One man from church history whose life repeatedly demonstrates the fruits of Christian friendship is the great Baptist pastor-theologian Andrew Fuller. I have been reading his Memoir this week, and have arrived at the final chapter of his life. Writing to his “dearest friend,” Dr. Ryland, for the last time, Fuller closes his letter in this way:
If I should never see your face in the flesh, I could wish one last testimony of brotherly love, and of the truth of the gospel, to be expressed by your coming over and preaching my funeral sermon, if it can be, from Romans 8:10. I can dictate no more, but am ever yours, A.F. (Memoir, Complete Works of Andrew Fuller, Vol. I, 102)
What must the reading of these lines have done in Ryland’s heart, after a lifetime of friendship and shared ministry with his beloved friend?