Epistles of Faith
William Huntington (1745-1813)
Winchester Row, May 4, 1784.
THE life of faith, joy and peace, and an heartfelt union with the dear Redeemer, as the blessed effect of eternal love; and the doctrine of eternal election in Christ, the Rock of Ages; from whence these soul satisfying streams perpetually flow, are my favourite themes: and as you are not insensible of the value of these unmerited mercies of God, nor of the assurance and security which they afford to an enlightened mind, I do not know that I can entertain you with a more interesting subject.
This life of faith is a familiarity and a divine correspondence, carried on between the Most High God and a redeemed soul, by which the mind is ennobled, the understanding enriched with the knowledge of heavenly treasures, and the affections enflamed with a fervent love to the Father of all Mercies. Faith is a fruit of God's Spirit, begotten on the mind by the Holy Ghost; "For what. soever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." It is called the faith of God's elect, because it is peculiar to them; "As many as were ordained to eternal life believed." It is called the faith of the operation of the Holy Ghost, because it is brought forth under his prolific operations. It is a divine and unshaken persuasion of the reality of a divine report, deeply impressed on the mind of man; and is the result of an eternal union which subsisted between Christ and the elect from everlasting; the bond of which union is God's everlasting love to Christ and to his elect in him. Thus faith firmly credits a divine testimony, and makes the happy possessor most assuredly know that he is an heir of all the blessings testified of. Faith is an eye, and sees the wonderful works of God both in grace and in providence; yea, she pries into his eternal council, and- at times sees Him who is invisible. All the ancient saints saw the promised seed at a distance, and spake of him as present; and the blessed effects of every vision justified the prediction. This proves their life to be a life of dependence on God; they conversed with Him in his promises; their expectations were employed in looking out for the fulfilment of them, and patience waited for the issue; and after they had endured awhile, they inherited the promises. Faith is an undoubted persuasion that fetches in the blessings couched in the promises, and applies them to the renewed and heavenly mind. Faith doth the same kind offices to the soul that the hand doth to the body; for it lays hold on eternal life, and realizes the promises with such a firm assurance of their full and final accomplishment, so as to quicken and enliven every power of the elect soul, and make it joyful, in hope of the glory of God.
Faith eyes the obedience of the Saviour, and applies it to the disquieted conscience; and is attended with the internal witness of the Holy Ghost, assuring the conscience of the sinner that Jesus is his eternal righteousness before the throne of God; while peace, from the atonement made by the great Mediator, sweetly flows in, as a proof that the Most High God is appeased, and the sword of justice sheathed in the Son of God. O mysterious scabbard! Thus, Madam, this long and dreadful war between God and sensible sinners is ended, and eternal peace proclaimed to all believers.
Faith eyes the atoning blood of the surety, and a multiplication of pardons are produced therefrom, which faith applies; and thus she purifies the heart from all the filth or guilt daily contracted through our manifold infirmities. And to maintain life in her beloved habitation, she leads her possessor to a throne of grace, and there begs the bread of heaven, and does her office in attending every good petition: she claims her privileges in her own country, and her freedom in her own city; she will take no denial at a throne of grace, nor will her father deny her snit. Faith in us is of high extraction; God ordained her; Christ possesses her; and the Holy Ghost produces her. God has greatly honoured faith, and it is certain she will never dishonour him. By her allowed fortitude and importunity she glorifies her Father, and her Father will ever honour her. She keeps house at the expense of the Saviour, and fetches all her food from afar.
She being of a divine origin, will exist for ever. In the church militant faith is both the eye and the hand of the soul; but in the church triumphant she will be only an eye: divine light can never be extinguished.
Faith despises all human inventions and human assistances and ceases to act when carnal wisdom is invited to take the reins of government; but always accomplishes the decreed and the desired end, after fleshly sufficiency has left us exposed to ridicule.
Faith, if she is let alone, will make her despicable habitation stand firm against all assaults; for she establishes her house on a rock. She will lead her armies on through the most formidable hosts of opposers; for none overcome the world but believers. In short, that man is eternally rich who has her, for God is his portion; and this she freely declares before every adversary, as it is written, "Rich in faith." He stands firm indeed whom she establishes; and he is sure to hold on his way, if she leads him in the path. Every fallen countenance that appears in a persecutor, is an indication of a conquest made on that adversary, either to reduce him to the sceptre of Christ, or leave him to the judgment of God. Faith can blunt the edge of a sword, disarm a flame of its force, stop the mouth of a voracious lion, and make a devil fly to his cave. God himself is her shield, and she is the honourable and victorious hand that wields it. Our wealth, honour, success, victory, safety, and eternal security, lay in the possession of her. The Lord increase thy faith, while I remain,
Thy willing servant in the Lord,
W. H.William Huntington