Alexandria, VA., March 1, 1871.
MRS. JANE C. HUNTON – MY DEAR FRIEND: - Yours of Feb. 23, was received by me last Monday upon my arrival home from my appointment at Mt. Zion. I perceive you are troubled in relation to our conversation in November last, and that you now have tried to express yourself so as to be understood. You wish for me to deal with you in all honesty and candor as I would with my own child. Upon this principle I would seize the opportunity to reply to your welcome letter. I hope you may not feel to regret having written to me inasmuch as rather a necessity has caused you to do so, for the relief of your own mind. I do not feel that I am capable of writing a profitable letter to you, or to any one exercised as you are. Your explanation in your letter in addition to our conversation in November, is perfectly satisfactory to me, and confirms me in what I believed at the time of our conversation. I have no doubt as to your experience of a work of God’s grace, though it may not appear so clear to your own mind. A passage from death unto life is known by loving the people of God, and the doctrine of salvation from sin, death, and hell through a crucified and risen Savior. The evidence of a work of grace does not lie any more in a deep, pungent, and distressing view of one’s self as a sinner, with a sudden, and startling deliverance therefrom, than in a more gradual work occupying months, and perhaps years. Your experience, though more gradual than many, possesses the essential points in every respect of a work of God’s grace. And what you have written corresponds with what you expressed in our conversation in November, only you are more full and explanatory in your letter. I see no reason why you should not be willing to own or confess, God’s work in your behalf, to those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. There is no substantial reason why you should not do so. There is much to encourage you to do so. Satan will endeavor to worry you incessantly by making you believe that your experience is imaginary, a sham, &c. If you are deceived, so am I, and thousands; yea, millions of those who have hoped for salvation in our Redeemer, are also deceived. As the scriptures are truth, and your relation of your exercises are also truth, there is nothing you have any reason to be ashamed of, but to openly own the same, agreeable to the command of our glorious Savior. It will be more for your comfort and joy while passing through this vale of sorrow and trouble. I don’t believe you are laboring under a delusion. You desire and long to be with those who are the people of God. Why then stay without? “Come in thou blessed of the Lord.” A knowledge of one’s self as a poor, wretched, erring mortal, a sinner of the deepest dye, is important in a gospel experience. To love what we once hated, and to hate what we once loved; to love the brethren; to love the doctrine of the cross of Christ; to long to be with that people whose God is the Lord, are the marks of a work of God’s grace. Your testimony is satisfactory, and there is no reason why you should stay without. This miserable world will more or less trouble us while in it we stay, therefore it is more comforting and pleasant to associate as much as possible with that people whose God is the Rock of salvation, a people saved by the Lord. You must have your own consent in relation to following in the footsteps of the flock, to obey our Lord in keeping his commandments.
May the Lord bless you my dear friend. Yours sincerely,
Joseph L. Purington.