Book: Currently Reading – A Memoir of the Life and Writings of Andrew Fuller, by Thomas Ekins Fuller


 

CHAPTER 12 – Secret Thoughts and Weighty Sayings

SCATTERED up and down the pages of Mr. Fuller’s Remains there are to be found a number of wise and weighty sayings; many of them almost buried in the midst of polemical disquisition the interest of which has passed away, along with the phases of doubt and faith peculiar to the age in which he lived. It has been thought well to collect a number of these together. Some of the simplest and most personal in character are from unpublished parts of his Diary, and others from fugitive pieces, for the most contributed to magazines.

 

RELIGION AND TIMES OF TRIAL.

"We have no more religion than what we have in times of trial." Exod. xvi. 4.

 

"POOR IN SPIRIT."

"One of my friends observed yesterday that it was a difficulty in many cases to know wherefore God contended with us. But I thought that was no difficulty with me."

 

WALKING IN THE SPIRIT.

"Sin is not to be overcome so much by a direct or mere resistance of it, as by opposing other principles and considerations to it. This sentiment has been abundantly verified in my experience. So far as I have walked in the Spirit, so far my life has been holy and happy. We may heal an eruption in a particular part of the body, and yet the root of the disease may remain, and even be gathering strength. We may also be employed in thinking of our sins without gaining any ascendency over them; on the contrary, they may by those very means obtain an ascendency over us. If we go about to quench a fire by directly contending with it, we shall presently be consumed by its flames; but, by applying the opposite element, it is subdued before us. It is thus that the Scriptures direct us: ‘ Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh.’ The heart cannot be reduced to a vacuum; if spiritual things do not occupy it, carnal things will. It is by walking with God and conversing with the doctrine of the cross, that we shall become dead to other things; and this will go to the root of the evil, while other remedies only lop off the branches."

 

GOOD AND EVIL REPORT.

"Good report, though more agreeable, may not be less trying than evil report."

 

COVETOUSNESS.

"It seems a lovely thing which is said of Christ: ‘He went about doing good!’ Oh that, whatever I may possess of this world’s good, I may be preserved from the mean vice of covetousness."

 

TRUTH LOSING ITS SENSES.

"At E–n I felt a good deal of tenderness. Much grieved to find the spirits of people hurt in that part of the country by controversy. I find, too, there are several whose conversation almost entirely, and on all occasions, turns on these subjects. It seems to be one of the devil’s devices in order to destroy the good tendency of any truth, to get its advocates to hackney it out of its senses; dwelling always upon it in every sermon or conversation, to the exclusion of other things."

 

AFTER-THOUGHTS.

"Rode home to-day. – Very little exercise, unless it were in reflections on some foolishness of mine in applauding a person to his face who is superior to my applause."

 

A PHRASE IN PRAYER.

"A saying of Mr. Hall’s has been much in my thoughts of late, which I heard him use in prayer: ‘Lord,’ said he, ‘we are bound this night to love Thee more than ever before.”’

 

FATHER AND CHILDREN.

"Tenderly affected, I think on Wednesday night, in singing Dr. Watts’s forty-seventh hymn, second book, with my child Bobby in my arms. Could not help weeping while I sung concerning him :-

‘Oh may’st thou live and reach the place
Where He unveils His lovely face;
Where all His beauties you behold,
And sing His name to harps of gold.’

If I should die before Bobby, let him remember this; and Sally, the verses in the Diary, August 11th, 1780."

 

AN ANTIDOTE TO DESPAIR.

"Blessed is he that feareth always."

 

SECRET SIN.

"If we cherish secret sins we have reason to fear they will not be secret long."

 

THOUGHTS ON A DIARY.

"Surely it can answer no end to write when there is nothing material to write about; in future, therefore, I think only to write some of the most material exercises and events of my life, which I mean merely for my own use."

 

TRUTH "FITTED IN THE LIP."

