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insinuation ! Now, if there is any thing in the nature of Dr. T.'s sentiments, which tends of necessity to such results, why has not Dr. W. come forward and shown it by fair induction ? Or if there are facts which justily such imputations, why are they not given in evidence? Why are the very worst impressions made on the public mind, at a period of great jealousy and alarm on such subjects, by indefinite charges and sweeping inuendos ? Let Dr. W. look around him, in his own vicinity. Ainong the pupils of Dr. T. who are settled in the ministry, are there none who have been blessed with extensive revivals of religion? Are there no men of the first distinction in Massachusetts, who, while they agree with Dr. T. in all the principles condemned by Dr. W., have devoted their lives to the cause of revivals, of missions, and of temperance, with unrivalled eloquence and effect? And are such men's labors in the cause of Christ, to be arrested or circumscribed by dark surmises and wide spread jealousies? Whatever may be the consequence, Dr. W. we say, must answer for it to the great Head of the church, when he places a barrier in the way of men, whose lives and labors are consecrated to the service of God.
It is well known, that some ten or fifteen years since, great anxiety and alarm were felt by many, respecting the course of philological study pursued at Andover. Clergymen came into associations, declaring their full belief, that the professor in that department, had gone over to Unitarianism. And where such rumors
were treated as idle tales, a very general sentiment still prevailed, that the tendency of these studies was to deaden piety, to cherish undue confidence in human learning, to open the food gates of licentious criticism, and to bring down our churches to the deplorable condition of Germany in these respects. Suppose now, that under such circumstances the venerable professor of theology at Princeton, who is believed to have had his fears on this subject, had thought proper publicly to address Mr. Stuart, and to oppose him in direct terms to the orthodox party of this country to accuse him of having attacked “several of our articles of faith,"
and of adopting on controverted subjects,' the opinions of Unitarians. Would not all New England have been moved with indignation, to see such weighty accusations brought forward, without one particle of proof in support of the facts alleged ?
The cases are exactly parallel. Mr. Stuart introduced more accurate distinctions into biblical criticism. He rejected some prevailing interpretations and modes of statement, which, though long relied on, were really useless or injurious to the cause of orthodoxy. In a few instances, Dr. Taylor has done the same. He has discarded the dogma, that sin consists in any thing distinct from, or antecedent to, moral action. He has maintained that sinners never truly use the means of regeneration, except at the moment of regeneration itself. He has called in question the theory that
sin is the necessary means of the greatest good,' and demanded the proof of an assumption on which this theory confessedly rests. These are the only points on which he has been assailed.
But if bis creed be compared with that of Dr. Woods, both will be found to agree in their published writings, in the following statements.
That there are three persons in one God.
That a vicarious atonement was necessary, to open a way for the pardon of sin, and that this atonement was made by our Lord Jesus Christ.
That men are by nature totally depraved.
That regeneration is never effected by moral suasion, but is dependent on the direct and special influences of the Holy Spirit, operating in consistency with the laws of moral agency:
That all who are thus renewed by the Spirit, were from eternity the objects of God's electing mercy, not on the ground of foreseen works, but according to the good pleasure of his will.
That all the elect and regenerate will persevere in holiness, through continued divinc influence, and ultimately be received to eternal life.
In what, then, do these gentlemen differ? Solely in what may be called “the philosophy of religion,” respecting which Dr. W. himself has declared, that he does not expect christians will ever be perfectly agreed; and even here, Dr. Taylor has confined himself to hypothetical statements.
We had intended to comment on the personal incivility whicb pervades these Letters—on the manner in which Dr. W. has taken for granted without any attempt at proof, that Dr. Taylor has manifested “ excitement,” “uncandidness," and “ severity," that he has been “ adroit,” “ hasty,” “ confident of success," "impatient of contradiction" given to “special pleading," and deficient in "fairness," "caution," "candor," "forbearance," "gentleness," etc. etc. etc. But much as we regret the style of the Letters in this respect, which we believe is without a parallel in our churches during the last thirty years, it is after all a matter which chiefly concerns Dr. W.'s character, and we are content to leave the subject to his own reflections, and to the judgment of an enlightened public. If he had proved what he has said, we should have regarded very little, what terms he applied to his opponent.
We have thus expressed our opinion of these Letters, with entire freedom, but, not, if we know our own hearts, with the least feeling of unkindness towards Dr. Woods. Dr. Taylor, we presume, at his own leisure, will come before the public on this subject. Much as we regret the misunderstanding which exists between these gentlemen, we still believe it will be overruled for good; though we cannot see quite so clearly as we suppose some men do, on their own theories, that contention in our churches is better than harmony would be in its stead. ERRATA.–Page 465, last line, for beuuty read health.
472, last line, for less read more.
VOL. JI. NO. IV.
Memoirs of the Life and Writings of the Rev. Andrew Fuller, Pastor of
the Baptist Church at Kettering, and Secretary of the Baptist Missionary Sociely. By J. W. Morris. New Edition corrected and enlarged.
London. 1826. The Works of the Rev. Andrero Fuller in eight volumes 8vo. Philadelphia, 1820, and New Haven, 1824.
