Epistles of Faith
William Huntington (1745-1813)TO MRS. W.
My dear Mother acts a wise part in all her epistles to me; she keeps back part of the price of the field; she supposes me to be a man of great property, and therefore lays out the lark-lines, in hope of her being able to draw something out of the immense treasure which she vainly supposes is in my possession. Hence I have nothing from her but complaints, real desires, accounts of poverty, beggary, insolvency, and the fears of bankruptcy, and of coming to want, and of dying in a workhouse; and as she is informed that "The simple believeth every word," she is in hopes of making me believe that these things are true of her, when at the same time she does not believe one word that she writes of all this herself; nor does she dare lay her hand on her heart, and appeal to God that the contents of any one of her Letters are strictly true; and how can she expect me to believe the packet of complaints, when she does not believe them herself? My mother knows many now who, in their own opinion, are very wise, and stand high in profession, with whom she would not change states; nor are you without an appetite for the bread of life, the righteousness of faith, and for the favour of God; and you know that they are blessed of God who hunger and thirst after righteousness. Besides, you do not deal honestly with me, you never inform me of any melting, humbling, meekening, and softening sensations which you are sometimes favoured with; I have no account of the self-abasing views, hopeful prospects, and encouraging expectations, with which my old mother is sometimes indulged; you send me no word about the promises which at times encourage you; you send me no account of any enlargements, or comfortable meditations; continual trouble, distress, doubts, fears, unbelief, enmity, rebellion, hardness of heart, vile thoughts, and dark despondency, are all that fall to my mother's share; she has nothing but rebukes, reproofs, contentions, confusion, blindness of mind, hardness of heart, with cross upon cross, and stripe upon stripe; this, according to my mother's account, is her constant entertainment: but I do not believe a word of all this, for God says, when they fall into trouble they shall be holpen with a little help; he will uphold them with the right hand of his righteousness; yea, when they pass through the tire he will be with them, and through the waters they shall not overflow them; and that he will speak a word in due season to them that are weary, and will dwell with the contrite soul that trembles at his word. Nevertheless, let my mother pursue her old method, let her send me nothing but the chaff, the refuse of the heap, the scum of the pot, and the dregs of the cask; but every promise, every ray of light, grain of faith, or beam of hope, let her be sure to keep these things to herself, Asses are made to bear burdens, and every thing that is bad or heavy, lay that upon him, but be sure to give him no provender.
W.H. S. S.