John Ryland.

The work of faith, the labour of love, and the patience of hope, illustrated, in the life and death of the Rev. Andrew Fuller : late pastor of the Baptist church at Kettering, and secretary to the Baptist Missionary Society ... online

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Online LibraryJohn RylandThe work of faith, the labour of love, and the patience of hope, illustrated, in the life and death of the Rev. Andrew Fuller : late pastor of the Baptist church at Kettering, and secretary to the Baptist Missionary Society ... → online text (page 1 of 34)
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Work of Faith, the Labour of Love, and the
Patience of Hope, illustrated;













District Clerk's Office.

(L SI ^ E IT KEMEMBERED That on the seventh day of July, A I>,
' eighteen hundred and eighteen, and in the forty-third year of the
Independence of the United States of America, WILLIAM V'OLLIER, of
the said District, has deposited in this Office 'he title of a book, the right
whereof he claims as proprietor, in the words following;, to wit :

" The Work of Faith, the Labour of Love, and the Patience of Hope,
illustrated ; in the Life and D-iath of the Rev Andrew Fuller, late Pastor
of the Baptist Church at lettering, and Secretary to the Baptist Mission-
ary .Society, from its com me -cement, in 1792 Chiefly extracted from his
own Papers, by John Ryland, D D"

In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United States, entitled,
*' An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps,
charts and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the
times therein mentioned " and also to an act entitled, '* An Act supple-
mentary to an act, entitled, An Act for the encouragement of learning, by
securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and pro-
prietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned : and extending
the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving and etching histor-
ical and other prints."

T mr Clerk of the District



Preface - - yii


Some Preliminary Remarks on the English Baptists The Coven*
tncnt of their Churches The Baptist AssociationsGeneral
and Particular Baptists Rise of the Modern Question Con-
troversy occasioned by it State of our (,'hurches about the year
1770 Spread of False Calvinism among them, and other de-
nominations- A Check begun to be put to its progress 1


.Mr. Fuller's Birth and Parentage Some Account of his Ancestors
His own narrative of his Early Religious Impressions, and his
subsequent Conversion to God, with his entrance on the Work of
the Christian Ministry, and early Embarrassments respecting va-
rious Theological Controversies


His Settlement as Pastor of the Church at Soham The difficulties he
there encountered His Removal thence, to Kettering The Fx-
eroisesof his mind on that Occasion An Account of his Settlement
at Kettering His Statement of the Circumstances which induced
*>il KemoYal, and his. Confession of Faith., 33



Extracts from his Private Diary, beginning June 3, 1780, and ending
January 10, 1782 60


Extracts from a Diary kept after his removal to Kettering, beginning
April 11, 1784. 81^


An account of Mr Fuller's various publications, both of a Polemical
and Practical Nature His earnest concern to be led into the
TrutH* A Solemn Covenant with God Brief notices from his
Diary on this head Remarks on some of his Works interspersed
with the Catalogue Intimation of unfinished remains 115


Mr Fuller's unwearied Exertions in behalf of the Baptist Missionary
Society The fcise of that Society Sending out of Messrs.
Thomas and Carey Specimens of Mr. Fuller's Correspondence
with the Missionaries His Journies into Scotland; connected
with Observations ot\ the State of Religion in that Country, and
the Sandemanian Controversy; Conversations with a Jew and
other Travellers, &c. - - 136



Extracts from Mr. Fuller's Correspondence, chiefly with the Au-
thor of these Memoirs for two and thirty Years ; who, after ex-
amining more than 330 Letters which he had preserved, has
selected whatever might illustrate the Character of his Friend*
throw Light upon important Doctrines, or contain interesting
Fact* - - - - - - * SO*



This Chapter contains, among other things, Observations relative to
the Modern Question The Harmony of Scripture Precepts,
Prayers, and Promises The Affliction of Mr. F.'s Correspond-
ent Reference to Mr. F.'s Interview with Mr. Berridge His
Correspondent's Removal to Bristol Controversy with Mr.
Booth Observations on Philosophy and the Word of God Ac-
curate Account of his Preaching in Braybrook Church Out-
lines of a Sermon to the Aged Hints to Students Nature of
Christ's Merits Terrible Hailstorm Hints relative to publish-
ing Visit to Portsea Visit to Ireland Remarks on Mr. Walk-
er, of Dublin, and on Sandemanianism Remarks on some of
the Eclectic Reviewers Mr. SutcliffV Illness and Death Let-
ter to the Rev. Archibald M 'Lean Besides various other Ob-
servations interspersed.


