CIRCULAR LETTER, (KY) 1824
By Allen M'Guire
The long run association to the churches composing her body, sendeth christian salutation.
As a manifestation of our love to you, we send this letter, desiring you to review with us, a few of the privileges and favours with which our Heavenly Father has blessed our nation; particularly in giving us the word of Revelation. The excellency of this Heavenly lamp, in the dark night of time; this unerring guide in this wilderness of sin, is vastly more valuable than all the honours and wealth of the world. The people, or nation who are destitute of this healing influence of the Bible, have nothing to retard the progress of vice, and kirb [sic] the unruly passions, but the light of unassisted reason: This, it is true, seems to teach man the propriety of worshiping a Supreme Being, of whose perfections and character he can have no just idea; erroneously,
concluding him a being of malevolent disposition, and therefore they punish themselves personally, or sacrifice a child or some object dear to them; supposing thereby to appease divine wrath and attone [sic] for sin; - and others bowing down to idols of their own make, for want of better information. So reasonable does It appear, even to benighted Heathens, to worship the Supreme Being, but from want of the word of God, are sure to engage wrong in the work; and even when our attention is drawn from this gloomy scene of idolatry, superstition and ignorance, and we view man under the blaze of evangelical Instruction, how awful his situation, astonishing to see him [his] enmity against God and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart is evil continually. There is none righteous, no not one - there is none that understandeth -there is none that seeketh after God – their throat is an open sepulcher [sic]; with their tongues they have used decelt -the poison of asps is under their lips. whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness - their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways, and the way of peace have they not known - there is no fear of God before their eyes - being filled with all unrighteousness, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity, whisperers, backbiters. haters of God, dispiteful [sic], proud, boasters, inventers of evil things. disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable unmerciful; this is the picture of man in a state of nature, drawn by the inspired penman. But, dear brethren, we hope and believe better things of you; you justly love the Bible, that blessed source of divine instruction which is so manifestly calculated to promote all the true interests of man, and advance the happiness of society in general. Sin has filled the world with contention and disorder; it has imbittered the hearts of man against each other, kindled domestic strife and national war, and in a word, has produced all the miseries under which the world groans. To counteract this inundation of accumulating evil, to prevent the exercise of base passions, to restore lost man to a knowledge of his true interest, and to furnish an example of mysterious benevolence; the self moving disinterested, unmerited, unsolicited, unerring, eternal unchangable [sic] love of God, has brought life and immortality to light by the Gospel, has established a kingdom, which, under the complete control [sic] and government of the great head of the church, shall prosper and stand; which in glory far exceeds, & is over all earthly kingdoms, and in its duration, shall run parallel with eternity, and in accomplishing these purposes, also the malicious scheme of Satan, are overthrown, and even the wrath of man made to praise him: and immortal souls rescued out of the enemy's hand, united together in love here and prepared for a future state of more refined society where sickness and sorrow, sin and death, are feared and felt no more. All this and much more useful, delightful, interesting knowledge, we receive through the medium of the Bible - and seeing the sacred volume never directed any person wrong; how carefully we should attend to, and search after its teachings, and admonitions, to know our duly as members in our several stations; or as individuals in domestic life, and be careful to maintain good works, as a fruit necessarily flowing from grace planted in the heart. To put on the whole armour of God, be careful and particular [sic] that you attend to the divine rule in receiving members in society - that they give evidence of being taught of God; - a proper attention to your duty in this matter will have a tendency to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond or peace, and all in a good degree of one mind, - and when you hear the enemies of the cross, misrepresent and abuse the doctrines of grace, answer with meekness, if you answer at all - many, very many are crying lo! here and lo! there, but go you not after them, unless after comparing their doctrines by the word of God, you find it according to truth; otherwise receive them not into your protection, nor bid them God's speed. If they spitefully use and persecute you, pray for them. Finally, brethren farewell, may the God of patience and consolation. comfort, strengthen and establish you, and make you perfect in every good word and work, working in you that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever, Amen.
[From Long Run Baptist Association Minutes, 1824, pp. 3-4; via SBTS Archive digital documents. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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