This is an early document of the Georgia Baptists; the microfilm copy is not good and was difficult to read. - Jim Duvall
Sarepta Baptist Association, 1816
CIRCULAR TO THE CHURCHES.
by Isam Goss
BELOVED in the Lord, suffer the word of exhortation: seeing it is a time of abounding iniquity, and when the love of many has waxed cold, and when there is too much relaxation in our relative duties to wit: reading and meditating in the word of God, secret and family prayer, filling of our seats in conference, zealously atending on the ordinances of the Gospel; dealing faithfully with each (for) failures according to the discipline of Christ. There is among us too much conformity to the world in our pursuits, conversation and manners; the things of this world are zealously sought by us, thereby we manifest that our affections are set on things below. There are too many among us in name, who are but seldom seen in our conferences, or [S]abbath meetings. There is too little acquaintance with each other, in troubles, or in joys: we do not meet together for to worship God as often as we ought: and when we meet together there is too much worldly and vain conversation, before and after service thereby the sanctuary of the Lord is defiled. Some of us cannot remember when We spent an evening or a Sabbath with our brothers or Sisters family in prayer, and religious conversation. There is too little in singing the sweet songs of Zion; perhaps we or our familys are not restricked [sic] from the prevailing vices; (to wit) Sabbath breaking, swearing, lying, taking the name of the Lord in vain, dicesing [? - unclear], dancing, runing in debt, using spirits to excess, whispering and bearing evil reports of others. These evils, we should be cautious, as dangerous and destructive to morral and religious society. Beloved brethren let us endeavor to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, walk worthy of the Lord, unto all pleasing, being faithful in every good work, consider the Apostle and high Priest of our profession Christ Jesus, who was faithful to him that appointed him; follow the things that make for peace, the things whereby one may edify another let us keep among us a regular and Gospel decipline having the cause of God, and his glory the chief end of our actions shining as lights in every station that God in his providence may place us or that we shall be called to by the suffrage of our brethren or fellow citizens leaving nothing to do tomorrow, that should be done today; manifest to all our faithfulness, by a punctual performance of those things which are our duty; for if any thing is worthy of being done it should be done faithfully.
And now dear brethren may the Lord of his infinite goodness & grace abundantly bless us with love meakness, patience, temperance, and christian fortitude, finally be ye all of one mind having compasion one of another love as brethren be faithful be courteous.
[The grammar and punctuation are unchanged. This Circular Letter is on page 3 of the Minutes. Jim Duvall]
================ MINUTES OF THE SAREPTA BAPTIST ASSOCIATION
Holden at Falling Creek, Georgia, Elbert County, October 26th, 27th, 28th & 29th,1816.
1st. THE Introductory Sermon was preached by Brother Thomas Johnson, according to appointment from 2nd Corinthians 4th chapter and 7th verse.
2nd. received and red [sic] letters from the churches, and inroled [sic] the names of their Members.
3d. Re-elected D. Thornton, Moderator and I. Goss, Clerk.
4th. Appointed the Brethren Bennett, Lumpkin and Mercer to occupy the stage on the Sabbath, who preached accordingly, in the order of their names, to a large audiance [sic], and we hope it was not in vain. Met on Monday according to adjournment.
5th. Received letters and minutes from sister Associations: from the Georgia by the hands of Mercer and Matthews. From the Oagmulgy (?) by the hand of brother Head. From the Hephzebah by the hand of brother Ronn (?). From the Soluda by the hands of brothers Hollan and Bennett. -- From the Edgefield by the hands of brothers Castledge and Wallace, brother Mercer handed a letter from the Savannah river Association, the brethren messengers were cordially received and invited to seats; ministers who were not messengers were also invited to take seats with us.
6th. Took up the Quere from Cabbin Creek Church: what is specially ment by our Lord in Matthew 5th chapter, 23 and 24th verses. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the Alter, and there rememberest that thy brother has ought against thee, leave there thy gift, before the Alter, and go thy way, first be reconciled with thy brother and then come and offer thy gift. Answer: We think the special intention of our Lord is that no one should indulge in the exercise of public gifts, knowing at the same time his brethren has a just charge against him: but shall adopt immediate measures to satisfy his grieved brother, and then, and not till then, proceed in the exercise of his gift. But this is we think by no means to indulge the professed grieved brother, in the neglect of his duty in such case, laid down in Matthew the 8th chapter, which scriptures compared together, impressively shew the duty of accomodation to be equal and mutual between offending and offended brethren.
7th. took up the following Query from the Table, What should a letter of dismission contain given by a church to a member desiring to move his membership to another church.
Answer. We think it should contain a certificate of the good standing and dismission of the applicant in the following form to wit:
To any orderly Baptist Church of Jesus Christ, greting, this certifies that brother A.B. is a member of good report among us, and is hereby dismissed and recommended accordingly done in conference, by order of the Baptist Church at __________________ the _____ day of ______ 1816 and signed by C.D. clk.
8th. Appointed brethren to write and bear letters of Correspondence to sister associations; brother James Davis to write to the Edgefield -- brothers D. Thornton and Jas. Chipman the messengers; brother John Thornton to write to the Saluda; brother Johnson and Callaway, the messengers, brother Lumpkin to write to Hephzebah, Colley and Lumpkin the messengers; brother Ford to write to Oagmulgy; brethren L. Meeks and David the messengers; brother Sanders to write to the Savannah, brother Chapman to write to the Georgia, brothren N. Meeks and Rogers the messengers.
9th. Appointed next Association to be at Millstone, Olgethorpe county to commence Saturday before the Fourth Sabbath in October, brother Lumpkin to preach the Sermon, in case of his failure, brother Meeks; brother John M. Gray to write the letter to the churches.
10th. Met Tuesday according to adjournment, the corresponding letters read and received; also brother Goss presented the circular which was read and approved.
11th. Took up the petition from the Churches respecting the dividing this association and after investigation, recommended those churches that wish to be constituted into new associations to petition for letters of dismission.
12th. Appointed the following union meetings, to wit: at Van's creek on Friday before the second Sabbath in April -- at Beaverdam in Oglethorpe on Friday before the third Sabbath in May -- at Accademy on Friday before the third Sabbath in July -- at Lower Na(?)[C]reek, on Friday before the fourth Sabbath in September.
13th. Appointed the Sarepta Mission board to meet at Double Branch Meeting house in Franklin county on Friday before the third Sabbath in March.
14th. Directed the Clerk to have twelve hundred copies of the these Minutes struck and distribute them to the Churches, and that he shall receive twenty dollars for his service. ================= DOZIER THORNTON, Moderator Isam Goss, Clerk
[This is pages 1-3 of the Minutes. Transcribed from a microfilm copy at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Library, Louisville, KY. There are no changes in the grammar and punctuation. Formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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