To the churches of which we are composed, sendeth brotherly love and christian salutation.
BELOVED IN THE LORD
Through the abundant goodness of our God, we have been blessed with another peaceful and comfortable interview as an association. But few additions have been made since our last, as will appear by a reference to the minutes; yet, we desire to bless God for that few, as well as for the pleasing prospects communicated in some of the letters sent to us. Notwithstanding the prevalency of vice [in] the world, and the coldness and formality complained of by the professors of religion; yet it doth now appear, that God hath by his spirit secretly operated on the hearts of sinners, and brought them publicly to acknowledge his supremacy, their own unworthiness, and the all-prevailing intercession of a Saviour; together with the blessed effects of a preached Gospel. "Glorious things shall be spoken of thee, O! city of God." These reflections, dear brethren, induce us to offer a few thoughts on the advantages of Revelation. -- In the volume of Revelation, God is represented to us in the character of infinite perfection; as a being of transcendant incomprehensible majesty, of absolute rectitude and perfection of nature, of spotless purity, of strict justice and fathomless wisdom, of uncontrolable power, of boundless, unlimited and unchangeable goodness, worthy to be praised, feared, loved and served by all his intelligent creatures. His presence pervades every part of space. His omniscience thoroughly comprehends all subjects capable of being known, and is completely acquainted with whatever does and can exist. His will is invariably directed to the greatest possible good of the whole system of beings susceptible of happiness. His power is employed, in executing the purposes of consummate wisdom and good-ness; and in substantiating the glorious conceptions of infinite mind. The universe exhibits His power, impressed on all its parts -- no less on the smallest particle of matter, than on its most complex and stupendous combinations; exerted no less conspicuously in the construction of the minutest insect, than in the seraph that stands before His throne. "All thy works, O! God, praise thee." Revelation further teaches, the depraved, fallen condition of man; his distance from, and enmity to God; and, under a conviction thereof, at the name of the Almighty, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, the Lord, the everlasting God, the creature sinks prostrate in the dust. Such is the effect of sin, that the guilty soul trembles at the voice of God walking in the cool of the day. But here Revelation exhibits what natural religion cannot attain to. It exhibits a God-man dying for the sins of mankind, and offering grace to every penitent sinner. It exhibits the Deity, as an eternal and inexhaustible foundation of mercy; and leads us to contemplate his eternal goodness, his gracious and moderating justice, and almighty benevolence with delightful wonder, veneration and praise. The name of the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ dissipates overwhelming apprehensions, raises the soul from the dust, inspires confidence and joy, and enables the creature to look up to the Creator with complacency; and the sinner to behold his [wm] with [wm], resignation, and firm, though humble reliance. [wm] endearing and valuable [wm] is connected with this idea of Deity, and is communicated through the medium of Revelation. Admiration and astonishment are tempered with tenderness and gratitude; fear is succeeded by affection and joy, and the soul is drawn by the strongest bands of love. In God we contemplate the source of our life; and the length of our days; the reliever of wants; our defender against danger and calamity; the bestower of all our comforts and blessings; the instructor of our ignorances; our helper in temptation, the reformer of our follies and vices; our guide amidst uncertainty; our comforter under affliction; our counsellor in perplexity; the inspirer and supporter of our virtues; the redeemer and sanctifier of our souls; our friend in every circumstance of life; our present refuge and confidence; and our joy and happiness for ever. O! the blessings of Revelation!! Open the history of redemption at whatever page, and it still unfolds the mercy of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Conducted by the spirit back to the eternal days of uncreated light; admitted to the diliberations of the council of peace, we hear the son of God proclaim, I am Alpha, the beginning. Carried forward in joyful hope, to the day when we shall make all things new -- the same voice still proclaims, I am Omega, the ending, who was, and is and is to come. Consult the prophets, to him they all give witness; examine the record, This is the record that God has given to us, eternal life; and this life is in his son. Hearken to a voice from the excellent glory -- This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him. All is light and glory, all is free sovereign and everlasting grace; but there is not one intimation of favour conferred but through the one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. To him let every knee bow, to him every tongue confess. They who accept the offers of mercy, and who fly for refuge to the hope set before them, are taken into favour with God; their sins are forgiven, and theirnames written in the book of life. What evil then [wm] come nigh him for whom Christ died? O believer, does the law which thou hast broken, denounce vengeance against thee? Behold that law fulfilled in the meritorious life of thy redeemer. Art thou afraid that the cry of thy offences may rise to Heaven, and reach the ear of Justice? There is no place for it there; in room of it ascends the voice of that Blood that speaketh better things than that of Abel. Does death appear to thee in a terrific form, and hold out his sting to alarm thy mind? His terror was removed and his sting taken away by that hand, which on Mount Calvary was nailed to the accursed tree. The believer, therefore, may join the apostle in his triumphant song, O death, where is thy sting -- O grave, where is thy victory. May this be the triumphant song of us, and all who read these lines, if it be the will of God, for Christ's sake.
Query. -- Have we duly appreciated the benefits and advantages of Revelation? If not, let us endeavour to repent and reform. Brethren farewell.
ALEXANDER MONROE, Moderator. Attest, ABSALOM GRAVES, Clerk.
[Taken from Northbend Baptist Association Minutes, 1816. The grammar, punctuation and spelling are unchanged. jrd]