moment impede my homeward
progress ; nay, that they are designed to quicken
it, and will assuredly do so, if sanctified to me as
they may be by the word of God and prayer, and
that I shall ere long leave a world ‘made up of
perturbations,’ for that better country, in which
now by faith I spend the only very happy hours
of my existence. Is it not, my beloved, exactly in
proportion as we thither ‘ continually ascend,’
and with our risen Lord habitually dwell, then
that we find rest to our souls, — that we feel they
have attained their proper centre ?”

One of the most striking features in my sister
was her deep sympathy in all cases of sorrow or
distress that were brought before her. It was a
most tender and active sympathy, for willingly she
would never reflise any application for pecuniary
assistance, — indeed, her charities often exceeded .
her means.

Another marked feature was her habit of inter-
cessory prayer, not only for all her relations, but
for friends far off and near, especially those who
might be in sorrow or suffering. Our noble
Societies were never forgotten by her : the Bible
Society, the Church Missionary, and the Jewish
Society had special days of remembrance.

Towards the close of the year 1836 she was
very ill, and some fears were entertained of serious
disease. Happily, however, this was not the case ;
but the advice of two eminent London surgeons
led to the decision that entire change and travel-
ling on the Continent would be most desirable.

Accordingly arrangements were made at once
for the journey, and the months thus spent she
always looked back upon as the most enjoyable
of her whole life.

In November she returned to Brighton, after
spending a short time at Tuxford -vicarage, with our
brother Edward, after his second marriage. , And
in 1836, while staying with the Venn family at
Hereford, she writes : —

” I am sitting all alone in a pleasant little sitting
room upstairs. I have that oppressive sense of
heat and fulness which thunder-storms generally
produce in me ; a soft copious rain is falling
around, with which I think thunder and lightning
have been mingled. The sky is of that deep
purplish grey which forms so rich a background to
the bright green foliage ; and that stillness is pre-
vailing which generally precedes thunder, as if
Nature in humble silence did homage to .Him
‘ whose voice shaketh terribly the earth.’

” I breakfasted most happily alone, with a blessed
book in my hand, feeding my soul at the same
time with my body. Since that time, I have been
reading in that inexhaustible treasury of heavenly
wisdom and comfort, the beautiful 3rd of Revela-
tion, with its references in sweet Mrs. Shedden’?

Bible, and have much enjoyed my noontide hour
of intercessory prayer for all the dear ministers
of Christ, and all the flocks committed to their
charge, especially those connected with ourselves,
and preparing for the holy Sabbath, and all my
own beloved family, among whom I thought of
thee, my love, and felt it sweet to pray for every
blessing, spiritual and temporal, needed by thee,
and known to be needed at this time by Him in
whom we are, I trust, for ever united by a tie still
dearer than that of any earthly relationship !

” Well, then, I set myself diligently to transcribe
a paper of three sides of writing, for our Pocket-
Book (” The Christian Remembrancer”) which were
needed. They are on the character of our Saviour,
and will, I trust, be blessed to many to whom He
is precious. From Bowdler and Tersteegen I have
selected enough for the manuscript ; and now I
am going to compose a few sacred lines to insert
between the two papers, which will be a refreshing
change of employment, as I have been writing for
two hours. I have been walking about for a little
exercise, and composed the lines I wished, which
I think you will like (my own sister) when you see
them in out Pocket-Book. The text I took for my
motto is 2 Cor. iii. i8; and, if I do not deceive
myself, they were from my heart, as well as my
pen. Oh ! how sweet it is to strive to do every-
thing in the name and to the glory of such a Lord
and Master, and to be permitted in everything to ask
His aid, and to aspire to His blessed approbation.
” It is delightful to me at all times to be alone,
when I can employ myself; though, as you well
know (by having at such times been my sweet
cheerer and comforter), there are periods and feel-
ings which utterly disable me, and then perfect
solitude is heavy. Since I have been here I have
had only enough of it to enjoy, and to strive I
hope to improve. But I dwell upon the thought
more and more, that our earthly life is only a short
journey, some of its stages wearisome and long,
perhaps, but not one that does not carry us nearer
to our home ; and, blessed be God, not one that is
not cheered by His presence, and passed through
under His gracious direction ; and while these are
granted, the soul is happy, and even joyful, though
she feels the burden and the clog of a suffering
mortal frame. My own mental comfort, I own,
almost surprises me, so constant even here is the
sense of bodily weariness and indisposition ; but
the sweet hope, almost amounting to conviction,
that all is and will be well with me ultimately.
that my light affliction which is but for a moment,
is working out even for me an exceeding and
eternal weight of glory, this carries me cheerfully
on. And, as I do believe my humble prayer will
hp answered more and more, by the peaceable
fruits of righteousness being formed in me, that
so before I go hence and am no more seen, my
Saviour may really be glorified in my body and
spirit which are His, I am not only willing but
thankful to suffer, because I believe that; it is to
make me a partaker ofi His holiness.

