“Benevolence is a very distinct thing from complacency or esteem. These are founded on an approbation of character; the other is not. I am bound by the law of love to bear good-will to men, as creatures of God, and as fellow creatures, so as, by every means in my power, to promote their welfare, both as to this life and that which is to come; and all this, let their character be what it may. I am bound to esteem every person for that in him which is truly amiable, be he a friend or an enemy, and to put the best construction upon his actions that truth will admit; but no law obliges me to esteem a person respecting those things which I have reason to consider as erroneous or vicious. I may pity him, and ought to do so; but to esteem him, in those respects, would be contrary to the love of both God and man.
Indifference to religious principle, it is acknowledged, will promote such esteem. Under the influence of that indifference, we may form a good opinion of various characters, which, otherwise, we should not do; but the question is, Would that esteem be right, or amiable? On the contrary, if religious principle of any kind should be found necessary to salvation, and if benevolence consist in that good-will to men which leads us to promote their real welfare, it must contradict it; for
Excerpt From “The Calvinistic and Socinian Systems Examined and Compared”, 1802
Fuller, Andrew, The Works of Andrew Fuller. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2007.