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Circular Letter, 1825
Salem Association, KY

      It is now just 40 years since Severns Valley, Cedar Creek, Beargrass and Coxe's Creek Church's met at Coxe's Creek Meeting house and were contstituted into the Salem Association. The following extracts from the minutes will show what were the peculiar and distinguishing tenets of our body in its original formation. - The report of the several delegates being read and attended to;

      Resolved, ["]That the churches have adopted the Phihdelphia Confession of Faith, and Treatise of descipline thereto annexed, and hold ourselves in full fellowship with the Philadelphia, Ketocton and Monongahela Associations."

      At this time (1785) the whole number of Communicants was 129 with three Ministers, viz: Joseph Barnet, John Whitacre and Wm. Taylor, most of whom have fallen asleep, and are now we hope sweetly singing the song of Moses and the Lamb in the kingdom of God. Since that time a gradual accession of the faithful has been made, till the Salem Association no longer appears as a small band, scattered and remote from each other, but as a solid phalanx in the armies of Israel. Surely, brethren, our hearts should thrill with joy when we review the gracious dispensation of God to this association - a great majority of the members of the churches composing our union were 40 years ago aliens from God and strangers from the Commmonwealth of Israel, without God and without hope in this World. How exceedingly rich was that grace, and how inexpressible that love which have translated us from the kingdom of darkness and made us members and citizens of the kingdom of Christ - even heirs of God and joint heirs with our Lord Jesus Christ! How feeble were the instruments employed in bringing about such glorious and happy results. Truly the promise of God has been, verified in our enlargement; "Lo I am with you, always, even to the end of the world!" Judging from what the Lord has done for the church in ages that are past, may we not entertain the pleasing hope that the Millenial day will soon dawn and shed its genial beams over a benighted world? Are not the 1260 prophetic days drawing near to a close? Let him that hath ears to hear, attend. The Lord is faithful - he is not slack concerning his promise as some men count slackness. India, the Isles of the Pacific, the deluded followers of the false prophet whose b1oody crest has so long waved over the land of promise, the degraded sable sons of the great

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Southern peninsula, the frozen regions of Siberia with the benighted and half civilized regions of the Western Contineal[?] all, all are now receiving the glorious and soul cheering intelligence of salvation through faith in a crucified Redeemer. The Natural descendants of the father of the faithful, who once said of Messiah, "Let his blood be upon us and our children," are now frequently seen perusing the volume of life, while the penitential tear falls on tbe sacred page. May we not pray and hope that the ancient people of God will soon be gathered in with the fulness of the Gentiles? The unhallowed coalition of idolatrous nations and anti-christian powers, to retard the progress of evangelical truth, is a strong indication of the merciful design of Jehovah to take to himself his great power and reign from the rivers to ends of the earth.

      It is pleasing to reflect that while so many of us are permitted to see each others faces again in the flesh, that a new association of Christians has been formed in India, with ten times the number of preachers that belonged to the Salem association 40 years ago, and with more than half the number of communicants which now sit arouud our board. All this was effected by the feeble but efficient agency of a few missionaries, who were sent out among the heathens to preach the Gospel. Difficulties apparently insufferable have been overcome. Before they could make known the mysteries of the kingdom of God, an acquaintance with their language was necessary - translations of the scriptures were to be effected, printing types to be formed, all which things have been accomplished, nay even more than was anticipated. The scriptures have been translated, printed and distributed in more than 20 different languages of India. Though we pretend not to be influenced by prophetic inspiration, yet from the past, we may safely conclude, that in less than 50 years to come, the blessed gospel will be preached throughout all nations.

      That this happy event may be realized we should pray without ceasing, "Let thy kingdom come and thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven." Who is there in all the household of God that does not earnestly desire and pray that the kingdom of God may be established in all the world, and that the will of his heavenly father should be done on earth as in heaven? Can any one forbid the promulgation of the everlasting gospel and the distribution of the Word of God in all the world?

      Before the coming of the Messiah, if at any time the Israelites turned unto the Lord, their offerings were presented at his holy temple. So in these last times the liberal donations of the children

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of God are so many proofs, that we desire to make known to all the world the way of salvation. Whence this desire? - Whence the unexampled, unanticipated success of a few individuals to enlist our brethren in this good work? The answer is easy - 'tis of God. And will not he who has begun this good work carry it on? Will there ever arrive a period, when christians shall cease to pray for the conversion of the world - when the energies of the followers of Jesus shall be so paralyzed as to withhold their assistance in spreading the gospel, and when this command of our divine Lord, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature," shall not be regarded and obeyed by the heralds of the Cross? Surely when this takes place we may look for the extinction of christianity - the complete and ultimate triumph of the wicked and entire failure of the promise of God. Shall true religion ever be banished from the earth? Shall the kingdom of Jesus Christ ever be overthrown and demolished? Shall God be unfaithful to his promises? God forbid. Strong is the Almighty to perform and faithful in [is] the holy one of Israel who hath promised. Soon will the heathen sing this song - "Lord thou will ordain peace for us; for thou also hast wrought all our works in us. O Lord! our God, other lords besides thee have had dominion over us: but by the[e] only will we make mention of thy name." Listen, dear brethren, to the language of the 43d chapter of Isaiah. ["]How precious the promise! how sure its fulfilment? The son of God says, Listen, O Isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people from far." Thus saith the Lord God behold I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people; and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers. They shall bow down to thee with their face towards the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet, and thou shalt know that I am the LORD, for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me! And again, "All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God!" For, "the Lord God who gathereth the outcasts of Israel, saith yet will I gather others to him besides those that are gathered unto him!"

      Brethren suffer the word of exhortation - Be kindly affectionate one to another - be not high minded, but be lowly, prefer[r]ing one another in honor - lay aside all malice, guile, hypocrisy, evil-speaking, evil surmising, praying with all manner of prayer and supplication in the spirit watching thereunto with all carefulness, admonishing one another with long suffering and tenderness, beware of covetousness. If any man love the world, the love of the

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father is not in him. A covetous man cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Strive to enter in at the strait gate, for strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life and few there be that find it. Remember it is only he that overcometh that shall reign with Christ while the fearful, the unbelieving and effeminate shall perish. Hold fast the precious truths of the Gospel, hold them about you as a golden girdle, receive the truth in the love of it, maintain the utility of the spirit in the bonds of peace. Always bear in remembrance the sufferings of your dying Lord. Confessing and acknowledging your sins daily to your blessed saviour, who is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. And may the God of peace, sanctify you, soul, body and spirit, and grant you an abundant entrance into his everlasting kingdom through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.



[From Minutes of Salem Association of Baptists, KY 1825; SBTS Archives, Adam Winters, Archivist. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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