Andrew Fuller Fridays: Fuller on Hypocrisy

“It is not the bad conduct of a few individuals, in any denomination of Christians, that proves any thing on either side, even though they may be zealous advocates for the peculiar tenets of the party which they espouse. It is the conduct of the general body from which we ought to form our estimate. That there are men of bad character who attend on our preaching is not denied; perhaps some of the worst: but if it be so, it proves nothing to the dishonour of our principles. Those who, in the first ages of Christianity, were not humbled by the gospel, were generally hardened by it.

Nay, were it allowed that we have a greater number of hypocrites than the Socinians, (as it has been insinuated that the hypocrisy and preciseness of some people afford matter of just disgust to speculative Unitarians,) I do not think this supposition, any more than the other, dishonourable to our principles.

The defect of hypocrites lies not so much in the thing professed, as in the sincerity of their profession. The thing professed may be excellent, and, perhaps, is the more likely to be so from its being counterfeited; for it is not usual to counterfeit things of no value. Those persons who entertain low and diminutive ideas of the evil of sin and the dignity of Christ must, in order to be thought religious by us, counterfeit the contrary; but, among Socinians, the same persons may avow those ideas, and be caressed for it. That temper of mind which we suppose common to men, as being that which they possess by nature, needs not to be disguised among them, in order to be well thought of; they have, therefore, no great temptations to hypocrisy. The question in hand, however, is not—What influence either our principles or theirs have upon persons who do not in reality adopt them? but, What influence they have upon those who do?”

Excerpt From “The Calvinistic and Socinian Systems Examined and Compared”, 1802

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

By |May 26th, 2017|Categories: Andrew Fuller Friday, Blog|