"We (ministers) want to read and study the Scriptures more as Christians, for the edification of our own souls. We are apt to study them merely to find out something to say to others, without living upon the truth ourselves. If we eat not the book before we deliver its contents to others, we may expect the Holy Spirit will not much accompany us. If we study the Scriptures as Christians, the more familiar we are with them the more we shall feel their importance; but if otherwise, our familiarity with the Word will be like that of soldiers and doctors with death; it will wear away all sense of its importance from our minds. ‘The words of the wise will be pleasant if thou keep them within thee; they shall, withal, be fitted in thy lips.”’

 

YEARNINGS FOR HOME QUIET.

"I am weary of being out from home so much. I want to be more at home, that I may be more with God.

"In company all today. Preached at Carlton with some freedom tonight, but I want to be more alone.

"I feel weary of journeys, on account of their interfering so much with my work at home. I long to visit my congregation, that I may know more of their spiritual concerns, and be able to preach to their cases."

 

DIFFERENT ESTIMATES OF THE SAME PERSON.

"It is good to observe the difference between the accounts of the same person as communicated by a friend, and by himself. As given by the former, the character appears nearly faultless; as depicted by the latter, it abounds with imperfection. Whence this difference? We know more of ourselves than any other person can know of us. What, then, will our lives be when declared by Him who knoweth all things? Well might one of the greatest and best of men desire that he might be found in Him!"

 

SIN MEASURED BY GOD’S GOODNESS.

"If God be thus good, what must sin be, that can induce Him to load this world with such a degree of misery!"

 

THE LIVES OF HOLY MEN.

"It is good to read the lives of holy men; and the more holy they have been the better. Some readers, it is true, are not satisfied unless they discover in others the same low, grovelling, half-hearted kind of life which they find in themselves. But satisfaction of this sort is better missed than found. It is good to be reproved, and stirred up to labour after greater degrees of spirituality than any which we have hitherto attained."

 

SIN WORN AWAY INSTEAD OF CRUCIFIED.

"If thou hast in any degree been drawn aside, give no rest to thy soul till thy sin is crucified, and thy conscience reconciled by the blood of the cross. It is too common for sin to be worn away from the memory by time and new occurrences, instead of being washed away at the Gospel fountain; but where this is the case, the stain is ‘not removed, and its effects will sooner or later appear, perhaps in a form that may cause the ear of everyone that heareth it to tingle."

 

FELLOW PILGRIMS.

"It is pleasant that in the same years, months, and days that we have been walking in the ways of God ourselves, others, whom we know not, were travelling in the same direction, and with kindred sensations. What a society shall we find assembled, when we get home!"

 

"LIFE ETERNAL, TO KNOW THEE."

"The perception which we have of this great subject, however, is termed ‘comprehending,’ or taking hold of it. It is not peculiar to sublime and elevated genius to soar above the skies. The Christian borne on the wings of faith may adopt the language of Milton, and in a much more real and interesting sense:-

‘Up-led by Thee,

Into the Heaven of heavens I have presumed,

An earthly guest, and drawn empyreal air.’

"One more step remains ere we reach the top of this Divine climax. In proportion as we comprehend the love of Christ, we are supposed to be ‘filled with all the fulness of God.’ If there be a sentence in the Bible expressive of ultimate bliss, I say again, surely it is this. To’ be filled with God, with the fulness of God, with all the fulness of God – what things are these? Yet by being strengthened with might by the Holy Spirit in our inner man, by Christ’s dwelling in our hearts by faith, and by being rooted and grounded in love, we are supposed to be able, in measure, to grasp the mighty theme of redeeming love, and so to partake of the Divine fulness."

 

GET BACK! GET BACK!

