Epistles of Faith
William Huntington (1745-1813)TO MRS. M.To Mary, my own brat in the Faith,
GRACE, mercy, and peace be with M. and with poor C. my fellow travellers and fellow labourers. I am this morning somewhat cheerful in my soul, and therefore must trouble my dear friends with some of the overflowings; "The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters, and the well-spring of wisdom as a flowing brook." Wisdom's voice, and wisdom's words, are to the sons of men; she speaks a word in due season to them that are weary; her words uphold those that are falling; she speaks to those that are dead, and they hear her voice and live; the word quickens them, and that word feeds the life that is given to them. Wisdom speaks in righteousness as mighty to save; this brings hope, and hope brings salvation Wisdom speaks peace to the heathen; and these are her different voices, which Christ's sheep hear and follow; but a stranger they will not follow: Why? because they know not the voice of strangers. There is no suitableness, no support, no life, no salvation or peace in all they say; and therefore they will not, cannot, dare not follow them. The sleepy devil I find still haunts thee; but this is a full proof that he has lost the fort-royal of the heart, and all his armour wherein he trusted. His armour is, first, unbelief; secondly, carnal enmity against God; thirdly, blindness of mind; fourthly, hardness of heart; fifthly. ignorance of God; sixthly, carnal security or false peace, with these he keeps possession of the palace and his goods in peace. Faith conquers unbelief, and continually wars against it; the love, mercy, and kindness of God in Christ wars with enmity, reconciles the mind, and leads it to favour God, and his cause of truth; light works against darkness, rends the veil, and lays the sinful heart and the suitable Saviour open to view; mercy moving on the heart melts and softens it, the bowels move, and yearn, and sound towards a kind and suffering Saviour, at which a godly sorrow, meekness, and contrition flow out, this removes the stony heart; the fife, energy, and struggles of life war with false peace; while doubts and fears keep the soul in continual motion. By these, Mary may see what that is which is born of the Spirit, and that which is born of the flesh. The worst enemies the devil has in the heart of a saint are light, life, and love; when the light breaks in, if Satan cannot keep it out, he will baffle, confound, and confuse the mind until the soul cannot make a judgment either of what it sees, hear, or feels. When life quickens the soul, he will send an hundred plasterers and daubers to heal this hurt slightly, crying, peace, peace, when there is no peace; but when love flows in he is obliged to decamp; it brings his former state of felicity so fresh to his mind, as to fill him with rage, jealousy, revenge, and desperation; nothing drives him like the fire of love, and the joy of it: this fire, and the flame of it, is too much for Satan himself; he never could maintain his standing against it; and for the sake of a little respite, and a little delusive ease, like the old cobbler, he packs up his awls and is gone. But as sure as these times of love abate, so sure does he return with treble rage; and he spreads his own infernal malice, jealousy, and bitterness through all his soul, and makes us call even the truth of the visit itself in question. "And if it be not so now, who will make me a liar, and make my speech nothing worth?" God bless you all I go prays,
W.H. S. S.