THE LONG RUN ASSOCIATION OF BAPTISTS, convened at Buck creek meeting house, on the 1st Saturday in September, 1816, to the churches of which it is composed, sendeth christian salutation:
DEARLY BELOVED BRETHREN,
THRO' Divine goodness, we have been favoured with another friendly interview. Peace and harmony appear to pervade the churches in general, which compose our body; and from the information received, we desire, most heartily, to congratulate you on the happy effects which the gospel of the Redeemer hath had of late, on the hearts of poor sinners, in various parts
of our country. We have abundant reason to exclaim with the Psalmist, "Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men".
DEAR BRETHREN - We desire to address you on the subject of LOVE: that love which the Lord sheds abroad in the hearts of his people, by which they are, constrained to adore him, and so walk in all his commandments and ordinances; that love which is the cement of society, the source from which all true piety and godliness proceed. We do not expect to comprize, in this short letter of love to you, the many blessed effects of this cardinal grace, which may be very justly termed the root and offspring of the religion of Jesus Christ; which is so manifestly calculated to promote all the true interests of man; advance the happiness of society; inspires his people with generous, and noble sentiments; and form, under the conduct of Christ, their great and glorious head, a kingdom of righteousness which in its glory, far exceeds all earthly empires, and shall, in its heavenly state, run parallel in its duratation, with eternity. We are exhorted by the Apostle to "Love the Brotherhood," and it is also commanded elsewhere in the scriptures. Whatever doubts we may entertain concerning other duties, there can be none concerning this: It is a duty eminently calculated to display the power and excellency of religion, and, to glorify God; for "by this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another," saith the Lord. Sin hath filled the world with disorder and contention; it hath embittered the hearts of men against each other, kindled domestic strife and national war; and in a word, hath produced all the miseries which our world experiences - To counteract so great an evil, to prevent the exercise of base passions, to restore lost man to an acquaintance with his true interests, and furnish an example of disinterested, generous love, the peaceable kingdom of Christ has been erected. In accomplishing these purposes also, the malice and artifice of Satan are overthrown; immortal souls are rescued out of the hands of the enemy; united in a fraternal band here, and prepared for a future state of most refined society, and everlasting bliss. In this state, dear brethren, with what facility and pleasure is the service of religion performed; then
thenthere is reason to beIieve that the God of love and peace will abide among his people, and cause the light of his countenance to shine upon them. Humble souls who are seeking salvation, will gladly fly to the bosom of the church, to enter into her fellowship and share her blessings: How, pleasing, also, the testimony of a good conscience in those, who, on every reflection, can recollect how the cause of Christ and his saints hath been endeared to them; and that, denying carnal interests and passions, they have endeavoured to promote peace and love among all the saints of God - A contrary temper and conduct, will open the mouths and strengthen the hands of infidels and enemies, who have never failed to take advantage of such appearances. and above all to wound Christ in his members, and grieve the Holy Spirit. But, dear brethren, we hope better things concerning you; we hope you love one another with pure hearts fervently; and we exhort you in the words of an Apostle "let brotherly love continue;" not a contracted party love, but that love which cometh from the father of lights - And finally, brethren, let us be frequent in prayer for the coming of the Redeemer's kingdom in the world, and be looking for a city which hath foundations whose maker and builder is God; where love will in fruition reign, and where an address like the present, will be no longer requisite.
We are, dearly beloved brethren, yours in Gospel bonds,
WILLIAM KELLAR, MOD'R,
WILLIAM FORD, Clerk.
[From Minutes of the Long Run Baptist Association, September, 1816, pp. 3-4; from SBTS Archives digital documents. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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