” I look on at these diligent fellow-labourers
spending so many hours every day in labours of
love among the ignorant and wretched, which I
am unable to share, and then I remember Milton’s
sweet lines, ‘ They also serve who only stand and
wait;’ and again I remember with comfort how
short that waiting time may be for me.”

We left home for Dover on June 27, 1837, a
brother-in-law being our kind escort. We travelled
by post, through the north of France, to Brussels
and Frankfort, and so on to Basle ; just stopping
where there were objects of interest, or excellent
ministers to whom Dr. Steinkopff had given us in-
troductions. Our weather was lovely, and greatly
did the novelty and variety exhilarate and delight
my beloved sister, especially the Rhine scenery.

After reaching Geneva, we felt at once in the
midst of friends : our intercourse with Dr. Malan
was renewed; and, in addition, we had the delight-
ful society of Professor Gaussen and his daughter,
with whom we made a short tour through the
Bernese Oberland. The Alpine scenery, and the
mountain air, seemed to give new life to our dear
invalid. ‘Chamounix and the Mer de Glace were
visited in company with Dr. Malan ; and so much
was she invigorated that we ventured the ascent
of Montanvert to see the glorious sunrise over
the Mer de Glace, at four o’clock in the morning.
She went in a chaise d, porieur, while I mounted a
horse, and rode with Dr. Malan. In after years,
when speaking of this tour, she thus writes to a
Scotch friend who was travelling in Switzerland :

” Yes, my beloved J., the feelings of delight and
wonder, and adoring gratitude and praise, excited
by the scenes around you, can never be imagined
even, much less realised, till the enraptured eye
beholds them ! and how truly do I participate in
your counting all the splendid achievements in the
palaces of Versailles, and the magnificence of Paris,
as mere baubles and worthless toys, in comparison
with the matchless works of our glorious Creator.
To me, those mountains and emerald valleys, and
rivers and waterfalls, awakened such exquisite sen-
sations of delight, as I never expect to experience
again, till I shall gaze upon the new heavens
and the new earth, in still sweeter society, and
with an outward frame more suited to them
than this feeble mortal body ; — though I felt on
those heights as if I had already dropped the gar-
ments of mortality !”

Late in October we returned home, crossing the
Jura mountains, and so through France to Boulogne,,
her health and spirits greatly invigorated.

I think it was some time in this year that the
little volume called ‘” Hymns for a Week,” was
first privately printed, to assist the funds of a
Bazaar held at Brighton, for St. Mary’s Hall.
Surreptitious copies of these hymns were afterwards
circulated and sold by an individual who claimed
them as his own composition ! This obliged the
real authoress to have the book pubHshed with her
name, and it has now reached the fortieth thousand.

During the next two or three years there does
not occur much to record. The winters were always
more or less suflfering ; and in the summer months
visits were made in various directions — to Tor-
quay, Leamington, and Shirley.

In 1 84 1 the death of a most beloved sister-in-law,
Mrs. Henry Elliott, crushed her to the earth ; and
this blow was followed by our mother’s fatal illness
in 1842. She was taken from us in April, 1843,
and thus our Brighton home was broken up. It
was during these last years that some of the most
touching poems in ” The Hours of Sorrow” were
composed. Two sisters also passed away in the
following year; so that to a frame already much
enfeebled, the effect of these successive shocks was
very distressing ; and she became so alarmingly
ill, from some attack in the heart, that an im-
mediate change of scene was imperative.

It was at this time, when she thought it probable
she could not recover, that the following frag-
mentary letter, dated August, 1843, addressed to
her brother Henry and her sister Eleanor, was
written, though it was never discovered till 1871,
after she had safely landed on the heavenly shore.

* * # ” When this paper meets

your eyes our sweet relationship will have closed
for ever ; but will our union be broken, our con-
nection dissolved, because my poor suffering body
is laid in the grave, and my spirit has returned
to God who gave it ? Oh ! my beloved com-
panions and counsellors, it will only be exchanged
for a better, and more intimate, and more perfect
union^ — for an eternal relationship j and I shall be
fitter for your love, and better adapted for your
society, when you read these lines, which I water
with my tears, than I have ever been while im-
prisoned in a body of sin and death, and mourning
unceasingly over all my countless faults and incon-
sistencies.

