Epistles of Faith
William Huntington (1745-1813)TO MR. B.
Beloved in the Lord,
Yours came to hand, and I was almost ready to say, "It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive; I will go and see him before I die." I Am seeking a city which hath foundations, whose maker and builder is God; this heavenly Jerusalem is God's covenant, typified by Sarah, and God's elect in it, called, "Sought out, a city not forsaken" This city has three gates, and no more; and these three being opened towards all the four points make twelve. There is no gate but the middle person, the Mediator; and in this city there are three things to be coveted and to be enjoyed: First, the tree of life, a life of grace and of glory. Secondly, righteousness; the holy city, the Lamb's wife was clothed in white linen, clean and white, which is the righteousness of the saints. Thirdly, liberty; the heavenly Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all; we are children, not of the bond-woman, but of the free.
Now for the gates: the first gate leads to life, "Strait is the gate that leads to life," saith the Lord; and he is the life. Secondly, "Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter;" he is made of God unto us, righteousness. Thirdly, liberty or freedom; " Receive the truth, and the truth shall make you free." "I am the truth." "Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in," Isaiah xxvi. 2. "Go through, go through the gates; cast up, cast up the highway, lift up a standard for the people." "Thou shalt call thy walls salvation, and thy gates praise." The self-condemned soul that passes by faith through these gates, from death to life, praises God; be enters this gate with thanksgiving, and enters this court with praise; and the soul that knows he is under the sentence of the law, when be passes from the curse to the blessing, from condemnation to justification, he calls an imputed righteousness a garment of praise, when a spirit of heaviness or bondage is put off; and he that receives the truth, in the love of it, feels his fears cast out, and glorious liberty brought in; this is the completing and crowning work; "This people have I formed for myself, they shall shew forth my praise." At all these gates Wisdom cries; at the gate of life, she says, "Strive to enter in at the strait [the most difficult] gate;" at the gate of righteousness, she says, "Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates;" at the gate of truth, she says, "Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation may enter in." "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city;" not the commands of the law, for if these workers be heirs, faith is made void, and the promises are of none effect. The first command is faith; this is God's will and command, that we believe on his Son; and lie that believes hath Christ the tree of life in him, for be dwells in the heart by faith. Justification is unto life, and there is life at the entrance of this gate. Truth is the word of life, the word that stands for ever, and that will be settled in heaven; "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick, but when the desire cometh it is a tree of life." This is God's mystery among the Gentiles, which is, Christ in us, the hope of glory. Thus we carry the tree of life, the white robes of an imputed righteousness, and the liberty of the gospel, which is charity, out of the world with us.
W.H. S. S.