Sir James Simpson's Testimony

My Substitute

By Sir James Simpson

(Discoverer of the use of Chloroform for Anaesthesia)

When I was a boy at school I saw a sight I can never forget – a man dragged through the streets of my native town, his back torn and bleeding from the lash. It was a shameful punishment. For many offences? No! for one offence. Did any of the townsmen offer to share the lashes with him? No! He who committed the offence bore the penalty alone. It was the penalty of a changing human law, for it was the last instance of its infliction.

When I was a student at university I saw another sight I can never forget – a man brought out to die. His arms were pinioned, his face already pale as death – thousands of eager eyes were on him as he came up from the jail in sight. Did any friend come and loose the rope, and say “Put it around my neck; I will die instead”? No! he underwent the sentence of the law. For many offences?  No! for one offence. He had stolen a money parcel from a stage coach. He broke the law at one point, and died for it. It was the penalty of a changing human law in this case also; it was the last instance of capital punishment being inflicted for this offence.

I saw another sight I can never forget – myself a sinner, standing on the brink of ruin, condemned to eternal punishment in the lake of fire. For one sin? No! for many, many sins committed against the unchanging laws of God. I looked again, and behold, Jesus Christ became my substitute. He bore in His own body on the tree all the punishment for my sin. He died on the cross that I might live in the glory. He suffered, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring me to God. He redeemed me from the curse of the law. I sinned and was condemned to eternal punishment; He bore the punishment and I am free.

The law of God required a perfect righteousness which I never had. Again I looked unto Him and found that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. The law required spotless purity and I was defiled with sin. Again I looked unto Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood. I was a child of Satan, a child of wrath, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.”  John 1:12. And I found in Him not only my substitute, but the full supply of every need of my life.

I long to tell you of this Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. “For there is none other name under heaven given amongst men, whereby we must be saved.”  Acts 4:12.