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      Note: The tributes are written by John Ryland, William Newman and Joseph Ivimey.

Reviews of Tributes on the Death of Andrew Fuller
The Baptist Magazine, 1815

"The Indwelling and Righteousness of Christ, no Security
against Corporeal Death, but the Source of Spiritual and Eternal Life."
A Sermon by John Ryland, D. D.

      This discourse was perused with expectations of high gratification which have not been disappointed. "A strong attachment to the same religious principles, a decided aversion to the same errors, a predilection for the same authors, with a concern for the cause of Christ at home and abroad, and particularly for the success of the Baptist Mission" -- a friendship erected on such a basis, and supported by the talents of Dr. Ryland, has furnished a sermon of no common kind. Our limits permit us to glance at a few passages only of this excellent composition. After giving a just description of the great celebrity of his departed friend, the writer introduces this reflection: "His religion, however, had nothing about it of an ostentatious and self-exalting nature: he preached not himself, but Jesus Christ the Lord: he sought not the applause, but the salvation of men." To the justice of this tribute, all the friends and correspondents of Mr. Fuller will assent. The intimate correspondence of Mr. Fuller with one of his many friends, for the past fifteen years, was lately examined for a particular purpose. Some of these letters were very long, and embraced a wide compass of subjects; they were replete with faithful advice, manly reproof, prudent direction, and abounded with explicit statements of divine truth, on a variety of leading topics. But, from them all, little could be collected of Mr. Fuller: the writer was hid behind his writings. His printed works bear the same impress. They say nothing of the author: they exclusively direct the reader to the subject. In his paintings he drew his master's likeness, not his own. We were much gratified with the Doctor's illustration of the first head, "The indwelling of Christ in believers." There is a fulness of evangelical truth, and a richness of Christian experience brought into it, which will be very edifying to every pious mind. He lays great stress on a Christian's loving the Redeemer for the sake of his excellencies; and gives such full and plain elucidations of this first principle in the Christian life, that we were rather surprised to find a postscript on the same subject annexed to the sermon. It is indeed of great moment, but may more easily be enforced by unvarnished statements of facts than by intricate and abstract reasonings. Gratitude and esteem are distinct, and sometimes seperate exercises of mind towards others. Benefits conferred command our gratitude. Moral worth is the basis of love. In God, both are united. It is the beneficence of his heart which has led him to confer such invaluable mercies on sinful and undeserving men. The excellencies of God's character, his purity, justice, truth, mercy, goodness, patience, wisdom, and immutability, deserve and claim the unqualified esteem, and love, and confidence, and delight of all his rational creatures. All his favours lay us under the highest obligations to be grateful. In some instances, these combine and heighten each other. When a Christian not only beholds the display of God's love in the mission of his Son to sinners in general, but learns gradually his own special interest, in that love which is in Christ, the fervour of gratitude is added to the fire of love; a Thornton's kindness to others, has produced in our minds a profound regard for his character. But had we been personally the objects of his godlike liberality, would not his interposition in our behalf have unspeakably augmented that prior esteem which we entertained for his worth? Favours from a bad man ought to inspire gratitude, but fail to produce esteem. In God, his mercies are expressions of his character, and supply additional reasons for loving his trancendent excellencies. We love our God in proportion as we see his glory, and we see his glory in the blessings of salvation imparted to sinners, to us -- displayed in the most enchanting light. Thus, gratitude and love are united in the feelings of the Christian towards his Redeemer and his God.

      That religion which originates altogether in self-love, cannot be too much reprobated. Its root is nature, and its blossoms are death. Till a sinner be brought, through divine teaching, to see the infinite evil of all sin, to own the purity, justice, and even goodness of God's law, and to feel the righteousness of this sentence pronounced by that law on its every transgressor, he can never see the glory of Christ's obedience, the excellence of his atonement, the importance of his mediation. Before a sinner be reconciled to the law, he can neither rightly understand, nor heartily embrace, the gospel salvation. A sinner cannot enter into the scheme of redemption, as suited to guilty and depraved creatures, as securing a large tribute of glory to the sacred Three, till he view himself in the same light as God did the world when he sent the Son to be a propitiation for sin.

