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DIVINE SUBJECT S.
To the Rev. MR. HUNTINGTON,
Paddington, near London, England.
DEV, AND DEAR SIR,
As I have been much comforted and informed by your writings, sent me from England a few months since, I feel a strong inclination to address and thank you; yet a sense of my deep pollution, and a certainty of your being a true child of God, creates a consciousness of such vaft disparity betwixt us, that I even tremble in the attempt.
I am a very sinful and polluted man, Sir, that has been most wondroully and mercifully preserved upon this earth near thirty years. I lost my father about the age of ten; ever since, cill within these VOL. II.
two years, I have been in bondage to Satan and to men, toffed hither and thither for the bread that perisheth; yet so wonderfully connected was the chain of providence, that were you acquainted with the whole (much as you know of God's mercies), you would be astonished at the discovery.
About two years ago I was convinced of sin, under D. H-, at the New Church, Pa ; where I tarried until this time twelve month, when I was ordered, by the Victualling Board, clerk to a victualling office they have at this place during the war. Since my arrival (which is a year this very day) I have heard no ward preached; nor is the Bible itself but rarely known, that blessed book being secured from the poor people by the cruelty of their teachers.
A few months since, it pleased God, in mercifu! providence, to send me hither Brown's Self-interpreting Bible; all Mr. John Bunyan's works, complete, in two volumes; your Dimensions of Eternal Love, Mystery of Godliness, Living Testimonies, and Light Shining in Darkness. From the whole of which, I thank my gracious God and Saviour, I find picking, and scraps of comfort, and instruction, when often at a stand; but particularly did I find comfort in Light Shining in Darkness, from page 281 to 284, as it respects a poor backslider; and instruction from Mystery of Godliness, respecting our Lord's descension into hell. Alas! alas! how often, inconsiderately and unthinkingly, have I re
peated the belief of that preposterous and horrible deceit! For what should his precious Majesty descend into hell, when all was finished on the cross ? I am convinced in my soul it is a lie. I must also observe, that there is scarce a letter in your Living Testimonies that is not in a degree descriptive of some parts of my experience. Oh, I have a rich rich treasury, a library invaluable, in all the aforesaid books! may God, of his gracious mercy, affist me in the use of them.
You say, Sir, that « sure you are none can de« stroy the works of Satan but the Son of God," and that “ the devil must be whipped by confession and “ prayer.” Amen. So you preach, and so do I heartily believe; yet there are, I am informed, those that call you an Antinomian. The good Lord, of his mercy, forgive them, and turn their hearts. I hope to send to P , by the first thip, for your Forty Stripes, &c.
Seeing, dear Sir, I am shut out of ordinances, and from conversation with the godly and experienced, will you permit me to folicit your advice. I have been, and am now, singularly exercised. When first I began to pray, about two years ago, Satan would present before my fancy, such horrid . and obscene postures of God and Christ as I dare not mention; when that a little vanished, blafphemies succeeded in my mind; when that was a little allayed, carnal temptations followed, and here (oh, tears of blood never can efface it!) here I fell !
Since that, a deeper concern, or a stirring up, beginning again to manifest itself, and a shunning heartily the world and men, he presents his horrible self, horned-black-seated in a chair before me, ready to receive my prayers when I fall upon my knees. Oh Sir, Sir, I wrestle not with Alesh and blood only (though that is rebellious enough), but with principalities and powers, and spiritual wickedness, in high places !
I am not clear, reverend and dear Sir, about my worship; far from it. I have again and again read your preface to Light in Darkness. I would with to be informed if any image must be conceived in prayer; or how the gracious Lord manifests himself to the enlightened apprehension. I am very carnal and ignorant, and beg instruction, Sir. God doth know I write simply for instruction; nor is there a soul on earth privy to this proceeding.
A man (who, I am sure, prays not at all) speaking, the other day, of catholic images which abound here, says unto rne, Why, you must conceive fomething when you pray. I felt force in the appeal, but could not answer it, and the thought works upon
Permit me farther to inquire, Sir, respecting the facrament. Should I receive it from a dead Protestant church here, who know not God? or should I refrain ? I have not hitherto, and have been but a few tires to church, their mangling of the things of God doch so offend me.