Mr. Fuller's first Marriage His Parental Affection Account of his
first daughter Sarah Mrs. Fuller's Illness and Death Lines
written by himself, in Reference to that Event His second Mar-
riage, to the Daughter of the Rev. William Coles, of whom some
Account is given in a Note His Second Family Domestic Com-
fort Distress respecting his Eldest Son Review of Trials and
Mercies Account of his Second Daughter Sarah, in a Note-
Account of his Nephew, Joseph Fuller Mr. Fuller's concern
for the Spiritual Welfare of more Distant Relatives and Friends 255


An Account of Mr] Fuller's Frame of Mind under various Personal
Afflictions, and in his last Illness and the immediate Approach
of Death His last Letter to the Editor Account of his Funeral
Extract from Mr. Toller's Sermon, fee. - -



Containing, among other Articles, Conversations with Evangelical
Clergymen, on Establishments, Doctrine, &c. Instance of Mr.
Fuller's Sound Judgment and Inflexible Integrity Anecdotes

His Originality His Appreciation of the Works of Art Brief

History of the Baptist Church at Keltering Hints as to Mr.
Fuller's Discharge of his Pastoral Duties ; in which is contained
a Letter to one of his Members, against Antinomian Delusions
-^-Inscription on a Tablet erected to his Memory - - 343


very shortly to have all my springs of action
examined at the tribunal of an impartial Judge, I do not hes-
itate to profess, that I hyve undertaken this office, of giving a
faithful representation of my dear departed Brother's life, not
under the influence of any wish to display mv skill as a wri-
ter of biography, nor yet to appear as a critic on his publica-
tions ; but with the hope of promoting pure and undefiled re-
ligion, founded on truly scriptural and evangelical principles, :
and also with a desire of securing to the family of my beloved
friend, the profits which may result from laying this sketch
of his history before the public.

Had I been able to persuade any one who could do more
justice to his character, to have undertaken the service,! would
have gladly resigned my office; trusting that the talents of the
writer would have added to the usefulness of the publication ;
while I should willingly have subserved the undertaking,
without being known to have had a share in the compilation.
But, not being able to prevail in this request, I was unwilling
that the public should suffer loss, by the suppression of the val-
uable materials which had been put into my hands ; or that the
pecuniary advantage, resulting from their being committed to
the press, should be transferred, from the afflicted family,
whose right it is, to any other person. My avocations, how-
ever, were too numerous to admit of my attempting to antici-
pate another publication, great part of which had evidently been
prepared beforehand, consisting chiefly of a review of his
works. And I should, indeed, have rejoiced to secure much


more leisure, to revise and improve this narrative, than, after
all this delay, I have found it possible to obtain : though ray
highest ambition is, like the biographer of David Brainerd, to
show what manner of man my friend was, and to excite others
to follow him, so far as he followed Christ.

Most of our common acquaintance are well aware, that I was
his oldest and most intimate friend ; and though my removal to
Bristol, above twenty years ago, placed us at a distance from
each other, yet a constant correspondence was all along main-
tained ; and, to me at least, it seemed a tedious interval, if more
than a fortnight elapsed without my receiving a letter from him.

I always considered him, and Brother Sutcliff, and myself, as
more closely united to each other, than either of us were to
any one else.* No one of those that grew up with me in the
work of the Lord, had an higher share in my esteem than Mr-
Fuller ; and the task he assigned me at his death is some evi-
dence, that I did not impose upon myself, in supposing I pos-
sessed a peculiar interest in his friendship. But, as I affirmed
at his funeral, so I again avow my persuasion, that our inti-
mate friendship did not blind either of us to the defect* or faults
of the other ; but, rather showed itself in the freedom of af-
fectionate remark on whatever appeared to be wrong. I know
but one religious subject on which there was any material differ-
ence of judgment between us ; and, on that point, I repeatedly
expressed myself more freely and strongly to him, than I did
to any man in England ; yet without giving him offence.