DURING the latter part of the last century, the churches in England were in constant agitation. The country, engaged in war with different continental powers, was threatened with a foreign invasion, and trembled through fear of a political convulsion within her own bosom. The continent, also, exhibited a scene of civil discord, of popular frenzy, and of infidel triumph. In France, the powers of darkness seemed to be let loose, for a time, with permission to tear up the foundations of government and religion. Germany had, for a long period, been sending out, in different directions, a tide of Unitarianism and infidelity. In Holland and Switzerland, the warm piety of the early churches was exchanged for universal coldness and conformity to the world. In England, the established church, once so distinguished for the purity of its faith, had settled down into the grossest Arminianism ; while the dissenting churches were tinctured to a great extent with the Antinomian heresies. At this period, the great English champion of Socinianism, broached his doctrines, so strongly impregnated with infidelity, and at the same time so palatable to the great mass of irreligious men, who wish to be removed as much as possible from the power of godliness, while they retain something of its outward form. Akin to these principles and springing from them, the doctrines of universalism were next thrown out; and as every thing in its downward tendency proceeds with increasing force, the state of religious sentiment and of morals soon became such, as to encourage an open attack upon christianity itself. The exigencies of the church at such a time, demanded peVol. II.
culiar men, men of strength and courage, skilled in the use of spiritual weapons, and fitted to endure every kind of fatigue and hardship. Such men were provided; and God taught his trembling people to feel, that the ark was in no danger. There is in religion an elastic quality, by which, after it has sustained a temporary pressure, it rises to its former dignity, and appears in new beauty and splendor. Such was the case after the war of extermination, waged against it by infidels in England; and the christian church has occasion for gratitude to God, that he brought to her aid, in the hour of her need, so illustrious an assemblage of talent, learning, and piety. Among those who stood foremost in these contests between light and darkness, was Andrew Fuller; a man endowed by nature with a capacious, original, and active nsind, and fitted for bold and hazardous enterprises. We propose to give a brief sketch of his character and labors, and of the state of polemical theology in Great Britain during his ministry; and in doing it, we shall avail ourselves of the Memoirs and Works before us. Between these memoirs and those published by Dr. Ryland we shall make no invidious comparison. The author professes to have enjoyed a greater intimacy with Mr. Fuller, than any other person; and though the work is modest in its literary pretensions, and rather unskilfully put together, it seems to be a faithful record of facts, and to present a full length portrait of its distinguished subject.
Mr. Fuller was born Feb. 6, 1754, and, like many others who have become conspicuous for their talents and usefulness, arose from indigence and obscurity. Till the age of twenty be pursued the business of agriculture. During his sixteenth year, though he had previously been the sport of many delusions in respect to religion, he was the subject of deep, serious impressions, which resulted in a radical change of views and feelings, and established bis character for that of a truly pious man. He united with the Baptist church at Soham in Cambridgeshire, where he was then residing. With comparatively no advantages for mental culture, and yet an ardent desire for religious knowledge, he set himself closely to the study of the bible, and soon began to exercise his talents in the way of public exhortation, with so much success, that at the age of twenty one years he received and accepted a call to perform the regular duties of a minister, and to take the pastoral charge of the Baptist church at Soham. He was ordained May 3d, 1775.
Soon after this, he was led to examine the merits of an existing controversy on the question, whether impenitent sinners could properly be called upon to repent and believe the gospel.' In the course of his examination of this subject, he was induced to read Edwards on the Will, and this operated as a severe, though needed mental discipline. It taught him to think and write with logical
precision; patiently to investigate a subject till he could see the relative bearing of its several parts; and in fact, laid the foundation of his future eminence as a theological and controversial writer. The effect, which the perusal of this masterly treatise produced on his mind, is visible, we think, in most of his subsequent writings. It produced an immediate change in many respects as to his views of divine truth, and the manner and topics of his preaching; and this change was the occasion of his first treatise, published in 1781, entitled, “The Gospel worthy of all acceptation.” Of this, the design was to show, that the gospel contained a complete warrant, supported abundantly by scripture precept and example, to extend addresses and invitations to the impenitent and ungodly, in order to induce them to flee from the wrath to come, believe in Christ and be saved.
In 1776 Mr. F. married a Miss Gardiner, a member of his own church, and by her he had a numerous family, most of whom died in infancy.
Distressed by pecuniary embarrassments, and almost overcome by his trials and labors at Soham, he was induced in Oct. 1782, after repeated invitations, to remove and take the pastoral charge of a church at Kettering, where his talents had for a considerable time been held in the highest estimation. It was his happiness to become early acquainted with the Rev. Mr. Hall of Arnsbury, father of the celebrated Robert Hall, who was an able, judicious, and evangelical minister, and proved a wise counselor and firm friend of Mr. Fuller, to the end of his life. Through his influence especially, Mr. F. was induced to change the scene of his labors; though this step was preceded by a great conflict in his own mind, frequent consultations with neighboring ministers, and much prayer to God for direction.
His removal to Kettering formed an important era in his life. Favored with the friendship and frequent intercourse of many valuable and devoted ministers, such as Hall, Ryland, Sutcliffe, Pearce, and Carey, whose spirit and pursuits were congenial with bis own, he greatly enlarged the sphere of his labors, and gavo scope and expansion to the energies of his mind.
In 1784, Mr. Fuller and a few others agreed to devote the second Tuesday of every other month to special fasting and prayer for a general revival of religion; and this was soon followed by an agreement made at a minister's meeting, at Nottingham the same year, to spend the first Monday evening of each month in prayer for the extension and triumph of religion throughout the world. This was the origin of the Monthly Concert for Prayer, which is now extensively observed in every part of Christendom. In the breasts of these few servants of Christ was kindled up a flame of christian love and zeal, which, continuing to burn, has since diffu