Epistles of Faith
William Huntington (1745-1813)
Winchester Row?, Nov. 10, 1784.
Dear Mother in Israel,
LOVINGKINDNESS and tender mercy be with thee. Yours I received, and can truly sympathize with thee. But there is nothing fallen to thy lot by chance; "All these things," says Job, "are appointed for me, and many such things are with him." Every trial is put into God's balance before we leave it, and a proportionable degree of faith to counterpoise it; God corrects us in measure, and will not leave us wholly unpunished. Is thy way hedged in? God says he will make a way for thy escape, that ye May be able to bear it. Call not thyself poor, while the Ancient of Days is thy eternal portion. "God hath chosen the poor in this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he had promised to them that love him." Every believer is an heir of promise. The Bible is the Lord's last will and testament; and all that faith lays hold on, is sure to all the seed. I know it is hard for flesh and blood to be left a widow, and the mother of a distressed and fatherless family. The mournful thought rebounds with the cutting edge of a double affection; but God is a father to the fatherless, and a husband to the widow. These endearing characters he sustains, and sweetly answers them in his holy habitation, which is the household of faith. Call not thyself poor, while faith can hold one single promise; nor a widow, while one tender thought of God is left. Credit his truth, and cast all thy care upon him, for he careth for thee.
Thou art not the first widow that hag been left with a family in debt. One of this number came to the prophet Elisha, and God sent a spring into her pot of oil, and set her tip an oil merchant. And I will be bold to say, that she sold the best commodity of that sort in the universe. The water that the dear Redeemer turned into wine at the marriage in Cana of Galilee, was praised by all the guests.
What Faith brings in, in answer to prayer, has a particular flavour, which is peculiar to itself.
"The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and all that dwell therein;" all hearts are in his hands, therefore trust in the Lord for ever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. There is nothing too hard for the Lord; he has made a fish produce money to pay tribute to Caesar; turned a jawbone into a springing well to supply Samson; sent a divine increase into the widow's barrel of meal, to keep her alive in famine; yea, he turned ravens into butchers to feed a prophet; and angels into cooks, while Elijah slept under the juniper tree also, at the sea of Tiberias the Saviour himself broiled fish and baked bread for his disciples after he had said, Children, have ye meat? and they had answered him, No.
Let me know how you go on, and I will endeavour to send thee a little savoury meat, such as thy soul loveth: and if God should use me to convey a little comfort to thy heart, I shall be better to thee than ten sons. Thou knowest God hath often made me a fellow helper of thy joy, a nourisher of thy hope, a strengthener of thy faith, a confirmer of thy feeble knees, and a nurse in thy old age. I have no doubt but thy hoary head will go down- to the grave in peace, and appear nay joy, and tile crown of my rejoicing in the great day of the Lord Jesus. Arise, shake thyself from the dust, and be of good cheer, for Jesus calleth for thee.
The ever-blessed Redeemer has shewn a very tender regard for distressed widows. When he saw the tears of the widow of Nain, he was so moved with compassion, that be raised her son from the dead, and restored him to his mother again. While you sit sobbing in sackcloth, you forget the dignity that the Lord has conferred on your believing sex, honourable women not a few; and you are fully persuaded that you belong to this number; "Blessed is she that believes, for there shall be performance of what is told her from the Lord." Jesus has got an inexhausted fullness to supply thy wants, a powerful arm for thy aid, a propitious ear for thy prayers, and a bottle for thy tears; and what would thou have more but the kingdom? Why, the kingdom and all, say you! Well, only believe, and thou shalt have the kingdom, and the king too. The Lord is the portion of his people, and the kingdom is given to the saints of the Most High. Oh, my mother, put thy present troubles into God's balance, and put an eternal weight of glory against them, and you will call them light afflictions, as. Paul did. A daily cross proves that we are the followers of the Lamb; and without this we should soon lose our way. Deliverance is most surely at hand, when our expectations are ready to give up all for lost. I have often observed that the blackest clouds have discharged the most fruitful showers.
Of this be assured, that the longer the day of adversity lasts, the longer will the day of prosperity be. The darkest nights are succeeded by the brightest mornings. The deeper you go into the pit, the higher will you ascend on the mount. Those that have been the most shook with God's terrors, have had the sweetest tastes of God's love; and the keenest convictions have been succeeded with the brightest evidences. I write this from my own experience; and it is consistent with the word of God. That soul that is a stranger to the horrible pit, and the glorious mount, knows nothing savingly, either of the justice or of the mercy of God. Farewell, the best of blessings attend thee while I remain,Thy dutiful son, and willing servant in
the gospel of Christ,
W. H. S. S.William Huntington