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from the church at Kettering, or, if that is too much trouble, from Mr. Wallis, by the church's consent, expressing these two things—That you entertain no hard thoughts of me, as if 1 had in any respect used you ill; and that you give up all thoughts of my removal, and intend, to look out elsewhere.. Give my love to any of the mipisters whose judgment I consulted, and tell them what I say. Accept the same to yourselves. That Jehovah Jireh may see and provide for you is, my dear brethren, the prayer of Yours very affectionately,
A. F.” This was indeed a grevious disappointment to the church at Kettering, whose expectations of enjoying the blessing of Mr. Fuller's ministry had been raised to a high degree, and were now so unexpectedly disappointed, But though his best friends in the ministry were ready to disapprove of the mode adopted for settling the business, and especially of referring at last to Mr. Robinson, (who might have been suspected of a sinister design had be given different advice, as some of Mr. Fuller's ablest friends lay just between Soham and Cambridge, and might prefer attending bis ministry if their present pastor should be renoved,) yet they had no doubt of Mr. Fuller's being actuated by self-denying principles in continuing in his present station. The church
at Kettering also acquitted him of all blame, and engaged Mr. Hall to apply to Bristol for a young minister; but were assured by Dr. Evans that he knew of no suitable person. Their exemplary deacon, Mr. Wallis, laid it still more deeply to heart. A constitutional tendency to dejection, led him to suspect that Mr. Fuller had perceived some defect in hin, that prevented his acceptance of their call; or that God himself suffered the church to meet with this disappointment on his account. Mr. Fuller, who had the highest esteem for his character, soon removed the former suspicion, and endeavoured by letter to counterwork the latter. Their former minister visited bis friends at Kettering, towards the close of 1781, but though he spoke for about half an hour twice on the Lord's-day, there seemed no prospect of his being able to resume his work, nor could they hear of any one likely to suit them.
In a letter to Mr. Wallis, dated March 13, 1782, Mr. Fuller observes:-“I am glad to hear Mr. M. has visited you, but sorry that his affliction disables him from resuming the work of the ministry. It would bave rejoiced my heart both on bis and your account to have heard of his being happily restored to you again ; but providence is a great deep. Our work seeins to be, not to scan but to wonder and submit. These afflictions, with
many other things we ineet with here, are suited to a state of trial, to discover to us our depravity, and bring our graces, our love, patience, and submission to the proof. Read that golden passage from Dr. Bellamy in Mr. Ryland junior's sermon, On God's Experimental Probation of Intelligent Agents. p. 45.*
At the Association held at Olney, in 1782, Mr. Fuller was one of the preachers on June 5th, but I believe he was prevented from visiting Kettering, by the small pox being in the town. After bis, return, in a letter to Mr. Wallis dated July 3, he remarks: -"We have had a day of fasting and prayer since my
• “It is reasonable and fit, and a thing becoming and beautiful, that beings in a state of probation should be tried : and God looks upon the present outward ease and comfort, even of his own people, as a matter of no importance, compared with things spiritual and eternal. Eternity, with all it's importance, lies open to his view; and time appears as a point, and all it's concerns as comparatively of no worth. If the wicked are in prosperity, and the righteous in adversity, or all things come alike to all, God is well pleased; because things of time are of so little importance, and because such an administration of things is suited to a state of trial. There will be time enough hereafter for the righteous to be rewarded, and the wicked punished. In this view of things, we may in a measure understand the darkest, and account for the most mysterious dispensations of providence, and discern the wisdom of the divine government.” Preface to Bellamy's True Religion delineated, p. iii. This admirable book has been lately reprinted, recommended by Mr. Fuller.
return, but nothing was said to me. It was a time of much tenderness with others and myself too; however, I believe no feelings will induee me to act one way or other, contrary to what I think is right in the sight of God. That is what I am determined to do.
A. F.” On the 19th of July, 1782, in a letter to Mr. Wallis, he writes thus :-“ You ask in yours, Will the Lord raise desires in his own people merely to disappoint them?' You think pot, seeing that God hath said, “The desires of the righteous shall be granted. Certainly if God doth excite desires, and then disappoint them, it is for some higher end than merely their disappointment. You will not think, dear Sir, that I mean to discourage you, if I should say the above explanation of the text in Proverbs is inconsistent with truth. I once heard a sermon,* from Psa. cxlv. 19. The minister proposed first to explain his subject, and in so doing he delivered something like this.-
God will not grant us every desire. That is our mercy: for (1.) Some of them are sinful. David desired to be revenged on Nabal, and his innocent family. Jonah desired Nineveh’s ruin. (2.) Others would not be for our good. David desired the life of the child he had by
* When I transcribed this sermon, I suspected it was his own, and have since ascertained it to bave been so.
Bathsheba David also desired the life of Jonathan, neither of which would have been for his good. (3.) Nay not every righteous desire. It is a righteous desire for a ininister to desire the salvation of those that hear him. So Paul declared, I would to God that all that are here present were altogether such as I am. Acts xxvi. 29. So again, I could wish myself accursed from Christ, for my brethren's sake, my kinsmen according to the flesh! Rom. ix. 1. David desired to build an house for God, and it was a righteous desire, for God took it well at his hands; yet he did not grant it. Kings and Prophets desired to see the Lord Messiah, and yet did not see him. How then are we to understand it? Answer. The Sum or substance of their desires shall be fulfilled. What is the main desire of a seaman? that he may arrive at the haven. So saints will be brought to their desired haven. What of a pilgrim ? See Heb, xi. 16. So all the desires of a Christian are summed up in this, That he may eternally enjoy God, and be like him. See 2 Sam. xxiii. 2.' Doubtless there is great mystery in these things. However, I think it is certain, that when God raises a spiritual desire in a person, it is often, though not always with an intention to bestow the object desired."
On the 20th of August, 1782, he writes thus to Mr. Wallis :-“Since I saw you, though it