Sunday, October 11, 2009

Imagine what he'd think of email...

From Hugh Evan Hopkins, Charles Simeon of Cambridge (Eerdmans, 1977), 123-4:

Although he wrote so many letters Simeon was very well aware how much better it was, if possible, to talk rather than write, especially when a 'delicate or much-controverted point' arose. With his usual sensitivity to the feelings of others, he said, "If I speak with a man, I can stop when I see it is doing harm; I can soften off the truth so as not to fly in the face of his cherished views...Written words convey ideas, convey sentiments, but they cannot really convey exact feelings."

Simeon was a thinker who also 'felt' a great deal. He wrote when there was no other way of communicating with a person, but realised all the time the many limitations of letters, particularly in expressing emotions: "You cannot hesitate upon paper; you cannot weep upon paper; you cannot give upon paper the tone of love; you cannot look kindness upon paper," though he tried his hardest to do so. At any rate, the difficulties and drawbacks in communication in those days do not seem to have deterred him from putting his pen to paper almost every day.

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