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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Joseph Plimsoll   5 October 1868

Exmouth | 3 Clarence Road

Octr. 5. 68

My dear Dr. Darwin

I am quite distressed that you have not written me to say,—that you have cordially embraced the offers of salvation so freely made in the gospel of God’s dear Son.1 Do you not believe in the existence of Hell, as a place of torment for those who neglect that great salvation? What! not believe what He hath said who cannot lie?—who knoweth all things—after He has expressly declared that there is a bottomless pit of perdition into which all those who obey not His precepts will inevitably be cast? Are you not anxious to escape so deplorable a fate as that of consignment to the regions of everlasting woe? Oh! do let me entreat you not to defer for another moment, the all-momentous work of seeking to secure a personal interest in the blessings of eternal redemption! Are the conditions on which that participation in deliverance from eternal misery and destruction—that assurance of everlasting life and happiness,—that hope of future glory, safety, and enduring rapture—in which an individual interest in the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ consists—are promised, too hard for you to comply with? Believe, and live! Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved? Are these terms too exacting? Oh! consider, my dear Sir, what Christ has suffered, in order that the way might be opened up for your return to your allegiance to Him in whom you live, and move, and have your being! Is it not enough that He left the glory which he had with the Father from all eternity, allied himself to our nature, lived a life of poverty and suffering—endured the contradiction of sinners against himself—agonized in Gethsemane to such a fearful degree as to sweat great drops of blood, therein,—was scourged—spit upon—arrayed, in mockery, with the habiliments of royalty, and the symbols of imperial sway—the crown (of thorns) and the sceptre (a reed; that he, the just One was led forth to execution—died the accursed death of the Cross—endured the withdrawal of his Father’s countenance and the dire anguish attendant thereon—constraining him to cry out—“My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me?—”2 that he—standing as he then did in our stead, should have borne the outpourings of the vial of divine wrath against sin—in order that we might escape the endurance of the penalty due to our violations of Heaven’s law; that he, the just, should suffer for the unjust; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him? Surely there are motives powerful enough, here, to constrain you to love him; to serve him; to adore and magnify his precious name; to make an entire surrender of yourself to him—body, soul and spirit! Can you refrain from giving him your heart, after all he has suffered on your account. After such an exhibition of his love, and mercy, and grace, will you not be desirous to honour and glorify him? Has he not fully vindicated his claims to your trust and confidence, and to your obedience to the injunctions of his gospel? Let me again bring before your notice the inspired declarations—“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him might not perish, but have everlasting life”—3 “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth on him might not perish, but have everlasting life”.4 “For God sent not his Son into the world, to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved”.5 “Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.”6 “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance”7 “Whosoever calleth upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”—8 “The Son of Man is come to seek and to save them that are lost”9 “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.”10 Will you not then believe on him—and thus become the possessor of such a life? “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall become as wool”11 “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts and let him return unto me and I will have mercy upon him, and will abundantly pardon him.”12 Now, my dear Dr. Darwin, let me, in conclusion, beg you, immediately after you have read this letter, to repair to your room, and there pour out your heart before God, by expressing to Him your earnest desire to become the recipient of all these transcendent blessings which he has promised in his holy word to all those who believe in His Son, and trust to him for salvation; or, if you have not the desire for such stupendous boons, to implore him to beget such a desire in your breast—and to grant you repentance towards God, and saving faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Now dont omit to do this—as you value your soul’s eternal safety and happiness!

Ever your sincere friend and well wisher. | J. Plimsoll


Plimsoll sent CD four letters in 1867 (see Correspondence vol. 15).
Ps. 22:1, Matt. 27:46, Mark 15:34.
John 3:16.
‘That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.’ (John 3:14–15.)
John 3:17.
‘And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.’ (Rev. 22:17.)
Mark 2:17, Luke 5:32.
Rom. 10:13.
‘For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.’ (Luke 19:10.)
John 3:36.
‘Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’ (Isa. 1:18).
‘Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.’ (Isa. 55:7.)


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


A sermon.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Plimsoll
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 174: 55
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6411,” accessed on 10 December 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16