Epistles of Faith
William Huntington (1745-1813)
TO THE REV. MR. HUNTINGTON.
ACCEPT these few lines from a stranger to your person, but not a stranger to sonic of your writings; such as, your "Kingdom of Heaven taken by Prayer," "Bank of Faith," "Arminian Skeleton," and "The Rule and the Riddle." And I love them all very much, because you prove them from the scriptures of truth. Yet, you seem to be of a different opinion from some divine writers upon one particular matter relating to regeneration, which is the principal occasion of my writing to you. You seem to think that ho person can be brought into the light of the gospel from a state of sin and wretchedness, but by severe convictions, or a terrible law-work upon their consciences: but some divine writers say, that God often draws sinners by the cords of love, which is the state of your sincere supplicant at this time, or the devil, with his sophistical train, is deceiving him. But I will give you a description of my state; and your opinion, in answer to this, how my soul stands with God, will be gratefully accepted.
I am an inhabitant of Trowbridge, in Wiltshire; have sat constantly under the word for about eleven months; and, the first time I ever heard it preached, the subject was election, which I did not like, as I conceived the scriptures set forth no such things; but I thought I would examine them strictly, which I had never done before, and see if I could End such a doctrine. Accordingly, I perused the New Testament attentively, and found it to be a truth revealed in several places, and particularly in the ninth chapter of the Romans and the first chapter of the Ephesians. And, from that time, I went to hear the word constantly, and found the scriptures opened to me more than ever they had been before, having always sat under a blind guide before that time, and thought then that I knew all things pertaining to salvation; and was endeavouring to work it out, never considering that it must. be God that worketh in us both to will and to do of his own good pleasure. But now I find I can do nothing at all, and am rather doubtful, sometimes, whether God will do anything for me or not; but this I know, that I must either be saved by the faith of Jesus Christ, wrought in my soul by the Holy Ghost, or I shall never be saved at all. At present I do not find the condemning power of the law in my conscience, as you speak of; nor any divine operations of God's Spirit on my heart, as I hear many speak of; and still I love his children and his ways, and would rather be one of his adopted family in Christ Jesus than be possessed of all the riches of the world; and I pray to God day and night, and that with a sincere heart, that I may know myself more and more every day; that I may know the truth as it is in Christ Jesus: and that I may come to the knowledge of salvation, either in your hard, experienced ways, or in any other way agreeably to God's will. And still I cannot find much alteration in my heart, and whether I have begun in the Spirit, or the Spirit hath begun with me, I cannot tell; but God grant it may be the latter. Your answer to this would be gratefully accepted byYour humble and sincere supplicant,
P. S. If you please, direct for T. J., Trowbridge, Wilts.
Is not your riddle The carnality of a Christian?William Huntington