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Circular Letter
The Georgia Baptist Association
By A Committe, 1828

Scriptures that Support our Constitution

     The Georgia Baptist Association of Elders and Brethren, to the Churches which they represent, send Christian salutation:

     Dear Brethren, -- The brother appointed last year to write the circular, having failed to present it, we, the undersigned, being appointed to select and arrange such scriptures as support the articles of our Constitution, relying upon divine direction, enter upon the duty imposed on us. The plan we propose to adopt is, to insert at large said articles, and such scriptures as have an immediate and direct bearing, in connexion with them.

     We begin with the 1st, which reads as follows: "We believe in one only true and living God; and that there is a trinity of persons in the God-head -- the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and yet there, are not three Gods, but one God." In proof of this point, we call your attention to the following Scriptures: Matthew 3:16, 17, And Jesus, when he was baptised, went up straight way up out of the water; and lo! the Heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him; and lo! a voice from Heaven, saying, this is my beloved son in I am well pleased. Matthew 28:19, Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. 1 John 5:7, For there are three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one. 2 Corinthians 13:14, The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all. Amen.

     We pass to the 2d: "We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the word of God, and the only rule of faith and practice." To support this we adduce 2 Timothy 3:16, All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. Proverbs 30:1st clause of the 5th and 6th, Every word of God is pure; add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. Revelation 22:13, 19, For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book, and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part, out of the book of life, and out of the Holy City, and from the things which are written in this book.

     3d. "We believe in the fall of Adam, and the imputation of his sin to his posterity; in the corruption of human nature, and the impotency of man to recover himself by his own free will ability." In Romans 5:12, The Apostle says, by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. Verse 14 -- Death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression. 15 -- For through the offence of one, many be dead. 16 -- And judgment was by one to condemnation. And again, 17 -- By one man's offence death reigned. The 18th verse has the same sentiments: by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation. 19 -- For by one man's disobedience many were made sinners. To the same point is 1 Corinthians 15:20, 21, By man came death; in Adam all die. Behold, says David, Psalm 51:5, 1 was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. The inquiry in Job 14:4, and 15:14, goes to prove the same doctrine. Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean, Not one. What is man that he should be clean, and he that is born of a woman that he should be righteous? But it is time to advance to the

     4th. "We believe in the everlasting love of God for his people and the eternal election of a definite number of the human race to grace and glory; and that there was a covenant of grace or redemption, made between the Father and the Son, before the world began, in which their salvation is secure, and that they in particular are redeemed." Speaking in reference to his love to the Church, the Lord says in Jeremiah 31:3, I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee. Of Jesus it is said in John 13: last clause, 1st verse: Having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. Paul, speaking of the doctrine of election says, Romans 9:11, The children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth. 15 -- He saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy. 18 -- And whom he will he hardeneth. 16 -- So then it is not of him that willeth nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. Well might Paul say, 2 Timothy 2:19, The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his. Jesus says, John 3:18, I knew whom I have chosen; and it is thus expressed in Ephesians 1:4, He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. Well might Paul write to his Thessalonian brethren, 2 Thessalonians 2:13, We are bound to give thanks always to God, for you brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. Further, this article derives proof, Zechariah 9:11, As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant, I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. And again, Hebrews 8:6, He is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises; and 9:15, And for this cause, he is the mediator of the New Testament, or covenant, (Diatheke is, the word used in both cases,) that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first Testament, that they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. And Hebrews 13:20, and part of 21, Now the God of peace that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the Sheep, through the blood of the everlasting Covenant, make you perfect in every good work. Psalm 2:8; 110:1; and Hebrews 8:9, 10, establish the Covenant between the Father and the Son. Ask (says God the Father to his Son) of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy foot-stool. Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldst not, neither hadst pleasure therein, (which are offered by the law.) Then, said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus once. Such as were chosen, and for whom the Covenant was entered into, were redeemed by Jesus Christ, as appears from Ephesians 1:7, in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace. The same point is expressed in Colossians 1:13, 14, Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son, in whom we have redemption through his blood even the forgiveness of sins? And in Hebrews 9:12, By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. And, again in Isaiah 51:11, Therefore the redeemed of the Lord, shall return and come with singing unto Zion, and everlasting joy shall be upon their head; they shall obtain gladness and joy and sorrow and mourning shall flee away. We will now proceed to the consideration of article the

     5th. "We believe that sinners are justified in the sight of God, only by the righteousness of Christ imputed to them." This doctrine is inculcated in Romans 3:24, Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; and in 4:4, 5, Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace but of debt; but to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness; and in 5:19, By the obedience of one many shall be made righteous; and in 1 Corinthians 1:30. Of him are ye in Christ Jesus who of God is made unto us, wisdom and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption. So much for the 5th. We will now advance proof for the

      6th. "We believe that all those who were chosen in Christ, will be effectually called, regenerated, converted, sanctified, and supported by the spirit and power of God, so that they shall persevere in grace and not one of them be finally lost." The vocation of such is clearly proved from the following passages: Ephesians 2:4, 5, God, who is rich in mercy for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ; and 2 Timothy 1:9, Who hath saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ before the world began. Romans 8:28, 31, And we know that all things work together for good, to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose; for whom he did foreknow he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first born among many brethren. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we say to these things? And who can successfully say any thing against them? The perseverance of such persons, is supported by these scriptures: Philippians 1:6, He that hath begun a good work in you, will perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ; and Romans 8:38, 39, Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. For, says Jesus in John 10:28, I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand. For they (1 Peter 1:5,) are kept by the power of God, thro' faith, unto salvation; and Revelation 1:5, 6, Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. We vindicate the

