“It is not merely the nature of the soul however, but its depravity, whence our necessities arise. We are sinners. Every man who believes there is a God, and a future state, or even only admits the possibility of them, feels the want of. mercy. The first inquiries of a mind awakened to reflection will be, how he may escape the wrath to come—how he shall “get over his everlasting ruin. A heathen, previously to any Christian instruction, exclaimed in the moment of alarm, “What must I do to be saved?”* And several Mahometans, being lately warned by a Christian minister of their sinful state, came the next morning to him with this very serious question — Keman par hoibo? —”How shall we get over?” To answer these inquiries is beyond the power of any principles but those of the gospel. Philosophy may conjecture, superstition may deceive, and even a false system of Christianity may be aiding and abetting; each may labour to lull the conscience to sleep, but none of them can yield it satisfaction. It is only by believing in Jesus Christ, the great sacrifice that taketh away the sin of the world, that the sinner obtains a relief which will bear reflection—a relief which, at the same time, gives peace to the mind and purity to the heart. For the truth of this also I appeal to all who have made the trial.
Where, but in the gospel, will you find relief under the innumerable ills of the present state? This is the well-known refuge of Christians. Are they poor, afflicted, persecuted, or reproached? They are led to consider Him who endured the contradiction of sinners, who lived a life of poverty and ignominy, who endured persecution and reproach, and death itself, for them; and to realize a blessed immortality in prospect. By a view of such things their hearts are cheered, and their afflictions become tolerable. Looking to Jesus, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is now set down at the right hand of the throne of God, they run with patience the race which is set before them.—But what is the comfort of unbelievers? Life being short, and having no ground to hope for any thing beyond it, if they be crossed here, they become inconsolable. Hence it is not uncommon for persons of this description, after the example of the philosophers and statesmen of Greece and Rome, when they find themselves depressed by adversity, and have no prospect of recovering their fortunes, to put a period to their lives! Unhappy men! Is this the felicity to which ye would introduce us? Is it in guilt, shame, remorse, and desperation that ye decry such charms? Admitting that our hope of immortality is visionary, where is the injury? If it be a dream is it not a pleasant one? To say the least, it begudes many a melancholy hour, and can do no mischief; but if it be a reality, what will become of you?”
Excerpt From “The Gospel Its Own Witness”, 1799
Fuller, Andrew, The Works of Andrew Fuller. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2007.