His natural temper might occasionally lead him to indulge
too much severity, especially if it were provoked by the ap-
pearance of vanity or conceit. But to the modest and diffi-

* I do not forget the ardent friendship we all bore to the excellent and
amiable 1'earce ; but this commenced fifteen years later, and was inter-
rupted by death, fifteen years sooner, than our acquaintance with each


dent, I never knew him otherwise than tender. He was not a
man, however, to be brow-beaten and overborne, when satis-
fied of the goodness of his cause ; nor could he be easily im-
posed upon by any one. In January, 1815, I thought I had
some occasion for urging him to take care lest he should be too
much provoked : he replied, " I know something of my own
temper, and thank you for all your cautions. It has some
advantages, and some temptations."

It has been conceived, that he was in danger of thinking too
favourably of any one who appeared to embrace the whole of
his religious sentiments. It might be so. But let what he has
said at the close of his fourth letter,* respecting the difference
between firincifiles and ofdnions, be considered. Will not this
be found a correction of such a mistake ? I believe, if he for-
merly verged towards an error of this kind, it was chiefly oc-
casioned by the deep sense he had in his own experience, of the
humbling and holy tendency of his principles. Hence, he
might be too ready to suppose, that every one who seemed
to enter thoroughly into them, would necessarily be subject to
the same sanctifying influence.

Some of his friends, I am aware, have suspected, that the
experience of progressive years had not greatly altered his pro-
pensity to think the less of a man, for not entering into the
minuter parts of his system. He certainly had taken a long
while to settle his own judgment, on some points of very
considerable importance : he should, therefore, not have for-
gotten, if he now walked in the midst of the paths of judg-
ment, that a man who had wandered a little on the left side of
the narrow way, might be as long in getting exactly into the
proper track, as he himself had been in finding his way out
of a thicket on the right hand. Yet, in this respect also, I

* See Chap. II. p. 29.


cannot forbear referring to the same passage, as
of genuine candour : and those who thought they had most
room for complaint on this head, have acknowledged, that " he
did every thing conscientiously."

A much higher delineation of my friend's character than
I ever attempted, which I could not have drawn with equal
eloquence, though I fully believe it to be just, I shall here
subjoin : and this may suffice to excuse me for writing these
Memoirs without any panegyric of my own.

" I cannot refrain from expressing, in a few words, the sen-
timents of affectionate veneration with which I always regarded
that excellent person while living, and cherish his memory
now that he is no more ; a man whose sagacity enabled him
to penetrate to the depths of every subject he explored)
whose conceptions were so powerful and luminous, that what
was recondite and original appeared familiar ; what was intri-
cate, easy and perspicuous in his hands ; equally successful in
enforcing the practical, in stating the theoretical, and discuss-
ing the polemical branches of theology : without the advanta-
ges of early education, he rose to high distinction among the
religious writers of his day, and, in the midst of a most active
and laborious life, left monuments of his piety and genius which
will survive to distant posterity. Were I making his eulogi-
um, I should necessarily dwell on the spotless integrity of his
private life, his fidelity in friendship, his neglect of self-in-
terest, his ardent attachment to truth, and especially the series
of unceasing labours and exertions in superintending the Mis-
sion to India, to which he most probably fell a victim. He
had nothing feeble or undecisive in his character ; but to every
undertaking in which he engaged, he brought all the powers
of his understanding, all the energies of his heart ; and, if he
were less distinguished by the comprehension, than the acumen


*nd solidity of his thoughts ; less eminent for the gentler gra-
ces, than for stern integrity and native grandeur of mind, we
have only to remember the necessary limitation of human ex-
cellence. While he endeared himself to his denomination by
a long course of most useful labour, by his excellent works
on the Socinian and Deistical controversies, as well as his
devotion to the cause of Missions, he laid the world under
lasting obligations."

If any testimony of respect need be added, after the pre-
ceding quotation from one of his own denomination, it shall
be one as honourable to the candour of the speaker, as it
was to the character of my departed brother. A Psedobap-
tist minister in Scotland, at a numerous assembly convened
at Glasgow, for the sake of forming a Society in aid of the
Baptist Mission, in the beginning of last October, expressed
a wish, with which the universal feeling of all present seemed
to be in unison Would to God that every Brahman in India
was altogether such a man as Brother Fuller or Brother Ca-
rey I" Nor did Dr. Balfour, Mr. Wardlaw, and Dr. Chalm-
ers, appear less disposed to testify their respect to our late
invaluable Secretary, than Mr. Greville Ewing.

