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Extracts from Mr. Fuller's Correspondence, chiefly with the Author of these Memoirs, for two and thirty years ; who, after examining more than 330 Letters which he had preserved, has selected whatever might illustrate the character of his friend, throw light upon important doctrines, contain interesting facts.
This chapter contains, among other things, Observations relative to the Modern Question
- The harmony of scripture precepts, prayers, and promises—The affliction of his correspondent-Reference to Mr. F.'s interview with Mr. Berridge–The commencement of the Baptist Mission-His correspondent's removal to Bristol-Dispute with Mr. Booth—Observations on Philosophy and the word of GodDeath of infants--Accurate account of bis preaching in Braybrook church-Support under domestic trials-Hints to StudentsRemarks on his journey to Scotlaud, 1799– Nature of Christ's merits-Hints relative to
publishing—Visit to Portsea-Visit to Ireland - Remarks on Mr. Walker of Dublin-On Sandemanianisio-On one of the Eclectic Reviewers-Mr. Sutcliff's illness and deathTwo letters to a minister near London-Letter to the Rev. Archibald M‘Lean--Besides some sketches of sermons, and various other observations interspersed.
Kettering, March 22, 1783. “ Dear Brother Ryland, The obligations under which you have laid me, are such, that I know not when nor how I shall repay them. 1 heartily thank you for what you sent me inclosed, as well as for your attention to remove my difficulties in learning Hebrew. I rejoice at reading Mr. Guy's letter.* I hope things will follow eacb other in their course.
“ The difficulty sent you from Dunstable, might probably originate with Mr. Cooke. It seems to be one of his objections to Edwards's system. When I was there last August, he started the very same thing before David Evans of Thorn, and Mr. Pilley of Luton, and me. I observed, as you do, that the will and the understanding influence each other reciprocally,
* I apprehend this refers to what I since inserted in the Evangelical Magazine, 1802. p. 61.
and that the vileness of men's dispositions prevents them from judging justly of things. He replied, as nearly as I can remember, “That makes no difference: suppose the will does influence the judgment, bow came the will to be so inclined to influence the judgment? That act of the will is also governed by the last dictate of a prior act of understanding, and soon ad infinitum.'
“ I do not see but that what you say of sin arising from a privative cause is just, and tends to solve the difficulty. I will submit a few farther remarks to your consideration. Mr. D. E. seems to go upon the supposition, that any defect in the understanding must be a mere natural defect; for he says, the understanding is always considered under the idea of natural ability or inability.' But this must not be granted him, 'for depravity influences the understanding as well as the will. Mr. Edwards explains the will being governed by the last dictate of the understanding, by it's being as the greatest apparent good is. Now here I would ask, How comes sin to be the greatest apparent good in the view of the mind? Is it owing to a natural or a moral defect, that men call eril good, and good evil? If the former, why was Israel blamed for so doing? If the latter, then it is to be imputed, as you say, to the depraved ștate of the mind, which views things different from what they are: like a jaundiced eye, that discolours an object; or an eye that sees things double, and so gives them a false appearance. This is what the scripture calls an evil eye. Matt. vi. 3.
Farther, ought it not to be observed, that though the will always chuses what the understanding suggests is agreeable, yet not always what appears to it to be right. The will in ten thousand instances violates the dictates of conscience, which are the dictates of the understanding concerning what is right and wrong. The will of man by nature does not consult the understanding concerning what is right and fit, but merely to find out what will afford gratification. And surely it must argue the depraved state of both these powers to be thus employed; the will to consult the understanding with such a sordid end; and the understanding to degrade itself so low, as, like the prodigal, to be employed in feeding swine, or in other words, ip merely finding out objects for sensual and intellectual lusts,
imke “What reason is there for supposing the will only to be corrupted ? Surely the whole man is depraved, as it were, from the crown of the bead to the sole of the foot. When we say to people who want to excuse themselves, Your juability lies in your will;' we do not mean, I suppose, that it is in the will in distinction from the understanding and the affections; but in distinction from a natural inability, consisting in a want of power or opportunity. In all such language, the will is used in a large sense, perhaps, for the whole soul, as being a leading faculty. Suppose a man comes and intreats my pity, on account of a misfortune which befel him, through being in evil company. I retort in a tone of rebuke, “You chuse such company; that is your wickedness, and the cause of all your misery.' In this case, it is easy to see, I do not blame him merely for the first act of choice, in distinction from his judging no better of the matter, and actually going amongst thein, and taking delight therein. No, for each of these he was culpable; yea, though the latter acts are supposed necessarily to follow upon the former,
“I think it is certain, as you observe, that the will and the understanding mutually influence each other. It is allowed, I suppose, on all bands, that we are possessed of a world of criminal prejudices. But prejudice, if I understand it, is preponderation of the will, wishing to see things in such a light, or not to see them in such a light. As to Mr. C.'s reply to this: that, 'suppose the will does influence the understanding in various of it's acts, yet how comes the will to be so inclined to influence the understanding ? If the will always follows the last dictate of the understanding, then that act of the will which biases the understanding is governed by the last dictate of a prior act of