Epistles of Faith
William Huntington (1745-1813)TO MR. HUNTINGTON.
THE Lord having graciously restored you, and for his body', sake continued you among us for our comfort and establishment, permit me to offer my grateful acknowledgments and unfeigned thanks for your past and present labours in the work of the Lord. I have at times, under the sweet and powerful presence of the blessed Spirit of promise applying his own truth with life and power to my heart under your ministry, much longed to see you; oftentimes my very soul has hung upon the finishing sentence, as it fell from your lips, and have gone away with unutterable peace in my soul. I desire to return thanksgivings to the Lord, the Spirit, for ever bringing my longing soul to the experimental knowledge of Jesus Christ crucified, by your instrumentality, after having sought him under a legal, straitened ministry of the Letter for a number of years, bound in hard bondage, and tied down to the doctrines and commandments of men until brought to soul beggary, and starving for the bread of life; I would fairs have satisfied my craving conscience with the natural religion and ministry I was under, but could not, for my longing soul was quickened to hunger after a better righteousness than I could find in a form of godliness without the power. I ran from place to place, to find a minister that spoke of the precious blood of Jesus Christ, but was prejudiced against you by the reports of ungodly men, so that I was afraid to come near you; but after being wearied out with hard bondage, and stripped of every thing in this world that I had delighted in, my heart made soft, and my legal proud spirit broken, by a long train of family and personal afflictions, the Lord was pleased to bring my soul out of prison by your ministry, and reveal Jesus the bread of eternal life to my longing soul, which effectually satisfied my craving conscience. It is now four years ago, and the Lord has many times since sweetly refreshed, nourished, strengthened, and instructed me under you. During your last illness, I have been much afraid the Lord was about to remove you from us, but I hope the prayers of Israel have prevailed with God to lengthen out your valuable life, as popish darkness and natural religion are spreading our land from end to end. Last Sunday my very heart glowed with love to you when I saw you come into the pulpit; and though during the whole of the week I had not enjoyed the comfortable presence of the Lord, yet as soon as you began in prayer my spirit broke into tenderness and meekness, and my whole soul was overpowered with a feeling sense of God's unmerited love to my soul, which sunk me into nothing before him. I felt a voice in my sensations as plain as I heard you speak, that this gracious visit was an answer to my prayers for your being restored, now returned sevenfold into my bosom. Last Sunday was a good day for me; the Lord did so sweetly lead you to speak of our light breaking forth as the morning, and our health springing forth speedily, of our righteousness going before us, and the glory of the Lord being our rereward, that I felt an unctuous light cast on all the path the Lord had led me in bondage and liberty. The Lord the Spirit bless you in your soul more and more, and continue to make you a blessing to his heritage; strengthen you in your body, and give you to us for years to come, if it be his sovereign will. I have been at times of late much indulged with communion and fellowship with that blessed Spirit of promise, in his gracious operations and work in my heart, and this makes my soul love him and adore him equally with the Father and his dear Son; and the sweet instruction and divine consolations he has sealed on my heart, and comforted my soul with, makes me at a point in his eternal power and godhead, which is what I have been sorely tried with in times past. I hope you will not be offended with the liberty I have taken in addressing a Letter to you, being a stranger in one sense, though I do humbly hope not in another; and I subscribe myself
Your affectionate well-wisher
In the best of bonds,