"I remember, when a boy of about ten years old, I was bathing with a number of other boys near a mill-dam, and, the hat of one of my companions falling into the stream, I had the hardihood, without being able to swim, to attempt to recover it. I went so deep that the waters began to run into my mouth, and to heave my feet from the ground. At that instant the millers, seeing my danger, set up a loud cry, ‘Get back! get back! get back !’ I did so, and that was all. What the millers said to me, modesty, sobriety, and right reason say to all such objectors as the above, ‘Get back! get back! get back! ‘You are beyond your depth! It is enough for you to know that God HATH created men and angels, and this notwithstanding He knew what would be the result; that He HATH NOT blotted them out of existence; and that He HATH NOT prevented the propagation of the human race in their fallen state. These being FACTS which cannot be disputed, you ought to take it for granted, whether you can understand it or not, that they are consistent with righteousness; for the contrary is no other than replying against God."

 

ROOTED AND GROUNDED IN LOVE.

"If Christ’s dwelling in our hearts be expressive of love to Him, it may seem as though this part of the prayer was a mere repetition; but the emphasis appears to lie upon the terms rooted and grounded. They are both metaphorical: one referring to a tree or plant, and the other to a building. Now, seeing it was the desire of the apostle that believers should soar upward in one respect, he is concerned that they should be prepared for it by descending downward in another. If a tree be not well rooted, or the building well grounded" the higher it rises the greater will be its danger of falling. And what is that in love to Christ, it may be asked, which is analogous to this? It may be its being accompanied in all its operations by a knowledge of His true character. One is greatly enamoured of a stranger who has saved his life, and thinks at the time he should be happy to spend his days with him; but as he comes to know him, he finds they cannot live together. He regards him as a deliverer, but dislikes him as a man. Another in similar circumstances not only feels grateful for his deliverance, but is attached to his deliverer. The more he knows of him, the better he loves him, and wishes for nothing more than to dwell with him for ever. The regard of the former, we should say, is not ‘rooted,’ or ‘ grounded;’ but that of the latter is. It is easy to apply this to the love of Christ, and thus to account for the fall of many fair and towering professors, as well as for the growth of true believers."

 

SOME THINGS INTERPRET OTHERS.

"I may add, there are some things which, when known, wonderfully facilitate the knowledge of other things. It is thus that a view of the glory of the Divine character and government opens the door to the whole mystery of redemption. It is thus also that a lively faith in the sufferings of Christ, and the glory arising out of them, is a key which unlocks a large part of the sacred oracles. While the disciples remained ignorant of His death, they knew but little of the Scriptures; but, having learned the design of this great event, a flood of light poured in upon them, and the Old Testament became plain and deeply interesting."

 

A PARABLE IN MUSIC.

"I recollect, some years ago, when in a very dejected state of mind, hearing some turtle-doves cooing to one another. Their mourning notes made a deep impression upon my heart, their tones being, as I suppose, in unison with its feelings. Had I so much skill in music as to compose a tune to this song, I would ingraft the very moan of the turtle to those words, I did mourn as a dove."

 

CHANTING.

"I have long wished to see introduced into the churches (and I almost believe it will be at some future time) a selection of Divine hymns or songs, taking place of all human compositions. By Divine hymns or songs, I mean the pure Word of God translated without any respect to rhyme or number, after the manner of Lowth’s Isaiah, and set to plain, serious, and solemn music, adapted to the sentiments.

"It has been observed by some of the ablest critics, that the spirit of David’s psalms (and the same would hold true of the other poetic parts of Scripture) can never be preserved in a translation of them into modern verse; but in a translation like our common Bibles, or that of Lowth’s Isaiah, it is generally allowed, I believe, that the spirit of them is well preserved. Why then do we not set them as they are to sacred music? It is of a thousand times more importance to preserve the spirit of a psalm or Scripture song than to have it in numbers, even supposing a uniformity in numbers were of advantage."

 

"WHIPPING IT INTO FROTH."