“I humbly hope, nay, I hope it is not presumptu-
ous to say, that I rejoicingly believe, T shall then be
‘without spot, before the throne of God and of
the Lamb, — and the days of my mourning will be
ended.’ Therefore, my precious brother, my own
beloved sister, ‘ weep not for me.’ Think of me
as for ever safe, for ever pardoned, for ever holy,
for ever happy through the blood of the everlasting
covenant, and the unspeakable mercy of Him who
‘ hath loved me with an everlasting love.’ From
that love I am persuaded nothing will ever separate
me ; nothing I may still have to endure in life, —
nothing I may be called to pass through in death.
I have fled for refuge to the hope set before the
vilest of sinners ! In my earliest childhood I dis-
tinctly remember feeling the drawing of my heavenly
Father to His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ ;
and in my often wayward youth His Spirit never
ceased to strive with me, convincing me of sin,
and making me miserable under the sense of it,
and my only gleams of happiness were ” (here the
fragment closes abruptly).

In consequence of her increased illness, our
beloved brother, the Rev. Henry Venn Elliott,
who was very tenderly attached to his sister,
arranged for us a journey into Devonshire under
his escort. Linton and Lynemouth and Ilfra-
combe were the places chosen ; and again the
total change of scene, with the varied beauties of
that lovely neighbourhood into which she so fully
entered, proved very reviving to her shattered
frame. After a time she rallied so much that we
ventured to return to Brighton, though Westfield
Lodge was to be no longer our home, but a plea-
sant house in Regency Square, where we remained
during the chief part of the following year.

Early in the spring of 1845 we were again
advised to spend some months on the Continent ;
and, accordingly, we sailed from London to
Antwerp in May. My sister had intended wintering
with me in Italy ; but illness obliged us to return
home in July. Later in that year we moved to
Torquay by medical advice; and there, during
fourteen years, we found a delightful and beautiful
home, which my sister greatly loved and enjoyed.
The exquisite scenery just suited her poetical taste ;
and though she was again and again confined to
the house by illness, she was never weary of feast-
ing her eyes on the lovely landscape spread before
her windows. Many choice friends visited us
during these years ; amongst those specially valued
were the late Archdeacon Hodson and Rev. W.
Cleaver, who often kindly arranged to come on
the Sunday to administer the sacrament, and thus
to compensate in a measure by their ministrations
her privation in being unable to attend the public
services in which she so delighted.

The editorship of ” The Christian Remembrancer
Pocket-Book” occupied much of her time, particu-
larly in the consecutive arrangement of the daily
texts, which varied according to the special sub-
jects chosen for each year. This employment she
delighted in, and often hours would be spent in
what we called smilingly her “gold diggings.”

In 1857 circumstances combined to make it
advisable to try the effect of a more bracing
climate; and having two brothers, with their
families, settled at Brighton, we determined once
more to return to that place endeared by so many
early associations. Accordingly, the change was
made ; and my sister’s life was prolonged for four-
teen years, during which period she was con-
~ tinually engaged in preparing the Pocket-Book,
and in composing many additional hymns and
poems as circumstances arose either of joy or
sorrow to call out her tender interest and sym-
pathy. Some weeks during the summer months
were usually passed in the country. At Tunbridge
Wells she greatly enjoyed the drives, and the
occasional society of many friends ; and certainly
she became stronger after we left Torquay, though
advancing age gradually occasioned increasing
feebleness. Still she was able, when at Brighton,
to enjoy the pleasures of intellectual and spiritual
society ; and her zest and delight in reading herself,
or in listening to others, continued as fresh and
lively as ever, almost to the close of life !

During the latter end of her life it was her con-
stant habit before closing her eyes at night, and
immediately on first waking in the morning, to
repeat to herself certain verses chosen as most
suitable for these special seasons, and which she
always called her morning and evening “ladder.”

— I think it was like Jacob’s ladder between earth
and heaven !

The death of our beloved brother Henry, in
January, 1865, was a crushing blow, and rendered
more deeply painful because of her inability to go
to him, even to bid him a last farewell ; for she
was at that time entirely confined to the house and
often to her bed. On the last birthday he spent
on earth she addressed to him the following touch-
ing and characteristic letter :

