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ministers must not use application lest | Dr. Gill was the seniori of Brine and they should rob God of the glory of the spiritual guide of his youth. Both sanctifying the heart, the other class of them were born at Kettering, and ought not to use explication, lest they both spent the greatest part of their should rob him of the glory of en- ministry in London, surrounded with a lightening the mind.
large circle of devoted friends. The It was about this time that the con- learning, talents, position, and piety of troversy began to be known as “The Gill rendered him for many years the Modern Question.” In the year 1735, most influential minister in the baptist Mr. Maurice of Rowell, in Northampton- denomination. Many consulted him as shire, published a pamphlet called “Aan oracle, and in some instances
, his Modern Question modestly Asked,” and “ Body of Divinity" was placed in four years afterwards he published "Avestries for the edification and comfort Defence of the Modern Question Af- of poor members, who had no means of firmed and Proved.” In the year 1740, purchasing the book. It is not more Mr. Gutteridge, a baptist minister in than facts would justify to say, that no the same county, wrote a piece advo- | man did so much during the last cencating the same opinions as Maurice tury to fix the standard of theology had done in both his publications. Mr. among the baptists, as Dr. Gill
, and Brine, pastor of the baptist church at unhappily many of the disciples went Curriers' Hall, London, now put on his much further than their teacher wished armour to meet the two champions that on the road to hyper-Calvinism. In the had sprung up in his native county, controversy itself he took no part, but * wielding as his weapon a book entitled, an appeal to his voluminous writings, “ The Modern Question concerning and tradition with regard to his preachRepentance and Faith examined with ing, place it bey all doubt that he candour : a Refutation of Arminian adopted the negative side of the quesPrinciples.” He denied that the unre- tion. It is matter of notoriety that generate were under any obligation to he pleaded for justification before faith, believe the gospel, although “ believing or for what has been called eternal jusin Christ for salvation is necessary to tification, (whereby he confounded the the enjoyment of eternal life,” and he purpose of God to justify his people with regarded the preaching of those who their actual justification. Thus he was held the opposite opinion, as an attempt at issue with the members of the General to build up Arminianism at the expense Assembly, in 1689, who passed a resoluof divine truth.
His ministry con- tion declaratory of their belief that men sisted in the bare exposition of doctrinal cannot be looked upon as reconciled, truths and Christian experience, without justified, and adopted, until they are any effort to save the souls of his uncon- implanted into Jesus Christ by faith, verted hearers. In the pulpit and from and so by virtue of their union with the press he defended his sentiments with him, have these fundamental benefits conconsiderable ability and learning, and veyed unto them.* There is no injustice even in sermons, founded on such texts then done to the memories of Hussey, as 1 Timothy i. 15, and 2 Timothy i. 12, Brine, and Gill, in ascribing to their entitled “The Chief of Sinners” and writings and preaching the bad theology “ The glory of the Gospel ;" he could of more modern times. Unintentionally, shut up his bowels of compassion against perhaps, they were the occasion of inthe ungodly, and cautiously avoid any appeals to their consciences.
* Ivimey, vol. i. p. 495.
troducing among our churches a system passion for souls was censured as of false Calvinism, which spread with though it took the work of salvation amazing rapidity through the denomi- out the hands of God. Wherever nation, and covered it with the shadow this perverted gospel gained the asof death.*
cendency, churches were struck with While the leading men amongst the paralysis. If peace reigned, it was the baptists were thus preaching the hidden stillness of the churchyard and the decrees of God to the neglect of prac- quiet of death. Sabbath schools were tical truths, eloquently descanting upon unknown ; home missions had no existthe privileges of saints but dumb with ence ; bible and tract societies had not regard to the threatenings and invita- been formed. At home the wicked, and tions of the bible to sinners, zealous abroad the heathen, were left to perish against every thing which savoured of for lack of knowledge by the degenerate Arminianism but losing sight of the sons of Calvin, and by the vaunted commission to preach the gospel unto champions of orthodoxy. every creature, vital godliness was in a The darkest hour night precedes state of rapid declension among the the dawn of day. Whitefield and Wesley people, and infidelity was marching were now raised up as witnesses for through the land with the strides of a God, and as messengers of mercy to the giant. Hyper-Calvinism had cast such neglected masses of our countrymen. a blight upon our churches, that their With an eloquence seldom equalled, number diminished between the revolu- with a zeal almost apostolic, with a comtion and the middle of the last century, passion worthy of Christian minisafter enjoying rest from a persecution ters, and with the spirit of martyrs, they more than fifty years. In many quarters, preached the necessity of the new strong prejudices existed against an birth, repentance, faith, obedience, educated ministry, and men were invited and holiness to admiring multitudes, to the pastoral office whose ministry was and amid the demonstrations of the confined almost exclusively to the Holy Spirit. Within the establishdecrees of God, predestination, eternal ment and among dissenters, pure and justification, effectual calling, and the undefiled religion was revived. In our final perseverance of the saints. Mys- own denomination, some ministers comtical and allegorical preaching opened bined the invitations of mercy to the the way to popularity, hidden truths unregenerate with the doctrines of grace were discovered in every part of to believers. Honourable mention must Solomon's temple, and in all the inci- be made here of Robert Hall, senior, dents of Paul's voyage and shipwreck, once the able and venerated pastor of while the plainest facts in the bible the baptist church at Arnsby, Leicesterwere spiritualized into absurdity and shire. He was chosen to preach before error. As the fruit of this, our churches the associated churches at Northampton, were troubled and defiled with spiritual in the year 1779, and when the time pride, strife, censoriousness, the dry rot came he delivered the substance of what of nominalism, and the antinominian he afterwards enlarged and published pestilence. Doctrines were severed as a "Help to Zion's Travellers." In from corresponding duties, and privi- this valuable treatise he defended the leges from obligations. Preaching to fundamental doctrines of Christianity sinners was called legalism. Com- against the most plausible objections of * See Morris's Life of Puller, pp. 213, 214 ; and
unbelievers, and with the hand of a Memoirs of Dr. Carey, pp. 48, 49.
