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CIRCULAR LETTER 1821
Written by Moses Scott
Middle Creek [Belleview] Baptist Church

The North Bend association of Baptists, met at Licking meeting-house, the third Friday in August 1821. To the Churches of Jesus Christ throughout the world, wishest grace, mercy and peace from God the father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, especially the Churches Composing our Union, which we here particularly address.

Very Dearly beloved in the Lord. God in his providence has afforded us another peaceable, and agreeable interview, for which as well as every manifestation of his goodness we desire to return him our unfeigned thanks. According to the information received from the Churches & corresponding Association[s], they are generally in a state of peace, tho there seems to have been comparatively few additions by Baptism, within the last 12 months, there has however been a sufficient number to call forth our gratitude and praise, and to evidence to the world that God is yet extending mercy to sinners. O that sinners might receive the testimony and apply to him for salvation. Dear brethren since our constitution as an Association, you have been annually addressed with what is called a circular letter; of what use they have been to any, is known only to God and those who have received benefit therefrom, (if nay) but is it not to be feared that in many instances they are unattended to and but lightly estemed. It is true we do not present them as the standard of infalible truth; yet, in the general the ideas therein contained are taken from the pen of inspiration. To prove this assertion we refer you to a re-perusal of the letters heretofore written. You have been addressed on various topicks, and many of the Great and precious promises of the gospel to the believers, have been presented before you in almost all of those circulars; insomuch, that an unskilled commentator has but little room to improve. But as those letters sometimes may fall into the hands of those who do not read the Bible and may be induced to apply these promises to themselves, who are really not antitled [entitled] to them. And as on the other hand some may be afraid to call them theirs, to whom they really belong. We will proceed to give some marks or scripture evidences, which characterizes, distinguishes, and accompanies the person who is already in a Justified state, and who is travelling on heaven-ward under the discipline of the spirit of sanctification. It will doubtless not be disputed by those whom we address, that those who are under the discipline aforesaid, are led by the spirit of God, if so, then are they sons of God, Rom. VIII. 14th and if sons they are delivered from the bondage of fear and by the spirit of adoption, they will cry 'Abba Father,' ver. 15th. We conclude therefore, that the traveller to Zion is a praying person, and he or she who can content themselves in the habitual neglect of prayer, may reasonably conclude, that they are not led by the spirit of God; consequently are not his children, for upon his children he has promised to pour out the spirit of grace and supplication, Zech. XII, 10th. Now this spirit will be felt and produce action, and may be seen in ver. 11th. But some may be ready to say with Paul, Rom. VIII. 26th that we know not what to pray for as we ought: true it is, we of ourselves are insufficient to discharge aright any religious duty; but the same author in the same verse tells us, that the spirit helpeth our infirmities, for itself maketh intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered. And now dear brethren and sisters, is not such help able to shew us what we ought to pray for? If we know what we need we know what to pray for; but if we feel as though we needed nothing from God, we will live prayerless, May God for Christ's sake shew such their poverty, that they are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, Rev. III, 17th and bring them to the fountain of spiritual light, clothing and riches, ver. 18th but these who are really the subjects of the gracious work of sanctification, do sincerely desire two things in particular, deliverance from that body of sin and death under which they do groan -- and a transformation into the image of Christ by the spirit of holiness, and while they utter the language of the apostle, Rom. VII, 24th they also enter into the sentiment, because they feel it, and indeed this is the reason it is uttered, ver. 23rd they desire to be cleansed from secret faults as well as kept back from presumptuous sins psal. XIX, 12, 13, David affirms that the righteous cry -- and the Lord heareth and Delivereth them, that he is nigh to them of a broken heart, and saves such as are of a contrite spirit. Psalm. XXXIV, 17, 18th. Reader, hast thou cried to God from a sense of your helpless situation; has thy heart been broken for sin; has thy spirit been humbled from a sense of God[']s goodness and thy own depravity? And yet under the exercise of these things, hast thou discovered such a fullness in Jesus Christ, such a glory and beauty in his holiness as to cry for and desire with all thy heart and soul, conformity thereto, or to be more and more transformed into his divine image; then may you reasonably and scripturally conclude that you are under the tuition of the spirit of God, are led by it, and therefore a son or a daughter, and if children, then heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, Rom. VIII. 17th; those therefore, who thus desire conformity to the divine image, have this precious promise, that when he shall appear they shall be like him, I John III. and 2nd; and the evidence or effect of the hope built upon this promise is, he that hath it, purifieth himself even as he is pure, ver. 3d. Brethren and sisters consider your high calling, that it is to glory and virtue, and that by and through this calling is given unto you exceding great and precious promises, that by them you might be partakers of the divine nature. I Pet. I chap. 3d and 4th, 2d Cor. VII. 1st christian what hast thou that thou didst not receive? If there is any glorying therefore let it be in the Lord and yield yourselves unto God, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God, Rom. VI 18th may we never be as those fools in religion, who consider a hope of arriving to heavenly happiness as a circumstance that supplies the want of every virtue. But while we profess to feel the grace of faith and hope, may we never fail to exhibit the fruits, by living soberly, righteously and Godly. St. Paul enjoins, the awakened, enlightened and renewed Ephesians, V. 15th to walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise. -- Should it be asked who it is that walks as a fool in religion, it may be answered, he whose eyes are not upon his way, or who walks in his own way, which are crooked and dark and lead to Destruction. But to walk as wise men in religion, is to walk according to the rule of Gods word, who makes Jesus his pattern, I Pet. II, 21, 22, 23, and who solicits the Holy Spirit to be his guide, even the spirit of truth, John 16, 13, the man who has his eyes upon his way, with due regard to the strength and artifice of his enemies, continues in the exercise of Faith, prayer and meditation, and all those means of Grace appointed of God to produce and cherish holiness in the soul, Acts II, 42. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

N.B. The quotations at length are purposely ommited in order if possible to induce the reader to examine for himself.
    Moses Scott, Modr.                          Absalom Graves, Clk. 

{From the Northbend Baptist Association Minutes, 1821. The grammar and spelling are unchanged except where [ ] are used. jrd}



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