The circular letter first written was called for and read, as also that written by brethren Allan and Voorhies.
The first was rejected, by the casting vote of the Moderator.
The letter written by brethren Allen and Voorhies was then adopted.
The Long Run Association to the Churches of which she is composed, sendeth Christian salutation:
BELOVED BRETHREN - Agreeably to our usual practice, we address you by circular; and since the churches, generally, complain of coldness in the cause of religion, and which may be justly attributed to ourselves; may we not reasonably suppose that it is for want of a more strict attention to, and compliance with, the weighty injunction of our Lord Jesus Christ to his disciples; "What I say unto you - I say unto all: - Watch."
On the subject of "watchfulness," suffer us to present you a few ideas. The importance of the duty is seen from various considerations.
1st. The importance of watchfulness arises from the facts, that "the human heart is deceitful and desperately wicked" - that we are attacked on all sides by the deceitfulness of sin; the cunning craftiness of Satan, and the allurements of a wicked world. These all, as enemies to God, the advancement of his kingdom and the peace and happiness of his subjects, attempt continually, the destruction of vital piety, and the subversion of the empire of the Redeemer.
2nd. No duty is more insisted on than this in the word of God. Our Redeemer, who knew the trials and difficulties with which his people would have to grapple, having been tempted in all points, like as we are urged continually the necessity of “watchfulness.”
3d. Nor should this duty be transciently performed. We are not only to , but to watch continually, and that against every sin. Brethren, let us watch against degrading thoughts of God, or of his divine perfections, or against any principles which will tarnish his glory, or sully the brightness of his attributes. Let us watch against unbecoming ideas of the glory or dignity of Christ, and the merits of his sufferings. Let us never forget the duty, office, and efficient work of the holy spirit, in bringing lost sinners unto life, liberty and the joys of salvation through the reconciling blood of our dear Redeemer.
We ought particularly to guard against a neglect of the holy scriptures - in not searching, comparing, and receiving into our hearts, their sacred truths, "which ate able to make us wise unto salvation. We ought especially to attend to them since they are the ordinary means employed by the holy spirit in awakening sinners, comforting mourner, and in warning, and teaching the children of God, all they have to shun. and all he requires them to believe and to do.
Let us watch against all the evil. which arise from our depraved and corrupt, natures; especially pride; which causes us to entertain high thoughts of ourselves: and which consequently disqualifies us for fulfilling that noble duty – “esteeming others better than ourselves, and in honor prefering [sic] one another;" and particularly as Christ has said: "he that exalts himself shall be abased."
Watch, dear brethren, against a vain, ambitions spirit; and “put on, as the elect of God. holy and beloved; bowels of mercy, kindness, meekness, humbleness of mind” And as the tongue is an unruly member, "full of deadly poison," watch against its improper use, endeavoring "always, to be slow to speak; and swift to hear."
Let us be particular, in watching against all kinds of intemperance; especially excess in the use of ardent spirits which has been the fall of many; and even of some whose lives have once shone as members of the church of Christ.
In this, as in all other things, we should watch against the appearance of evil. - Let us set a guard over all our actions, and so conduct ourselves before our children; and servants, and neighbors, that they may take knowledge of us, that we have been with Christ. Thus shall we "by well doing, put to, silence, the ignorance of foolish men."
But, brethren, above all things, watch against self; and deny it; taking up your crosses daily, and following Christ. And lastly, watch against a backsliding spirit; for as we are surrounded by objects calculated to arrest our feelings, deceive our hearts, and insensibly lead us into sin, and expose us to danger; we should give earnest heed to the admonition of our Saviour; and not only ''watch,'' but "watch, and pray, with all perseverance, and supplication for all saints."
And now, brethren, "we pray God, that your whole body, soul, and spirit, be preserved blameless, unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" - when each steadfast and faithful soldier of the cross, shall quit his post of watchfuiness, and be rewarded, with a crown of eternal life.
GEOHGE WALLER, Mod:
P. S. FALL, Clk.
[From Long Run Association of Baptists, 1825, pp. 3-4; via SBTS digital documents. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
More Kentucky Circular Letters
Baptist History Homepage