Andrew Fuller Fridays: Fuller on the Motives of Christian Morality


“It is a grand peculiarity of the gospel that none of its principles are merely speculative; each is pregnant with a practical use. Nor does the discovery of it require any extraordinary degree of ingenuity; real Christians, however weak as to their natural capacities, have always been taught, by the gospel of Christ, that ” denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, they should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present world.

Ancient philosophers have taught many things in favour of morality, so far at least as respects justice and goodness towards our fellow creatures; but where are the motives by which the minds of the people, or even their own minds, have been moved to a compliance with them? They framed a curious machine, but who among them could discover a power to work it? What principles have appeared in the world, under the name either of philosophy or religion, that can bear a comparison with the following? ” God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” ” Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” ” Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil-speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” ” Be ye therefore followers (or imitators) of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God of a sweet-smelling savour.” ” Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” […]

These are motives by which Christians in every age have been induced to practise that morality which, while writing against Christianity, Paine, Bolingbroke, and many others, have been compelled to applaud. But the far greater part of them are rejected by deists; and what will they substitute, of equal efficacy, in their place ? The love of Christ constraineth us; but what have they to constrain them ? Will self-love, or the beauty or utility of virtue, answer the purpose ? Let history and observation determine.”

Excerpt From “The Gospel Its Own Witness”, 1799

Fuller, Andrew,  The Works of Andrew Fuller. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2007.


By |August 19th, 2016|Categories: Andrew Fuller Friday, Blog|

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