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The Minutes of the Association say: "The circular letter, written by brother Holman, was read, amended and approved. p. 2.
By Jesse L. Holman, 1813
DEAR BRETHREN -- We have again held our annual meeting; we have again heard from the churches composing our body; but glad tidings of rejoicing Zion has not reached our ears. The lonely bride of Christ Jesus appears to mourn the absence of her heavenly bride-groom. She enjoys a sweet degree of internal peace and tranquility, but the golden days of her prosperity are past. She already faces the chilling breezes of winter. She already experiences a barrenness of soul.
But not only is the church of Christ in adversity, but our land and nation is [are] afflicted. America has long enjoyed unexampled peace and prosperity: she has been blessed with the happiest degree of civil and religious liberty the world has ever seen. While the millions of the old world have been harrassed with war, and shackled with tyranny; while the iron hand of oppression has endeavored to bind their souls to an arbitrary, or an idolatrous worship; we have experienced the blessed privilege of worshiping God, in our own way. Under the auspices of our liberal constitution, Zion has arose and shone: but now the scene is changed: the sword is desolating our borders: our land is strewed with the carnage of our fellow citizens: the blood of our brethren has stained the field of battle.
Dear brethren -- Why is it thus? Why has the great conqueror of sinners forsaken Zion? Why is the heavy rod of the Almighty rasied for the chastisement of our nation?
It behoves us to search and find the cause of these clamities: and the important enquiry is a matter not only of universal, but individual concern. It is the duty of every child of God to lay his hand on his breast, and solemnly enquire of his own soul -- "Have I been the fatal cause? Have I abused the abundant mercy of my God? Have I given up my heart wholly to the Lord; or has a prospect of earthly gain engrossed the larger portion of my time, and my affections? Have I employed every opportunity my circumstances afforded, in promoting the cause of Christ, and in gloryifying the God of blessings?" If the answer to these enquires are against us: if we used the blessings of a happy peace, a fruitful soil, and government of liberty, for the gratification of carnal desire; either in indolence, luxery, pride or covetousness; we have reason to be awfully alarmed, and to repent with the deepest humility before the Lord.
And while making these enquires, we should also attend to the dangers to which we are exposed, and the momentous duties of our perilous situation.
In a national war, we are prone to give place to national prejudices. The angry passions are too apt to drown the blessed precepts of our beloved Lord; directing us to love our enemies, and pray for them that use us despitefully. We are also too often inclined to trust our cause to the prowess of our army, without considering that "the battle is the Lord's." But while the war of blood is raging around us, a more terrible conflict is raging within us: the war of flesh and spirit. This spiritual warfare is always most dangerous when the child of God is least aware of his danger. When the bright blaze of religion begins to languish in the soul, the active zeal of the christian is often abated; a negligence of duty often ensues; and the enemy of souls insinuates himself unawares into the affections, strengthens the lusts of the flesh, and leads the unwary wanderer from the service of God, into the forbidden paths of vanity. These are a part of the dangers against which we should strictly guard at this alarming crisis: but a thorough discharge of the glories of salvation, with this promised blessing of the Lord will baffle every danger, and silence every ear.
Beloved brethren -- The times demand the united prayer of all the Israel of God. Pray therefore with all prayer. Pray to the God of heaven for protection. Pray mightily for the smiles of the prince of peace. Pray for the day beams of the sun of righteousness to illumine every sould in the human family. Pray without ceasing for the kingdom of our Redeemer to come, and reign and rule in every heart. And the God of all grace protect you from all your enemies, temporal and spiritual; and lead you in triumph to the possession of an incorruptible crown in the kingdom of our Lord: to whom be glory and honor forever and ever.
[From Northbend Baptist Association Minutes, 1813, pp. 3-4. The War of 1812 (6/1812-12/1814) was being fought between the U. S. and England at that time. Transcribed and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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