“My darling Brother,— I send three little
mites for your three charitable funds, with ‘a
willing mind,’ and a grateful heart; and may the
privilege be granted to me of helping you in some
little measure, by my poor but heartfelt prayers, in
all the arduous works entrusted to you by your
heavenly Master, an’d in which, indeed, you have
long ‘ laboured and have not fainted.’ Oh, how full
has my heart been of deep and loving thoughts
ol you, my brother, on this day; and how sweet
and precious to me has the privilege been of pour-
ing out all these thoughts to Him whose you are,
for whom you labour, and who says to you, ‘ Be
thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a
crown of life.’ You feed His sheep, my Heriry,—
you feed His lambs ; and when the chief Shepherd
shall appear, what an abundant recompense will
He bestow. I have asked three things especially
for my. darling brother on this day: — First: that
his eye may be single, and his whole body full
of light, and his path as ‘ the shining light, which
shineth more and more unto the perfect day.’ —
Secondly : that God may prosper all His work of
faith and patience, of hope and labour of love,
both in dear St. Mary’s Hall and in St. Mary’s
congregation, for every one of whom I try to pray.
— Thirdly: for strength of body equal to your
need, to be granted, and some helper found, to
lighten the burden which is too heavy for you ;
arid for such peace to fill your soul, that nothing
may harass you, and every trial may be turned
into a blessing. These are the prayers continually
offered for my precious brother from the heart of
his much-indebted and most loving sister (now in
her feeble old age), C. E.”

Her attachment to this brother was most deep
and tender ; and, as he was younger than herself,
she had always hoped and expected that he would
minister to her in her dying hours f But God
had ordered otherwise; and though, as she often
said, his removal changed the aspect of her life,
and was indeed an irreparable loss, yet it wa,s very
beautiful to notice her meek submission under
the heavy chastisement, and to observe how she
was enabled to say in the language of her own
well-known hymn :

What though in lowly grief I sigh
For friends beloved no longer nigh;
Submissive’ still would I reply,

” Thy will be done !”

If Thou should’st call me to resign
What most I prize, it ne’er was mine,
I only yield Thee what was Thine :
” Thy will be done 1″

The last time she was able to leave home was in
1867, when we spent some weeks at Keymer, a
pretty quiet village within a drive from Brighton,
and sheltered from the keen winds by the South
Downs. The perfect quiet of this village, the
pretty cheerful views from our window, with the
soft balmy air proved very reviving and delightful.
Indeed she rallied so much that she was able not
only to take drives in the neighbourhood, but to
walk in the garden, to sit in the verandah, and
to watch the haymakers in their busy work in
the adjoining fields. After our return to Brighton
in the autumn her strength gradually lessened, so
that we found it necessary to spare every exertion ;
from this time she never left the house, and was
usually carried in a chair up and down stairs.

In the autumn of 1869 an acute inflammatory-
attack, attended with great suffering, so entirely
reduced her remaining strength, that her medical
friends had no hope of her rallying ; and during
two or three days those around watched by her
bedside, almost doubting whether the heavy sleep
was not the sleep of death ! It was after this
attack that she wrote the following hitherto un-
published verses :

Darling, weep not ! I must leave thee.

For a season we must part !
Let not this short absence grieve thee.

We shall still be one in heart ;
And a few brief sunsets o’er.
We shall meet to part no more !

Sweet ftas been our earthly union,

Sweet our fellowship of love ;
But more exquisite communion

Waits us in our home above ;
Nothing there can loose or sever
Ties ordained to last for ever.

Sweet has been thy tender feeling
Through long years for this poor frame :

Love and care, like balm of healing.
Have kept up life’s feeble flame ;

Now these dying pangs betoken

That the *’ silver cord ” is broken.

Dearest ! those sad features pain me :

Wipe those loving tears away I
Let thy stronger faith sustain me,

In this dark and cloudy day !
Be my ” Hopeful,” make me brave.
Lift my^ead above the wave !

Place me in those arms as tender,
But more powerful far than thine :

For a while thy charge surrender
To His guardianship divine !

Lay me on my Saviour’s breast.

There to find eternal rest!

To the surprise of all, however, it pleased God
that she should yet remain with us a little longer ;
but from this period she was entirely confined to
her bed,- only leaving it to rest on the couch for a
few hours. But even in this weak and suffering
state her mind continued clear, and her affections
as tender and fresh, as ever. Her bedroom windows
looked over the country to the west ; and great
was her delight in observing the beautiful sunsets,
and all the varying colourings of the clouds, — she
even wished to be roused from sleep w’hen there
was a rainbow, or any special beauty in the sky.
Her love for flowers was almost a passion ; and to
the last week of her life she would have the nose-
gays sent by loving friends on her bed, and arrange
them with her own peculiar and elegant taste.

