In the dedication of his Expository Discourses on the Book of Genesis, Andrew Fuller wrote to his church reflecting on “pleasures we have enjoyed together in exploring the treasures of the lively Oracles.” This dedication is a beautiful, powerful testimony to the affection between pastor and people that is only heightened as they build a life of working through the Bible together. Fuller’s words mean much to me because I am blessed to be part of a congregation who has also walked through the Bible together where we commonly with affection refer back to “when we were going through John” or when “we were going through Hebrews,” etc.
If this is your practice, too, may this encourage you. If it is not your practice may this entice you to it.
MY DEAR BRETHREN,
It is now upwards of twenty-two years since I first took the oversight of you in the Lord. During the last fifteen years, it has, as you know, been my practice to expound amongst you on the Lord’s-day morning some part of the Holy Scriptures, commonly a chapter. From all that I have felt in my own mind, and heard from you, I have reason to hope these exercises have not been in vain. They have enabled us to take a more connected view of the Scriptures than could be obtained merely by Sermons on particular passages; and I acknowledge that as I have proceeded, the work of exposition has become more and more interesting to my heart.
I have not been in the habit of writing Dedications to what I have published; but in this instance I feel inclined to deviate from my usual practice. Considering my time of life, and the numerous avocations on my hands, I may not be able to publish any thing more of the kind; and if not, permit be to request that this Family book may be preserved as a Memorial of our mutual affection, and of the pleasures we have enjoyed together in exploring the treasures of the lively Oracles.
You will consider these Discourses as the result of having once gone over that part of the Scriptures to which they relate. Were we to go over it again, and again, such is the fulness [sic] of God’s word, that we should still find interesting and important matter, which had never occurred in reading it before; and this should encourage us not to rest in any exposition, but to be constantly perusing the Scriptures themselves, and digging at the precious ore.
As the Exposition was delivered in public worship, it was not my wish to dwell upon particular words, so much as to convey the general scope and design of the Scriptures. Whether I have in any considerable degree caught the spirit which runs through them, is too much for me to decide: but this I can say, that such has been my aim. I know by experience, that, with respect to this, when I have been the most spiritually-minded, I have succeeded the best; and therefore conclude, that if I had lived nearer to God, the work had been better executed. But such as it is, I commend it to the blessing of God, and your candid acceptance.
Your affectionate Pastor,
October 19, 1805.
–Andrew Fuller’s dedication to his book Expository Discourses on the Book of Genesis.