Epistles of Faith
William Huntington (1745-1813)TO THE REV. MR. HUNTINGTON.
KNOWING that the Lord hath made you instrumental in establishing and refreshing the bowels of his saints, and has given you good understanding in the scriptures of truth; I have taken upon me to write to you, to beg your thoughts on Heb. vi. 4-6. The words are these: "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come; if they shall fall away, to renew them again to repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." Pray send me word flow far, and in what manner, a person maybe enlightened; In what sense he may taste the heavenly gift; and in what sense he may be partaker of the Holy Ghost, and taste the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come; and yet fall away, so as never to be renewed again to repentance.
I know a person who says, that the word if, implies, that it is impossible for any one to be a partaker of the above-mentioned privileges, and yet fall away, and perish for ever; but that assertion does not give me, nor several more who are desirous of knowing, satisfaction.
I rather think it is something similar to Luke viii. 13, "They on the rock are they, which when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away." Pray, explain to me the difference between the joy of the elect, and the joy of apostates, which is false joy; and the difference of their faith, for it is said they for a while believe; and how true faith operates on the elect, in distinction from false faith on hypocrites: for I want to know which of these I belong to; for I believe the end of the one to be glorious, and the end of the other to be miserable beyond conception; and so I think every one will find it that dies in such a state.
I have seen your writings, though I never heard you preach: and I find the Lord uses you as an instrument in his hand of bringing many to the knowledge of the truth, and of building up others already called; and I hope he will continue your usefulness. I assure you, sir, that I ask not this favour to gratify a vain curiosity; for there are several, as well as myself, who desire to know whether their experience be genuine or not. And, if you should think proper to send your thoughts upon the above mentioned passage, may the Lord be with you, and guide your thoughts and pen, and bless it to the comfort of our souls, that we may find it a word in due season. This is the desire and prayer of
Your willing Servant to obey,
GEORGE CHAPMAN.Lingfield, June 30, 1790