In the last two years of her life, and especially
during the last few months, there was much in-
crease of weakness and suffering ; but, amidst all,
the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ was hourly
magnified in her. Those at her side noted most
thankfully heir sweet peace, her bright hope, her
gentle, humble, fearless drawing near to the gates
of death ; her deep love of Scripture and rich en-
joyment of its precious truths ; her earnest resist-
ance to all error ; her bringing all to the standard
of that Divine Word; her abiding love to the
name and the person of Jesus ; her full trust, most
humbly, in His atoning merits and intercession ;
her yearning after the hour when He would come
to take her to Himself; and yet her patience under
prolonged suffering; and her simple desire that
God would glorify Himself in her, living or dying,
doing or suffering His holy will. All is but as a
present, living, most blessed history to those who
survive, an earlier fragment of that which will be
fully developed in eternity. The principle of all was
simple reliance on the word and the work of Christ.
He had done all for her. He “hsA promised all to her.
She was as the limpet on the rock (she would
often say), so clinging to her blessed Saviour, that
any effort to tear her from Him was like rending
her soul asunder ; or, she was as the happy infant
on its mother’s lap, with no strength, but needing
none ; fully supported by those loving arms, and
only looking up to the beam of light and love
on that blessed countenance, when the sweetest
joy would steal into her soul.

Or again, she would retrace in her own mind
all she had ever known or read of worth and
beauty in man or nature, — all of genius and glory,
the highest and best on earth, — all the loveliest
and most noble characters that had ever evoked
admiration or esteem. She would review them all,
with a rich unfolding of the several pictures, and a
comparison of them with the portraiture, in her
own mind, of Him “in whom are hid all the
treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” She would
speak of each one — Milton, Dante, Newton, St.
Paul, etc. — as but a faint outline, a shadowy re-
flection, of His glorious excellency. And thus,
when no one was by, in the silent hours of dark-
ness, her solitary musings, of which she would
give an account the following day, often made
even- wakefulness to be no weariness, and her sick
chamber as the pavilion of her Saviour’s presence.

As to material images or pictures, she felt that
they did but cripple and confine her meditatioiis,
and draw them down to earth. And the pomp of
a gorgeous ceremonial was to her but the attempt
to create a semblance of religion, when the heart
could not rise to the reality. Many years since,
her living motto had been expressed in those
simple lines :

Oh, Jesus, make Thyself to me
A living, bright reality,
More present to Faith’s vision keen
Than any outward object seen, —
More dear, more intimately nigh.
Than e’en the sweetest earthly tie.

At one period, when her weakness made it no
longer possible for her to attend the public sanc-
tuary that she so dearly loved, this was the ex-
pression of her mind : ” My Bible is my Church.
It is always open, and there is my High Priest
ever waiting to receive me. There I have my con-
fessional, my thanksgiving, my psalms of praise, a
field of promises, and a congregation of whom the
world is not worthy — prophets and apostles, and
martyrs and confessors — in short, all I can want
I there find.”

In the last years and days of her life — days of
increased weakness and suffering — she was sus-
tained and blessed with a sense of her Saviour’s
love and her Saviour’s presence, and with a sure
and abiding trust in Him.

In a private paper writen for her sister Eleanor,
at the commencement of her 8ist year, she
says ; —

” I feel that so great an age as mine requires
three things — great faith, great patience, and great
peace. Come what may during the year upon
which we have entered, I firmly believe that good-
ness and mercy, like two guardian angels, will
follow us during every day, in every hour, in every
varying circumstance through which we may have
to pass, — ^in every time of trouble sustaining and
comforting us, — the angel of His presence keeping
ever by our side, and whispering. Fear not, for 1
am with thee, — ^be not dismayed, for I am thy
God. We may have to part for a short season
with each other; but He has promised never,
never to leave us, — never, never to forsake us.”

When parting with another beloved sister, a few
weeks before her death, she said, — “Our next
meeting will be at the marriage-supper of the
Lamb.”

When the verse, ” Let not your heart be trou-
bled,” was repeated to her, she quietly said, ” But
my heart is not troubled ?” adding, ” My mind is
full of the Bible.” And thaf word was her support ?
when speech had failed her, and she was passing
through the dark valley.

The last manifestation of consciousness was on
the morning of her death, when, on her sister
repeating to her their text for the day, “Thine
eyes shall see the King in His beauty, they shall
behold the land that is very far off,” she clasped
her hands together ; and as she raised her eyes to
heaven, a beam came over her countenance, which
showed that she fully entered into the precious
words, and was realising the glorious vision she
was so soon to behold. On the evening of that
day, September 22 nd, at 10 o’clock, without any
apparent suffering, or the slightest struggle, she
fell asleep in Jesus, so peacefully that it was
difficult to fix the moment when the gentle breath-
ing ceased.

 

From the Poems of Charlotte Elliot

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