Page images
PDF
EPUB

found a correction of such a mistake? 1 believe if he formerly verged towards an error of this kind, it was chiefly occasioned by the deep sense he had, in his own experience, of the humbling and holy tendency of his principles. Hence he might be too ready to suppose, that every one who seemed to enter thoroughly into them, would necessarily be subject to the same sanctifying influence.

Some of his friends, I am aware, have suspected, that the experience of progressive years had not greatly altered bis propensity to think the less of a man, for not entering into the minuter parts of his system. He certainly had taken a long wbile to settle his own judgment, on some points of very considerable importance: he should, therefore, not have forgotten, if he now walked in the midst of the paths of judgment, that a man who had wandered a little on the left side of the narrow way, might be as long in getting exactly into the proper track, as he himself had been in finding his way out of a thicket on the right band. Yet in this respect also, I cannot forbear referring to the same passage, as expressive of genuine candour: and those who thought they had most room for complaint on this head

b

a

have acknowledged, that " he did every thing conscientiously.”

A much higher delineation of my friend's character, than I ever attempted, which I could not have drawn with equal eloquence, though I fully believe it to be just, I shall here subjoin : and this may suffice to excuse me for writing these Memoirs without any panegyric of my own.

“ I cannot refrain from expressing in few words the sentiments of affectionate veneration with which I always regarded that excellent person while living, and cherish bis memory now that he is no more; a man whose sagacity enabled him to penetrate to the depths of every subject be explored, whose conceptions were so powerful and luminous, that what was recondite and original appeared familiar; what was intricate, easy and perspicuous in bis hands; equally successful in enforcing the practical, in stating the theoretical, and discussing the polemical branches of theology: without the advantages of early education, he rose to high distinction among the religious writers of his day, and in the midst of a most active and laborious life, left monuments of his piety and genius which will survive to

distant posterity. Were I making his eulogium, I should necessarily dwell on the spotless iutegrity of his private life, his fidelity in friendship, bis neglect of self-interest, his ardent attachment to truth, and especially the series of unceasing labours and exertions in superintending the Mission to India, to which he most probably fell a victim. He had no thing feeble or undecisive in his character, but to every undertaking in which he engaged, be brought all the powers of his understanding, all the energies of his heart; and if he were less distinguished by the compre, hension, than the acumen and solidity of his thoughts ; less eminent for the gentler graces, than for stern integrity and native grandeur of mind, we have only to remember the necessary limitation of human excellence. While he endeared himself to his denomination by a long course of most useful labour, by his excellent works on the Socinian and Deistical controversies, as well as his devotion to the cause of Missions, he laid the world under lasting obligations."

If any testimony of respect need be added, after the preceding quotation from one of his own denomination, it shall be une as honour. able to the candour of the speaker, as it was to the character of my departed brother. A Pædo-baptist minister in Scotland, at a numerous assembly convened at Glasgow, for the sake of forming a Society in aid of the Baptist Mission, in the beginning of last October, expressed a wish, with which the universal feeling of all present seemed to be in unison: “ Would to God that every brahman in India was altogether such a man as Brother Fuller or Brother Carey !” Nor did Dr. Balfour, Mr. Wardlaw, and Mr. Chalmers, appear less disposed to testify their respect to our late invaluable Secretary than Mr. Greville Ewing.

As Dr. Stuart, who drew up the sketch of Mr. Fuller's life inserted in the Christian Herald, and copied by Mr. M. has assured me, that he gave no offence by adding to it the following extract, which I had sent him, from a letter I received soon after Mr. Fuller's death, I'need not scruple to insert it myself.— “ But all this time, (said Mr. Wilberforce,) I have been thjuking of our departed friend, for ours not yours I must term bim ; at least it will go ill with me, and with any one who does not belong to that blessed society to which he belongs. There is a part of his

work, The Gospel it's own Witness, which is enongh to warm the coldest heart.”

I conclude this preface with the entry on the minutes of the Committee of the British and Foreign Bible Society, dated May 22. . 1815. “ This Committee learn with deep regret the decease of the late Rev. Andrew Fuller, Secretary to the Baptist Missionary Society, and impressed with a sense of the valuable services rendered by that excellent individual, in promoting the translation and publication of the sacred scriptures in the East, desire to unite their condolence on this afflictive event with those of their Baptist brethren to whom he was more particularly allied, and of the Christian world, by whom his memory will deserve to be held in affectionate and grateful veneration.”

To this testimony of the most respectable Christian Senator in the British Parliament, and the most respectable Christian Society in the world, I add nothing but my fervent prayers, for his surviving widow, and all his children and family; that his God may be their God, guardian, guide, and portion for ever. Amen!

JOHN RYLAND, Bristol, Jan. 29, 1816.

« PreviousContinue »