A Letter To John Grace – February 1st, 1855
My dear friend, John Grace,
I am exceedingly obliged to you for your kind present of the fourth volume of the invaluable “Posthumous Letters of William Huntington”, and for your friendly and affectionate letter. I have been reading some of his most sweet and savoury epistles this morning, and find them instructive, edifying, and profitable. They contain the cream and marrow of vital godliness, and real, genuine, heartfelt religion unmixed with that controversial spirit, which sometimes mingles with his other writings. What I admire most in them, next to their sweet savour, is the way in which he draws up the living water from his own experience, and that past as well as present. I would much like to make them better known through The Gospel Standard, and put down a few thoughts which have occurred to my mind in reading them. What a dreadful lack is there of such preaching now! I look round and see so few men qualified to feed the church of God. We are overrun with parsons, but, oh dear! what are they? I cannot but attribute much of the low state of the churches to the ministers, who rather preach them dead, deaf, and blind, than stir them up and ministerially quicken, enlighten, and enliven them. I am sure that the life of God much consists in, and is much manifested by, the breathings, cries, and longings of the soul after Him, and that by these, that coldness and deadness are sensibly relieved, which many so much complain of.
With you, I admire above all others, Hart’s blessed hymns. I would be glad to help in their circulation, and I think a notice in the Standard, or short advertisement, might help this. As all his hymns are in Gadsby’s Hymn book (with one or two omissions), our friends are pretty well furnished with copies, but I will mention the cheap edition to them.
Do you not think the churches should use prayer and supplication at this momentous crisis? The Lord’s hand seems going out against us at home and abroad. How paralyzed and dislocated all the men of war and counsel seem, and none able to stand in the gap. Mr. Huntington was a true lover of his country, and lived in still darker times than our own. With what boastings was the war entered upon, and now what despondency. How few acknowledge that the Lord reigns!
I desire to sympathize with you in your trials and afflictions, but they are all in due weight and measure.
J. C. P.