MR. FULLER had a daughter, Sarah, whose memory is cherished with an almost reverent affection by those of the family who remember her, and whose death was in a very solemn way linked to that of her dear father. Looking at his corpse, she exclaimed: "I shall lie there very soon;" a presentiment which was shortly afterwards realized. In Dr. Ryland’s Memoir of Mr. Fuller, and in that also by the Rev. A. G. Fuller, a short note is appended of Sarah Fuller, with a reference to the closing days of her mother’s life, which we may well still hand down in its old association.
"Her disposition, from a child, was amiable. Integrity was a prominent feature in her character. She appeared to possess an habitual tenderness of conscience, and was the subject of early convictions of sin, which, though transient in childhood, were more permanent as she advanced in years; but, owing to a natural reservedness, accompanied by a fear of deceiving herself and others, it was very difficult to ascertain the real state of her mind and feelings; and when she had unbosomed herself, she seemed to repent, as though she had said something which, after all, might not be true: and this suspicion of herself continued almost to the last. About the beginning of her last illness, in reply to the affectionate inquiries of her sister, she said: ‘I feel a great deal; but am afraid to speak it, lest I should deceive myself and others. Having had a religious education, it is easy to talk about religion; and I am afraid lest what I have felt should be merely the effect of having enjoyed such a privilege, and so entirely wear off. I know religion in theory, but am fearful lest it should be in theory only.’ She wept much, and promised to communicate as much of her mind as she could; begging, however, that her sister would not mention it to anyone; ‘for,’ said she, ‘possibly what I now feel may be only on account of my aflliction; and then, if I recover, it may all wear off, and I may bring a disgrace upon religion.’
"On being told of a young person who wished that, whenever she died, it might be of a consumption, that time might be afforded her to repent, she said it was ‘so unreasonable to expect mercy, after having lived in sin as long as she could!’
"In public worship she was a very attentive hearer, and clearly understood and approved the doctrines of the Gospel. Prayer-meetings were her peculiar delight; and her punctuality in attending them was truly exemplary: if any of her friends seemed indifferent to them, observing, ‘It is only a prayer-meeting,’ she would express great disapprobation.
"It was pleasing to observe the earnest desire she manifested for the spiritual welfare of others, especially of the young. Her diligence as a teacher in the Sunday School was worthy of observation; and she was extremely anxious for the adoption of a plan which had been proposed for the private religious instruction of some of the elder children of the school, nor would she rest till she saw it accomplished, though her diffidence would not allow her to take any active part in it. She once said to her mother, in reference to this subject: ‘Mother, when will you speak about it? I feel as if we were doing no good; and it is so wicked to live here only to eat and drink, and sleep!’
"During her illness, she spent most of her time, when able, in reading the Psalms and the New Testament; and when too weary herself to read, she would hear the Bible read with great pleasure.
"Though, doubtless, she felt the natural love of life, yet she was never heard to express the smallest degree of impatience under her long and trying affliction; and her mind became more calm and composed, as her prospects of being restored to her friends declined. The only concern she manifested in this particular was in the idea of leaving her mother, to whom, after her father’s death, she was especially endeared by her tender and dutiful attentions, and who, she knew, would deeply feel the loss of her society. She once said to her: ‘I am quite happy, and have little wish to live but on your account.’ (NOTE: She was peculiarly distressed at the thought of leaving her mother, confined by the charge of an aged and infirm parent to a house already the scene of melancholy recollections, which must be much increased by her own departure, and prayed earnestly and continually that God would spare her life beyond that of her grandmother, a request which was remarkably answered; her grandmother, who had enjoyed uninterrupted health till within a few weeks of her decease, being interred a few days before the death of Miss Fuller) Seeing her mother greatly distressed, she in the tenderest manner endeavoured to reconcile her to the loss of her, by saying, ‘Dear mother, do not lay your account with pining after me when I am gone; you have other children who will need your care, and you don’t know what trouble you might have on my account if I were to live.’ Being asked if she did not feel happy in the thought of meeting her dear departed friends in glory, she replied: ‘I do not think of that, so much as of seeing God and praising Him.’ A few days before she died, she requested her sister to pray for her speedy release. The next day she said to her mother, . . . ‘I think I am going, I feel so calm and comfortable.’ A short time before, she said she had no desire to live longer, unless it might be for the glory of God, and that she might serve Him. To a friend who was speaking of his trials being so great, that, were it not for his family, he could be glad to leave the world, she said, ‘Take care of your motives, whether they are to glorify God, or merely to get rid of trouble.’ In short, the thoughts of serving and glorifying God, whether in this world or another, seemed to take place of all other considerations. She did not, however, attach any merit to the best of services;and her reliance for salvation was solely on the atonement of the Redeemer. She said He was all her hope, and all her desire.
"When her younger brothers visited her a few weeks previous to her death, her earnestness with them was very affecting. On the morning of the day on which she died, she expressed an anxious desire of speaking to all the young people of her acquaintance (mentioning several by name), in order, if possible, to convey to them the strong impression of the weight of eternal things which filled her own mind, in the near prospect of eternity; and said, if she had a wish to live, it was that she might see them come forward and declare themselves on the side of Christ. Being asked if she was happy, she replied, ‘Quite so; but I feel no raptures: and, if my dear father did not, how can I expect it?’
