Food for Thought: Adoration & Contrition

Charles Simeon was a pastor in the late 18th and early 19th century. What follows is an account of the relationship between adoration for God and the contrition for and humiliation of sin.

One of Simeon’s missionary friends wrote about a time in 1794 when a certain Mr. Marsden entered Simeon’s room and found him “so absorbed in the contemplation of the Son of God, and so overpowered with a display of His mercy to his soul, that he was incapable of pronouncing a single word,” till at length he exclaimed, “Glory, glory.” Only a few days later the missionary friend found Simeon at the hour of the private lectureon Sunday scarcely able to speak, “from a deep humiliation and contrition.”

Moule comments that these two experiences are not the alternating excesses of an ill-balanced mind. Rather they are “the two poles of a sphere of profound experience.” For Simeon, adoration of God grew best in the plowed soil of his own contrition. He had no fear of turning up every sin in his life and looking upon it with great grief and hatred, because he had such a vision of Christ’s sufficiency that this would always result in deeper cleansing and adoration.

From The Swans Are Not Silent – Book Three: The Roots of Endurance, John Piper, p. 109

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