God the Guardian of the Poor and the Bank of Faith
TO THE CHRISTIAN READER.
By - DAVID A. DOUDNEY
HAVING been asked by my Friend and Publisher, to Write a line of Introduction to the following pages, I confess I do so with a degree of diffidence - not that I am ashamed of my company, God forbid! but from a consciousness of the far higher attainments of him who "being dead, yet speaketh."
It is quite unnecessary that I should say much. I would therefore, confine my observations to some three or four leading thoughts.
And the first idea that strikes me is the pedigree of the late venerable WILLIAM HUNTINGTON. The reader will find him candid in his acknowledgment of it. He came into this world under deeply-humbling circumstances; but it would appear as though the Lord had overruled that fact, for the express purpose of fortifying his mind against all the after-attacks of his fellowmen. I had almost said, that from very necessity the immortal COALHEAVER was compelled to take shelter in his God! Driven out of all creature-refuges, he sought - and he found - a welcome in the bosom of Omnipotence!
2. The Providence of God was most remarkably conspicuous in the life and leadings, of this great man; to the spiritual mind his "BANK OF FAITH" will afford the richest feast. Whilst the worldling scoffs, and the merely nominal professor sneers, the true child of God will wonder, admire, and adore. From the cradle to the grave we see in this "sinner saved," the most striking evidences of the watchful eye - ceaseless regard - and ever tender watchfulness and care of a covenant God and Father in Christ Jesus. Through a long and eventful life, and under an almost infinite variety of circumstances, this child of Providence tested the wisdom, and the power, and the faithfulness of Him who said, "Whoso is wise and will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord."
3. His principles. Notwithstanding all that has been said to the contrary, no man could have had a deeper sense of honour and integrity. He was generous to a degree. His hand responded to his heart in the liveliest and most practical sympathy. His wish to be placed in an independent position, as far as the proprietorship of his Chapel was concerned, was from a laudable desire that he should be raised above the caprice of poor fallible men; and that neither lettered by the frowns nor biased by the favours of his fellow-creatures, he might seek with a single eye to his Master's glory, to "declare the whole counsel of God."
4. As a Preacher, he reflected in a most peculiar and special way, the Divine all-sufficiency of Him who said to Moses, "Who hath made man's mouth, or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind, have not I, the Lord ?" He tells us he entered upon his eventful career as a preacher, ere he could scarcely read a chapter in the Bible, and yet so marvellously was he aided from on high, that in the course of a few years, he arrested the attention of an immense auditory for two hours at a time; and this not once, twice, or thrice merely; but week after week, month after month, and year after year. Such was his knowledge of the Word of God, that he was called the "Walking Concordance;" such was his insight into the darker and more obscure parts of the sacred volume, that many would seek to hear, if only to listen to his interpretations.
5. As a pastor he felt the tenderest interest in his flock. Raised for a special purpose, his capacious mind would take a large and comprehensive view of the condition of Christendom, and, as he saw error and evil looming in the distance, he would forewarn in order to forearm. His counsel in trial, and critical exploring of those peculiar depths of temptation, into which, at least, some of the Lord's living ones are called to pass, rendered him in particular the "companion in tribulation." His ministry, both as a preacher and a pastor, bore the special impress of the Spirit's work.
6. The power of Jehovah, as well as His divine sovereignty, shone forth most brilliantly in this His servant. It is worthy of observation - especially in these days of rebuke and blasphemy, when men seek to substitute human learning (however good in its place) for the Spirit's teaching - that God has ever given practical proof that His Gospel was to be preached "not with wisdom of words." "I will destroy," says God, "the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent." As the Lord Christ, in the days of his flesh, chose sundry poor illiterate fishermen to instruct in the mysteries of His kingdom, and afterwards sent them forth as witnesses of His resurrection; so, in every age of the Church, he has chosen those who should stand prominently before both the Church and the world, as living and lively examples that He "hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen; yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence."
I cannot conclude without expressing my conviction that the republication of these works is most opportune. Popery and Infidelity are making most fearful inroads upon the light and liberty of our land. It is greatly to be apprehended, that speedily there shall be too successful an invasion upon our long-continued and dearly-purchased privileges. We are gradually(?) - nay, rapidly - sinking into a most portentous darkness, to a sense of which it is to be feared even many of the Lord's living ones will have to be aroused by "terrible things in righteousness." Whatever times may be approaching, and under any circumstances, may both reader and writer be found faithful. May there be that mighty outpouring of the Holy Ghost upon us, that the Lord may make us thereby "to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all, to the end he may stablish our hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints." Amen and amen.
DAVID A. DOUDNEY.
Bonmahon, Co. Waterford,
July 5, 1856.