"Consider whether the motive that stimulates you to such a manner of treating the sacred oracles be any other than vanity. If you preached to a people possessed of anything like good sense, they would consider it as perverting the whole Word of God, and whipping it into froth. Instead of applauding you, they would be unable to endure it. But if your people be ignorant, such things will please them; and they may gaze, and admire, and smile, and say one to another, it may be in your hearing, too, ‘Well, what a man! Who would have thought that he would have found so much Gospel in that text?’ Ah, very true: who, indeed? But what would the apostle Paul say? ‘Are ye not carnal?’ Is it for a man of God to ‘court a grin when he should woo a soul?’ For shame! desist from such folly, or lay aside the Christian ministry. You are commanded to ‘feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood;’ but it is not everything pleasing to a people that feeds them in the sense of the apostle. He did not mean to direct the Ephesian elders to feed men’s fancies, and still less their prejudices; but their spiritual desires: and this is accomplished only by administering to them the words of truth and soberness. If your preaching be such as God approves, and if you study to show yourself approved of Him, it will lead the people to admire your Saviour rather than you, and render Him the topic of their conversation."

 

A "MOB OF IDEAS."

"Many sermons are a mob of ideas."

 

MR. WORLDLY WISEMAN.

" ‘Be not righteous over-much, neither make thyself over­wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself?’

"My son, if you wish to go through the world with applause, hearken to me. You must not be very righteous, I assure you, nor yet very wise. A man whose conscience will stick at nothing will get promoted before you; and a vain, confident fool will gain the popular applause, while you, with your sterling but modest wisdom, will be utterly neglected. Be not over-much wise nor righteous, my son: why should you ruin yourself?

" ‘Be not over-much wicked; neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?’

"Only take care you be not too much wicked; for, however mankind are averse to tenderness of conscience, they do not like an arrant villain. If you play too much’ at that game, you may lose your life by it. Neither must you be too much of a fool; for however mankind are not fond of sterling wisdom, yet barefaced folly will not always go down with them: if you would please the world, and get honour among the generality of men, you must be neither a sterling wise man nor a stark fool.

" ‘It is good that thou shouldest take hold of this; yea, also from this withdraw not thine hand: for he that feareth God shall come forth of them all.’

" As if he should say, But hearken, my son; another word before we part. Notice what I say to you, and abide by it. Let the world say what they will, and let things go as they may in the world, righteousness and wisdom shall be found best at last; and he that feareth God will not dare to sacrifice these excellences to obtain a few temporary honours: he will sooner live and die in obscurity."

 

THE POOR BROTHER COMFORTED.

"The poor brother’s part, by which he is taught to rejoice in adversity, is one in which every Christian heart will rejoice with him. A state of poverty, viewed by itself, is both chilling and cheerless. Nature revolts at it. A lowly habitation, a dry and scanty morsel, mean attire, hard labour, and. the want of respect among men, are things which cannot be agreeable. If all were alike, it would be somewhat different; but the poor man is affected by the disparity between his condition and that of others. Plenty daily passes by his door; but he scarcely tastes it. If the fig-tree blossom, it is not for him " there is no fruit on his vine, nor flock in his fold, nor herd in his stall. But,’ Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted.’ Come hither, poor man, says the Gospel; art thou but withal a Christian? here is a feast for thee. ALTHOUGH thy fig-tree blossom not, and there be no fruit on thy vine, nor flock in thy fold, nor herd in thy stall; yet mayest thou rejoice in the Lord, and joy in the God of thy salvation! Say not, I am a dry tree; God hath given thee an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Art thou a servant? care not for it; thou art the Lord’s free-man. To be an heir of God, a joint-heir with Christ, a son or daughter of the Lord God Almighty, a fellow citizen with the saints, is an honour which princes might envy! Nor is it altogether in hope. As there is a meanness in sin which renders the character of the sinner, in spite of all his efforts and pretences, contemptible even in his own eyes; so there is a dignity in uprightness which ennobles the mind, whatever be its outward circumstances.This it was emboldened the prisoner, while the want of it caused his judge to tremble." Acts xxiv. 25.

