Epistles of Faith
William Huntington (1745-1813)TO O. W.Decor
As I have two or three thousand hearers and correspondents, it cannot be expected that I can be at the beck and call of every one. Visiting receiving visitors, and answering Letters would more than take up all my time, without either reading, studying, or preaching. You know God is faithful to his word. If his children sin against him, he will visit their sins with the rod. If they backslide, they shall be filled with their own ways. If they sin through all the barriers of filial fear, and sin away their spiritual strength, the wise man says, they shall have no rule over their own spirit, but be like a city that is broken, down, and without walls. By whom, or by what, a man is overcome, by the same is lie brought into bondage. And it is but meet that he should feel the yoke of his own transgressions, and for a time be holden with the cords of his own sin, that he may be sick of his own ways, being filled by his own devices. A little of thy present exercise will serve to imbitter the works of darkness, to fill the vicious appetite with self-loathing, to cover thy face with shame and confusion, to make thy conscience sore, thy heart tender of God, and thy spirit more meek. I have no doubt but the Lord will heal thee in his own time; but my desire is that thou mayest be tried, and then thy deliverance will be more thankfully received; delivering mercy will leave the deeper impression, and a sense of undeserved love will leave a more lasting obligation on thy weak and unstable heart. God has got more ways to keep us from evil than one. If constraining mercy will not allure, an army of terrors shall deter. If we sin away our liberty, he will lay us in irons. If we are not taught by the voice of love, we shall be instructed by a strong hand. If we will be nibbling at the devil's baits in a day of prosperity, we shall be given up to the buffetings of Satan, that we may be kept from performing his works in a day of adversity. If Paul is in danger of being lifted lip into the pride of the devil, the fiery darts of the devil shall keep him humble. I think God has shut thy soul up in prison, that thou mayest be kept from evil, and not be suffered to bring a reproach upon him. When a man is laid by the heels, his feet cannot be running to mischief.
I have prayed for thee, and shall, if God permit, continue so to do; but still my desire is, that thou mayest be tried. Nor shall I pray for thy present deliverance, but for humbling grace, godly sorrow, &c. for, as thou art not fit to be trusted abroad, I think thou art much more safe in the house of correction. A man had better be employed in beating hemp than in picking of pockets. The former procures him a bit of bread, the latter a halter. The staff of life is better than a shameful death. I come to you with a rod, and yon justly deserve it. Kiss the rod, and submit to him that appointed it, and all shall be well.
While I remain,
Yours in the service of Christ,
But not of folly,