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Men Worth Remembering: Andrew Fuller

Men Worth Remembering: Andrew Fuller

By his Son, Andrew Gunton Fuller

The British Quarterly Review, 1883

 

WE question if “the Truth as it is in Jesus” has ever had, at any rate in some important respects, a nobler champion than it found in Andrew Fuller. He was the main instrument employed by Divine Providence for purifying and liberalising the theology of the “orthodox” churches in England a century ago. He begin to exercise his gifts as a preacher in 1773, when nineteen years of age, and few ministers of Christ have wielded a more commanding and wholesome pulpit influence than that which he maintained for the best part of forty years. His sermons were remarkable for their solidity, clearness, pungency, and unswerving fidelity to Scripture teaching, whilst his set expositions of some important portions of the Word of God were sound and lucid in the extreme. Much of his public life was spent in controversy, which he never coveted, but from which he never shrank when duty called him to it, and which he always conducted with Christian fairness and kindliness of spirit. As to his zeal for missions to the heathen, the prolonged and unremitting toil which he cheerfully underwent on their behalf, and the respect and devotion which his wise advocacy secured for them on every hand — all this is a matter of well-known history. His life has, with more or less of detail, been frequently written — the two chief biographies being those of his son, Andrew Gunton Fuller (prefixed to his collected works), and his grandson, Thomas Fuller (for the “Bunyan Library”). To these should be added those of Dr. Ryland and the Rev. Mr. Morris. There remained a yet further possibility of doing justice to Mr. Fuller’s memory, and of extending its usefulness; and a favourable opportunity of accomplishing this task occurred in the publication by Messrs. Hodder & Stoughton of their admirable series under the general title of “Men Worth Remembering”. They wisely entrusted this new biography of Mr. Fuller to his son, Andrew Gunton Fuller, who, though now in the later stages of a very long life, still retains his wonted mental vigour and literary skill. In his Preface he says: “I have long felt that, if any further presentation of my father’s life were made, a more special reference than has yet appeared to his homelife, and its influence upon the various aspects of his public engagements, was desirable, and this could scarcely be supplied with so much advantage as by one who has been an actual sharer of its conditions.”

This extract will give a sufficient clue to the character of the present work. The story is most admirably told. It abounds in telling anecdotes and charming reminiscences, and gives a greatly enhanced interest to our study of the man who was so devoted a servant of the Saviour, so affectionate a husband, so wise and tender a father, so faithful a friend, and so bright a light to our own denomination and to the Church and the world at large during the later years of the last century and the earlier years of the present. The hook is beautifully printed and firmly hound, and its price is so moderate that none need be deterred from a purchase.

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Andrew Fuller was more than accidentally or denominationally remarkable in the religious world of England at the close of the last century and the first fifteen years of this. He was intrinsically a strong man; of homely type and humble feeling, but essentially an independent thinker and an indomitable worker, a man whose counsels would have been heard and whose hand would have been felt in any social or political movement. A Baptist minister, in almost extreme contrast at almost every point but that of piety with his brilliant compeer, Robert Hall, he was one of the founders of modern missions — a typical man to hold the rope while others went down into the pit; not because he would not have gone down himself as simply and heroically as the foremost, but because his course otherwise was marked out for him. His wisdom, fearlessness, and determination as Missionary Secretary in difficult times could scarcely be surpassed. In dealing with the inimical government of the day, his tact was as great as his purpose was indomitable. He made strong men feel his strong hand. His letters to missionaries are full of devout feeling and tenderness; for both strength and tenderness in him were finely blended with deep piety and unaffected humility. His robust thinking did much to break the very heavy yoke of Antinomian Calvinism which then bound the churches. He died in 1815, and his son survives to tell the story of his life, which he does in a way equally delicate and vigorous. It is a most interesting record of a most remarkable man.

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[From The British Quarterly Review, Volume 77, 1883, pp. 44-46. Published in London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1882. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

 

Source [Baptist History Homepage]

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