Andrew Fuller Friday: On Meeting Dejection with Remembering

But I proceed to the second idea that our text suggests: that under the various depressions which we meet with in the present state, one very important remedy is, the remembrance of those times and places and circumstances in which God hath, heretofore, wrought for us deliverance. “O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.” I wish it in general to be remarked, that that which was the source of the Psalmist’s comfort was not the time, was not the place, was not merely his own experience, but God: “I will remember thee.” He does not say, Therefore will I remember Jordan, therefore will I remember Mizar, therefore will I remember the land of the Hermonites; no: Therefore will I remember Thee from them. God must be the object in which our faith and hope and joy must centre. All those times, places, and past deliverances, were made use of by the Psalmist as means of leading him to God; and this is the proper use to be made of past experience, of past interpositions of Providence on our behalf. What, I would ask, can be a better remedy, when under adverse dispensations, than to recur to such deliverances—“therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar”—to remember divine interpositions in times past? This was the way in which the patriarchs derived consolation. When Jacob was in sorsow with his uncle Laban, and met with many troubles, many discouragements, God appeared to him, we are told, and said, “I am the God of Bethel;” I am the God that appeared unto thee in the way that thou wentest. Now do not you suppose that this would tend abundantly to cheer Jacob’s distressed heart, to call to his remembrance all that grace and goodness that appeared to him at Bethel,—at Bethel, where he had the vision of the ladder, whose top reached to heaven, and of the angels of God ascending and descending upon it—at Bethel, where the Almighty said, “I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac; and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land, for I will not leave thee until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” Ah! that was sweet. Well, and twenty years afterwards God appeared to him and said, “I am the God of Bethel;” that was leading Jacob to remember him from Bethel, to remember him in connexion with past promises and past supports. We should not make a god of our past experience, but we should make it the mean of leading us to God. Jacob did this. When he returned from Padan-aram, you recollect well, I dare say, what a strait he was put to by the coming out of Esau with four hundred men with him, and it looks as if Esau had a bad design. There is little doubt but that the old grudge rankled in his heart. He had been thinking for twenty long years that, if he came back into that country, he would revenge the quarrel. And now Jacob hears of his coming, with wives and flocks and herds, and with four hundred men, against him; what means had Jacob recourse to? Poor soul! his heart was dejected within him—he was exceedingly depressed; “I am afraid,” said he, “lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children.” He was deeply affected; and what measure had he recourse to under his trial? He took the very method which a good man should take: he betook himself to prayer, and we are told how he pleaded with God on that occasion. “And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the Lord, which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee; and thou saidst, I will surely do thee good.” Now this was looking back to Hermon, and to Jordan, to the hill Mizar, and remembering God there; this was making use of past experiences under present trials. This was pleading the divine faithfulness, and resting his soul and all his concerns on him. Jacob pleaded to good purpose, and from hence he obtained the name of Israel; for he had power with God, and prevailed. Oh, that we may do likewise under all our adversities! Does God lay his hand on us? Do mountains appear in our way insurmountable; let us, like Jacob, remember him from Bethel; and say, He that hath delivered doth deliver, and, we trust, will deliver. Let us bless Him for all that is past, and confide in him for all that is to come. Well, and suppose your dejection arise from a want of communion with God, suppose it to be of a spiritual nature; methinks the remembrance of past experience even here, of past manifestations of divine goodness in your behalf, will lead you again, in the exercise of humble prayer, to seek your spiritual supplies from the same fountain. I hate that way of resting on past experiences which consists in quieting the conscience under present carnality, that can make us easy without God in the world; what some people have called a life of faith, but which is in reality the death, rather than the life, of that principle. A life of faith does not consist in being satisfied that we are safe, be we in whatever state we may; but if we repair to the throne of grace or the ordinances of God, and cannot enjoy consolation, and if our souls lament like Israel after the Lord, we may get good by remembering past experiences, or rather by remembering God under them. The church at Ephesus was exhorted to remember how she had heard, and how she had received the word of God. O dejected Christian! do thou also remember how thou hast heard; call to recollection thy former sorrows, thy former hopes, thy former joys, thy former confidences, not in order to seek comfort without a renewal of them, but with a view to rekindle, if it be possible, the lost flame; to recall the former joys, the former hopes, the former confidences, that the things may be revived which are ready to die; this will do thy soul good under all thy dejections. This will be to remember God from Hermon, and from Jordan, from the hill Mizar.

I will only add, by way of conclusion, there is one place which David could not mention, but which you and I can; and which it will do our souls more good to remember than either Jordan, or the land of the Hermonites, or the hill Mizar, or all other places put together; and that is Calvary? Is thy soul cast down within thee? Remember him from Gethsemane and Calvary; and if that be not a relief, nothing can be. I will venture to say there is no trial that can befall you or me in providence or grace, but what a remembrance of God from Calvary will dissipate it. Is thy soul dejected with providential depressions? think of Jesus. What are thy afflictions in comparison of his, who bore thy griefs, and carried thy sorrows? Is thy soul depressed with a load of guilt, and art thou banished from communion with God? remember him on whom was laid the iniquity of us all, and who exclaimed, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Does guilt depress thy heart, and shame cover thy face? “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world;” remember him from Calvary, and this shall be the healing of thy heart. A view of the cross of Jesus, as Bunyan remarks, unburdened his conscience. A view of the cross of Jesus will prove a balm for every malady—a relief under all thy sorrows.

Excerpt from: “A Remedy for Mental Dejection,” a sermon delivered at Carter-lane Meeting-house, London, March 1800.”

Fuller, A. G. (1988). The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller: Memoirs, Sermons, Etc. (J. Belcher, Ed.) (Vol. 1, pp. 372–374). Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications.

By |December 3rd, 2021|Categories: Andrew Fuller Friday, Blog|

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