Charlotte Elliott

Charlotte Elliott

Born: March 18, 1789, Clap­ham, Sur­rey, Eng­land.
Died: Sep­tem­ber 22, 1871, Brigh­ton, East Sus­sex, Eng­land.
Buried: St. And­rew’s Church, Hove, Sus­sex, Eng­land.

Hymns by Charlotte Elliott

Charlotte Elliott, a gifted poet and hymn writer, left an indelible mark on Christian hymnody with her timeless compositions, most notably “Just As I Am.” Born on March 18, 1789, in Brighton, England, Elliott’s life was marked by both physical suffering and unwavering faith, ultimately leading her to pen hymns that have touched countless lives.

A Refined Upbringing and Early Talents

Elliott was born into a family of great religious influence. Her maternal grandfather, Henry Venn, was a prominent figure in the Great Awakening of the 18th century. Growing up in a circle of refinement and piety, Elliott received a high-quality education and developed a passion for music and art at an early age. As a young woman, she was known for her skill as a portrait artist and her witty, humorous verse.

The Pivotal Moment of Salvation

In 1821, at the age of 32, Elliott faced a severe illness that forced her to reevaluate her life. During this time, she felt a deep need for a personal Savior. A visit from Dr. Cesar Malan, a minister from Geneva, proved to be the turning point in her spiritual journey.

When Dr. Malan asked Elliott if she was at peace with God, she initially resented the question. However, a few days later, she apologized to him, expressing her desire to cleanse her life before becoming a Christian. Dr. Malan’s response was simple yet profound: “Come just as you are.” Elliott committed her life to Christ that very day, marking what she would later call her “birthday of her soul to true spiritual life and peace.”

A Life of Illness and Perseverance

Despite her newfound faith, Elliott continued to struggle with poor health throughout her life. In 1829, she became an almost helpless sufferer, finding only occasional intervals of relief. Yet, even in the midst of her physical challenges, Elliott persevered in her writing and editorial work.

In 1834, she took over the editorial supervision of The Christian Remembrancer Pocket Book and later the Invalid’s Hymn Book. Elliott poured her heart into these projects, contributing numerous hymns and poems that reflected her deep faith and trust in God.

The Enduring Legacy of “Just As I Am”

Among Elliott’s many hymns, “Just As I Am” stands as her most beloved and enduring composition. Written in 1836, this hymn beautifully encapsulates the message of God’s unconditional love and acceptance. The hymn’s opening lines, “Just as I am, without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me,” have resonated with generations of believers, offering comfort and assurance to those who come to Christ with all their imperfections and doubts.

“Just As I Am” has been translated into numerous languages and has been used in countless evangelical campaigns, including those of Billy Graham. The hymn’s simple yet profound message has touched the hearts of millions, leading many to commit their lives to Christ.

A Legacy of Faith and Inspiration

Throughout her life, Charlotte Elliott wrote approximately 150 hymns and many poems, leaving a rich legacy of faith and inspiration. Despite her physical limitations, she found solace in her writing and in her unwavering belief in God’s love and grace.

Elliott’s life serves as a testament to the power of perseverance and the impact one person can have when they fully surrender their talents to God. Her hymns continue to inspire and comfort believers around the world, reminding us that we can come to Christ “just as we are,” trusting in His boundless love and mercy.

As we reflect on the life and work of Charlotte Elliott, may we be encouraged to face our own challenges with the same faith and determination that characterized her life. May we, too, offer our talents and our lives to God, trusting that He will use us to touch others just as Elliott’s hymns have done for generations.

Don Chapman

Don Chapman

Composer/arranger Don Chapman has created HYMNDEX as a labor of love to help new generations learn about the lives, legacies and lyrics of historic hymn writers.