TO THE SUBSCRIBERS.
THE Publisher, in presenting the Subscribers with this edition of Huntington's "Posthumous Letters," feels that no apology is necessary for his having taken the initiative in the matter of re-issuing this most valuable work, and he wishes at the same time to thank those friends who, in response to his appeal, have so kindly and liberally subscribed for sets.
To have allowed such writings to sink into oblivion would be well nigh unpardonable, or at least, would evince, perhaps, to the astonishment of future generations the little regard the church of Christ had at the close of the nineteenth century for the works of this great man. We use the word "great" advisedly, for we maintain that he was "great " - great in faith, hope, love, and in zeal for the honour of his adorable Redeemer and for the welfare and progress of the Church Militant.
Being made little in his own estimation by the inworking power of the Holy Ghost, and thereby being enabled to debase himself, in due time in his experience was fulfilled the promise: "He that humbleth himself shall be exalted." One may well exclaim with surprise "O What hath God wrought!" for here we have a poor unlearned coalheaver raised to such a position in the Church of Christ, that he excited the cupidity and envy of more learned men, who attacked him with weapons forged at colleges, but were of no avail against the Champion of free grace, who was clothed in heaven made armour, and who used in a most skilful manner the two-edged sword of the Spirit.
The late Mr. Philpot, of blessed memory, held these "Letters" in very high esteem; we cull the following remarks from his pen:-
" My two favourite authors from whom I may say I have derived more instruction, profit, and consolation, and, I may add, more heart-searching examination than many others, are Dr. Owen and Huntington."
"About ten years ago you gave me a volume of Mr. Huntington's Posthumous Letters. This volume I make my daily companion - not that I mean I am always reading it, but generally do so at some part of the day. And I must say the more I read it, the more pleasure, and I hope I may add the greater profit, I derive from it: There is scarcely a point of Christian experience, from the lowest depths to the greatest height, which the immortal coalheaver has not touched upon, and indeed handled with his masterly, unrivalled pen. Nor is there an exercise of the soul, nor a secret lust, nor hidden corruption, that he has not dragged to light. It is, indeed, a most precious and valuable legacy to the Church of God, and I could wish that it were more widely spread and better known. The two authors from which I have gained the greatest profit, and the soundest as well as most savoury instruction, are Dr. Owen and Mr. Huntington. I am a writer myself upon the things of God, but these two men above all others, and the latter especially, knock my pen out of my hand."
"Taken as a whole, one may say that they contain the very cream of vital godliness. Not being controversial, there is the absence of that sharpness which marks some of his other writings; and being struck off, as one may say, at a white heat according to his various feelings at the time, there is a freedom and a warmth about them, a reality and a power which much commends itself to one's conscience. It will be a sad day for the Church of Christ in this country when the writings of the immortal coalheaver are forgotten or utterly neglected, and there seems to be much fear of it, for there are only a few comparatively who read and value them. From no two authors have I derived such instruction and edification as Dr. Owen and W.H., S.S. They have both condemned me, reproved me, cut me up, sifted, and almost emptied me, and also brought comfort, encouragement, life and feeling into my heart."
"I am glad to learn that dear Mr. - has taken so much to read the writings of the immortal coalheaver. I have often felt that no writer knocks the pen more out of my fingers than that wonderful man. And there is this great advantage in his writings, that though full of divine thought, they do not require any strong exercise of our mental faculties. Thus many can read Huntington who cannot read such writers as Owen, Goodwin, and Charnock. His great gift is opening up a living experience, in which he excels in clearness, fullness, and variety, and, I may add, in savour and unction, all other writers that I am acquainted with. He also throws great light upon the Scriptures, for no man ever had a greater knowledge of them, or a clearer insight into their spiritual meaning."
We earnestly hope that the God of all grace will own and bless the reading of these "Letters" to the souls of his dear people; and his great name shall have all the praise.