"At her request, Mr. Hall was sent for, to whom she spoke with much earnestness, lamenting to how little purpose she had lived, and desiring him, if he thought proper, to improve her death in a sermon to young people; entreating him to be very particular in warning them not to put off the concerns of religion: and especially the children of the Sabbath School; expressing her regret that she had so much neglected speaking to them on that important subject, and her intention, if she had been spared, to have attended more to her duty in this respect.
"This was her last effort, as she scarcely spoke a sentence afterwards, but lay with great composure and serenity of aspect, waiting for her change, which took place between four and five o’clock in the afternoon of June 11th, 1816. Her age was nineteen years.
"She was interred on Sabbath evening, June 16th, when an impressive discourse was addressed to a crowded audience, by Mr. Hall, from Psalm cii. 23, 24.
"To her bereaved mother Miss Fuller had been a wise and faithful counsellor in difficulty, and a sympathising friend in affliction. Mrs. Fuller now removed to a small house near the residence of her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Levet; but subsequently was induced, by several considerations, to remove to Bristol, where, after a residence of two years, she died, October 29, 1825, in the sixty-second year of her age.
"She was a woman of superior mind, and much reading and reflection. Though a constitutional reserve, confirmed by the retired scenes of her early life, rendered her less adapted to that social intercourse which her station required, this defect was counterbalanced by a pre-eminent share of discretion, by which she not only avoided many of those evils which an incautious deportment on the part of a minister’s wife has been known to occasion, but, with the aid of a sound judgment, rendered the most essential service to her husband as a confidential adviser in difficulties. Mr. Fuller, in a passage of his Diary, has recorded the following brief testimony:- ‘I have found my marriage contribute greatly to my peace and comfort, and the comfort of my family; for which I render humble and hearty thanks to the God of my life.’
"Though she was peculiarly at home in domestic engagements, her unwearied industry afforded opportunity for the record of her private views and feelings on a variety of subjects, as well as of numerous extracts from approved authors. After the lamented decease of her husband, and amidst various perplexing avocations, chiefly connected with the publication of the first edition of his works, and distressing anxiety relative to her daughter, she transcribed the exposition of the Psalms from Mr. Fuller’s shorthand MS. Her sight suffered from the intense application; nor was it till within a short time of her death that the laborious undertaking was completed.
"Few persons have maintained a more close and devout intercourse with God than Mrs. Fuller. Her exercises of mind were pre-eminently devotional; and the Psalms of David, and the poetical works of her favourite Watts, were a never-failing source of interest and profit. As she was not accustomed to keep a chronological diary, and frequently committed her writings to the flames, the following fragments are nearly all that can be found, and probably these owe their present existence to an oversight:-
"’That I may be found in Him. – Oh what a word is that! When any person departs this life, it is usual to say of their friends and relatives, they have lost such a friend. True it is, they are lost to this world. They have no more share in anything that is done under the sun; but, if they were believers in Christ, they will be found in Him at the last day. Who can estimate the full extent of such an expression as this, or the state of blessedness it includes; To be found in Christ is to be interested in all He has done and suffered – His atonement, His righteousnes, His intercession. O Lord, grant that I may thus be found in that day: not having on my own righteousness; but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.
‘"I have this evening heard of the death of a member of the church, who died full of peace and hope. I desire to feel thankful for the support afforded her, and would humbly pray that I may be so favoured in my latter end. Oh to be a follower of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises!
"’I have been thinking, this morning, of the privileges the people of God enjoy in the communion of spirits – if I may so call it. However distantly they may be situated from each other in person, there is one general place of rendezvous for kindred minds – this is a throne of grace. Oh how much we live below our mercies, and wrong each other and ourselves, when we do not to the full avail ourselves of this distinguishing privilege! Surely this, improved as it ought, would in a great degree compensate for the absence of dear friends from each other. We might here be the means of rendering the most effectual assistance to each other. O my soul! I would now charge thee, before the Father of mercies and the God of all grace, to be found more constantly and more earnestly engaged in this important branch of Christian duty. O Thou, from whom every good and perfect gift cometh, I look up to Thee for grace and strength to enable me to discharge this and every other part of duty; for all my sufficiency is of Thee.
"’O Lord! Thy footsteps are in the deep waters. All things seem dark around me, as it respects Thy dispensations, both in a way of providence and grace. Will light and deliverance ever arise? "To the upright there ariseth light in darkness." Oh may I be found of that number! O Lord, I have no distrust of Thy veracity and faithfulness to Thy promises, but I distrust myself. May it be my chief concern to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, both for myself and my children; and then I may safely trust that every other needful good will be added.’
"A continual dread of death was a bar to much of that enjoyment which the consolations of the Gospel are calculated to yield when ‘flesh and heart fail.’ This, however, near the close of her life was happily dissipated, and she met her ‘last enemy’ with composure, in the full possession of ‘a good hope through grace.’
"Her remains, agreeably to her own request, were conveyed to Kettering, and deposited within the same tomb as those of her beloved husband and daughter; on which occasion a discourse was delivered by Mr. Hall from the words above quoted, which had been frequently used by her as indicative of the foundation of her confidence in the prospect of death."
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