Epistles of Faith

Letter XL

William Huntington (1745-1813)

TO A. J.

Beloved Friend,

Your letter came to hand; but, having many things to attend to, I could not answer it before. I sin no stranger to your situation; but God is a little sanctuary to his people in all places whither they may come; and will ever be a present help to all that call upon him, and feel after him. He was with Joseph in Egypt, David in Gath, and Daniel in Babylon. Wherein a man is called, therein let him Abide with God; and, having food and raiment, let him be therewith content: and, if he is trot, God shall appoint him a worse portion, that he may know the value of this.

Some of the sweetest hours that ever I enjoyed, or, perhaps; ever shall enjoy, in this world, were at Sunbury in Middlesex, And at Ewell in Surrey; where I had no friend, but he that loveth at all times; no brother; but he that was born for adversity; no father, but the Father of mercies, and God of all comfort; no spiritual neighbours, bid the elect angels; no mother, but the heavenly Jerusalem; no fellowship, but with the Father and the Son; no communion, but with the Holy Ghost; ho delights, but in heavenly things; no teacher, but the Almighty; no comforter, but the Consolation of Israel; no amusements, but in the covenant of grace; do constant companions, but faith, hope, and charity, these three. Now, consider what a situation I must be in it. I had no hypocrite to ensnare me and expose me; no impostor, to mislead me; no apostate, to stumble me: and, when you slave considered my former state, then compare it with your own, and you will, upon the whole, find cause enough to complain; I mean, of your wretched discontent and base ingratitude, for it is no less.

Thou hast no call, my son, to take a dog by the ears: thou hast no business with free-willmongers; children of grace are not called to these, but from them; not to union with such, but t a separation; nor to communion with them, but to come out from among them. Darkness and light, Christ and Belial, believers and infidels, are to have no fellowship or concord. Thou last forgotten the proverb that speaketh to thee as to a son; "Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge," Prov. xiv. 7. If thou canst find one of the excellent of the earth, stick to him, one confederate is enough: Abraham and Lot, Moses and Aaron, Elijah and Elisha, Joshua and Caleb, Samuel and David, Peter and John, Paul and Silas, and all the seventy, two by two, are proof of this. But so it is: Jeremiah wished for a place of wayfaring men, that he might leave his people, and go from them; and David wished to leave Gath, and dwell in the courts of the Lord's house. The former got into the dungeon; and the latter united with Ahithophel, and numbered the people, till he lost seventy thousand.

I have been longing, for these fifteen years, for a residence in a wood, being sick of such a public life; but my friend wants to live in a crowd. Thus, under the devil's cursed influence, both are discontented and ungrateful; and I believe God will punish the murmuring both of Mr. Huntington and his friend. I doubt thy heart is too much set upon a certain Hagarene near St. James's. I must say to thee, upon that matter, as Samuel said to Said: "As for the asses, set not thy mind upon them, for they are found," but it is upon their old common again; read Jer. ii. 24. R. J. has done with religion, and it is high time thou hadst done with her. Give thy mind to reading, meditation, and prayer: these are means in which God is found, consulted, and conversed with; and, when the light of his countenance is enjoyed, thy wants will be few, and thy complaints still fewer. But, if Jehovah be withdrawn, thy complaints will be numberless; nor will all terrestrial good repair the loss, or fill the vacancy, of an absent God. That thou mayest walk with him, live in the fear of him, and behave so as to bring glory to him, is the will of your heavenly Father, and the earnest desire and prayer of

Your affectionate Friend,

And willing Servant in the gospel.

W. H.

William Huntington