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      Editor's note: The events leading up to this Circular Letter are what followed the great ingathering of souls into Baptist churches in the first years of the nineteenth century. J. H. Spencer writes:
"During the 'Great Revival [1800-01],' it is said, [John Gano] preached in an 'astonishing manner.' While Elkhorn Association was much agitated by the appearance of Arianism [the belief that Jesus Christ is not the Eternal Son of God] in some of the churches, about the year 1803, Mr. Gano [very feeble at the time] was carried to Lexington, and assisted into the pulpit, where he preached a masterly discourse on the Deity of Christ, which was thought to have a salutary effect in checking the spread of that baleful heresy." [Spencer, A History of Kentucky Baptists, vol. 1, p. 126.]

     This Circular Letter was hand-written. The author is unknown. - Jim Duvall

Circular Letter
Elkhorn Baptist Association, (KY) 1803

     Dearly beloved Brethren,
     Once more we have the pleasure of addressing you in in our Association capacity, and can truly say, that through the providence of an all wise & glorious God, we have been kept and preserved until now, while we desire to adore & admire and admire his gracious dealings towards us as an Association - that in the midst of all the moral evils, combined with the machinations of wicked men & devils, we have as yet been preserved as a small band of brothers, notwithstanding all those who have risen up against us. And may we not adopt the language of the royal Psalmist, and say, "If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us, then they had swallowed us up quick." But blessed be the Lord who has not given us as a prey to their teeth. Here brethren, help us to adore & praise the Lord who hath broken the snare, and made his promise good in our escape. For he has said he will "never leave nor forsake his people, who trusteth in him."

     And now dear brethren, seeing that both you & ourselves have been under those fiery trials, which brought us very low, how ought we to adore the dear Lord Jesus, the great shepherd and bishop of our souls, who has interposed in our behalf, and has in great mercy delivered us from our former difficulties in society, and has blessed us with peace & unanimity in doctrine and discipline. Let us therefore, as a band of brothers, be earnestly and honestly engaged to glorify the captain of our salvation, and transmit to succeeding generations the pure doctrines, ordinances, and discipline of God our Saviour, uncontaminated, so that we may enjoy the sweets of divine truths in our hearts, And, O! that they may abound in our lives, so that we may serve one another as brethren, who have been fellow sufferers together in the same cause. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Ambrose Dudley, Mod'r.
A. Bainbridge, Clerk.


[From the Minutes of the Elkhorn Baptist Association, 1803. This document is from the Kentucky Historical Society Archives, Frankfort. Transcribed and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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