As Dr. Stuart, who drew up the sketch of Mr. Fuller's life,
inserted in the Christian Herald, (and copied by Mr. M.) has
assured me, that he gave no offence by adding to it the follow-
ing extract, which I had sent him, from a letter I received
soon after Mr. Fuller's death, I need not scruple to insert it
myself. " But all this time, (said Mr. Wilberforce,) I have been
thinking of our departed friend, for ours, not yours, I must term
him ; at least, it will go ill with me, and with any one who does
not belong to that blessed society to which he belongs. There
is a part of his work, The Gospel its own Witness-) which is
enough to warm the coldest heart."


I conclude this preface with the entry on the minutes of the
Committee of the British and Foreign Bible Society, dated
May 22, 1815 " This Committee learn, with deep regret?
the decease of the late Rev. Andrew Fuller, Secretary to the
Baptist Missionary Society ; and, impressed with a sense of
the valuable services rendered by that excellent individual, in
promoting the translation and publication of the Sacred Scrip-
tures in the East, desire to unite their condolence on this afflic-
tive event with those of their Baptist brethren, to whom he
was more particularly allied, and of the Christian world, by
whom his memory will deserve to be held in affectionate and
grateful veneration."

To this testimony of the most respectable Christian Senator
in the British Parliament, and the most respectable Christian
Society in the world, I add nothing but my fervent prayers, for
his surviving widow, and all his children and family ; that his
God may be their God, guardian, guide, and portion for ever.
Amen !

JBristol, Jan. 29, 1816.

P. S. In this new edition, I have rectified two or three mis-
takes, which I had inadvertently made in the former ; and have
left out a few particulars of less importance, to make room for
some interesting additions ; especially part of a letter to his
eldest son ; (288.) a farther account of Mr. Coles ; (278.) and
of Mr. Fuller's second daughter Sarah, (291.) who died since
her father's decease ; with a letter to a friend, respecting im-
pressions of texts of Scripture on the mind. (352.) A few
paragraphs have also been transposed ; and a smaller type
has been used, for the sake of reducing the price.

January 1, 1818.












1M[R. FULLER having been brought up among the Par-
ticular Baptists, in which religious connexion he rose to em-
inent respectability and usefulness, it may be proper to prefix.


to the narrative of his life and labours, a brief account of the
principles held by that denomination of Christians, and of the
state of religion among them, at the time of his entering on the
work of the ministry.

The Baptists take their name from the ordinance of baptism,
in respect of which, they are concerned to adhere to the
primitive institution of Jesus Christ, from which, they conceive,
Christians of other denominations have deviated. I simply
mention this, as not knowing into what hands this publication
may fall. If any reader wishes to know the reasons of our judg-
ment on this subject, I would refer him to a late publication of
my own.* We wish others to search the Scriptures carefully,
and judge for themselves, and desire to love all that love our
Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, whether they think with us on
this point or not.

As to Church Government* the Baptists have almost univer-
sally coincided in opinion and practice with the Independents ;
considering every separate congregation as authorized to choose
its own elders, and admitting or excluding members by the
vote of the whole church.

In several parts of the kingdom they have long had
Associations of churches; to the annual meeting of whose
ministers and messengers letters are sent, giving information of
the state of every church : while a general letter from each
Association is usually printed, and circulated through all its
churches. If any church were to dishonour the gospel, by
tolerating fundamental errors or scandalous disorder in its
members, the Association would refuse to acknowledge that
church as belonging to their body. I have known very salutary
effects to follow from the Association threatening to withdraw
from a church, if they did not impartially attend to gospel

Tne Northamptonshire and Leicestershire Association, of
which Mr. Fuller was so long a distinguished member, was
first planned at Kettering, October, 1764. A letter was written

* A candid Statement of the Reasons which induce the Baptists to differ,
m Opinion and Practice from so many of their Christian Brethrem


from the same place, at their first meeting, in May, 1765.
Their first printed letter was sent from Olney, in 1766, written
by Mr. Moses Deacon : in this, the churches are not named ;
but in 1767, the Association consisted of eight churches: in
1815, it contained thirty-one.

