By Evan D. Burns
In “Love to God and Divine Things for Their Own Excellency,” Andrew Fuller muses on the pleasures of loving and pursuing God. In very Edwardsean language, Fuller upholds the duty of delighting in God as the soul’s highest joy.
The gospel undoubtedly holds up rewards to stimulate us to duty, rewards addressed to our emulation and thirst of happiness; and if the deists on this account reproach it as a selfish theory, I have no doubt but their reproach is groundless. The gospel ought not to be denominated a selfish theory because it inculcates a regard to ourselves. If, however, it could be proved that we are there taught so to pursue our own interest as that the glory of God shall not be regarded as a supreme, but as a subordinate end, the charge were just. But the rewards contained in the gospel convey no such idea as this, for the following plain reason:—The sum of all these rewards is God himself. Grace and glory are only God’s communications of himself. Hence it follows that such rewards, properly pursued, instead of excluding supreme love to God for what he is in himself, necessarily imply it. Without such a love, as hath been already observed, it is impossible in any right manner to seek either his approbation or blessing.
Andrew Gunton Fuller, The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller, Volume 2: Controversial Publications, ed. Joseph Belcher (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1988), 728.
Evan D. Burns (Ph.D. Candidate, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is on faculty at Asia Biblical Theological Seminary, and he lives in Southeast Asia with his wife and twin sons. They are missionaries with Training Leaders International.