« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
oppressed with a prodigious load of corporeal misery. He said, I believe, more than once, “ All misery centres in me, and I cannot die.” In a letter he dictated to Dr. Ryland a few days before his death, he expressed himself thus :—“My state of mind is, in one word this; no despondency, no raptures.” He said to his friends, he felt that trust in Christ, that he could plunge into eternity. He was a prodigious sufferer during his last illness. He said to Dr. Ryland, “I have written much, and said much, against the abuse of the doctrine of grace; but that doctrine is all my support in the prospect of eternity. I have no hope of being saved, but through the free sovereign grace of God, flowing through the atonement of Christ.” I recollect nothing very particular respecting his first introduction into the ministry. Dr. Ryland will, I believe, compile a pretty extensive memoir of him. He has been strongly urged so to do. He was in many respects the most memorable man it has ever been my happiness to know; and his loss will be deplored as irreparable. He possessed good sense in a more perfect degree than any person I ever knew, embraced every object with a clearness, facility, and precision, almost peculiar to himself. He certainly possessed genius in a very high degree; but it was more a modification of intellect than a vigour of imagination ; though in the latter faculty he was not defective. I loved and esteemed him more than I can express; and how his loss can be supplied in the mission, I am
at an utter loss to conjecture. But God is allsufficient. Let me entreat your prayers to God that he would provide. I feel much gratified at your intention of improving the death of our most lamented and venerable friend. Wishing you much of the blessing of God in your important engagements, and begging to be remembered to Mrs. F., though unknown, I remain, dear Sir, Your affectionate Friend and Brother,
ROBERT Hall. Friday.
TO DR. RYLAND. My dear Brother, Leicester, June 17, 1815.
I am sorry you should continue to importune me about that wretched oration, which it is my unalterable resolution never to print. It was not fit to be delivered, much less to be presented from the press. I may be mistaken : but I always conceive that it is a respect due to the public, whenever we appear before them, to do our best; and not to put them off with a weakly, or more deformed part, of our intellectual progeny. I laboured under an extreme depression of spirits ; I was perplexed, between an imperfect written composition, a sort of funeral sermon delivered the last Sunday, and an attempt at extempore speaking. It would neither be respectful to Mr. Fuller nor to the public, nor justice to myself, to publish such a wretched piece of inanity. In delivering the oration at all, I performed a service for which scarce any money would have bribed me; but to have the publication of it demanded, under pain of the displeasure of Mr. Fuller's friends, is intrenching rather too much upon the independence of private judgement. Do not understand me, my dear Sir, as at all displeased with you for urging the matter: I am speaking only upon the supposition that Mr. Fuller's family or friends demand the publication.
As you have intimated a willingness to publish memoirs, I would strongly recommend publishing neither the sermon nor the oration. They are utterly unnecessary, if the memoirs are published; not only so, but they would stand in each other's way. When a biography is promised, it is not, I think, usual for the same person to publish a funeral sermon previously. It is slaking the public curiosity prematurely. If you persist in your intention of publishing memoirs, I should feel no objection to taking an opportunity of testifying my profound esteem and friendship for dear Mr. Fuller, in some form which you may deem most eligible ; but let me, my dear Sir, hear no more of the oration. My resolution is unalterable upon that subject.
* * As far as my acquaintance with sober calvinists extends, they do not object to
the doctrine of disinterested love, so much as to the naked and abstracted form in which some of the American divines have presented it. A portion of love to God, resulting from a spiritual perception of his intrinsic beauty, enters, I have no doubt, into the essence of true religion; but some of the Americans have given a prominence to this subject, as appears to me, beyond what exists in scripture.
My work on mixed communion will be out, I trust, in about a fortnight. It is written, I hope, in a christian spirit, and is calculated to do good rather than harm. I am most perfectly convinced that the baptist sentiments will never prevail upon the opposite system. My sincere wish is, that truth and candour may be promoted in the church.
Leicester, Sept. 1815. I owe you many apologies for not sooner noticing the letter you were so good as to address to me a considerable time since. The only reason I can plead for my silence is, the pain it necessarily gives me to put a negative upon wishes warmly, and, as I believe, sincerely expressed. After having so frequently stated my repugnance to writing reviews, I feel myself at an utter loss to express the same sentiment in terms more strong or more efficacious. There is no kind of literary exertion to which I have an equal aversion, by many degrees; and, were such things determined by choice, it is my deliberate opinion, I should prefer going out of the world by any tolerable mode of death, rather than incur the necessity of writing three or four articles in a year. I must therefore beg and entreat I may not be urged again upon a subject so ineffably repugnant to all the sentiments of my heart.
From what I have seen of the recent execution of the work especially, I am convinced my assistance is not in the least needed. It is, I believe, growing daily in reputation, and, I hope, in circulation; and I have no doubt but that, under your skilful management, and that of your coadjutors, its reputation will not only be sustained, but will be sufficient to engage far superior assistance to mine. I admire the Bible Society inexpressibly : but how is it possible to say any thing in its praise or vindication, which has not been said a thousand times; or where would be the safety of depicting, in their true colours, the character and conduct of that whited sepulchre ? Besides, let me add, my dear Sir, that my other engagements are such, that the business of reviewing is incompatible with them, unless I were to form the resolution of having nothing to do with the press, or others for me. I