Andrew Fuller

 •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 9
THE conversion of Andrew Fuller is best told in his own words. He says : "I was at times the subject of such convictions and affections that I really thought myself converted, and lived under that delusion for a long time. The ground on which I rested that opinion was as follows : One morning, I think about the year 1767, as I was walking alone, I began to think seriously what would become of my poor soul, and was deeply affected on thinking of my condition. I felt myself the slave of sin, and that it had such power over me that it was in vain for me to think of extricating myself from its thralldom. I walked sorrowfully along, repeating these words : Iniquity will be my ruin! Iniquity will be my ruin!' While poring over my unhappy case, these words of the apostle suddenly occurred to my mind : "Sin shall not have dominion over you ; for ye are not under the law, but under grace.'
"Now the suggestion of a text of Scripture to the mind, especially if it came with power, was generally considered by the religious people with whom I occasionally associated, as a promise coming immediately from God. I therefore so understood it, and I thought that God had thus revealed to me that I was in a state of salvation, and that therefore iniquity should not, as I had feared, be my ruin.
"The effect of this impression was that I was overcome with joy and transport. I shed, I suppose, thousands of tears as I walked along, and seemed to feel myself, as it were, in a new world. It appeared to me that I hated my sins, and was resolved to forsake them. Thinking on my wicked courses, I remember using those words of Paul : 'Shall I continue in sin that grace may abound ? God forbid! ' I felt, or seemed to feel the strongest indignation at the thought.
"But, strange as it may appear, though my face was that morning, I believe, swollen with weeping, before night all was gone and for-gotten, and I returned to my former vices with as eager a gust as ever. Nor do I remember that for more than half a year afterwards I had any serious thoughts about the salvation of my soul. I lived entirely without prayer, and was wedded to my sins just the same as before, or, rather was increasingly attached to them.
"Some time in the following year, I was again walking by myself, and began to reflect on my course of life, particularly upon my former hopes and affections, and how I had since forgotten them all, and returned to all my wicked ways. Instead of sin having no more dominion over me, I perceived that its dominion had been in-creased. Yet I still thought that must have been a promise of God to me, and that I must have been a converted person, but in a back-sliding state. And this persuasion was con-firmed by another sudden impression, which dispelled my dejection, in these words : I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions, and as a cloud thy sins.' This, like the former, overcame my mind with joy. I wept much at the thought of having backslidden so long, but yet considered myself now as restored and happy.
"But this also was mere transient affection. I have great reason to think that the great deep of my heart's depravity had not yet been bro-ken up, and that all my religion was without any abiding principle. Amidst it all, I still continued in the neglect of prayer, and was never, that I recollect, induced to deny myself of any sin, when temptations were presented. I now thought, however, Surely I shall be better for the time to come.' But alas! in a few days this also was forgotten, and I returned to my evil courses with as great an eagerness as ever.
"One morning, I think in November, 1769, I walked out by myself, with an unusual load of guilt upon my conscience. The remembrance of my sin, not only on the past evening, but for a long time back ; the breach of my vows and the shocking termination of my former hopes and affections, all uniting together, formed a burden which I knew not how to bear. The reproaches of a guilty conscience seemed like the gnawing worm of hell. I thought, Surely this must be an earnest of hell itself!' The fire and brimstone of the bottomless pit seemed to burn within my bosom. I do not write in the language of exaggeration. I know now that the sense which I then had of the evil of sin and the wrath of God was very far short of the truth ; but yet it seemed more than I was able to sustain.
"In reflecting upon my broken vows, I saw there was no truth in me. I saw that God would be perfectly just in sending me to hell, and that to hell I must go unless I were saved of pure grace, and, as it were, in spite of myself. I felt that if God were to forgive me all my past sins, I should again destroy my soul, and that in less than a day's time. I never before knew what it was to feel myself an odious, lost sinner, standing in need of both pardon and purification; yet, though I needed these blessings, it seemed presumption to hope for them after what I had done. I was absolutely helpless, and seemed to have nothing about me that ought to excite the pity of God, or that I could reason-ably expect should do so, but everything dis-gusting to Him and provoking to the eyes of His glory.
"I was not then aware that any poor sinner had a warrant to believe in Christ for the salvation of his soul, but supposed there must be some kind of qualification to entitle him to do it ; yet I was aware that I had not these qualifications.
"The resolution I took at that time, seems to resemble that of Esther, who went into the king's presence contrary to law, and at the hazard of her life. Like her, I seemed reduced to extremities, impelled by dire necessity to run all hazards, even though I should perish in the attempt. Yet it was not altogether from a dread of wrath that I fled to this refuge ; for I well remember that I felt something attracting in the Saviour. 'I must—I will—yes—I will trust my soul, my sinful, lost soul, in His hands. If I perish, I perish!' However it was, I deter-mined to cast myself upon Christ, thinking, per-adventure, He would save my soul ; and if not, I could but be lost.
"In this way I continued above an hour, weeping, and supplicating mercy for the Saviour's sake—(my soul hath it still in remembrance, and is humbled in me) ; and as the eye of the mind was more and more fixed on Him, my guilt and fears were gradually, and insensibly, removed. I now found rest for my troubled soul."
It is striking how in this and previous cases of conversion we have considered, the soul was first, and sometimes repeatedly, led to believe itself secure, but always apart from Christ. This is, we believe, a common delusion of the day in which we live. They all partake, more or less, of the features of those classes, promising but fruitless, mentioned in the parable of the sower : the stony-ground and the thorny-ground hearers. They make an apparently hopeful beginning, but in time of trial or pressure fall away. They endure, and even seem to make progress, for a time ; but Christ not being at the root and bottom of their reformation, they return, like the washed sow, to the mire and filth of sin. Evangelists and missionaries meet such cases constantly in their work. Time, in every case, must prove the reality of one's profession. And, thank God, where Christ is received by faith, the soul has real and lasting power over sin.
Has the reader, at some time or other, made a profession, and, like these persons whose con-version we are recording, failed utterly ? Do not despair, dear soul, however often you have "tried." Remember :
"It is not try, but trust."
Aye, trust in Jesus, not in your efforts. When you do (as these men finally were compelled to do) cast yourself unreservedly upon Christ and His merits, you will find, as they and all others have found, that He will not fail. He will not, like your depraved and fickle heart, deceive you.
Learn now, as all must learn who would be saved from sin and hell, that OTHER FOUNDATION CAN NO MAN LAY THAN THAT IS LAID, WHICH IS JESUS CHRIST."