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TO THE CONGREGATION AT PROVIDENCE
CHAPEL, GRAY'S INN LANE.
The first idea of publishing the Epistolary Correspondence of our dear and invaluable Pastor was suggested to me by a friend, who also proposed that the profits arising therefrom should be dedicated to some laudable purpose, such as the relief of the poor members of the household of faith, or otherwise, as circumstances might require; with this view, and that nothing valuable from the pen of the deceased might be lost or hidden, I was induced to solicit his friends to favour me with their letters for that purpose; to which request they have in general kindly acquiesced; and, as I am in possession of many valuable epistles, evidently written under the Holy Spirit's influence, I have no doubt but a blessing will attend the perusal of them.
It is our intention to publish these Letters in Numbers, in order to make the purchase more easy, and bring them sooner to light. They will, however, be so arranged as to bind in volumes afterwards. Some were written more than twenty years ago; by which it will be clearly seen that our Prophet then held the same great truths of the gospel which he constantly and invariably maintained to the last. He lived and died in the same faith, and was a bright example to the church of God who survive him.
Having been requested to give some relation of what passed during the last illness of so eminent a servant of Christ, the two introductory letters are inserted with that view; which, though of a private nature, as they contain a concise account of what dropped from his lips during that short period, will, I hope, be fully satisfactory.
I firmly believe what is now in hand to be pleasing in God's sight-my conscience bearing me witness to the truth I assert. And I also believe that it would have been approved of by our departed friend, as the welfare of the church always lay near his heart: In this confidence I subscribe myself
Mourner in Zion,
20 July, 1813.
P.S. Many, I understand, have blamed me for not hanging the pulpit in black. It would certainly have been congenial to my feelings 80 to bave done, but for the express injunctions of our good friend to the contrary. In his will he has particuJarly mentioned that he would have “no funeral sermon; no funeral ode; no pulpit hung in black." And, as heretofore I have strictly adhered to his desires, so I hope never to deviate from what I believe to have been his will.
To MR. BENSLEY.
July 5, 1813. MY DEAR SIR, As it was your desire to hear every particular respecting the last few weeks of our dear departed friend, I will, to the best of lection, comply with your request.
Early on Friday morning, June 11th, Mr. Huntington was taken ill in a violent and alarming manner, which continued to increase till the Sunday following, when he was pronounced to be in great danger. On the Monday he revived a little; and on the Tuesday, though too ill to leave his bed, he made up his mind to go on the following Friday to Tunbridge Wells; and, in pursuance of this resolution, left Hermes House at six in the morning, accompanied by Lady Sanderson. His weakness was so apparent that it was with difficulty he got down stairs into the carriage; and after it drove off, knowing how ill he was, for some hours afterwards Miss Sanderson and myself were expecting his return. He, however, got through the journey tolerably well, and had been at Tunbridge about ten days; during which he sometimes got a little better,
and then again relapsed, when we received a letter expressing his wish for us to join him. We accordingly set off, and (as you know.) arrived there on the 29th. I shall never forget the shock I received when we entered the room. : He held out his hand, and kissed us both, but we could none of us speak. From that moment I was convinced that (humanly speaking) he never could recover; as it appeared to me his end was fast approaching. If you remember, when you came into the room, you told him you were glad to see him look so comfortable. He replied, “ Why should I look otherwise ? Death with me has lost its sting these forty years; I am no more afraid of death than I am of my night cap.” When you and Mr. Over took leave of him the following morning I was convinced, by his look and manner, he was sure in his own mind he should see you no more. That day he: was very ill; but in the evening appeared better, was very cheerful and comfortable, and sat up beyond his, usual time, and much surprised us by declaring his intention once more to sup with us, saying, he felt an appetite. Knowing how ill he was, we judged it an unfavourable. circumstance, and such in the event it proved. I. shall never forget that meal; it was the last we ever partook of together. He asked a blessing in a voice weak and trembling, but in a