      This is a tone of sentiment in which we are happy to find the Doctor taking a decided part. May he be accompanied and followed by the ministers of Christ throughout the world.

      Did room permit, our inclination would induce us to go along with the sermon from page to page. There is much curious matter where the author is assigning some reasons why the body of a Christian is subjected to death, while the soul continues to live, and to live in the presence of Christ till the morning of the resurrection. We wish that the author, who can bring so exercised a mind, and such deep experience to the investigation of scripture doctrine, had enlarged here in his elucidations. "If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is life because of righteousness." May not the meaning be this, -- that the body is brought into such a state of debility, disease, and baseness, through sin, that without a complete renovation, it cannot enter the heavenly world? And, that such a renovation cannot be effected without a dissolution of the whole frame, or a change equivalent to a dissolution? -- Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. We shall not all die, we shall all be changed. So deeply has the plague of sin entered into the timbers and joints of our tabernacle, that it must be taken to pieces, cleansed, purified, and re-edified to become the eternal residence of a holy soul.

      Towards the close of the discourse, there is a strain of tender and empassioned eloquence, rising and swelling, which does equal honour to the memory of the deceased, and the affection, feeling, and talent of the surviving friend.

      The composition is easy, correct, and nervous. The sentences sometimes long and flowing, sometimes brief and pointed, are varied with great taste and judgment. Carelessness and haste do appear in some places; but the recollection of the Doctor's age and occupations, and of the short time allowed for such sermons, represses all desire of exposing inaccuracies. This sermon is one of the many imperishable monuments which the hands of Christian friendship are rearing to the memory of the late Secretary to the Baptist Mission.


Reflections on the Fall of a great Man:

A sermon, occasioned by the death of the Rev. Andrew Fuller, of Kettering, &c.
by William Newman, President of the Baptist Academical Institution, at Stepney.

      THE Lord from heaven said to his disciples: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven;" and the words were engraven, by the Holy Spirit of God, on the heart of our friend who is fallen asleep. He was a good man, for he had a good treasure in his heart; and a useful minister of Jesus Christ, for, in his ministry, he constantly brought forth good things. He was eminently distinguished by integrity; his zeal was holy and ardent, and, to his exertions in the cause of Christ, it is probable that he died a martyr -- yet no man could justly charge him with manifesting a desire to exhibit himself. With the effulgence of Christian holiness he wished to be surrounded, that others might see his good works, but not him; and that he might be forgotten, while his heavenly Father was glorified.

      When such a man as this retires to heaven, and the church of God on earth is deprived of his labours, it is not suprising, that all good men should lay it to heart. Among the many ministers who improved the death of Mr. Fuller, a few of them have published their discourses, and that which is now before us, justly merits public attention.

      Mr. Newman's text is taken from 2 Samuel iii. 38; and he considers its application to the deceased, in nine distinct points of view, viz. to his "native talents," "unostentatious zeal," " uniform perseverance," "decision," "consistency," "courage," "popularity," "personal piety," and, finally, to the "rare combination," the "constellation of excellencies," which marked his character. Under that which relates to his popularity as a preacher; the following nervous passage will revive the recollections of many.

      "This has been ascribed, by some, to the fine melting tones of his voice; -- to the marks of strong and tender feeling which always appeared; -- to the pictures with which he delighted the imagination of his audience; -- to the lustre and the weight of his name as a writer. Few, if any, preachers, of any denomination, could command a greater number of hearers, on short notice, as many of you must have witnessed, when you have seen him in London.

