To the Rev. Mr. HUNTINGTON.
I NEED not tell my very good friend how thankful I feel for the attention he pays me. If I belong to the Lord you will be rewarded, and, if not, your labour of love will not be lost. I know not whether I may call any a father; but, if I am a child, even in the place of the breaking forth of children, Hos. xiii. 13, you have been the instrument, under God, to raise my soul to her present hope; and I am sure, if there is a man in England that can be of any future use to me, it must be you: for one among a thousand I have not found that could come within miles of my case; and I cannot help thinking but that this was shewn me in a dream, some time ago, what I have since seen come to pass. When I stood on a stage ready to be executed, and numbers cried out, Hang him, hang him, hang him,' one man in the multitude called to me, saying, Submit to the king, and you shall be delivered.' I turned round and saw the king in a gallery over against the stage, and, making a low bow to him, said that owned him for my sovereign;' upon which I escaped. But this blessed sight I have not yet beheld.
None but yourself ever told me that it was the king that had arraigned, tried, cast, and condemned me; and that I was to submit to him, putting my mouth in the dust, and waiting in hope. Many told me to believe, and that I was under a temptation of the devil; and I strove long to get rid of it, and arrive at my old comforts. If you had been with me for weeks that are past, you could not have described my case and feelings more exactly than you have done. I am at a point, I believe, as to truth, but not as to my interest in it yet; and, let T. Priestley say what he may about his evidences, I can never see myself a christian in his glass. I know there is a vast difference between what I am now, and what I was, and between me and the world. I will, wish, desire, and crave; but what of that? I am sure, " It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth;" and, if I am not made what I am not at present, I am lost for ever.
I believe in my heart that you are a prophet of God; but am much afraid whether your hope respecting me will ever come to pass. I stand in doubt of myself, that after I have preached to others I myself may be a cast-away. Heavy anxieties, and doubtful disputations, still abide on my mind, whether the marriage will ever take place. To miss this, I think, would be worse than a thousand hells: and, though I do not feel so much of the terrors of the Lord, and the pains of hell, as I have in time past, yet I know, if sovereign love does not reach and deliver me, that there I must go. I am buffeted by Satan, and plagued with the corruptions of my heart. I sometimes think that I am full of devils, and that I shall never be dispossessed of them; and yet, through all this confusion, I am somehow wonderfully supported to preach; and, though I do not find the same liberty always given me, yet I have not been left once so as to expose myself, or the cause I endeavour to maintain. I believe the Lord bears strong witness to what I say in the consciences of all that hear me, and the confession almost every where is, that, if I preach the truth, and they cannot deny nor disprove it, they have known nothing yet of religion. I believe many have hard work with conscience; and I know that some have been necessitated to have recourse to the glass before they come to chapel; others declare they must come no longer, for all their hopes and comforts are taken away. Yet they come, and several attend from many parts of the country. Doors are opened in the neighbourhood, and there is something in me that Wants to be at them continually: and, though I know not generally what to say before I begin, yet I have no rest. Sometimes I am afraid it is pride and self-will that carry me, and I come home mourning. Indeed I have often tried to be at charges with them. Natural compassion works, and I have wished to speak comfortably to them, and build them up a little: but I have felt such power then on my spirit, and such a contest in my mind, that I did not know what it was till you hinted it; and, as soon as I begin to open my mouth, I am carried away, and forget every thing but tearing clown their false hope and comforts; and I have seen some of their countenances turn so black, that the devil often suggests that I shall drive them to suicide.
I am bespattered worse than any pickpocket. Some say that I am mad; others that I am presumptuous; some that I preach myself; and others that I shall never hold out, but shall soon come round again; and this is what I fear most of all. Some preachers scruple not to call it a damnable doctrine. I believe some of their fabrics totter, for they rage cruelly. There are many, I believe, shaken in their conscience; but I can find but few yet, who, as far as I can judge, are near the Rock. There are some, I believe, where I am myself; and I cannot bring them forward till I am brought out. All I endeavour to do is to keep the wound open. Brighton chapel is shut against me, and many of my friends turned my enemies; but I care for none of these things. Farewell, my dear Sir. I intend to come to town as soon as the days get a little longer, and the weather finer. I shall go through Kent, and leave Mr. S. at L. Heaven bless you, while I remain,