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EPISTLES OF FAITH.
To the Rev. Mr. HUNTINGTON.
HONOURED AND DEAR PASTOR,
Being desired, not long since, to hear a man preach who is deemed by many to be a gospel minister, an opportunity soon offered, and I attended him: but his discourse was not at all to my edification or comfort; it was untempered morter, unfit for building up a spiritual house, and which never can cement one living stone to the chief corner. His doctrines were only the commandments of men. In short, his going's were to and fro in the earth, while I found no rest for the sole of my foot. What his name is, matters not. I suppose you will say, It is Legion,
, for many such there are, transforming themselves as ministers of righteousness, whom the apostle calls ministers of Satan, whose end is destruction. However, after service, I was asked, in the usual
way, 'Well, how did you like him?' I answered, 'Not at all,' speaking my mind freely concerning him and his fruitless toil, for he knew not how to go to the city. Which gave great offence; for they replied, that I had neither heard the discourse, nor answered them, with that candour which becomes a Christian. "Judge not," said they, "that ye be not judged." This rebuke, in words which the Lord himself spake, has caused Satan to buffet me not a little; and I have been tossed up and down ever since. But herein I am not alone: others also are exercised in the same way; because, like me, they do not understand the Saviour's meaning.
Forasmuch, then, as God hath furnished thee with an excellent spirit for shewing hard sentences and dissolving doubts, let me intreat thee to consider diligently these words, and shewus plainly what Jesus means in this his admonition; and in what sense they may, or may not, be applicable to such a case as I have mentioned; for I am persuaded that there are numbers who bring this scripture, and use it for no other purpose but to silence any one who contends for the faith of God's elect, and so leave room for hypocrites and deceitful workers to go on unmolested.
If our heavenly Father, of his own good pleasurè, should give thee a word to speak in season to guide the meek in judgment, and teach them his way to the kingdom, it will be a comfort to
one in the path of much tribulation, and may serve to put to shame and confusion the enemies of truth who hate and persecute my soul.
Thine in the faith and love of Jesus Christ,
July 10, 1790.
A POOR DISCIPLE.
Mr. HUNTINGTON's Answer.
Am not fond of offering my thoughts, in a public pulpit, upon every text of scripture that is sent to me. I am in no sense master of the scriptures. I can neither seal nor unseal God's book. Christ is the storehouse, and the Holy Ghost is the key; but I can neither bring treasure from the one, nor command the other: they do their own pleasure, and act in a sovereign way. The words of the wise are as nails, which are given forth from one shepherd; and, if any good is done, they are fastened by the master of assemblies. To him I am commanded to look for help, and a supply for the pulpit, who hath promised a