“If nothing amounts to real happiness which admits not of perpetuity,
all natural pleasure, when weighed against the hopes and joys of the gospel, will be found wanting. It is an expressive characteristic of the good things of this life, that “they all perish with the using.” The charms of youth and beauty quickly fade. The power of relishing natural enjoyments is soon gone. The pleasures of active life, of building, planting, forming schemes, and achieving enterprises, soon follow. In old age none of them will flourish, and in death they are exterminated. “The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient, the captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator,” all descend in one undistinguished mass into oblivion. And as this is a truth which no man can dispute, those who have no prospects of a higher nature must often feel themselves unhappy. Contrast with this the joys of the gospel. These, instead of being diminished by time, are often increased. To them the soil of age is friendly. While nature has been fading and perishing by slow decrees, how often have we seen faith, hope, love, patience, and resignation to God in full bloom!
Who but Christians can contemplate the loss of all present enjoyments with satisfaction? Who else can view death, judgment, and eternity with desire? I appeal to the hearts of libertines and unbelievers, whether they have not many misgivings and revoltings within them; and whether, in the hour of solitary reflection, they have not sighed the wish of Balaam, ” Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!”
Excerpt From “The Gospel Its Own Witness”, 1799
Fuller, Andrew, The Works of Andrew Fuller. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2007.