The Best Art of All

The Best Art of All, PDF format

by William Huntington

As for master of arts, it appears to me an arrogant title.  Professor of arts would sound much better; for there is a mystery in every art that has puzzled the best of them, and ever will.  “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning.”  He is the grand master of all; and in the strictest sense there is no other; because there are so many mysteries in every art that they are not masters of.  Hence I have often thought that A.M. and M.A. have stood for two lies.  The best art is divinity; and I believe this is one of the last that many young students are put to the study of.  They must be filled with heathenism first; and if God calls them by grace, their heathen stock serves for fuel, into which the devil often throws his darts, by tempting them to atheism and deism.  The man that knows God, and himself, is the happiest, the wisest, the most useful, and always will appear the brightest character in the world: for it is said that the king of Babylon communed with such, “and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore stood they before the king: and in all matters of wisdom and understanding that the king required of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm,” Dan.1.19,20.

The best botanist in the world is that man that can give the most saving description of the tree of life, that blessed plant of renown, Ezek.34.29.  Job tells you the root of it was found in him, Job 19.28.  Paul says, the wild Gentiles were grafted into it, and partook of its fatness, Rom.11.19.  John says, “the leaves of it are for the healing of the nations;” compare Rev.22.2, with Isa.53.5.  Ezekiel tells us, “the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine,” Ezek.47.12; and the spouse tells us its branches are for a shadow, Song.2.3.  The Lord favour you and me with a heart-felt union with this tree, then shall our leaf never wither, nor shall we cease from yielding fruit: “He that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing.”

Indeed the Christian has something to do with various arts.  He is an astronomer when he has found out the bright and morning star, Rev.22.16, and sensibly felt it rise in his heart, 2 Pet.1.19.  This blessed light is succeeded by the heat of the Sun of Righteousness shining on the soul “with healing in his beams,” Mal.4.2.  The best star that ever the eastern sages found, was that which led them to Bethlehem, where the star of Jacob lay, Numb.24.17.  We may say the same of all other arts.  God make us such navigators as shall gain the haven of everlasting rest; and such geographers as shall find out the new heaven and the new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.  Blessed be that philosopher that has found the pearl of great price; and for ever blessed be that anatomist that has crucified and dissected the old man with his affections and lusts.  And is not that man the best prognosticator, that, from the testimony of a good conscience, can say with the Psalmist, “he shall guide me with his counsel, and receive me into glory?”  If so, then I take it for granted that he also will be found to be the best builder at last, “who has heard the gospel and obeyed it; and, like a wise master-builder, has dug deep and founded his faith and hope on the rock of Israel; when the rains descend and the winds blow, and the floods come and beat violently upon that house, it could not be moved, because it was founded upon a rock,” Luke 6.48.  All arts and sciences besides these, will be of little use in the day of judgement; and as they have a tendency to hit graceless men up with pride, and to set them above the pure and simple word of God, they are not worthy of the name of wisdom, as speaketh the prophet: “The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the Lord, and what wisdom is there in them?” Jer.8.9.

God, as the God of nature, hath given many excellent gifts and parts to men, though fallen.  Beauty, wit, skill, and wonderful ingenuity, as may be seen in the writings of atheists, deists, and other heathens; but, without preventing grace be given, they are sure to be exercised to the dishonour of the bountiful Giver.  The greatest part of our university education consists in plundering the natural abilities of heathens.  I have observed men of acquired learning, who have discoursed with the sublimity of a Homer, yet at the same time seemed as destitute of natural and spiritual abilities as Peter the wild boy, who was found in the woods of Hanover.  Such only shine in the natural abilities of others; and their borrowed language, from the native idiot, is as distinguishable as the parrot’s note from the person’s voice which it mimics; for, as the wise man saith, “excellent speech becometh not a fool,” Prov.17.7.

To gospel astronomy I can agree,
For Jesus, the Day-star, is pleasing to me;
The rays of that Sun and the balm they convey,
Delighteth the wisest of men:
The art of astrology[1] who can reject?
To cast a nativity, is to reflect;
If Jesus and conscience are found to compact,
It predicts a peaceable end.

The science of botany surely is sound,
Where Jesus appeareth the Plant of renown:
To describe that Root is a knowledge profound,
Too deep for blind nature to scan:
The art of anatomy none should despise,
Because it is practis’d by none but the wise;
No art shall excel it that mortals devise,
If it can dissect the old man.

The art of geometry none can disprove;
It fathoms the deep, and soareth above;
It grasps Omnipresence, which all Christians love;
And fixes the whole in the mind.
Geology describeth the parts of the earth,
And leads to the mountain – the place of Christ’s death;
If it leads to a Bethel, or spiritual birth,
That art shall be good in its kind.

William Huntington (1745-1813) was a London minister and author, much maligned, but greatly used of God.  This article was excerpted from The Select Works of William Huntington, Vol. II, pgs.19-21, published in 1856; and the poem was excerpted from Vol. I, pg.691.

Bible Based Ministries


[1].Huntington is in no way recommending the occult art of astrology; he knew the Scriptures condemn it.  It is “gospel astrology” he is referring to (just as he speaks of “gospel astronomy,” and so with “botany,” “anatomy,” etc.).  Astrologers claim (falsely) to be able to predict a person’s future by observing the planets at a particular moment; and Huntington here says, in effect – yes, cast a nativity (i.e. make this observation): when Jesus and conscience are found to compact, it predicts a peaceable end for that soul.  Astrologers say, when the heavenly bodies are alligned in a certain way, they can predict this and that; but Huntington says “gospel astrology” is the only “astrology” he can accept.  He is using an analogy. – Ed.