"To the Ministers and Messengers of the Churches of Christ of the Baptist denomination, met in Association, at Meeting House, the first Saturday in May, 1786, send Christian salutation:
Dear Brethren, - We congratulate you that you have not only "a place and a name in God's house, better than of sons and daughters," but that you are honored with a deputation from your respective churches, to sit as their representatives, to deliberate on ways and means for the advancement of the Redeemer's interest and the prosperity of Zion. Instead of advising you to "avoid foolish questions" and "strifes of words" - "to endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace," and to aim with a single eye at God's glory. It becomes us to turn our eyes towards you as an advisory council, and hope a perusal of the minutes of your proceedings, will be refreshing to us, and administer cause of thanksgiving to God.
Our privilege in having the depending [impending?] Association in the limits of our church, affords us peculiar satisfaction. We rejoice in the prospect of having imparted to us a diversity of spiritual gifts. We bid welcome to Boanerges' thunder - Barnabas' consolation - Paul's argumentation - Apollos' elodpience and Cephas' zeal; and desire not to be puffed up for one against another, but pray that, while the dew of Gospel doctrine is falling around, our fleece may not be dry.
With regard to the state of religion among us, "what shall we answer the messengers of the nation? that the Lord hath founded Zion, and the poor of the people trust in it." The tokens of God's power and presence are yet afforded us. "Numbers are asking the way to Zion with their faces thitherward," are brought to "take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, we will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you." Since the October Association, 15 have been baptized - 10 received by letter - 5 dismissed - none excommunicated - one dead. Our number at present is about 80.
"We rejoice that at length the two sticks are made one," by abolishing the nominal distinctions, regular and separate, which have long unhappily divided the Baptist Churches. Henceforth, we hope "Ephraim shall not envy Judah, nor Judah envy Ephraim." - "Behold how good, as well as pleasant, a thing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity."
We have appointed our beloved brethren, Sanders Walker, Jeremiah Walker, John Milner, Stephen Johnson, John Edwards and John Ashley, to assist you in your consultations, and wish you a happy Association; in order to which, Grace be with you. - Amen.
Signed by order.
J. WALKER, Clerk."
[From Jesse Mercer, History of the Georgia Baptist Association, 1838. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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