To the Rev. Mr. HUNTINGTON.
MY DEAR SIR,
YOUR last favour has been duly received; and it both refreshed and strengthened my heart, and encouraged me for some time to hope and quietly wait. I thought I could bless your feet as they arrived: but my patience is now almost gone. I have but little strength, and I am much afraid I shall one day fall and perish. What you have predicted of me is very unlikely ever to come to pass. To be saved, yet so as by fire, would be such a distinguishing mercy to me, that my soul would never cease to praise the Lord for it. But, as for shining in the ministry, (though I wish to covet that best gift of love) is, I think, very improbable; for, of all the unconverted preachers that now stand in a state of profession, and there are oceans of them, not one half are so vile as I am in my own eyes, nor do I believe that there has been one so abominably deluded by the devil: and, when I consider my abilities, I can see no prospect, for I never was a man of understanding, nor do I know that any of my family or relations ever excelled in any thing save wickedness.
I have been dreadfully harassed for a week back, both by men and devils. I am led into some strange latitude or other. The light and the liberty I had to speak begin to go off; and I am straitened and sadly cast down in my mind. It is clear to me that I must go yet deeper than ever I have been, before my soul is brought into liberty. But, if I am left in darkness and confusion in the pulpit, what will become of me? I shall be condemned from my own mouth; and my enemies will rejoice and exult, for they have predicted that I should not hold out long, and have even confessed they wished to see it, and hoped that I was in a delusion; for, if I was right, they knew themselves were wrong, and would perish for ever, And now, if I am shut up again and confused in my mind, so as not to be able to clear the truth, for I have neither judgment, memory, nor scripture, at my command in these days, what will they say? and what will become of' those who have appeared to be under some convictions? Will they not be hardened through my shackles? I am afraid I must run away and leave them all. I think verily that all things together will drive me out of my senses.
Preachers oppose me, condemn me, and reprobate me, as a man that is bewitched. Mr. Gilbert, of Heathfield, has told me to my face that I am a false prophet. I was lately called to preach among some of his people: he met me, and opposed me before thirty or forty of them as soon as I had finished my discourse. However, I never gave him an inch of ground, nor did I give place to what he said, no not for a moment; for I was sure that what I had said was truth. But how long must I, without strength, encounter with such wild bulls of Bashan? and, would you believe it? old master B. has been here, and has been over several times to strengthen the hands that hang down, and to oppose me. This has discouraged me more than any thing, as I always had a favourable opinion of him; but, as sure as I am alive, he is no further than the letter.
However he has not been in deep waters; he does not know, nor can he describe, a gospel hypocrite. He has tried to argue the point with me; but all that he could say was, that I distressed Little Faith. I told him he could not bring one of that family, but what would declare for my preaching, even though they might be distressed by it. He told me I did not preach like you; and I answered, 'That I believed, if you was where I am, you would preach like me; and that if I was where you are, that is in your state, I should preach something like you.' I paid a respect to his grey hairs, and considered myself only a stripling. But, on reading the 'Innocent Game' that afternoon, I thought I ought not to have spared him on account of his locks. They prate against me with malicious words; and, in my rebellion, I have told the Almighty that I will speak no more in his name, if he does not set my soul at liberty. I hope he will forgive me, and consider that I am but dust. May heaven bless you, is the sincere and earnest prayer of,
Your most affectionate friend,