Andrew Fuller Friday: Defining Benevolence

“A great deal of what is called candour and benevolence among Socinians is nothing else but indifference to all religious principle. “If we could be so happy,” says Dr. Priestley, “as to believe that there are no errors but what men may be so circumstanced as to be innocently betrayed into, that any mistake of the head is very consistent with rectitude of heart, and that all differences in modes of worship may be only the different methods by which different men (who are equally the offspring of God) are endeavouring to honour and obey their common Parent, our differences of opinion would have no tendency to lessen our mutual love and esteem.” This is, manifestly, no other than indifference to all religious principle. Such an indifference, it is allowed, would produce a temper of mind which Dr. Priestley calls candour and benevolence; but which, in fact, is neither the one nor the other.

Benevolence is good-will to men; but good-will to men is very distinct from a good opinion of their principles or their practices—so distinct that the former may exist in all its force without the least degree of the latter. Our Lord thought very ill of the principles and practices of the people of Jerusalem, yet he “beheld the city and wept over it.” This was genuine benevolence.”

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 |December 1st, 2017|Categories: Andrew Fuller Friday, Blog|

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