« AnteriorContinuar »
which are preparing by some think would suit you.” Kotof his oldest and most intimate withstanding he had always been friends, we shall pass over his desirous of learning a trade, early years;, the manner of his he now felt no inclination to fali conversion, which took place in in with his mother's proposal, November, 1769; his baptism but said he would take time to in April, 1770; his joining the consider of it. Baptist Church at Soham under The next morning, as he was the care of Mr. John Eve; going to meeting, one of the and the debates which took members said to him, “ Friend place in that church, and which Andrew, brother Diver has terminated in Mr. Eve's leaving sprained his leg, and cannot be it in October, 1771. These at meeting to-day; but he wishdebates were the occasion of ed me to say to you, that he his turning his thoughts to many hopes the Lord will be with of those subjects which after- you !" He was a little surprised wards occupied his pen. at this message, but still more
Mr. Joseph Diver, a gar- when, after singing and prayer, dener at Isleham, a member Thomas Irons, the other deacon, and a deacon of the church at said, “ Brother Andrew, will Soham, used, at the request of you read some part of the word the church, to expound the of God, and try to drop some scriptures every Lord's day. remarks as you go along?" He was a man of considerable After some hesitation, however, teading, and of great piety and he stood up, and addressed the prudence. The
destitute situa- congregation for about half an tion of the church was however hour, from that text upon
which distressing, and occasioned no he had been meditating the small uneasiness to our young preceding day. After this, friend, who looked forward with Mr. Diver invited him to speak great anxiety to the time when again ; but not enjoying the they should again be blessed same liberty as before, he diswith a pastor. Under the pres- continued his addresses till the sure of this anxiety, as he was beginning of 1773, when, in riding, on a Saturday in Novem- Mr. Diver's absence, he spoke ber 1771, to a neighbouring vil- from Luke, xix. 10. This time lage, his mind fell into a pleas- he spoke with very great liberty: ing meditation upon Psalm xxx. the congregation listened with 5, Weeping may endure for a much attention; and several night, but joy cometh in the young persons were impressed, morning. He was astonished who afterwards joined the at his flow of thoughts, and said church. within himself, “ If I had any His talents for public speakbody to hear-me, I do think I ing having now become concould preach.” On his return, spicuous, he was called to the his mother said to him, “ You work of the ministry January, have often wished for a trade; 26, 1774. The first sermon if you will go to London, I have which he preached after this was beard of a situation, which I a funeral discourse, for an elderly lady, at her own request, a sters, partly by reflection, and member of the church.* partly by reading the works of
On the third of May, 1775, President Edwards, Bellamy, he was ordained pastor. The Brainerd, &c. had begun to enRev. Thomas Pilley, of Luton, tertain doubts concerning the began the service; the Rev. Pseudo-Calvinistic system, or Robert Hall, of. Arnsby, near rather to be satisfied that it was Leicester, delivered the charge, antiscriptural. from Acts, xx, 28; and the The new system has been Rev. John Emery, of Little strangely misunderstood and Stoughton, near Kimbolton, ad- misrepresented. It has been dressed the people, from Gal. supposed to be not so far rev. 1$, latter clause.
moved from Arminianism as When Mr. Hall, who had not the old one was. This is a great been at Soham previously to mistake. It maintains, that this ordination, was near the election is eternal, personal, town, he fell into conversation absolute, and unconditional; with one of its inhabitants, and that the peculiar blessings of asked him the name of it. The redemption, purchased by the man replied, “ Soham.” Mr. death of Christ, are limited to Hall then said, “ There are to the elect only, every one of be great doings at Soham to whom shall certainly enjoy morrow, are there not ?" "Yes,' them; that mankind are so unianswered he,' they are going to versally and totally depraved, qualify a young man to give the that they cànnot be brought back sacrament.' “ And pray,” said to God without the drawings of Mr. Hall,“ what kind of a man the holy Spirit; that the special is he?" "A very good kind of a operations of the Spirit are inman,' answered the other; ' but vincibly efficacious, and canhe holds with predestination : not be frustrated by the rebelliwhat say you to that ?” “Say to ous will of man; and that all that?” replied Mr. Hall; " I who are truly regenerated shall have somewhere met with an persevere in grace until it terold author who held the same minate in glory. In fact, the sentiment: his name, I think, new system is little more than was Paul.” The man looked a revival of the old Calvinism, at him with some surprise, and which subsisted before the time said, 'I do think you are one Hussey and the other founders of them.'
