Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunday Salt: Charles Simeon's Comfort in Suffering

Charles Simeon was the pastor of Trinity Church in Cambridge, England for 54 years (from 1782 until his death in 1836). John Piper has a very good biographical message about him that you can read, listen to, or download the audio for here. This quote is taken from Piper's message. It made a large impact on me when I read it, and the impact grew the more I learned about the kind of suffering and opposition Simeon faced during his 54 years of preaching and ministry. These words would not have nearly the same weight if they came from someone who had not experienced great struggle and suffering and difficulty. The encouragement in these words is that they come from a man who faced challenges and discouragements at least as difficult as anything most of us ever will, and he could still be content in the knowledge that His soul was secure in Christ. Piper's message has many more examples of how Simeon's faith and practices of devotion to God's Word and prayer kept him encouraged, and I commend it as very worthwhile reading.

A friend had asked Simeon how he had endured the opposition and strife in all his years of ministry. Simeon's reply:

"My dear brother, we must not mind a little suffering for Christ's sake. When I am getting through a hedge, if my head and shoulders are safely through, I can bear the pricking of my legs. Let us rejoice in the remembrance that our holy Head has surmounted all His suffering and triumphed over death. Let us follow Him patiently; we shall soon be partakers of His victory" (H.C.G. Moule, Charles Simeon, London: InterVarsity, 1948, 155f.).

Scriptures that come to mind: 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; Romans 8:16-18.

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