 

THE COST OF REDEMPTION.

"What a quantity of vegetable and animal food is daily consumed in one town! What a quantity in a city like London! What a quantity in a nation; in the whole world! But men do not compose a hundredth part of ‘every living thing!’ Oh what innumerable wants throughout all animate nature; in the earth, in the ail’, in the waters! Whence comes their supply ?’Thou openest Thy hand,’ and all are satisfied. And can all these wants be supplied by only the opening of His hand? What then must sin be, and salvation from it? That is a work of wonderful expense. God openeth His hand, and satisfieth all creation; but He must purchase the church with His blood!"

 

HANDLING THE SCRIPTURES.

"It is an easy thing for a man of a luxuriant imagination, unencumbered by judgment, to make anything he pleases of the Scriptures, as well as any other book; but in so doing he must destroy their simplicity, and, of course, their efficacy; which in fact is reducing them to nothing. If they be not applied to their appropriate uses, they are perverted; and a perverted good proves the greatest of evils. Thus it is that characters abound who are full of Scripture language, while yet they are awfully destitute of Scripture knowledge, or Scriptural religion."

 

A THOUGHT FOR A CHRISTIAN PATRIOT.

"The 21st of September, 1803, was fixed upon, by several dissenting ministers in London, as a day of fasting and prayer on account of the state of the nation; and they expressed a wish that their brethren in the country would unite with them. Being at one of those meetings in the country, I was forcibly struck with an idea suggested in a passage of Scripture which was read on that occasion. It was Isaiah v. 5: ‘And now, go to: I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down.’

"I had often heard it observed, from the intercession of Abraham in behalf of Sodom, and other Scriptures, that God might spare a country for the sake of the righteous few; but never recollect hearing it noticed before that the sins of professing Christians might also be the principal cause of a nation’s overthrow. Certainly the church is here represented as God’s vine, the grand object of His care. He fences it by His providence, cultivates it by the means of His grace, and looks that it should bring forth grapes or fruit to His glory. But if instead of this it bring forth wild grapes, what inducement can He have to continue the fence?

 

A TRUE TEST.

"If there be any true religion in us, it is much more likely to be discovered and drawn into actual exercise by an exhibition of the glory and grace of Christ, than by searching for it in the rubbish of our past feelings. To discover the small grains of steel mixed among a quantity of dust, it were much better to make use of a magnet than a microscope."

 

INFLUENCE OF AFFLICTION.

"It is said of the wild ass used to the wilderness, that ‘in her month they shall find her.’ There is a time, in almost every man’s life, in which his spirit is brought down; and in which he will give ear, at least, to those things which in the season of health and prosperity he despises. Affliction is the month in which every man is to be found; and, therefore, is a time of which we ought to avail ourselves. It is then, if ever, that the want of a solid ground of hope is sensibly felt. It is then that worldly supports fail. Like vicious companions, they withdraw from the bed of affliction, and leave men to die alone. This, therefore, is the time for religion to obtain at least a hearing. And when, in subserviency to the good of men’s souls, we relieve their temporal wants, they cannot but perceive the sincerity of our counsels, and must, ordinarily, be induced to regard them with candid attention. Such was the conduct of our Lord himself; He went about continually doing good to men’s bodies, as the means of gaining access to their minds."

 

THE SPIRITUAL TEMPLE.

"If God overlook the heavens and the earth, the work of His own hands, in order that He may look on His despised servants, surely He will not be detained from looking upon them by the most magnificent building erected by men. Christians worshipping God in a barn, are themselves ‘a building fitly framed together, and grow unto a holy temple in the Lord; in whom they are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit.’ The same apostle also says, ‘Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?’ It is a dangerous thing to despise the servants of God; for the Lord is their avenger."

 

CONSOLATION AND ADVICE.

