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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Joseph Plimsoll1   21 November 1867

Exmouth | 8 Bicton Place

Novr. 21. 1867

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die. Believest thou this? John xi.25.26.

Pause my soul, over those divine, and glorious words of the Almighty Redeemer! What man, what prophet, what servant of the Lord; what angel, but He that is the Angel of the Covenant, One with the Father over all, God blessed for ever, could assume such language, and vindicate that assumption as Jesus did, both by his own Resurrection, and that of Lazarus?

And mark, my soul, the many precious things contained in this sweet scripture. Observe the blessing itself, even resurrection and life. Observe the source, the author, the fountain of it, Jesus, thy Saviour. Observe for whom this stupendous mercy is designed, and to whom conveyed, namely, the dead in trespasses and sins, and for the dying, languishing frames of believers. And lastly, observe how absolute the thing itself is; they shall live. O! precious words of a most precious Saviour! And may I not say to thee, my soul, as Jesus did to Mary, after proclaiming himself under this glorious distinction of character; ‘Believest thou this?’ Canst thou answer as she did, ‘Yea, Lord, I believe that thou art the Christ the Son of God, which should come into the world’? This is a blessed confession to witness before God. For if I believe that Jesus be indeed the Christ of God, every other difficulty is removed to the firm belief that, as the Father hath life in himself, even so hath the Son life in himself, and whom he will he quickeneth. Witness then for me, every looker on, angels and men, that my soul heartily, cordially, fully subscribes to the same precious truth; and in the same language as Mary. Yea, Lord, I would say to every word of thine concerning thy sovereignty, grace, and love; as thou hast said it, so I accept it: in the very words of thine I take it, and cry out, yea, Lord, even so be it unto me according to thy word. And now, my soul, under all remaining seasons of deadness, coldness, backslidings, wanderings, and the like, never henceforth forget from whom all revivals can only come. Never look within for them: for there is no power of resurrection in thyself. ‘Can these dry bones live?’2 Yes, if Jesus quickens! And is Jesus less to quicken thee than thy connection with Adam to have killed thee? Oh! how plain is it that the very wants of the soul correspond to the very fulness of Jesus to answer them. And therefore, when the Lord Jesus saith, I am the Resurrection and the Life, he comes to seek employment in this glorious character, to quicken the dead and revive the living. Oh! Lord! give me to hear thy blessed voice this day, and my soul shall live, and live to praise thee.

The above is an extract from a work entitled “Morning and Evening Portion”—by the late Dr. Hawker. Vicar of Charles—Plymouth.3


The correspondent is identified from the handwriting and from his address (see letter from Joseph Plimsoll, 21 October 1867).
Ezek. 37:3–4.
The reference is to a collection of bible commentaries for every day of the year (Hawker 1829), by Robert Hawker. The extract is the morning reading for 8 May. In 1868, Plimsoll published The vicar of Charles. A poem in commemoration of Plymouth’s great preacher (Hawker) in a preceding age (Plymouth: W. Cann).


Hawker, Robert. 1829. The poor man’s morning and evening portions; being a selection of a verse of scripture, with short observations for every day in the year. London: E. Palmer.


Extract from a sermon.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Plimsoll
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 174: 52
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5690,” accessed on 31 January 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 15