Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Heroes of the Faith: Charles Simeon

The Chapel at Ridley Hall has as an West window some stained glass commemorating Charles Simeon (Pictured Left) and I, as a student there would oft find myself sitting beneath it and it was because of this that I decided that I'd best find out a little more about the bloke.

Charles Simeon (1759-1836) was, for some fifty-three years, the senior minister at Holy Trinity Church and a fellow of King’s College for fifty-four! He is truly an man of the Word and his life's work was dedicated to making the Bible more accessible and understood - so no better place for him to appear on a window than in his beloved Cambridge and on the window of a place dedicated to educating would-be ministers of the Gospel in their craft. Would that those who came out of the Vicar factory there were has as able a preacher and teacher as this man!

I have to admit that along with my desire to have Barth's Church Dogmatics (fulfilled) on my shelves is that of having a copy of Simeon's Horae Homileticae (his preaching notes) and the time to read them.

From this man's inspired teaching and lifestyle many were to leave Cambridge to take the word of God out into the world; and it should be no surprise to learn that he also had a hand in the creation of many societies concerned with spreading the Gospel. I love the fact that he regarded those he trained as brothers rather than the 'curates' or 'my vicars' as some with paucity of character might do - for he welcomed and supported all who worked with him in the vineyard as brothers!

He was instrumental in founding the following

Church Missionary Society (1797)

Religious Tract Society (1799) - merged and became Lutterworth Press

British and Foreign Bible Society (1804)

Church's Ministry Among Jewish People (CMJ)
(1809 was the London Society for Promoting Christianity Among the Jews)

Here we have a man who took a lot of stick during his life because he was an evangelical. A man who was influential as a man of the Word and has continued in his influence through the many bodies he formed, and caused to be formed through his ministry and life, and still touches life through the many churches he endowed (and still supports through the Simeon's Trust).

Ladies and Gentlemen - I give to you Charles Simeon

A hero, and a brother, of mine

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