1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Fuller, Andrew

For works with similar titles, see Andrew Fuller.

FULLER, ANDREW (1754–1815), English Baptist divine, was born on the 6th of February 1754, at Wicken in Cambridgeshire. In his boyhood and youth he worked on his father’s farm. In his seventeenth year he became a member of the Baptist church at Soham, and his gifts as an exhorter met with so much approval that, in the spring of 1775, he was called and ordained as pastor of that congregation. In 1782 he removed to Kettering in Northamptonshire, where he became friendly with some of the most eminent ministers of the denomination. Before leaving Soham he had written the substance of a treatise in which he had sought to counteract the prevailing Baptist hyper-Calvinism which, “admitting nothing spiritually good to be the duty of the unregenerate, and nothing to be addressed to them in a way of exhortation excepting what related to external obedience,” had long perplexed his own mind. This work he published, under the title The Gospel worthy of all Acceptation, soon after his settlement in Kettering; and although it immediately involved him in a somewhat bitter controversy which lasted for nearly twenty years, it was ultimately successful in considerably modifying the views prevalent among English dissenters. In 1793 he published a treatise, The Calvinistic and Socinian systems examined and compared as to their moral tendency, in which he rebutted the accusation of antinomianism levelled by the Socinians against those who over-emphasized the doctrines of free grace. This work, along with another against Deism, entitled The Gospel its own Witness, is regarded as the production on which his reputation as a theologian mainly rests. Fuller also published an admirable Memoir of the Rev. Samuel Pearce, of Birmingham, and a volume of Expository Lectures in Genesis, besides a considerable number of smaller pieces, chiefly sermons and pamphlets, which were issued in a collected form after his death. He was a man of forceful character, more prominent on the practical side of religion than on the devotional, and accordingly not pre-eminently successful in his local ministry. His great work was done in connexion with the Baptist Missionary Society, formed at Kettering in 1792, of which he was secretary until his death on the 7th of May 1815. Both Princeton and Yale, U.S.A., conferred on him the degree of D. D., but he never used it.

Several editions of his collected works have appeared, and a Memoir, principally compiled from his own papers, was published about a year after his decease by Dr Ryland, his most intimate friend and coadjutor in the affairs of the Baptist mission. There is also a biography by the Rev. J. W. Morris (1816); and his son prefixed a memoir to an edition of his chief works in Bohn’s Standard Library (1852).