Epistles of Faith
William Huntington (1745-1813)
TO THE REV. MR. HUNTINGTON.
Rev. Father in Christ Jesus.
I PRAY you to excuse my not answering your letter immediately, as I am not mistress of my time. The Lord knows how happy I should be in such employment! But it is otherwise appointed, and I am content. Dear Sir, I never can sufficiently thank you for your last fatherly letter; such comfort I never before experienced. Yours brought me joyful tidings, that you do not doubt of my eternal election; and that the Lord told you to look on me as one of his children, and to receive me. I cannot tell you, sir, the half of what I felt on the occasion; my joy seemed quite full for a little while. May the Lord increase my faith, make me grow daily in his grace, and never more suffer me to neglect the means he hath appointed to save such a sinner as I am! I sometimes enjoy very happy moments, but they are of short duration. Satan buffets me much at times: but I am enabled to see that he has not the power over me which he once bad; for I can no longer be happy in the company I used to keep, nor with the vain amusements in which I once delighted. I am never so happy as when I am left alone to reflect on what great things the Lord hath done for me: and yet, dear sir, to you I must own with conscience that I am but a babe in faith, and very weak. Not that I think the Lord is not able to pardon me; God forbid I should! but I have found myself out, that I have been a desperate sinner and, though I do not now practise what I used to do, yet I am never satisfied with myself; nor am I as yet assured of my entire part and lot in Christ. The devil is continually coming with "If you could do this, or that;" and I know I can do nothing. And at other times, again, I am favoured with many happy moments, many comfortable assurances; and yet I am not thoroughly happy, for there is a powerful application of the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ still wanting.
You tell me, sir, it is the witness of the Spirit in my own conscience that must establish my heart. 'Then, dear sir, I will tell you truly, that the Spirit does not bear witness to me that I am sure of heaven; for I am sometimes almost without hope, and ready to give all up; and can neither pray nor think of any thing good: and yet, in the midst of aft these doubts, fears, and contradictions, I am often told, as if whispered in my ear, that I shall be happy in time. Many texts have come with power to me, when in great distress; such as these, "I will never leave thee" nor forsake thee Trust in the Lord, and he will bring it to pass." These, and many more, have come with power; and yet unbelief hath stept in, and chased all these comforts from me.
You see, dear Sir, I am not established; but I will wait on Lord, and beg of him to enable me to keep what comforts I have; and to help me to press forward, as I have been enabled to see that there is salvation in no other name but in that of the Lord Jesus Christ. And, as the Lord hath made me sensible that I am in the right road with respect to the means of his own appointment, and hath brought me out of darkness, and from all manner of popish abominations, it plainly appears that he careth for me therefore, I patiently hope, in God's good time, to be set at liberty, and that the Lord will reveal himself to me; and then I shall be happy, for, until that blessed moment comes. I shall be all fears. I repeat, that I do not doubt but the Lord is able and willing, but still I am all fears. The Lord enables me to have a good hope through grace; I am now going to the chapel: and shall, no doubt, find comfort there.Dear Sir, Friday morning.
I HAVE not been able to conclude this letter: and, if I had more time, I would not send it, to trouble you with my doubts and fears; for if you, sir, can be for a month without comfort, and shut up, as you was pleased to tell us on Sunday evening, how much more may I expect it! Never more, I trust, shall I fear, nor murmur, while I have such a friend and advocate with God as our dear Redeemer. I cannot sufficiently thank you for all your goodness in praying for me, for the comfort I have received from your letters, and likewise your fatherly care for future conduct in life. I shall pray the Lord to enable me to observe all your directions, and will scrape no acquaintance with any one without informing you. I have very little time for company; Providence hath placed me at the head of many worldly people, where I am often obliged to work sixteen hours out of the twenty-four. I mention this, Sir, lest you should think me neglectful in answering yours. I am very ignorant, but will write, as the Lord shall enable me: however, it will not be in my power till Sunday.
I hope, dear sir, you will not be offended with me for deferring to send this before; but I did not mean to send the beginning of this letter after I came home on Sunday evening from the chapel, for God, by your mouth, had eased my mind: for if you, and such a great man as the apostle Paul, could be deprived of comfort, and straitened in spirit, well may I endeavour, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content.
Dear Sir. I long much for the jubilee days you mention; those love-tokens, and secret visits, from the Lord Jesus Christ. But I feel I am not worthy; never did I seem so little in my own eyes as now. I have been very proud; and the Lord hath done well in humbling me, for I have been a desperate sinner, but I never found it out till now. The Lord hath done great things for me; and I will, with his assistance, let you know all. But, dear sir, be not offended at me, that I do it not immediately, as it is not in my power; but on Sunday, between the hours of chapel, I will, if the Lord permits me, begin.
I once more thank you, sir, for your goodness; and humbly beg the continuance of your fatherly prayers, advice, direction, and attention: all which shall, in God's name, be punctually obeyed byYour much obliged,
And grateful Servant and Daughter,
In Christ Jesus,
J. C.William Huntington