By Michael A. G. Haykin
Andrew Fuller passed into the presence of the Lord he had served faithfully for most of his life 198 years ago today. In the months prior to his death he had been preaching through 1 Corinthians and had reached the middle of the fourth chapter before his death. His last sermon, though, was on Isaiah 66:2, preached on April 2, 1815. John Jenkinson (1799–1876), sixteen years old at the time and one of Fuller’s regular hearers—he would later pastor another Baptist work in Kettering, the scene of Fuller’s ministry since 1782—many years later recalled Fuller’s “unequalled expository labours,” as he put it, and heard that final sermon.
He noted that Fuller’s main points were three in number (very Baptist-like!):
“God’s approval of poverty of spirit, or genuine humility: of contrition of spirit, or true repentance: of tenderness of spirit, or a godly shrinking from sin and temptation.”
(In R.L. Greenall, ed., The Autobiography of the Rev. John Jenkinson, Baptist Minister of Kettering and Oakham [Victor Hatley Memorial Series, vol.3; Northampton, Northamptonshire: Northamptonshire Record Society, 2010], 22–23).
These points are vintage Fuller—and a key reason why we remember his life and witness with thanksgiving to the God who enabled him to do all that he did.
Michael A.G. Haykin is the director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies. He also serves as Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Haykin and his wife Alison have two grown children, Victoria and Nigel.