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Miami Baptist Association
Circular Letter, 1809

     The Messengers of the Miami Baptist Associalion, to the churches whom they represent, sendeth, GREETINGS.

      THROUGH the goodness of God, we have been favored with another interview in an Association, and have had the satisfaction ot hearing, from you by letter, for which we desire to give thanks unto God; and in token of our sincere desire for your welfaie, and in conformity to our annual custom of addressing you, on some important subject; as may serve to promote your spiritual knowledge, and excite you to the practice of holiness, we call your attention to a few observations on FAITH, which has for its object REVEALED TRUTH, which displays the amiable perfections & wonderful works of God, which was the subject of our last address to you. First we would observe, that faith, as it is saving, rests on gospel truth, and is of the operation of God, and one of the leading graces of his spirit, given to his children in regeneration, and so called the faith of God's elect, and precious, as it is a persuasion of the mind that staggers not at, but lays hold of and lives by the precious promises, given us through a precious Christ, by which we actually, and manifestatively become the sons,of God, & children of the promise. - Secondly it is of the essence of faith, to empty the soul of self, and self-sufficiency, and dispose it to look to, rest in, and rely upon, the all-sufficiency of Jesus Christ alone for salvation, as the only source of a sinner[']s dependence, which excludes all boasting in ourselves. - Thirdly, it is by, or through faith, that we are justified, not on account of it as any way meritorious, but as by it we apprehend, and lay hold on the righteousness of Christ, revealed in the gospel, as that alone by which a sinner can be justified, and by which they are redeemed from sin, and condemnation, and accepted as righteous of God, even through the obedience of the son. - Fourthly, by faith, we are sanctified, as it works by love and purifies the heart, and enables us to work righteousness, and offer unto God, a more excellent sacrifice than the unbeliever can possibly do; thereby Christ dwells in our hearts, with all the renewing, soul-cheering, and heart sanctifying graces of his spirit, by this principle of living faith, all God's justified ones, live, and are moved to acts of obedience, in the way of holiness, as the natural and necessary fruits thereof, which manifestly distinguishes it, from that which is dead and without words [works], whereby they are made willing to take up their cross, and follow him, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasure ot sin for a season; counting it their greatest priviledge, to serve and please the Lord. - Fifthly, by faith all God's dear children though weak are made strong, and enabled to overcome the world, with all its pleasing, and inticing alurements, with laurels of victory - wax violent in fight, turning to flight the armies of the aliens, quench the violence of all their fiery trials, the heart piercing darts of the wicked, and escape the edge of their sword; so following the captain of our salvation, come off more than conquerors, through him that loved us: And, sixthly, walking in the steps of gospel faith, we give glory to God, enjoy a sense of pardon, and assurance of his favor, soar above the smiles or frowns of this unfriendly world, and live in peace, comfort and safety in, the midst of tribulation; and after we have fought the good fight, finished our course, and kept the faith, we shall depart in peace, take possession of the inheritance reserved for us, inhabit our house which is eternal in the heavens, wear a glorious crown of righteousness, that fadeth not away with all that love God, and enjoy at his right hand uninterrupted pleasures forevermorer Lastly, we may see brethren, how useful and necessary faith is to the christain [sic], while in this world of troubles and difficulties, as there are many scoffers in these last days, who walk after the flesh, and a corrupt imagination, making shipwreck ot the doctrine of faith, by rejecting the glorious truths of the gospel on which it rests; be not discouraged, but gird up the loins of your mind, watch and be sober, strive to live in the exercise of faith, maintain good works, depart from iniquity, attend with diligence to the means of grace, walk in love and peace, give no offence to any, and the God of peace shall be with you, Amen.

STEPHEN GARD, Moderator.

[From Miami Baptist Association Minutes 1809. Document from the Miami Baptist Association Office, Cincinnati. Transcribed and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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