      "The topics on which he constantly insisted, were "the weightier matters of the law;" -- things of universal interest. He never entertained his hearers with "breaking a fly upon a wheel;" nor with any curious trifles. His method was very perspicuous: lucid order prevailed through the whole, and every thing appeared in its own place. After the explanation of terms and of things, he generally selected what he called the leading sentiment of the passage, and confined himself to that one point. His style was deeply, tinged with the spirit of the scriptures; and his allusions to sacred history were remarkably happy. His delivery was grave and solemn, not adapted to make sport, but to inspire those emotions which accord with the design of the sacred office. The late amiable [Samuel] Pearce used to say, 'Every word tells.' There was a tone of decision in his preaching, which seemed to indicate that he intended and expected to do some good in one way or in another; and 'his sword and his bow returned not empty:' (2 Samuel i. 22.) Through the good hand of God upon him, he was not disappointed. He aimed at the heart, and evidently felt that his business in the pulpit wasto exalt and to endear Christ; to draw all men to him; to unite all hearts in his cause, and all hands in his service. Like Abner, he was ambitious of 'gathering all Israel' to his Lord the King, that the Lord's anointed might reign over all, according to his heart's desire. -- 2 Samuel iii. 21."

      We are not quite certain that any one will find fault with our author on account of his text; but we are disposed to think, that they ought to be pleased with his sermon. If the greatness of Abner was of a different kind to that of Fuller, the excellence described in the sermon, is that which the Secretary to the Baptist mission fully possessed, and constantly exhibited.

      We, very cordially, recommend this discourse, because it is sensible, perspicuous; exhibits an impressive example of holy excellence, and has a uniformly good tendency.


The perpetual intercession of Christ for his Church,
a source of Consolation, under the Loss of useful Ministers,

A Sermon, preached at Eagle-street Meeting, London, May the 21st, 1815,
as a Tribute of Affectionate Respect to the Memory of the late Rev. Andrew Fuller.
By Joseph Ivimey.

      THE death of Mr. A. Fuller has produced a strong sensation throughout the religious public. His brethren in the ministry, in all parts of the kingdom, have hastened to pay a tribute of reverence to his memory. And many, who were almost strangers to his character, talents, and writings, cannot but revere a name so strictly interwoven with the fabric of the Baptist mission to India. The name of Fuller does excite, and will long excite, a strong pulsation of interest in the friends of the perishing heathen. The occasion and subject of this sermon cannot fail to insure it a wide circulation. And we are happy to seize an early opportunity of giving our testimony to the solid excellencies of this production. Both the plan and the execution, receive our approbation and praise. The text is, Hebrews vii. 23-25.

      On this passage the author builds two reflections.

      First. The removal of faithful ministers, from their office, by death, is a cause of deep affliction to the church. Mr. Ivimey assigns four reasons why we should lament their death. -- Because the condition of unregenerate sinners is thereby rendered increasingly dangerous. -- The means of spiritual. edification provided for believers, are diminished. -- There are fewer persons to defend the truth against opposers. -- Their number is reduced who may be expected to feel compassion for the destitute condition of unenlightened heathens.

      Second . The perpetual intercession of our Lord Jesus Christ affords a ground of strong consolation under such afflictive events. Under this reflection, the writer introduces four particulars also. -- Continual accessions will still be made to the church by the conversion of sinners. -- The means of edification will still be provided for the church. -- There will still be persons provided to maintain and defend the purity of truth in the church. The conversion of the heathen, by the universal spread of the gospel, will certainly be accomplished.

      The sermon contains a sketch of Mr. Fuller's dying experience, and of the leading features of his character; and concludes with an appropriate improvement.

      The execution is not unworthy of the design: the sentences are short; the style is perspicuous, correct, nervous, and sometimes elegant. The language flows freely from the author's pen, sparkling with many allusions to the sacred scriptures, and enriched with many appropriate quotations from them. The dress of Mr. Ivimey becomes his character as a servant of Christ, free from the tawdry ornaments which show the vitiated taste, not the chaste judgment, of the wearer. Simplicity of diction cannot he too eagerly cultivated by the preachers of the gospel, in a period when, too frequently, the play of fancy is preferred to the labour of intellect, and pompous epithets are introduced in crowds to hide the want of mental beauty.

      His illustrations are plain, brief, and forcible. In some places, brevity is indulged rather to excess. And were the author to review the illustrations of the four particulars belonging to the second part of his subject, he might question, if they were as distinct and separate as they ought to be.

