Epistles of Faith

Letter LXI

William Huntington (1745-1813)


Dear Friend,

By particular desire I take up my pen, though in a very unfit state, being weak in body, and dark, barren, and lifeless in soul, but hope it will not be so long; for we are told that, "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." I have been till within this last month kept nearer to the Lord, and have had greater liberty with him in prayer than I ever had before, which makes me more sensibly feel my deadness; but I believe I shall soon be delivered from it. Hope, ere this, the Doctor is recovered of the illness you mentioned in your last; not only for the good of God's church and people, but to expose those heretics that write or preach against so faithful and valuable a servant of the Lord as he is, of which we have had a recent witness in our own family. It is by the desire of my sister Gardner, of Bodicott, that I now write to inform you of the dealings of God with her soul, thinking you might some time or other communicate the same to Mr. Huntington. Had it been in her power, she would have immediately sent him the whole account herself; but she says, that words cannot express the unutterable love she feels towards him. She bas for many years been a sincere seeker of the Lord Jesus Christ, and almost as long an admirer of Mr. H. and a constant reader of his works; and very great establishment she has derived from them, which she has often told me, and declared, that, if that dear man of God (meaning Mr. H.) was right, so was she.

I was at Bodicott about a month before Christmas, when she appeared in great distress of soul, and complained that 'her temptations were very great, and of a different kind to any that she had ever experienced before For," continued she, "I always from a child had very high and exalted thoughts of the Saviour; but now they are so mean, so base, and so blasphemous, as to make make my blood rankle in my veins." And she wept like a child; it grieved me to the very soul to see her in such a state.

At Christmas I saw her again, when she appeared more composed, as the temptation, though not removed, was much weakened, from the effects of a Letter Mr. H. had sent to a Mr. Cort of Leicester, where he is speaking of the agreement or bargain of the sinner, under his first conviction, with the Lord, and how Christ makes and takes them at their word. She derived much comfort from it, and it was the constant language of her heart, for a tong time, that this was true; and she seemed very impatient to see a hook entitled, "The Heavenly Workfolks," saying she did not want any other entertainment during the Christmas than the reading of that book, having a firm persuasion in her own mind that, if she could get a sight of it, she should be set at liberty; in which, blessed be God, she was not disappointed. When I visited Banbury, finding the book was published, I took the earliest opportunity of sending it to her. On the Sabbath before I received your Letter, I was with her again, when she gave me such a sweet account of her deliverance as it is not in my power to describe. In reading the latter part of the book, her temptations, distress of mind, hard thoughts of God, and fears of death and damnation, all fled, and such love, joy, and liberty, flowed in as no tongue can express, and such as she never expected to enjoy till within a few hours of death; and which, though so long ago, still continue with her. She said to me, "Were I to die this moment, I have no more doubt of my safe arrival in glory than if I was already there." I saw her again the last Lord's day, when she told me that her joys were not so great, but her assurance was still the same; though Satan suggests to her that it is all a delusion, and that if Mr. H. was to see her he would call her a hypocrite; but, finding this to have no effect, he tried to persuade her that she was an idolater, and that she worshipped the Doctor instead of God: this, however, had no more weight with her than the former, as she knew from what quarter it came, and that the penny was still the same. She longs much to see and converse with Mr. H., for she says, "It is impossible for him to have one natural or spiritual child on earth that has a greater affection for him than herself." I was also much benefited in reading the same book. Oh, my dear friend, how highly are you favoured in sitting under so sound and experimental a minister! I should look upon it, next to the salvation of my soul, as the greatest blessing I could enjoy.

Please to give our love and respects to Mr. B. and all friends, and accept the same yourself. I hope you are all well, and that your sister is recovered from her late confinement. I should be happy to see any of you whenever convenient.

Believe me to be

Your sincere Friend.

A. H.

Clattercott, March 21st, 1810.

William Huntington