Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Fuller on “Religion upheld by an obscure people”
"Yours I received & therewith Mosheim’s 2nd vol. For wh. I thank you. I have found strange feelings in reading the 1st. I have been used to read in the Old Testament numerous Promises & Prophecies of the Glory of the New Testament state. When I took Mosheim in hand I expected to find the history answer the Prophesy—But alas, I found after the first century little else but cartloads of vain traditions, Persecuting Heretics to death, Broils & Contests about Ch. Preferments, in short comprising every evil work! I sat down quite dismayed till one thought relieved me. It was this. Suppose an historian was to write a History of the state of the Church here in England in the 18th Cent. What would he write? Why, if he was popular and in high place (without wh. his history would not reach many centuries forward) he would tell us who filled the Archbishoprics of York & Canterbury, & who the Bishoprics of .....The various veerings about for Ch. Power, the sects of the age &c &c. However we could say Blessed be God pure & undefiled, Religion has been upheld tho’ by an obscure people independent of these Church crawlers. So thought I, doubtless Pure Religion in every period has been carried tho’ perhaps by a people so obscure as seemed unworthy the notice of Ancient Historians, from whom we know the Moderns must derive all their materials." -- To John Sutcliffe, Olney, England, from Andrew Fuller, Soham, England, 28 January 1781.