The prosperous soul may be known by this, that it is accompanied by a good degree of public spirit, and largeness of heart. A man that is concerned principally about himself can never have a prosperous soul. Such was not Gaius—he was a fellow labourer and helper of the truth. He was habitually concerned in promoting the cause of God and religion in the world by every means in his power. A man that takes up six days out of seven, and thinks himself warranted to pursue nothing else but the acquiring of a fortune, and thinks it quite sufficient if he serves God one day out of the week, cannot be a Christian at all. He has not the first principles of religion in him. I grant that one day in seven ought to be devoted especially to the service of God, but the true Christian’s aim is to serve God in the whole course of his life; whatever he may do, whether he eat or drink, buy or sell,—to do all to the glory of God. What a contrast to him is the man whose soul or main object is to get a fortune, to accumulate a few thousand pounds, and who says to himself, After a few more prosperous years in trade, I hope to take a country seat and enjoy myself; to attain this object I must save all I can, now and then giving a guinea to some pious object! Such a man may pass through life as a respectable member of society, but a Christian he cannot be. He whose main object is to amass a fortune—he whose main object is to live to himself—lives not to Christ. Christianity cultivates a public spirit, a largeness of heart—not that narrowness of mind by which we consecrate all that we have and are to ourselves.
I may mention, besides this, a sort of religious narrowness of mind in that person whose chief concern it is to get comfort to his own mind—whose chief and almost sole concern it is that he may obtain a good ground to hope for everlasting life in the world to come—who cares little or nothing about the interest of Christ on the earth the cause of God. the cause of righteousness, truth, and humanity—who does not grasp within the circle of his prayers his fellow men, his fellow Christians—he whose religion centres principally in himself. Alas! it is doubtful whether that man can be a Christian: at any rate he cannot have a prosperous soul; and I have generally remarked that those religious people who are continually poring over their own case, who are only anxious to discover evidences of their Christianity, who are perpetually poring over past experience to spell out whether they were truly converted or not, who hear sermons and read the Scriptures only to find out whether they can come in for any thing to comfort them—I say I have found that those who spend their whole time in this are, generally, disappointed. You, selfish soul, that care little for the souls of others, take a course directly opposed to your own interest. Seek to bring peace to the souls of others; that will be the way to find comfort for yourself. Seek the good of the poor and the afflicted, and in seeking that you will find your own. By seeking the public good we should find a private good. I never knew a man of a large heart—whose soul grasped the well-being of others, who laid out his time and property for the good of others—greatly troubled about his own interest in Christ. It is in seeking the good of God’s cause in the world, and promoting the good of our fellow creatures, that God will give us the earnest of eternal life. A public spirit is the spirit of the gospel, and largeness of heart is the mark of a prosperous soul.
Excerpt from: “Soul Prosperity” (3 John 2), Sermon XXXVI in Sermons and Sketches.
Fuller, A. G. (1988). The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller: Memoirs, Sermons, Etc. (J. Belcher, Ed.) (Vol. 1, pp. 406–407). Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications.