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July 15, 2009 / beidson

“My Heart Refused To Melt”: Fuller On The Aftershocks Of Trials

“Shall I tell you a little of my own experience?  At one period of my life I had a severe domestic trial.  My heart melted under it like wax.  I cried much to the Lord, and he delivered me out of my affliction.  At first I thought I could never forget his goodness.  I erected, as it were, a memorial to it and charged my soul to live to him all my future life.  But within a few months after my troubles had subsided, I sunk insensibly into a kind of lassitude and neglected to watch and pray.  I became careless and indolent, and my work became less interesting to me than heretofore.  In this state of mind I was accosted with temptations, which, though they did not draw me into open sin, will cause deep self-abasement to the end of my life.  My hands hung down like a bulrush, and I had no pleasure in myself . . .

Though I had nearly lost the enjoyments of religion, I was almost equally unacquainted with its sorrows.  My heart refused to melt.  A tear, though shed in anguish, was to me a real enjoyment.  A deep dejection seized me, which, though I strove to throw if off in company, would be sure to return as soon as I retired . . .

(From a diary excerpt, Oct. 3, 1789)  “I feel at times some longing after the lost joys of salvation, but cannot recover them.  I have departed from God; and yet I may rather be said to be habitually dejected on account of it, than earnestly to repent for it.  I find much hardness of heart, and a spirit of inactivity has laid hold of me; I feel that to be carnally-minded is death.  O that it were with me as in months past!”

(On regaining his spiritual strength since that time) . . . And I think my engagement in the work of the mission has more than anything contributed to it.  Before this I did but little pore over my misery.  But since I have betaken myself to greater activity for God, my strength has been recovered and my soul replenished.  I have not been contented with ransacking for past evidences of love to God, but have been enabled to love and serve him afresh, looking for mercy to the Lamb of God, who “taketh away the sin of the world.”

(To John Thomas, May 16, 1796.  From The armies of the Lamb: The spirituality of Andrew Fuller, edited by Michael G. Haykin, Joshua Press Inc., 2001, pp. 155-56)

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