of Pseudo-Calvinism. In 1776 he became acquaint- In December, 1776, he mared with Mr. (now Dr.) Ryland, ried a young woman, of respectwho then lived at Northampton, able family, named Gardiner, a and Mr. Sutcliff, who had lately member of the church. His come to Olney. These mini-income from the church and
* Minute from the Church Book. “ February 26, 1774; Brother Fuller baptized two persons. Conversion work now went forward, and, July 17, the Church requested him to take the pastoral care of them. This request was repeated four times ;-and, on February 19, 1775, it was accepted."
congregation, and other sources, by sickness, almost to the being very slender, and his little grave. property gradually diminishing, The church at Kettering had he set up a school by the advice been destitute of a pastor from of his friends, in April, 1779, August, 1779. Mr. Fuller had which he hoped would answer preached at different times aif he could procure about twenty mongst them; and his character children. But the free-school and talents were held by them being open to all the parishion in the highest estimation. A ers, he had only seven or eight correspondence was kept up scholars, and therefore relin-between him and Mr. Beeby quished his school in April, Wallis, a deacon of that 1780.
and although Mr. Having had four children in Wallis, and the church at less than four years, he now Kettering did not act improperfound himself under the neces- ly towards the church at Soham, sity of informing the church it could not but be known to that his salary was insufficient Mr. Fuller how great an affecfor his subsistence. It was, tion and esteem the former had therefore, a little increased. for hiin, nor could he avoid The people do not appear to feeling a considerable affection have been parsimonious towards for them. He was therefore him; but they were poor: and under the influence of contendso great was his affection for ing motives. On the one hand them, that, though his talents, was his love for a people which his obscure situation amongst whom he had resided could not conceal, might have from his early years, and in whose commanded a far more com- communion he had passed the fortable situation, in a worldly whole of his religious life; and, point of view, he was determin- on the other hand, were his ined to continue with them as ability to maintain his family long as he could gain a subsist- where he was, and the hope ence for himself and his family. of greater usefulness in a more He was not, however, without extended field of action. His great discouragements. One judgment inclined him to choose member of the church, and two the latter ; but his feelings, and or three of the congregation, the strong attachment of his were dissatisfied with his preach- people, inclined him to prefer ing; real religion appeared to the former. be at a low ebb; private meet- In this difficulty, he laid his ings were with difficulty kept case before nine ministers at up; and very little was said Kettering, who were unaniof edification under the word. mously of opinion, that it was All these things, united with his duty to leave Soham. In what he deemed the unkind be consequence of this advice, haviour of a few of his friends, combined with other circumgreatly affected him; and, in stances, he requested the church the spring of 1781, he was to expect his departure. He brought down by sorrow, and was obliged to summon all his resolution in order to do this. I should each write our tale, His intention had been suspect- and should each sign the other's ed some time before. " It letter. I was desired to write seemed to me,” says Mr. Fuller mine first. I did so, and read in a letter to Mr. Hall, “ as if it to them last Lord's day. A they were for reading my heart few expressions to which they by my looks and carriage. One objected, I corrected: they then person, who had said much acknowledged it to be a fair evil against me, came and hum- and candid relation of facts, bled himself; and this set all but, I think, gave over answermy feelings a going in away of ing it, or writing any thing on compassion. I wept some hours their part. And now the whole after he was gone, till I could design of settling things by scarcely weep any longer. I arbitration seems by them to be had many outgoings of heart to dropped. Poor hearts! they the Lord for direction. At say, We wish you would stay, length we had a church meet- and let us have no writing about ing, July 12, 1781. I was dis- the matter.' tressed, not knowing what to “ Since I have given them do. However, I ventured to this notice, I have been at times desire the church to