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I found, in addition to what has already appeared in my Memoirs of the Author, a number of sketches too valuable to be lost, and which may with propriety be inserted in the present volume, now that the parties to whom most of them refer are deceased.
The reader may not be aware of the fact which it is now proper for me to state, and which will at once account for the variety of notes and papers left in my possession. It is this. My intimacy with Mr. Fuller continued without interruption for upwards of twenty years, during which we had an unremitting and unreserved intercourse, on every subject connected with the mission, with bis numerous publications, and his epistolary correspondence. As his labours began rapidly to multiply, as soon as he was ushered into public life, he felt the need of some assistance; and I became in effect his amanuensis, an office which I filled during the above period, without any other fee or reward than what arises from that friendship which teaches us by love to serve one another. From his shorthand notes I transcribed for the press the greater part of what he intended to publish, all the missionary accounts, most of his controversial letters and other papers, and his correspondence with Scotland, America, and Bengal, making in the whole perhaps not less than fifteen volumes in octavo.
My highly esteemed friend was fully aware of the great demand which these engagements made upon my time, much of which was necessarily devoted to
secular pursuits in aid of a very limited ministerial income, though on my part the unproductive and honorary secretaryship was never a matter of regret. I derived much instruction from this religious and intellectual intercourse, and deemed it a sufficient reward for all my labour. Mr. Fuller had no sinister end to answer, and no pecuniary means to command ; but with his repeated acknowledgments of my gratuitous assistance, he tendered that kind of recompense which he knew would be most agreeable to his friend. He allowed me free access to his private manuscripts, and sent me such as tended to facilitate the discharge of my official duties, desiring me to transcribe freely from them for my own use, and also to keep various letters and papers which I had copied at his request. The documentary evidence of this fact is still existing. In short, there was not in my possession a single paragraph but he was acquainted with it, and not one which he did not consider as the only remuneration he had to offer for my assiduity. The papers were indeed of very little use, except in his hands or in mine, as no other individual could be familiar with the circumstances which produced and accompanied their existence ; and now that he is gone, I have carefully collected and compiled them as a monument to his memory.
Certain as I was, from what has already been stated, that no other person would be able to identify the various fugitive pieces which had been written, and not at all anxious to avail myself of this exclusive advantage, I made a gratuitous offer of my services to the Compilers of the Author's works, as soon as I heard that a new and uniform edition of them was in contemplation. This offer was declined, and application made in another quarter, which was refused in consequence. The Compilers then made the collection since presented to the public, on their own responsibility.
Some valuable papers of Mr. Fuller's are entirely lost, and more would have shared the same fate, had I not happened to preserve them. During the controversy with Mr. Booth and others, Mr. Fuller wrote Six Letters on the doctrine of Imputation, which I transcribed many years ago at his request ; and they were lent from hand to hand, until the copy and the original were both lost. This is mentioned with regret by the author, in a letter dated May 11th 1805. Mr. Fuller also wrote a series of papers on Pulpit Composition, a part only of which is now extant. Three Letters on this subject appear in vol. iv. of his works, and the compilers say they do not know that any more were written. There was however another highly valuable Letter, on the Textual method of division, founded on 1 Peter v. 10, and which I was requested to copy for the use of Dr. Stuart of Edinburgh. This, with several other papers so transmitted, was afterwards lost, or inserted in his Quarterly Magazine, or in some other Scotch publications, where they will be seen no more. Besides these there were some critical Notes to an original manuscript, communicated by Dr. Hopkins of America, all of which have been lost.
It is also much to be regretted, that in the new edition of the Author's works several valuable publications, which had been printed in his lifetime, are entirely omitted ; for though they are not in danger of being lost, it has rendered the edition less perfect than it might have been, and of course less satisfactory to the readers and subscribers.—No reason is assigned for the omission of the Memoirs of the Rev. Samuel Pearce, one of the best of the author's performances, and one that could least be spared in the whole collection, while such sedulous care was taken to extract every scrap that could be found in some of the magazines. There is likewise an excellent Association Letter on Religious Declension, that should have appeared amongst the author's works.To these omissions may be added, the History of William Wright, a small but interesting tract—the Statement of facts relative to Soham casethe Admission of Unbaptised persons to the Lord's supper,
inconsistent with the New Testament—the life of Joseph Fuller, inserted in a monthly journaland some unpublished letters, addressed to the Rev. Thomas Scott, on the nature of Substitution and the extent of the Atonement. There were also some short Sketches of Sermons, published in one of the Newspapers, during the author's lifetime, which have not been noticed.
If another edition of Mr. Fuller's works should be called for, it is hoped that these hints may be useful to the compiler, and that care will be taken to render it more deserving of public patronage. In that case, if my services be not again declined, I should very willingly admit of the present volume being added to the number, in order to complete the series of Mr. Fuller's writings, on proper application being made to me or to my representative for that purpose.
Having now performed my last duty to the public, in reference to the Life and Labours of Mr. Fuller, I anticipate with some confidence the approbation of posterity, for attempting to rescue from oblivion the remains of this eminent man, which must otherwise have perished inevitably from the page of history.
October 23. 1826.
J. W. MORRIS.