"It concerns me to hear that you are not materially better. Possibly, if the weather were different, it might be in your favour: but all is of God, and He will do that for us which is best. I have been very ill, for some time, myself; but the soft southern breezes of today have a little revived me. Cleave to the Lord, my dear boy, and your heart will live. If it please God to restore your health, this school of affliction may be as necessary for you as that in which you learn Hebrew and Greek; and it may be more so. It is good to bear this yoke in youth (Lam. iii. 27, 30). The mind, in youth, is in danger of being carried away with vain company; but early afflictions, sanctified, cause us to sit alone and think."

 

THE RIGHT PLACE OF PHILOSOPHY.

"What is philosophy but human opinion? Has it not varied in every age? I have no objection to such a way of advancing truth as consists in pointing out its rationality. On the contrary, it is a great satisfaction to feel both Scripture and reason on our side; and so it is to find great and good men agreeing with us in important doctrines; but, as I would not make an oracle of them, neither would I of a set of human opinions, though they may go under the name of philosophy. Philosophy seems to be out of its place, when seated upon the bench by the side of God’s Word. The bar is the highest situation to which it ought to be admitted."

 

"THE LOADED BRANCH."

"Fruit is more than regularity of conduct or respectability of character. We may be kept from God-dishonouring crimes, and yet be ‘unprofitable servants.’ Much fruit is necessary to do honour to a gardener. Here and there a berry may ascertain the nature of a plant or tree; but it is the loaded branch that honours him who planted it. I have been thinking also on Psalm xcii. ‘Fruit in old age.’ I am turned of fifty-four. I want to find the cluster mentioned in Romans v.-‘ patience, experience,
hope.’ "

 

POWER OF A SINGLE IMPRESSION.

"I am struck with the importance that may attach to a single mind receiving an evangelical impression. I knew Carey, the missionary, when he made shoes for the maintenance of his family; yet even then his mind had received an evangelical stamp, and his heart burned incessantly with desire for the salvation of the heathen; even then he had acquired a considerable acquaintance with Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and French’; and why? Because his mind was filled with the idea of his being, some day, a translator of the words of God into the languages of those that sit in darkness; even then he had drawn out a map of the world with sheets of paper pasted together with shoemakers’ wax, and the moral state of every nation depicted with his pen."

 

SUBSERVIENCY TO GOD.

"If any object, that the direction of Paul, that whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, should be done to the glory of God, is a metaphysical subtlety, too minute for practice, let them consider that men are at no loss in comprehending the idea of subservience where they are the head. A father can understand the doctrine with respect to his children; and a master with respect to his servants; yea, the whole species with respect to the inferior creation, which God made subservient to us. We are sufficiently ingenious to convert to our own use air, earth, fire, water, light, vegetables, minerals, beasts, birds, fishes, insects, – everything, in short, in heaven above, or in the earth beneath; yet we will not understand how we ourselves are to be subservient to the glory of Him who made us."

 

THE LIFE OF FAITH.

"I have here two religious persons, who were intimately acquainted in early life. Providence favoured one of them with a tide of prosperity. The other, fearing for his friend lest his heart should be overcharged with the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches, one day asked him whether he did not find prosperity a snare to him. He paused and answered, ‘I am not conscious that I do; for I enjoy God in all things.’ Some years after, his affairs took another turn: he lost the greater part, if not the whole, of what he had gained. His old friend being one day in his company, renewed his question, whether he did not find the trials which had lately befallen him to be too much for him. Again he paused, and answered, ‘I am not conscious that I do; for now I enjoy all things in God.’ This was truly a life of faith."

 

OLD AGE.

"Old age, thought I, is a time in which tribulations commonly bear down the spirit; and, if unsanctified, they work peevishness; but, if sanctified, patience. I have known many a good old Christian whose heart was softened and mellowed by them. His firmness became tempered with gentleness, and his zeal with tenderness and prudence. When a youth, it may be he was full of fire, and would hardly be persuaded to put up with an injury; but now he will give up everything, but truth and a good conscience, for the sake of peace.

