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to love God supremely, yet they supposed the faith connected with salvation could not be a duty, because Adam, as they then thought, had not power, (that is, he had no occasion or opportunity) to believe in Christ.*
At length, several of them began, independently of each other, to examine this question for themselves, and were convinced that they had needlessly deviated from the scriptural path, in which the most orthodox of their predecessors had been used to walk.t
• Yet Dr. Gill gives up this chief argument of Mr. Brine, in his Cause of God and Truth, Part III. p. 81. and says, “that Adam in a state of innocence had a power of believing in Christ, and did believe in him as the second person in the Trinity, as the Son of God, cannot well be denied ; since, with the other two persons, he was his creator and preserver, the knowledge of which cannot well be thought to be withheld from him. And his not believing in him as the Mediator, Saviour, and Redeemer, did not arise from any defect of power in him, but from the state, condition, and situation in which he was, and from the nature of the revelation made to bim.”
+ The sixty-second of Samuel Rutherford's Letters was one of the first things that put me to a stand on this subject. Closely studying Edwards on the Will, and entering into the distinction between natural and moral inability, removed the difficulties which had once embarrassed my mind. In 1776, I borrowed of Mr. Newton of Olney, two sermons on this subject, by Mr. Smalley, which Brother Sutcliff afterwards reprinted from the copy which I transcribed. I well remember lending them to Mr. Hall of Arnsby, to whom I remarked, that I was ready to suspect,
These ministers, however, always abhorred, as the very essence of Antinomianism, the notion that the law is not binding upon believers as a rule of conduct. Dr. Gill, Mr. Brine, and Mr. Toplady utterly reprobated that pernicious sentiment, into which so many have eagerly run within these last thirty years.
But at the former period, some of the Calvinistic Methodists, especially in Lady Huntingdon's Connection, were becoming tinged with False Calvinism. These were not led into it, like the admirers of Mr. Brine and Dr. Gill, by reading a great deal of controversial divinity, or by a polemical discussion of the five points disputed between us and the Arminians; but by a vague, crude idea of the term power, which led them to suppose, that nothing could be a bad man's duty but what he could perform without any special influence from God. The saine idea was spreading, faster than we were aware, among our churches also: the ministers might distinguish between repentance and faith, and other internal duties; allowing the latter to be required, while they scrupled exhorting men to the former; but had things gone on a
this distinction well considered, would lead us to see that the affirmative side of the Modern Question was fully consistent with the strictest Calvinism. He replied, "I do not think that." But I believe the next time I met him was at a Ministers' Meeting at Kcttering, when I found he was fully satisfied of the truth of my observation.
little longer in the same direction, we should soon have lost sight of the essence of duty, and of the spirituality of the divine law; and consequently men would have been treated, as though before conversion they were fallen below all obligation, to any thing spiritually good; and as though after conversion they were raised above all obligation, to any thing more than they were actually inclined to perform. Thus inclination would have been made the measure of obligation, duty would have been confined to the outward conduct, the trpitude of sin unspeakably lessened, and grace proportionably eclipsed, both as to the pardon of sin, and as to the application of salvation to the soul.
Such was the state of our churches, when God was pleased to call my dear Brother by his grace, and to bring him into the ministry, and soon after into connection with the Northamptonshire Association.
These things account for his mind having been so early engaged in theological disquisitions, whereby God was preparing him to be an instrument of checking the progress of False Calvinism, and bringing back many from the very 'borders of Antinomianism.
Having premised these observations, I shall proceed, after noticing his parentage, to present my readers with an account of his earliest religious impressions, his conversion, and entrance on the work of the ministry, in his own words.
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 various Theological Controversies.
MR. ANDREW FULLER was born Feb. 6, 1754, at Wicken, a village in Cambridgeshire, seven miles from Ely, and about the same distance from Newmarket. In this village bis paternal ancestors had resided from time immemorial.
His father, Robert Fuller, was a farmer; he removed in 1758 from Wicken to Mildenhall; in 1761 to Soham ; in 1773 to Bottisham, (until which time, his son Andrew assisted him in his business,) and in 1780 to Isleham; places at no great distance from each other; in each of which he rented a small farm, and at the Jast of which he died, on January 29, 1781, aged 58.
His mother, Philippa, daughter of Mr. Andrew Gunton, a farmer at Sobam, is a member of the Baptist church there, but has resided for many years at Kettering. She survives to lament the loss of her dutiful and affectionate son, but is sustained by the delightful hope of a reunion with him in a state of eternal felicity. She had two other sons, who are yet living; namely, Mr. Robert Fuller, a farmer at Islebam, born in 1747; and Mr. John Fuller,* a farmer at Little Bentley, in Essex, born in 1748. They are both deacons of Baptist churches. But as several of Mr. Fuller's ancestors were not only eminent for piety, but suffered in the cause of pure and undefiled religion, some farther notice of them will not be unacceptable to the reader.
His paternal grandfather was Robert Fuller, of Wicken. He married Honour Hart, a pious woman, who travelled to attend public worship, from Wicken to Isleham, where she was a member of an Independent church, till being convinced of the propriety of Believers' Baptism, she joined the church at Soham, in which she continued till her death.-Her father was
• Father of Joseph Fuller, a most amiable and promising youth, of whose future usefulness in the church of God I indulged the highest expectations, which sovereign wisdom thought good to disappoint, by removing him from our world, by a decline, in his nineteenth year,