master he disengaged the Calvinistic
system from what his illustrious son means of grace; and abstinence from called “ certain excrescences which gross evils might be enforced; but weakened its evidence and impaired its nothing was said to them from the beauty." Anxious as any man living pulpit in the way of warning them to to magnify the riches of divine grace in filee from the wrath to come, or inviting the economy of salvation, yet he did them to apply to Christ for salvation
. not shun to publish glad tidings to I began, however, to doubt whether I sinners in such words as these, “ if any had got the truth respecting this subject
. should ask, have I a right to apply to I perceived that the will of God was Jesus the Saviour, simply as a poor, not confined to mere outward actions, undone, perishing sinner, in whom there but extended to the inmost thoughts appears no good thing? I answer, yes; and intents of the heart. The distinothe gospel proclamation is, whosoever tion of duties, therefore, into internal will let him come. The way to Jesus is and external, and making the latter graciously laid open for every one who only concern the unregenerate, wore a chooses to come unto him : his arms of suspicious appearance. But as I permercy are expanded to receive the ceived this reasoning would affect the coming soul. Fear not, poor sinner, to whole tenor of my preaching, I moved approach him, he will not on any acon with slow and trembling steps; and count cast thee out."'*
having to feel my way out of a labyContemporary with Mr. Hall, though rinth, I was a long time ere I felt his junior in the ministry, was the cele satisfied.”+ brated Andrew Fuller. When he Amid these doubts and fears, Mr. Fuller began his career as a Christian and as was ordained pastor over the baptist a minister, he fell in with the common church, Soham, A. D. 1776; but he had notion that wicked men were under no no sooner entered upon his work than obligation to believe the gospel, or to he became perplexed and distressed perform any spiritual duties. With about the matter and the manner of his regard to his own experience and distress preaching. The prejudices of education of mind arising from erroneous views of and errors of doctrine were in antagothe atonement, he has left the following nism with the promptings of his heart and statement : "If at that time I had with the dictates of his understanding. known that any poor sinner might war- What he had been taught from the rantably have trusted in Christ for sal- pulpit clashed with what he read in the vation, I conceive I should have done bible. Mental freedom had, however, so, and have found rest in my soul begun its work, nor could any amount of sooner than I did. With respect to the opposition, or any number of difficulties, system of doctrine which I had been prevent its final triumphs. Reading used to hear from my youth, it was the the works of Jonathan Edwards and high Calvinistic, or rather hyper-Cal- other American divines, conversation vinistic strain, admitting nothing spi- with Ryland, Sutcliff, and Carey, “ his ritually good to be the duty of the familiar and faithful brethren," a deunregenerate, and nothing to be ad- vout and diligent examination of the dressed to them in a way of exhortation, Holy Scriptures, coupled with earnest excepting what related to external prayer to God for the spirit of wisdom obedience. Outward services might be and understanding, produced a happy required, such as an attendance on the change in his theological views, and a
* Help to Zion's Travellers.
| Fuller's Works, by his Son, vol. in pp. 95, 26.
