Epistles of Faith
William Huntington (1745-1813)TO MR. A.
Lumea, Oct. 15, 1810.Dear Christian Friend,
AFTER a long and fatiguing campaign, I have somewhat to write to my friend. I can rejoice in saying, hitherto the Lord has helped me. I can assure you that it is a something more than men in general build on, that will support the soul in a trying hour: true and vital religion is an internal principle, wrought by the Spirit of God in the heart of man; and no less than Almighty power can keep alive, or purify the affections of the soul. This is the place that would try many a blazing professor, for nothing short of a real possession can ever withstand the blast of the terrible ones that beat against the wall. I am now surrounded with many, and mighty enemies; there are awful fightings without, and God-dishonouring fears within. I must acknowledge that I find sinful unbelief the worst enemy I have to grapple with, yet I can say, blessed be God, that if ever I knew the comforts of the Holy Ghost it is truly since I have been in this country; yet I have not learned that sweet lesson which Paul speaks of: I know what it is to abound, and be in great straits, but I cannot say that I have learned therewith to be content. I stand greatly in need of the sweet graces of faith, patience, love, and resignation to my blessed God and Saviour's will. I find by painful experience that Satan goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour; and when he finds the pool trembling child of God enjoying his dear God as a sanctuary to his soul, he will use all the artillery of bell to disquiet him. My friend, I know these things by painful experience, yet I trust through the tender compassion of my good God, to come off more than conqueror; yea, I trust to enjoy the gospel of Christ in the land of my nativity. I do believe that the Lord will turn my captivity as the streams in the south; then shall I rejoice in telling my dear friends what the Lord has done for my soul.
All the army has retired near Lisbon, and we are daily in expectation of fighting the decisive battle; I believe there are more than three hundred thousand souls drawn up for that purpose. There has been many severe battles, but the great battle is yet to be fought; it will be an awful day; but if my good God is pleased to spare my life to see your face again in peace, I trust love and gratitude will be given me to praise his dear name. It is the most awful scene I ever witnessed, to see thousands of inhabitants flying from their houses, leaving a great part of their property to the mercy of a cruel army. I have often thought what Jeremiah says, or rather the Lord by him; "Shall I not visit for these things? and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?" The people here are the most bigotted idolaters I ever saw, and the most treacherous and unjust in their dealings.
I heard of dear Mr. Huntington's chapel being burnt down, which was I believe an interpretation of a dream I had since I came into this country, which I will relate to my dear friend when I return. I hope God will give Mr. H. another chapel on earth, to declare the truth, and when he has done what the Lord hath appointed for him, give him an eternal inheritance with all his dear children in glory. I am well aware that all the children of God have their various trials, yet you are at home enjoying the gospel, sabbath by Sabbath; be thankful, for many a dear child of God is scattered up and down, having no place to fly to hear the word, or hardly to read the Bible if they have one: I myself am cut off from all the means of grace, yet, blessed be my indulgent God, I find him faithful to his promise in being a sanctuary to his people. Give my best love to all Christian friends at Richmond, and to Mr. R??, at B??, when you see him; and when it is well with you remember a poor soldier, who remains,
Yours in the best bonds,
WM. WILLDENDirect to me,
Trumpet Major, 13th Light Dragoons,
General Hill's Division, Portugal.