« PreviousContinue »
If I knew of bis making a golden calf, or in any degree countenancing idolatry, I would acknowledge and reprobate bis conduct; or if I knew. of his denying his Lord three times over, or even once only, I would both own and lament it. But the sacred writers, though they recorded every material fact impartially, yet they did not needlessly repeat and exaggerate the imperfections of upright inen ;* nor aim to shew their own acumen in nicely criticising their characters: their impartiality was real, but not ostentatious. Luke entered into no discussion of the controversy between Paul and Barnabas, though he had full opportunity of knowing one side of the story, and that from far the greatest man of the two: and as I am not divinely iuspired to distinguish accurately who was right and who was wrong, wherein Mr. Fuller was separated from some who ovce had a share in his friendship, and from whom he thought it bis duty to withdraw it; I shall leave them to write of his faults, who refused to acknowledge any of their own. Though I may have strong grounds for an opinion on that subject, yet I am not eager to shew them. I leave such tbings to an infallible Judge.
All who have read my funeral sermon for Mr. Fuller can judge for themselves, whether
See 1 Kings sv. 5.
I have represented him there as “more exempt from the infirmities of our corrupted nature than was the father of the faithful.” From such critics as have already insinuated this, and who despise all disinterested love, even of him who is altogether lovely, it were folly for any one, who has neither the means nor inclination to purchase their favour, to look for “ candour and fairness.” But charges which are not confirmed by my own conscience, I entirely disregard.
Some of my friends may think it was needless to have inserted these remarks, as the whole of this volume will sufficiently show that I wished to write the actual life of my dearly beloved friend, and not his panegyric. By the grace of God he was what he was; and now the work of grace is perfected.
Let grace be admired and magnified for ever, Amen!
I RESERVE for this place, some things, the connection of wbich I wish to conceal, that the place where they occurred, and persons to whom they refer, may not be known; with some other particulars that I could not so easily introduce in the preceding chapters; and others which I did not receive till it was too late to insert them in the proper place, without more trouble in transcribing the manuscript afresh, than my manifold avocations could possibly allow.
Of the former kind is the following.--He was once conversing freely with an evangelical clergyman, soon after the publication of Mr. Overton's True Churchman, when that work happened to be mentioned. The clergyman observed, That he understood many Dissenters considered some things in it as severe against them, Mr. Fuller said, “I suppose you mean
in calling them schismatics.” Yes, in part, said the other. Mr. Fuller replied, “ I never felt it; for it did not appear to me to be aimed to hurt us, but merely to screen himself, in the eyes of his superiors, from the suspicion of favouring us.” He added also, “It did not hurt me, because I perceived no justice in it. The term schism is relative, and has reference to the society from which the separation is made. Now before you can fix the guilt of schism upon us, you must prove (1.) That the Church of England is a true church; yea more, (2.) That it is the only true church in the kingdom.”
At another time he had a free conversation with certain very respectable clergymen, which I purposely bave reserved to be thus separately introduced, without reference to place or names; choosing rather to disappoint curiosity than to betray Christian confidence.
" The first Clergyman, after saying many friendly and respectful things, said in a tone of familiarity, 'I had almost thrown your Gospel
Some, who are often exclaiming against the evil of rending Christ's seamless garment, take it for granted that the crime must lie exclusively on those who take hold of the skirt, and not attach to those who pull ever so violently at the upper end of the robe. But surely the fault of the rent may be as much on their side who impose terms of union not authorized by the Head of the Church as on those who scruple conforming to them.
it's own Witness, aside, owing to what you said against Establishments in the preface. F. “Why, Sir, could you not have construed it as the British Critic has?' ic. How is that?' F. I think they say to this effectThe Author protests against Establishments of Christianity for political purposes : but as ours assuredly is not for such ends, he cannot mean
and therefore we recommend it to our readers. Both replied, “We apprehend they construed you more favourably than you deserved.' F. Well, it seems then I should have put it at the end instead of the beginning of the book.' i C. I see you do not approve of Establishments. F. :I do not Sir.' 1 C. Well I ain persuaded we are greatly indebted to ours.' F. The friends of Christ would be such without it. I C. • True, but the enemies would not be kept in such decency.' F. ‘I was riding last night from to with a drunken sea-officer: passing through he pointed to the cathedral, and said, “That is our relision .... we are all for relision!' 2 C. ‘Ab, that was honey to you.' F. 'I felt for the poor man.' 2 C. 'You think hard of Bishop Horsley?' F. 'I do. 2 C. 'I think bis remarks about Sunday schools have been made too much of; he does not condemn the institution, but the abuse of it.' F. He represents village preaching as a political measure, and as pursued by the same men as for