Epistles of Faith
William Huntington (1745-1813)
Winchester Row, August 9, 1784.
My Daughter in the Faith,
I RECEIVED yours, and read it with indignation; and shall take the liberty to answer it in three particulars. First, I will shew you the word of the Lord. Secondly, detect the hypocrisy of thy heart; and, Thirdly, I will shew you what will befall you in the latter days.
The Most High has not tied up his children from marrying but says, "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled; but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge." The blessed Saviour himself honoured a wedding with his presence in Cana of Galilee, wrought his first miracle at it, and manifested forth his glory, insomuch that his disciples believed on him.
Even our happy enjoyment of Christ is set forth by the term espousing; and our glorious entrance into blessedness, by the consummation of a marriage in the wedding chamber.
But God says, "Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers." If a woman have a mind to marry, she is at liberty to marry whom she will, only in the Lord, 1 Cor. vii. 39. Mark that; her liberty is limited, to marry only in the Lord.
There are but two families in this world; the children of God, and the children of the devil, 1 John, iii. 10. If a daughter of God marries a son of Belial, she makes herself a daughter-in-law to the devil: and by this infamous step labours to bring about an affinity between the Most High God and Satan.
When God brought in his bill to the antediluvian world, unlawful marriages stood first in the account. "The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of such as they choose;" and by this they brought on the dreadful deluge: and you are going to justify them in your proceedings; and, by falling a sacrifice to their infatuations, you are endeavouring to bring on the final conflagration.
What! is there not a son of Israel that will satisfy thy desire, but thou must go and take a husband of the uncircumcised?
All the plagues, persecutions, woes, and captivities that fell to Israel's share in the land of Canaan, began with these mixed marriages. God has set forth the miserable match of Samson as a caution to every believer. But if thy affections are saddled upon an ass, thou wilt go on, however perverse thy proceedings may be, unless the drawn sword of God should appear in thy way. I have shewed you the word of the Lord, which is the sword of the Spirit; and if you rush upon the point of that sword, expect to pierce yourself through with many sorrows.
Let me dissect the hypocrisy of thy heart. You say, he is a person of great property. This springs from the cursed root of covetousness; "They that will be rich, fall into temptations and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition." As for his beauty, that is but skin deep, and lays at the mercy of a cold or a fever. Jacob paid dear for this fading article; fourteen year's hard labour, many cutting disappointments, and her beauty was long balanced with a reproachful barrenness. And as her beauty was a kind of rival to, God, he permitted Jacob himself to denounce her death in the face of her own father: "With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let hum not live." Rachael has hid them; and God took Jacob at his word, and sent the first arrow of death to the beautiful object. God likewise entangled her in her own words. When she said to Jacob, "Give me children or I die," God gave her a child; a Benoni; a son of her sorrow, and she died in bringing him forth.
You verily believe that he will be converted to God. Yes: a likely matter, that God should convert a man to satisfy your carnal desires, and nurse your rebellion against his word. I know you will make a convert of him, rather than be disappointed of your lust.
Where will not a giddy woman run, when her wantonness is kindled, and she is left to kick against Christ! God compares such as you, who have waxed wanton, to a wild ass braying after her male. "A wild ass, used to the wilderness, that snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure; in her occasion who can turn her away; all they that seek her will not weary themselves; but in her [wanton] month he will find her." He goes with you to hear the gospel, and approves of it. No doubt of that: and he will appear to get a deal of comfort. from it too, while your carcass is perched at his right hard. But, depend upon it lasciviousness conceived in his heart is the main spring of all his religion; and this will come to its final end in the bridal bed. I have seen enough of this to make a wise man mad.
I will now slew you what will befall you in the latter days. First, you will not find Christ at the wedding, yet you will not be comfortless; for your comforts will spring from another quarter; and while these last you will hold up your head. But when the honey month is over, you will think about turning to your first husband again, saying, it was better with me then than it is now, Hosea ii. 7. But the Bible will appear a sealed book; the intercourse between God and your soul will be barred up; many cutting reproofs God will send you from the pulpit, which conscience will apply to your case. These things will be the beginning of sorrows with you. Finding your soul bereft of the presence of God, and sinking in distress under it, Satan will begin to tempt you, conscience will accuse you, and God will frown upon you. When this is the case, you will naturally wither to all the charms of your husband, and be brought to hate him as the cause of your soul's distress.
When your husband sees this, it will provoke him to jealousy; your coldness to his embraces will quicken his malice; and the devil telling him that your religion is the cause, he will then appear in his proper colours; curse your profession, and take up the cudgels against you; and then you may expect to go all the rest of the way with a corpse strapped to your back.
I know this letter will not please you; it is a purge for your conscience, not a cordial for your wantonness. However, you will seek counsel from some other professor, who will approve of your measures, and then my letter will have no weight till after the wedding be over.
I do not expect an answer to this, as it is so wide to your purpose. But if ever you should write to me again, I crave one favour of you, which is, that you will never more call me your father, or even own that you were called under my ministry; for your presumption in wedlock will be a scandal even to a coalheaver. Remember you are a daughter of Sarah, as long as you do well; and I will own you as long as yon obey the word of God, and no longer.Yours, &c.
W. H. S. S.William Huntington