To the Rev. Mr. HUNTINGTON:
DEARLY BELOVED AND EVER HONOURED FATHER IN THE LORD;
FOR so, I believe, I must call you henceforth; as I trust the Lord, by your instrumentality, has begotten me to a lively hope; and, though it amounts not to an assurance, yet it wonderfully supports my soul in her conflicts with unbelief and the powers of darkness. Having discovered, under your ministry, that the blessed Spirit has begun the work of faith in my heart, gives rise to a strong confidence, at times, that he will go on with it to the day of Jesus Christ. But still I feel such bondage and darkness that exceedingly tries me; and, when I have had a hard and dark season, I am ready to give all up; that I will neither preach nor wait any longer: and yet I cannot but hope somehow, and at seasons feel comfort and joy rising up in my soul for what the Lord has done for me, and for what I have in expectation. But, after all, I remain in bondage, and bowed clown under fear and doubts; the Bible shut up, and so blind and ignorant that I can see nothing; and never, I think, did I see and feel so much of it.
I am led, somehow, from preaching so much of the law and the terrors of it as I used to do, that I can speak of nothing but about faith and hope; and am at a loss too to get at these from the scriptures, so as clearly to describe them. My heart and the Bible are still mysteries to me, and I know not when I shall be able to understand them. But, after all, it astonishes me, more than any thing, that the ever-blessed Lord has condescended to look to, and work upon, such a filthy brute; that he brought me from such an awful state of sin and darkness; kept me from going down to the pit, when I was so much like those that go there: that he hath delivered me from the dreadful terrors of a guilty conscience, and an accusing law, and awful blasphemies against his holy name, by bringing me to hope in his word; which I trust, he will fulfil in his good and appointed time. And I hope you will never cease praying that the Lord would make me feel the power of his divine love; for I think, if this was the case, I should never cease praising his name while I have breath, for my debt is immense.
The friends at Lewes salute you most affectionately, and wish, above all things to see you again. Their hearts have been refreshed, and we have all been strengthened. They have been confirmed that I was right, and that my preaching was not in vain; and I am confirmed that the Lord works on many. I could not depend on my own judgment, nor could they, perhaps, so much as on yours. I can see some begin to look out of obscurity, others strengthened in hope; some sinking deeper; and the mouths of many of our adversaries stopt in a great measure.
Many of those who had left me begin to drop back. Mrs. S. sends her grateful remembrance to you. She received light to see the work on her heart, and begins to creep out of her hole. She had been in a profession for a number of years: and, when I began to preach the state of man in sin, and the bondage of the law, she could follow me, having been in great legal distress formerly; but, when I was led to cut at false evidences and carnal hopes, down she came, and has been above a year now pretty sharply exercised. But you described the work, and she saw it, and now talks confidently; and I can see now the work is real. My poor friend, whom I mentioned was brought into liberty, desires her best love to you. She heard you at Ninfield, and could see eye to eye with you. She wished, above all things, she could speak one quarter of an hour with you; but your hurry would not then admit of it. She is one of my strongest testimonies. She declares that it is the same spirit. Gilbert may curse her, but he cannot come nigh her. She stands on mount Zion, which is never to be moved. She told her experience to a neighbouring woman, which sunk so deep as to 'bring her into bondage, and there she is nursing her. I trust we begin to increase and multiply. The Lord bless you, prays
Your affectionate son,