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the most puzzling character in his profession that ever staggered or confounded me. His gifts and knowledge of the letter of scripture were such as I had never seen before. He would reprove and rebuke every ungodly wretch in the town, when I have been as a dumb man, in whose mouth are no reproofs; he would carry my fieldpulpit after me, and set it up before a multitude of the most daring scoffers and persecutors, and at the same time, to all appearance, with the very joys of heaven in his face, while I have followed after him trembling like a criminal in chains. He would run over the scriptures by the hour, when I have not had a word of truth in all my thoughts. He was very conscientious, and esteemed for honesty wherever he worked ; and, when his day's work was done, he would sit down and read and study the scriptures, chiefly the historical part. His garden lay up to the shoulders in weeds, seldom or never dugor planted; he would not spend any of his leisure time but in the word of God; and, if at any time he saw me in an evening planting my garden, he would give me a gentle reproof for it, though he frequently sent to beg the produce of my garden. He would not so much as attend his master's paytable at the week's end, because it was at a public house, but sent his daughter to receive his hire; nor would he take the trouble of keeping his money, but gave it all up to his wife, who frequently managed so badly as often to get in debt; which
debts the creditors generally threw in my teeth, as I stood in the front of the battle; and which, either by begging or out of my own pocket, I generally discharged. He that takes not care of his own house has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. Before this man I appeared for many years a poor dejected drone, or a mere idiot burdened with a daily cross, and the hourly buffetings of Satan, while this wonderful man appeared as if he was in the third heaven.
His highest comforts always succeeded some new discovery in the scriptures, or the application, as he called it, of some particular text or promise, none of which was ever fulfilled; and, when he could find nothing new in the Bible, he was as a dead man, and at times impiously rebellious, even against God himself, for not indulging or gratifying his humour.
This man has at times so beat me about the head when I came down from the pulpit, in finding fault with my discourses, that I have sometimes said to the Almighty, “Lord, if thou dost not pull this man down, where will he fly to ?'
Whatever I attributed to the Spirit of God in my sermons respecting a work of grace on the heart, he always attributed to the word of God, which he said worked in every thing; and if I ever, in the course of my sermons, happened to mention the ever-blessed Trinity, he generally gave me a frown from his seat, and a stroke when I had done, telling me he wished that I would let
that alone; and, if I answered with any text from John or Paul, he replied, the vail was in part over them all, but in time God would take even that away:' intimating that future ages would see wherein the inspired writers had erred. These things staggered and perplexed me much, though I had but little time for dispute, for I was labouring hard in soul for three full years in making my calling clear to the ministry; for, although I saw evidently that God attended his word with power every Lord's day, and had at that time given me many seals to my ministry, yet I was generally laid in chains, and put into Satan’s sieve, the greater part of the following week, begging God to pardon my presumption in attempting to run before I was sent. And the minister, who is a stranger to this call, is not sent of God, let him be who he may.
The tenets of this man were, that there is but one person in the Godhead, which person he said is Christ; the other two persons are only names, or office-characters, concerning which, he said, the inspired penmen had not been clear; and whatever the scriptures attributed to the Spirit, as before observed, he always attributed to the word of scripture.
To the best of my knowledge, this man stood thus in his flaming profession near or quite ten years.
And as to Mr. Vessey, he was no more, when compared to this man for gifts, abilities, scriptureight, knowledge, argument, fluency, zeal, or cir
cumspection in life, than I am to an angel. And, as for joys, such as they were, let Mr. Vessey be as joyful at his end as he might, this man exceeded him; and indeed he exceeded all that ever I saw. I have seen him on a sick-bed, and near death, and his joys were still the same; insomuch that I do believe, if he had died at that time, the whole neighbourhood would have been alarmed at his triumphant departure, and William Huntington would have been one of the first fools that would have proclaimed it, and would have sent him to heaven in a funeral sermon, as many are, who never went there in a fiery chariot; and no wonder; for, as hypocrites have not the rod of God upon them in life, so it is often seen, that they have no bands in their death, but their strength is firm. In short, I can now see that all that Paul declares concerning the most accomplished hypocrite, in the epistle to the Hebrews, did conspicuously appear in that man.
Soon after my departure from Ditton to London, Mr. Butler began industriously to preach publickly, and circulate privately, his tenets wherever he had an opportunity. A lady, now sitting with me, is one upon whose judgment he laboured hard to fix his damnable heresy, when at Sunbury in Middlesex; who informed me by letter of his proceedings, which cost me many tears several weeks together. I found that he had drawn several persons into the same snare with himself; and therefore one Lord's-day, at Rich
mond, I preached on the subject of the glorious Trinity; and, after I had done, desired them to meet me in the vestry. Captain Duckett, Mr. Hunter of the King's Observatory, and my dear friend Mr. Chapman of Petersham, all of whom are now living and well known, were present. I asked them if they could put any constructions upon the personal pronouns ‘T,' he,' and 'they,' which did not express persons ? and whether they could be applied, without the greatest confusion, to names, offices, or characters? Moreover I asked them, if when Christ said, “I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me,” it does not clearly point out two distinct witnesses? And it is as clear that the Holy Ghost is another distinct witness, “ whom God hath given to them that obey him," Acts v. 32. And he that believeth hath this witness in himself. And these are the three persons that bear record in heaven: by the river Jordan God bore witness in speaking from heaven; Christ, the faithful and true Witness, was heard speaking on earth; and the Holy Ghost seen in a bodily shape, like a dove. Again, Christ says, “ And I will pray the Father, and he shall send you another Comforter,” John xiv. 16. Here is Christ, the consolation of Israel, praying; the Father of all mercies, and God of all comfort, prayed to; and another Comforter is promised.
And it is clear that God is called a person, of whom Christ is the express image, “ being the