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To his son Edward, Fuller dedicated his account of the reign of Charles I. in his “ Church History,” memorializing the merits of his ancestors in the dedication.
He was slain in a naval conflict in the attack of the Dutch East India fleet, in the port of Bergen, in Norway, in 1665, being then but in his twenty
His brother Ralph, a benefactor also to the publication of Fuller's “ Pisgah-Sight," ennobled himself by his patriotic zeal in rescuing his country from the tyranny of Romanism, and was in 1689 created Viscount Monthermer and Earl of Montagu, in the county of Somerset.
In 1695, King William honoured him with a visit at his seat at Boughton. In 1705, he was created Duke of Montagu by Queen Anne. He died in 1708.
Thus much of this noble family, too highly esteemed by Fuller to pass unnoticed in these pages.
In 1632, on February 7, our author's younger brother was admitted of Sidney Sussex College. He proceeded B.A. in 1635, and M.A. in 1639, being then twenty-four years
By the notice of him in the books of Sidney Sussex Col. lege, it appears that he was about a year at the Grammar School, Oundle, under Mr. Samuel Cobb; he then spent some time at Aldwinckle St. Peter's, in a private school, under one Archibald Simmers, a Scot, and lastly, studied about a year and more at Over Dean and at Sutton, Bedfordshire, under Mr. Joseph Kemp.
Samuel Cobb was B.A. of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, 1614, and M. A, 1618. Joseph Kemp was B.A. of Christ College, 1625, and M.A. 1629,
About April 1632 Fuller's father died, for on the last day of that month John Webster B.D. was instituted to the Rectory of St. Peter's, Aldwinckle.
In 1633, amongst the baptisms in Fuller's parish of St. Benet, occurs the name of Thomas Wheelock, son of Mr. Abraham Wheelock, minister, baptized March the 20th.
In June, Fuller appears to have resigned the church of St. Benet, for by the third of July, Mr. Edward Palgrave, fellow and tutor of Corpus Christi College, was inducted to the living. He was of the county of Norfolk, and was ejected from his fellowship April 8, 1644, by the Earl of Manchester.
In 1634, Fuller preached a sermon at Cambridge on the Doctrine of Assurance. It was not indeed printed until 1648. “ This grace of assurance,” he observes, “is not attainable with ease and idleness. Christianity is a laborious profession.” After various illustrations of this topic, he lays down as the plain doctrine of the text, (2 Pet. i. 10) that assurance of one's calling and election may,
any miraculous revelation, be in this life acquired ; se
“ William Laxton, son to John Laxton of Oundle, was bred a grocer in London, where he so prospered by his painful endeavours, that he was chosen Lord Mayor A.D. 1544. He founded a fair school and almshouse at Oundle, with convenient maintenance, well maintained at this day by the worshipful company of Grocers; and bath been, to my knowledge, the nursery of many scholars most eminent in the University." He died A.D. 1556, July 29, and lieth buried under a fair tomb, in the chancel of St. Antony's, London. Worthies, vol. ii. Ed. Nichols, p. 173.
condly, that such assurance is a separable fruit or effect, not of every true, but only of some strong faiths, whereby the party is persuaded of the certainty of his calling and election. “I say, separable, to manifest my dissenting from such worthy divines, who make this assurance to be the very being, essence, life, soul, and formality of faith itself. Whence these two opinions as false as dangerous must of necessity be inferred, first, that every one who hath true faith, and is eternally to be saved, hath always some measure of this assurance: secondly, that such who are devoid of this assurance, are likewise deprived of all sincere faith for the present. But God forbid any preacher should deliver doctrines so destructive to Christian comfort on the one side and advantageous to spiritual pride on the other. Such will prove carnificinæ, the racks and tortures of tender consciences. And as the careless mother killed her little child, for she overlaid it, so the weight of this heavy doctrine would press many poor but pious souls ; many faint but feeble infant-faiths to the pit of despair, exacting and extorting from them more than God requires,-that every faith should have assurance with it, or else be ineffectual to salvation."
He then proceeds to state the proper ground of assurance,
which he does in a syllogism.
“ The Major. “He that truly repenteth himself of his sins, and relieth with a true faith upon Christ, is surely called, and by consequence elected before all eternity to be a vessel of honour.”
“ The Minor. “But I truly repent myself of my sins, and rely with a true faith on God in Christ.”
“ The Conclusion. “ Therefore, I am truly called and elected,” &c.
To arrive at such an assurance, we must have, he adds, the testimony of our conscience to the truth of our repentance and sincerity of our faith: secondly, the witness of the Holy Spirit (Rom. viii. 16). “ Now we must with sorrow confess that this doctrine of the Spirit dwelling in the hearts of God's servants, is much discountenanced of late, and the devil thereupon hath improved his own interest. To speak plainly, it is not the fierceness of the lion, nor the fraud of the fox, but the mimicalness of the ape, which in our age hath discredited the undoubted truth. But what if the apes in India finding a glow-worm, mistook it to be true fire, and heaping much combustible matter about it, hoped by their blowing of it, thence to kindle a flame; I say, what, if that animal yeNwTótolov, that mirth-making creature deceived itself, doth it thence follow that there is no true fire at all ? And what if some fanatical anabaptists by usurpation have entitled their brainsick fancies to be so many illuminations of the Spirit, must we presently turn Sadducees in this point, and deny that there is any Spirit at all? God forbid.”
This Sadduceeism led some learned writers of the last century to explain of the extraordinary operations of the Holy Spirit, all that is found in the epistles of the witness of the Spirit. Thus did they attempt to overthrow what they regarded as the fanaticism of Whitfield, but with the most Christian gentleness, and with ability perhaps rarely surpassed, did he unravel and detect all the sophistry of his antagonists.
The Church of Rome, as she is the mystery of iniquity, so she has a double answer always at hand. Some have concluded that she allows this doctrine of the assurance of salvation. But certainly she anathematizes all such as would without a special revelation, apply the belief of the gift of final perseverance to themselves. *
“ The third and last witness we will insist on," adds our author, “is that comfort and contentment the conscience of the party takes in doing good works, and bringing forth the fruits of new obedience; that though he knows his best good works are straitened with corruptions and many imperfections, yet because they are the end of his vocation, and the justifiers of his faith ; because thereby the gospel is graced, wicked men amazed, some of them converted, the rest confounded; weak Christians confirmed, the poor relieved, devils repining at them, angels rejoicing for them, God himself glorified by them ; I say, because of these and other reasons, he doth good deeds with humility and
Council of Trent, Sess. vi. Canon 16.