expect my very unhappy; sometimes I departure from them in three am afraid lest, after all, I should months. The place was a Bo- displease God in it, and that, chim! I can only say, I was though the way in which I go utterly overcome. However, I may seem right to me, the end then told them I was resolved, thereof should be death. Not if I knew it, to do right. If long since I wrote to Mr. Booth any of them could prove it for special advice. He says, wrong for me to depart, I would that mine is a case of right, not do it, be the consequences and that that right respects my what they might. I said, that neighbour. As such, he reI did not desire to be my own commends Matt. vii. 12. as my judge, but was willing to sub- rule. He advises me to put mit to be determined by any myself in the church's place, two or three honest, judicious, and some other minister in mine, impartial persons. The next and then to judge impartially, Lord's day they consulted, and and to act accordingly. I proposed to accept this plan. not quite satisfied how I should I was agreeable; and did not judge in such a case. Several of desire them to confine them- the people will not believe that selves in the nomination to mi- I shall go, after all. I remain nisters. They, however, no- very unhappy, and suppose I minated three ministers, who shall continue so, at least, till had not, that we knew of, heard the three months are expired, of our case, and who, therefore, and I either go, or determine to could not be prepossessed. I stay." acquiesced; and proposed, as İn a letter to another friend, we could not have an interview he writes thus, “ I was requestwith them, that the church and ed to write my case first; I did
and read it before the church rather go softly all my years, in the following Lord's day. But the bitterness of my soul, than when they had heard my tale, do. Truly his favour to me is which they owned to be candid, better than life. On the other they despaired of writing, and so hand, I am not without thoughts the design of settling things by that I should not offend the arbitration from that time drop- Lord in so doing. One day I ped.
had a most melting season for “ They have since used mea- about two hours, consisting of sures more powerful: they have many reflections and earnest tried to draw with the bands of ejaculations to the Lord. I love and prayer. Silent sighs, then thought it seemed right for significant looks, tender car- for me to go. Yet, even that riage, and fervent prayer. Ah! thought filled me with fear and here I lose all my resolution. trembling. I thus thought; If My heart melts, and I am ut- I go, I am going to take upon terly overcome. O what an
eater charge than I have arrow pierced my heart about hitherto had :
That greater a week ago, when I heard one charge is attended with proporof them in prayer, with weep- tionably greater obligations to ing eyes, thus express himself, diligence, faithfulness, &c. I
Father, if it be possible, let thought, that when greater opthis cup pass from us.'* portunities of doing good are
“I am a very unhappy man. put into our hands, it is but Oh! would it had never been having more talents put into my
lot to have had to undergo our hands to improve; more the trial of a remove! such souls to be accountable for, things not only kindle my affec- These things made me, as I tions, but my fears. I am not said, fear and tremble.” without my fears after all, that, We have not room here for if I do remove, I shall sin against the case of Mr. Fuller; nor the Lord, which, I think, I would for that which the church after
* We here behold what the author of the Velvet Cushion calls the Religion of Barns ;--an appellation which also suited that of the Waldenses, and of the primitive Christians.
The last sermon which Mr. Fuller preached was on April 2, 1815, from Isaiah, lxvi. 1, 2. “Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD : but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”
“ If God overlook the heavens and the earth, the work of his own hands, in order that he may look on his despised servants, surely he will not be detained from looking upon them by the most magnificent building erected by men. Christians, worshipping God in a barn, are themselves a building fitly framed together, and grow unto a holy temple in the Lord; in whom they are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit,' Eph. ii. 21, 22. The same apostle also says, 'Know ye not that yè are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you ? 1 Cor. ii. 16. • It is a dangerous thing to despise the servants of God; for the Lord is their avenger. 1 Thess. iv. 6."