"Old age, thought I, farther, is a time in which experience becomes mature. Observation and reflection are now ripened into decision. This, if unsanctified, works obstinacy; but, if sanctified, ‘the meekness of wisdom.’ The aged Christian has had large experience of his own ignorance, weakness, and depravity; and this renders him humble and forbearing.

"Old age is a time in which heaven draws near, and hope goes forth to meet it. Old age, if unsanctified, commonly increases in covetousness. Strange as it may seem, when men are about to leave the world, they cleave the fastest to it. ‘ The lust of the flesh’ has nearly spent its force; ‘the pride of life’ has lost its charms; depravity, therefore, has only one channel left – ‘the lust of the eye;’ and this commonly flows deeper and stronger. But, sanctified by the grace of God, we shall look higher, and seek after a better portion. How charming is it to see the mind soar, while the body bows, and to hear the venerable saint uttering, with broken but affecting accents, the words of the apostle, ‘I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.’ Or of the dying patriarch, ‘I have waited for Thy salvation, O Lord.’ Such ‘hope maketh not ashamed;’ for, having received the earnest, in the shedding abroad of God’s love in the heart, we shall receive the inheritance; and so shall not be ashamed nor confounded before Him, at His coming. Excuse the freedom of my seeming to sermonize. Grace and peace be with you."

 

SECRET FAULTS.

"When David prayed, in the nineteenth psalm, ‘Cleanse Thou me from secret faults,’ he probably did not intend those sins which are committed in secrecy, and of course unknown to our neighbours and most intimate friends; but rather those which are secret and unknown to ourselves. This view of the matter seems to be strongly favoured by the connection in which the passage stands."

 

TWO EXTREMES.

"There are two extremes into which great numbers of the religious world have fallen. One is, an idea of self-sufficiency to obey God’s commands; and the other is, a spirit of self­justification in neglecting them. Those who entertain the first, seem not to know the plague of their own hearts; they suppose it inconsistent for the Divine Being to enjoin that on them which they are unable to perform; so that, if God command, saying, ‘Make you a new heart, and a new spirit,’ they conceive themselves sufficient to effect it. Those who imbibe the last, deny their obligations: they suppose it to be inconsistent, that those things which God has graciously promised to bestow upon us, should yet continue to be required of us; so that if God promise, saying, ‘A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit I will put within you,’ it frees them from all obligation in the affair."

 

PROGRESS OF SMALL BEGINNINGS.

"As great things arise from small beginnings, so they commonly fetch a compass in their accomplishment in some degree proportioned to their magnitude. God made promise of a son to Abraham; but five-and-twenty years elapsed before it was performed. He also promised the land of Canaan for a possession to his posterity; there the performance required a period of nearly five hundred years. At the same time Abraham was assured that the Messiah should descend from his loins, and that in him all the nations of the earth should be blessed; this promise was nearly two thousand years ere it came to pass. These events resemble the oval streaks in the trunk of a tree, which mark its annual growth; each describes a larger compass than that which precedes it, and all which precede are preparatory to that which follows. The establishment of Abraham’s posterity in Canaan, was a greater event than the birth of Isaac, and greater preparations were made for it; but it was less than the coming of Christ, and required less time and labour to precede it. All that the patriarchs and prophets were doing for thousands of years was introductory to the Gospel. Their work was to go through and through the gates, to prepare the way, to cast up the highway, to gather out the stones; and when the way was thus prepared, and a standard lifted up for the people by the preaching of the cross, then are they seen to walk in it."

 

See also:

Particular Baptist Reading Group:
http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/101137-particular-baptist-reading-group

A memoir of the Life and Writings of Andrew Fuller Discussion Page:
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/group_folder/229547?group_id=101137

The Full Book (coming soon – please check, it may be available):
http://particularbaptist.com/library/memoir_fuller_contents.html

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