[Note f = s. There were twenty-four churches in this association at that time.]
North District Baptist Association
CIRCULAR LETTER, 1803
Montgomery County, KY
By Moses Bledsoe and Jilfon Payne
FOR two affociations paft, you have not been addreffed with a circular letter, a matter which we deem at all times neceffary, or perhaps important to the fifter churches compofing our affociation; but more efpecially at a time, when Chriftian Fellowfhip is meeting with fo many conflicts and difcords; which muft be known and felt by the moft of us.
Dear brethren, fince the enemy feems to be fo induftrioufly engaged in fowing difcord among the churches, we know of no fubject more fuitable to addrefs you on, than that of Chriftian Fellowfhip. For although many among mankind, have entered into focieties of different names (yet all fay) with a defign to ferve the fame God, and not being able to fee eye to eye, affords matter of lamentation, but fhould never awaken a fpirit of perfecution, even between fects of different denominations. How fatal then to the caufe of God and Chriftian Fellowfhip, muft the wound be, when thofe of the fame fociety lift up the heel againft each other, and bite and devour more like wolves than fheep, and endeavor to confume one another. Remember our Lord's words - A houfe divided againft itfelf cannot ftand. O look back to the time when you firft put on the Lord Jefus. What zeal, what love, what fellowfhip and forbearance with each other; and beheld how good and how pleafant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity - Then like a city fet on a hill, whofe light was not hid, you were terrible as an army with banners; and thus going on hand in hand; even the enemies of God and Zion, were conftrained to fay, behold how thofe people called Chriftians love.- Again, we wifh you to compare your own feelings, when in a ftate of difcord, with thofe you enjoy while in fweet fellowfhip, and fee how much your own happinefs is interefted. As much therefore as in you lieth, live peaceably with all men; confider what a ftumbling block difcord muft be, in the way of poor blind finners; how much in the way of your neighbors; how much in the way of your own families; being convinced of the truth of religion - how much young profeffors, the tender lambs of Chrift are wounded thereby, and even the gracious Redeemer himfelf in the houfe of his friends.
For remedy againft the foregoing evils, be diligent in all Chriftian duties, particular, that of prayer, which though very feeble in appearance, and as coming from finful worms, yet when anfwered by the Lord God of Sabbaoth, proves irrefiftable in deftroying enemies more terrible than him who of old, defied the armies of the living God. Labor as much as poffible, to cultivate frindfhip [sic] with all focieties of people prefeffing [sic] Chrift; being convinced, that they cannot believe what they pleafe; and that love mixed with truth, is more likely to conciliate the mind, than a contrary conduct. All men entering into fociety, muft give up fomething for the good of the whole. We have reafon to thank God for as much peace and harmony as we fee in the prefent affociation, and conclude by praying, that the peace of God which paffeth all knowledge, may be multiplied throughout all the churches. --
[From Minutes of North District Baptist Association (KY), 1803, p.3; via https://repository.sbts.edu - Adam Winters, Archivist. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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