      Near the bottom of the tenth page is the following anecdote of Mr. Fuller, which merits the attention of all engaged in the sacred ministry: "I was once complaining to him of the difficulty I found to preach so as to edify the people. 'Preach Christ,' said he, 'make him prominent in every sermon.' he added, 'Some years ago, I heard, before I left the town where I had been preaching, that it was said, I had not preached Christ to them. I mused on this, when, returning home, and thought, Well, it may probably be true, that I did not preach Christ sufficiently to them. But I am resolved, by divine help, that my hearers shall not have to complain of that again, as I am determined, in future, not to preach on any other subject than Christ and him crucified.'" Many ministers complain, that their labours are unsuccessful. Do they habitually preach the truths of Christ's person, and work, and grace, and mediation, which the Spirit delights to take and show to the minds of men?

      Under the third particular of the first part, is introduced an account of Mr. Fuller's writings. In estimating the character of Mr. Fuller as a Christian, and his utility as a minister of the churches, this is fairly done. His whole soul is brought into his compositions. The cast of his mind, his sentiments, his feelings, his passions, his favourite subjects, may be easily gathered from them.

      He began his distinguished career of authorship by the celebrated piece, "The Gospel worthy of all Acceptation; or, the Duty of Sinners to believe in Christ." Mr. Ivimey thus expresses himself on this piece: "He has been much blamed for stirring up a controversy fatal to the peace of our churches. He, however, considered it as necessary, in order earnestly to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints; and that the truth of the gospel might continue, which was in danger of being expelled by the ascendancy of a system, which, while it would not admit of the gospel being preached to every creature, led unconverted hearers to conclude, that their rejection of the gospel arose more from the sin of Adam than from their own sin; and that their final destruction depended more on the decree of God appointing them to wrath, than on the depravity of their hearts, which prevented them from coming to Christ, that they might have life. Mr. Fuller's design was to prove, that the only reason why sinners did not repent and believe the gospel, was the depravity of their hearts, manifested by their love of sin, and their enmity to the ways of God," &c. It may not be improper to say, that the obligation of sinners, to whom the message of mercy is sent, to forsake their sins, to seek the favour of their Maker, to embrace the redemption of Christ; in a word, to secure the salvation of their souls, does not rest on any metaphysical question. Whether depravity of heart be the only cause of unbelief, or whether other causes combine with enmity of heart to produce a rejection of the gospel grace, does not at all affect the plain declarations of God's word on the subject. Mr. Fuller wrote that treatise in 1781, when he was young in years, and had been a short time in the ministry.

      His second work was, "The Tendency of the Calvinistic and Socinian Systems compared." This is a masterly performance, and soon stamped his character for deep and correct thinking, for enlarged views, for genuine candour, for decided and evangelical sentiments. We wish that Mr. Ivimey had allowed himself to expatiate, at some length, on the merits of this work, which throws a lustre on the denomination to which the author belongs, and which first brought the writer of it forward on the stage of deserved celebrity.

      Mr. Ivimey just notices the work against Deism, and concludes, by introducing his last polemical treatise, "Strictures on Sandemanianism." "In this," says Mr. Ivimey, "he has discovered an intellect of the acutest order. Here he has laid hold of a spirit which was too subtile for most men to have perceived." The spirit of Sandemanianism may be subtile and invisible, but the body is gross and tangible. Had Mr. Fuller permitted himself to introduce facts in the place of some of his reasonings, the book would have been more serviceable to the bulk of readers.

      Practices, indulged and defended by the most devoted partizans of the sect, would, if they were fairly and judiciously exposed, throw clearer light on the spirit and tendency of Sandemanianism, than the strongest chain of sound reasoning.

      We lay this sermon down with reluctance. Its composition reflects honour on the talents and piety, and spirit of the worthy writer. Yet we cannot conclude, without respectfully intreating Mr. Ivimey to do greater justice to his own talents, by employing more time, and taking more pains in his compositions intended for the press. The age is fastidious; literature, of a light kind, at least, is widely diffused; and a certain elegance, the result of much care and correctness, both in thinking and composing, is expected, nay, demanded of the candidates for public attention and commendation.


[From the Baptist Magazine, 1815, Volume VII, pp. 510-516. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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