The Elders and Messengers of the Elkhorn Baptist Association, to the several Churches in their connexion,
Having another opporuinity, to address you from our annual meeting we solicit your attention to a few remarks on certain Christian duties.
Although we have been recently visited by two of the greatest scourges of our race, war and pestilence, the combined effects of which, have for months past spread a gloom over our land, we are yet, a people highly favored by the Lord. Temporal blessings are profusely bestowed. A genial clime, prolific soil, free government, and Rulers of our own choice, are inestimable in their nature. But we possess a still greater blessing - Religious freedom constitutionally secured and a Gospel dispensation. These multiplied favors would naturally increase our obligation to love, reverence and adore the Being from whom we receive them. Brethren, in domestic life, let us not be unmindful of those duties which attach to us as professors of Christianity: these are many and various, but are briefly comprehended in this divine injunction to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly before god. Domestic duties are not enough, the commmand is more extensive, it has already gone forth to the tribes of the wilderness, and to the islank [island] of the sea. Arise, shine O Zion! for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee; and the
Gentiles shall come to thy light, and Kings to the brightness of thy rising! The Lord seems to have come out of his place to reclaim Zion with judgments, and her converts with righteousness. While with one hand he is hulling [pulling] down strong holds, and casting down imaginations; with another, he is raising Jerusalem from the dust and clothing her with the garments of strength and salvation. The same voice that proclaims the day of vengeance of our God is also, proclaiming the acceptable year of the Lord. Brethren, to further and advance this great work, Bibles are to be translated into every language. They are to be circulated among those who are destitute of the word of life. This is to be done, not by a miracle, but by ordinary means - hence the necessity of liberal contributions, of charitable donations. Through the medium of Bible societies established already in our state, and in other states, God has placed it in the power of us all, to manifest our zeal, to spread the gracious kingdom.
As members of civil society we are called to duties of the most active kind. As a nation we have to cope with an enemy at once powerful and perfidious. Late occurences in Europe have rendered her military resources as great as her policy is nefarious. Under these imperious circumstances, every thing sacred to liberty, to virtue, and to religion speak loudly to us. Our prosperous Independence has always been galling to our lawless enemy; he would rejoice in its subversion. To effect this she descend[ed] from the dignified attitude of an enlightened nation. She is guilty of intrigues and practices which must cover her in its everlasting shame. More than once her unparalled Butcheries have clothed our state with mo[u]rning. She professes to be the champion of Religion, while she sports with every thing sacred to humanity and perpetrates deeds from which the heart of Pagan would shrink with horror.
Brethren - War in any shape is a curse. We deplore this unnatural state of things, as a great national calamity. But to resist the lawless aggression of our vindictive enemy, is certainly commmadnable. We are contending for rights ever dear to freemen; and let this motto be engraved upon our hearts, "United we stand, Divided we fall." This is not a time to contend about trifles. Let us promptly render to Cesar, the things that are Cesars. At a crisis like this, a proper respect for those in authority and due obedience, is of the last importance. The strength of the nation cannot be wielded
to advantage without confidence in the administration. Nor is it possible to excite distrust, or dimish confidence in the Executive, without essentially serving the purposes of the enemy.
Brethren - The duties now devolving on our public functionaries are arduous in the extreme - let them have our prayers. Finally, be mindful of that high command called a new commandment. Little children love one another. Go on believing all things written in the Law and in the Propjets: For who shall be able to harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good.
We remain yours affectionately,
In the bonds of redeeming love,
F. BULLOCK, Moderator. C. BUCK, Cl'k. =============
[From Elkhorn Bapitst Association Minutes, 1814. The document is from the Southern Baptist Historical Library & Archives, Nashville, TN and was provided by Stephen duBarry. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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