Epistles of Faith

Letter XLV

William Huntington (1745-1813)


THE troubler of Israel is coming once more to inquire after the welfare of my poor old mother, hoping in the Lord that she is well, and though faint, yet pursuing. One thing is promised to us, even when under the greatest discouragements, and that is, a renewal of our strength in waiting upon him, so that we cannot, we dare not, give up or give out; for "He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might he increaseth strength; and by this increase of power he keeps us from despair, and makes us trust in his all-sufficient power, and hope, and expect, and seek for his great salvation. He keeps us feeling after him, Acts xvii. 27, both, in our mind, and in our conscience where he doth work; and even in his providence, and on his throne, as he is in Christ reconciled to us: in all these ways my mother feels after him, every day and all day long; and this is what the Psalmist means when he says, "My spirit made diligent search; will the Lord cast off for ever?" &c. And this is what Paul means by feeling after him, for he is not far from every one of us; and is expressly said to be near to them that are of a broken heart, and to save such as be of a contrite spirit; and a broken heart is one made sorrowful and sad by sin, and a contrite spirit is one made sore and tender by reproofs, rebukes, and reproaches of conscience, and a sense of God's anger. And such souls God promises to dwell with, in order to revive them; for when he is pleased to search us and try us, convict, and to chasten us, our knowledge, our strength, wisdom, profession, false confidence, and legal hopes, self-sufficiency and worldly spirit, this crop withers, fades, and fails us, and down we go, having no props, no supporters; but when God revives us, light, knowledge, wisdom, life, hope, and help from above raise us up again; when repentance and godly sorrow operate, and we are enabled to trust in the Son of God alone for life and salvation; at which time a better crop springs up, which is called reviving the heart of the contrite ones. Under terrors carnal security gives way to convictions, self-righteousness gives way to the condemning power of the law when that enters, false faith yields to faith in the justice of God, and false peace falls before the alarms of Sinai; "By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation;" and this is trying work to poor, sensible sinners: but believe me when I say that there are no rods, no scourges, no chastisements, in all this school of Christ, that are to be compared, or even mentioned, with the many stripes inflicted on the wicked in the world to come. Be patient, my dear mother, and shew the same diligence, and full assurance of hope even to the end, for in due time we shall reap if we faint not; and God declares, it is good in his sight that a man should wait, and quietly hope, for the salvation of God; and, "He that believeth shall not make haste," but shall move as God moves him; and if they hasten, or others drive them, they go all that ground over again. God bless thee.

W.H. S. S.

William Huntington