Epistles of Faith
William Huntington (1745-1813)
Winchester Row, July 19th, 1784.
YOURS came to band, but wish you to drop your encomiums; as some unguarded Christians have brought many bitter reflections on me, which have sprung from the evil surmisings of some Hebrews. There are some who don't like to see a young prodigal with a kid in his hand, much less kissing, ornamenting, music and dancing. I have no desire for a spangled coat: a coat of many colours once provoked eleven brethren to sell a Joseph. Be content to reap the benefit of my labour, and make your boast of God; then you will not give offence to my superiors, or bring the scourge of tongues on my reputation.
I thought I had pretty well satisfied you with an account of faith; however, I am willing to comply with your request as far as I am able.
But to give you a description of false faith is more then I can pretend to, unless you will allow me to describe true faith and oppose it to false, and so lead your mind in the line between the two.
As for the faith of arminianism, I believe it to be worse than the faith of devils; for I have heard arminians mention the awful decrees of God, and wantonly laugh at them; but devils believe and tremble. True faith holds every revealed truth of the Bible, but opposes none. If you live by faith, Christ, the bread of heaven, will be the food of thy faith. If you walk by faith, Christ, the living way, will be the path of faith, If you stand fast by faith, Christ will be faith's foundation; faith will stand no where, but on Christ; and Christ will always bear every weight that faith lays on him. Christ will never suffer faith to fail, nor will faith ever suffer Christ to have a co-partner; Christ will never suffer faith to be confounded; nor will faith ever suffer Christ to be dishonoured.
False faith makes her boast of what she never had; but true faith does what she never can relate.
False faith furnishes the head with notions; but true faith fixes the heart in love. False faith has always much to say, but little to do; her business is to boast, not to work; but true faith does her business in silence first, and talks afterwards: "I believed, therefore have I spoken;" "We believe, and therefore speak."
False faith often relates what she has done for God; but true faith delights to tell what Christ has done for her: Christ loved me, and gave himself for me; and again, "I am persuaded that neither death nor life shall separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
False faith is full of good words; but true faith of good fruits.
False faith unites with an erroneous and loose community; but true faith delights in the excellent of the earth and in such as excel in virtue. False faith flies from a heart-searching, experimental ministry; but true faith roots the deeper under it: "Rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in faith."
False faith triumphs in the testimony of men; but true faith stands in the testimony of God: "He that believes, hath the witness in himself."
False faith credits every word: but true faith looks well to her way.
False faith makes a prating fool; but true faith makes a humble soul.
False faith exalts the creature; but true faith exalts the Saviour.
False faith makes lies her refuge; but true faith makes God's word her shield and buckler.
False faith leads the sinner to be proud of himself; but true faith leads the soul to make her boast of God.
False faith is pleased with words on the tongue; but true faith applies the promises to the heart.
False faith floats in the imagination; but true faith is a root in the heart.
False faith says, Roll yourself on the written word; but true faith says, "Let the word of God dwell richly in your hearts."
False faith is attended with no change of soul; but true faith is attended with regeneration.
False faith rejects the greatest part of the Bible; but true faith credits the whole word.
False faith denies sound experience; but true faith owns herself a fruit of the Spirit.
False faith defends herself by cunning, and a noise of words; but true faith will have no defence but the Saviour: But above all, taking the shield of faith.
False faith triumphs in temporal prosperity, and gives up the ghost in adversity; but true faith is lowly in prosperity, and in adversity considers.
In short, false faith can talk, but not work; boast, but not fight; brag, but bring nothing from God; but true faith will work, but not trust in it; fight, but not beat the air; and beg, but not in vain. The Lord bless you with a stronger faith than I can describe: I desire no dominion over your faith, but am glad to be a fellow-helper of your joy.Adieu, Madam,
Thine to command in the gospel of Christ
W. H. S. S.William Huntington