The Western Baptist Association had its rise much earlier,
and was, for many years, kept up by the Baptists, as such,
without any regard to their different principles in other respects.
The consequence of this was, their annual meetings were
found to be rather pernicious than useful ; as there was scarcely
a meeting of the kind, but some unhappy differences arose
between the Calvinistic and Arminian ministers. In the year
1731, this annual meeting was to have been held at Tiverton ;
but an awful fire, about that time, which consumed most of
the town, prevented it. The next year, it was not revived :
but, in the following year, an invitation was sent to the respec-
tive churches, by the church in Broadmead, Bristol, desiring
them to renew their annual meeting, upon the foot of their
agreement in the Confession of Faith set forth by the Assem-
bly of Particular Baptists, held in London, in 1689. Accord-
ingly, a meeting was held, in Broadmead, on May 17, 1733,
when Mr. Joseph Stennett,* of Exeter, preached, from Phil,
i. 27. latter part. There were messengers or letters from
twenty-four churches. The Rev. Bernard Fosket was then pas-
tor, and Edward Harrison, minister, at Broadmead ; and the
Rev. John Beddome and William Bazely were pastors at the
Pithay. There are now sixty-eight churches in this Associa-

The English Baptists have been usually divided into two dis-
tinct bodies, by their different views of the doctrines of grace.
The General Bafitiats are so called, from their maintaining the
sentiment of general redemption. Many of the old churches

* Afterwards Dr. Joseph Stennett, who reraaved to Little Wild Street,
London, in 1737. His father and grandfather, as well as his son, (Dr.
Samuel Stennett,) were all employed in the work of the ministry ; and
his grandson (Mr. Joseph Stenuett) is now pastor of the church at Calnc.


of this son, have'gone from general redemption to no redemp-
tion, or from Arminianism to Arianism and Socinianism : but
the churches of what is called the New Connexion, are far
more evangelical ; and some of them approach nearly to the
principles of the moderate Calvinists.*

The Particular Bafitists espouse the Calvinistic sentiments,
on what are called the Five Points ; namely, [l.] That the elect
were eternally fore- ordained to holiness, obedience, and happi-
ness, as the end* through sanctification and the sprinkling of
the blood of Jesus, as the means of obtaining that end, to the
glory of sovereign grace : [2.J That the peculiar blessings of
redemption, purchased by the death of Christ, are actually im-
parted only tojthe elect, all of whom shall certainly enjoy them :
[^3.] That mankind are so universally and totally dejira~ued y
that they never can be brought back to God, without the pow-
erful influence of the Holy Spirit : [4.] That the sfiecial ope-
rations of the Divine Spirit are invincibly efficacious, and can-
not be frustrated by the rebellious will of man : [5.] That
all who are truly regenerated shall fiersevere in grace, to glory.
In their zeal for these doctrines, some good men, towards
the beginning of the last century, were driven into an extreme ;
so as to deny that all who hear the gospel are called to that
exercise of repentance and faith which is connected with
salvation. As far as I can learn, this controversy, respecting
what was then called the Modern Question Whether it be
the duty of all men to whom the gospel is published, to repent
and believe in Christ first arose in Northamptonshire. Many
of the churches in that neighbourhood had been gathered by
the labours of Mr. Davis, an Independent minister at Rothwell,
and other preachers called out by his church. He was a
very zealous, laborious man ; but was accused of rashness and
imprudence, by the Presbyterian ministers in his neighbourhood ;
and both himself and his fellow- labourers were charged with

* See a letter, from the Rev: Mr. Freestone, of Hinkley, inserted in
the Baptist Magazine^ for September, 1812, in answer to a very errone-
ous statement, by Dr. Haweis, which the conductors of the Evangelical
Magazine would not suffer to be corrected.


using expressions of an Antinomian tendency. But I can find

Online LibraryJohn RylandThe work of faith, the labour of love, and the patience of hope, illustrated, in the life and death of the Rev. Andrew Fuller : late pastor of the Baptist church at Kettering, and secretary to the Baptist Missionary Society ... → online text (page 1 of 34)