"Listening to the Past – Lessons from Andrew Fuller" 6

Fuller’s most important work, The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation, is still important today. His call to call men to repentance is something that many churches are failing to do again today. It might not be because of distorted view of the doctrines of grace as in Hyper-Calvinism, but it is just as bad when it is a distorted view of the sinfulness of man which prevents offers of the gospel. Fuller, in his concluding remarks to his 2nd edition of The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation, reminds us once again of the calls to repentance of Christ, the Apostles, and the Prophets, and how this is the true religion of the Scriptures. While many today believe that men can change themselves of their own wills, in contrast to what Fuller was arguing, many fail to address the root heart issue and fall into the same trap of the Hyper-Calvinist and address outside issues.

This portion is taken from, “Concluding Reflections,” in The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation (Works, II:387-388).

Christ and his apostles, without any hesitation called on sinners to “repent and believe the gospel;” but we, considering them as poor, impotent, and depraved creatures, have been disposed to drop this part of the Christian ministry. Some may have felt afraid of being accounted legal; others have really thought it inconsistent. Considering such things as beyond the power of their hearers, they seem to have contented themselves with pressing on them such things which they could perform, still continuing the enemies of Christ; such as behaving decently in society, reading the Scriptures, and attending the means of grace. Thus it is that hearers of this description sit at ease in our congregations. Having done their duty, the minister has nothing more to say to them; unless indeed, it be to tell them occasionally that something more is necessary to salvation. But as this implies no guilt on their part, they sit unconcerned, conceiving that all that is required of them is “to lie in the way, ad to wait the Lord’s time.” But is this the religion of the Scriptures? Where does it appear that the prophets or apostles ever treated that kind of inability which is merely the effect of reigning aversion as affording any excuse? And where have they descended, in their exhortations, to things which might be done, and the parties still continue the enemies of God? Instead of leaving out every thing of a spiritual nature, because their hearers could not find in their hearts to comply with it, it may safely be affirmed they exhorted to nothing else; treating such inability not only as of no account, with regard to the lessening of obligation, but as rendering the subjects of it worthy of the severest rebuke. “To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? Behold, their ear is uncircumcised and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the Lord is unto them a reproach and they have no delight in it.” What then? Did the prophet desist from his work, and exhort them to something to which, in their present state of mind, they could hearken? Far from it. He delivers his message whether they would hear, or whether they would forbear. “Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.’ And did this induce him to desist? No: he proceeds to read their doom, and calls the world to witness its justice: “Hear, O earth! behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it,” Jer. vi. 10-19.

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