corresponding one in his method of of men cordially to believe whatever preaching the gospel. Happily for his God makes known.” On the publicaown fame, and for the church of Christ, tion of this able defence of preaching he made the bible, and the bible alone, the gospel to sinners, violent opposition his guide and authority during this was raised against it in many parts of trying period. He called no man master the kingdom : the writer was looked upon earth. “O Lord God,” he said, upon with suspicion by some of his own in one of the most touching passages friends ; slander and misrepresentation ever written by an uninspired man, “I were busy in certain quarters ; Armifind myself in a world where thousands nians, high Calvinists, and Sandemanians profess thy name : some are preaching, came forward to defend those parts of some writing, some talking about re- their creeds which had been assailed ligion. All profess to be searching after with the might of a giant: a long and truth; to have Christ and the inspired memorable controversy ensued. On acwriters on their side. I am afraid lest count of the length to which this paper I should be turned aside from the sim- has already extended, we must forbear plicity of the gospel. I feel my under- from entering now on the details of the standing full of darkness, my reason conflict which ensued. It may suffice exceedingly imperfect, my will ready to to say that to the baptist denomination start aside, and my passions strangely and to the whole Christian church the revolatile. Oh, illumine mine understand- sults have proved eminently beneficial. ing, teach my reason reason, my will recti- “The excrescences of Calvinism have been tude, and let every faculty of which I cut off ; the points of defence have been am possessed be kept within the bounds diminished in number, and better forof service. Lord, thou hast given tified; truth has shone forth with me a determination to take up no prin- brighter lustre, and the ministry of ciple at second-hand, but to search for the gospel been rendered more simple, every thing at the pure fountain of thy more practical, and more efficacious.” word. Yet, Lord, I am afraid, seeing I
The diffusion of useful knowledge, am as liable to err as other men, lest I enlarged views of divine truth, the should be led aside from truth by mine wider circulation of the Holy Scripown imagination. O Lord, if thou wilt tures, the revival of a missionary open mine eyes to behold the wonders spirit, and the progress of vital godof thy word, and give me to feel their liness have been the causes, the at. transforining tendency, then shall the tendants, or the fruits of important Lord be my God; then let my tongue changes in the ministry of our denomicleave to the roof of my mouth, if I nation, followed by a much larger degree shun to declare, to the best of my know- of prosperity in many of the churches. ledge, the whole counsel of God.”* May improvements go on amongst us
Following this heavenly guide, and in doctrine and in morals, in spirit and cherishing this teachable spirit, Mr. in conduct, in preaching and in hearFuller pursued his inquiries with such ing, until pastors and churches come diligence and prayer that by the time nearer to those of the apostolic age, he had reached his twenty-sixth year, he when walking in the fear of God and had written the substance of his pam- in the comforts of the Holy Ghost, they phlet, entitled, “The Gospel worthy of were edified and multiplied. Eminent all acceptation ; or the obligations piety is our safeguard in the hour of
temptation, and our crown of glory in # Works, vol. i. pp. 35, 36.
the day of triumph. God in the midst
of us is the surest pledge of success and the revival of godliness at home and in
THE FADING LEAF, AN EMBLEM OF MAN'S MORTALITY.
DELIVERED AT MAZE POND, SOUTHWARK, NOV. 29, 1801,9
BY THE LATE REV. JAMES DORE.
“ We all do fade as a leaf.”—Isaiah lxiv, 6.
The season of the year, and mournful period arrives it is not in the power of events in Providence, unite to render the most skilful botanist to preserve the subject which the text illustrates a their rigour, protect their beauty, or suitable theme for our serious medita- prolong their stay. In vain should we tion. The analogy between the vege- say to the rolling billow, when with tre table tribes and the animal creation is mendous majesty it approaches the variously represented by the sacred shore, “ Hitherto shalt thou come, and writers. When their design is to ex no farther;" here shall the proud wate hibit in the most striking point of view be stayed : equally in vain should we and the most impressive manner, “the command the leaf to retain its verdure, frailty of human life,” they borrow | when the season for its natural decay is their finest images from the garden and come. The winds of autumn and the the field. “All flesh is as grass, and all ) frosts of winter dismantle the trees of the glory of man as the flower of the forest, and lay their blooming bo grass. The grass withereth and the nours in the dust. flower fadeth. Man that is born of a In the life of man, when extended to woman is of few days and full of trouble. its greatest length, there are several He cometh forth like a flower and is stages analogous to the seasons of the cut down.” “We all do fade as a leaf.” year. There are the spring of infancy,
We propose first to illustrate, and the summer of youth, the autumn of secondly to improve, this most interest- manhood, and the winter of age. They ing subject.
who are far advanced in life, drop like First. We are to attempt an illus- leaves at the close of the year. They tration of the subject. "We all do fade who have escaped unhurt the fury of
many a storm, must at length fade like 1. Like the leaf, we all shall certainly the withered leaf. There is no possifade. When in the spring of the year bility of preventing their decay. Their we see the trees of the field putting own precautions, the prayers of their forth their gay foliage, we know that a friends, and the skill of the ablest phytime will come in which the leaves will sicians will be unavailing, for “it is wither and decay. When this destined | appointed unto men once to die." The
living know that they must die; they . This sermon, occasioned by the death of Miss have eaten the forbidden fruit, the Susannah Fysh, who departed this life, Nov. 19th, 1801, in the 24th year of her age, is taken from a
noxious qualities of which engender copy presented by Mr. Dore to her brother,
death. The poison they have imbibed
as a leaf."