     7th. "We believe that good works are the fruits of faith, and follow after justification, and that they only justify us in the sight of men and angels, and are evidences of our gracious state," from the following passages: 1 Peter 2:9, Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. James 2:18, 21, 22, A man may say thou hast faith, and I have works; shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Was not Abraham, our Father, justified by works, when he had offered Isaac, his son, upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works, was faith made perfect? 1 John 2:3 and 5 -- And hereby we do know him, if we keep his commandments. Who so keepeth his word, in him verily is the word of God perfected. Therefore, let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven. Matthew 5:16. We come now to substantiate the

     8th. "We believe that there will be a resurrection of the dead, and a general judgment; and that the happiness of the righteous, and the punishment of the wicked will be eternal." Acts 24:15 -- There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. John 5, 28, 29 -- The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth. The whole of the 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians proves this point. Acts 17:31 -- He hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained; for (John 5:22) the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son. 27 -- and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the son of man. Therefore (2 Corinthians 5:10,) we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body according to that he hath done, whether it he good or bad. 2 Thessalonians 1:7, 10. Matthew 25:42. -- When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. These shall go away into everlasting punishment, when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe. The righteous shall enter into life eternal. These are some of the most direct scriptures out of the very many that support the above fundamental and sublime doctrines, believed and maintained by the Georgia Association.

     We now advance some plain Bible proof of that gospel order observed by us.

     We notice the 1st Article. "We believe that the visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful persons who have gained fellowship with each other, and have given themselves up to the Lord and one another, and have agreed to keep up a godly discipline agreeable to the rules of the gospel." 1 Corinthians 1:2. -- The Church of God, sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints. 12:12, 13 -- As the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body being many are one body; so also is Christ, for by one spirit are we all baptised into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free, and have all been made to drink into one spirit. 1 John 1:3 -- truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ, and we have fellowship with one another; 7th, and have given one another (Galatians 2:9,) the right hands of fellowship to continue steadfastly (Acts 2:.42,) in fellowship. Ephesians 4:15, 16 -- Speaking the truth in love (so that we,) may grow up into him in all things which is the Head, even Christ, whom the whole body fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working; in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body, unto the edifying of itself in love. Hebrews 10:24, 25 -- To consider one another, to provoke unto love and to good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, but exhorting one another, 1 Thessalonians 5:11, to edify one another. (They make it their business to) warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble minded, support the weak, be patient towards all men, 14th verse. To acknowledge that Christ (Colossians 1:18,) is the Head of the body, the Church; that God (Ephesians 1:10,) in the dispensation of the fullness of times might gather together in one, all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, and give (22d) him to be the Head over all things to the Church. (Believing that the government of the Church is with the Body from the following passages) -- Matthew 18:15, 16, 17. 1 Corinthians 5:7. 2 Corinthians 6:14, 18. Galatians 6:1. James 5:20 -- If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fruit between thee and him alone; if he hear thee, thou past gained thy brother, but if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may he established; and if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church; but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican. Purge out, therefore, the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump. Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For, what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God, as he hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean, thing, and I will receive you, and will be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Brethren if a man he overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him, let him know that he which converteth a sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. See also the epistle of Christ to the seven churches, in the second and third chapters of Revelation.

     The 3d, 4th, and 5th articles read thus: -- "We believe that Water Baptism and the Lord's Supper, are ordinances of the Lord, and are to be continued till his second coming. That true believers in Jesus Christ are the only subjects of baptism, and that dipping is the mode. That none but regularly baptized church members have a right to communne at the Lord's Table." In vindication of these doctrine bring the following plain scriptures: -- Matthew 28:19, Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Mark 1:4, 5, and 9 -- John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; and there went unto him all the land of Judea, and they of Jerusalem and were all baptized of him in the River of Jordan confessing their sins. And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized of John in Jordan. Acts 2:38 and 41. Then Peter said unto them, repent and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized, and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. Acts 8:12 When they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized both MEN and WOMEN. 38th v. And they went down both into the water, both Philip and the Eunuch, and he baptized him. Romans 6:4. We are buried with him by baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead, by the glory of the Father; even so we also should walk in newness of life. 1 Corinthians 11:23, 24, 25, 26. The Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat, this is my body which is broken for you, this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner he took the cup when he had supped, saying, this cup is the New Testament in my blood, this do ye, as oft as ye drink it in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. 1 Corinthians 10:16, 17 -- The cup of blessing which the bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ! For we being many are one bread and one body, for we are all partakers of that one bread. 12:12, 13 -- for as the body is one and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have all been made to drink into one spirit. 1 Corinthians 5:7 -- Therefore, let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice, and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. We come now to the

     6th and last. "We believe that it is the duty of every heaven born soul to become a member of the visible church, to make a public profession of his faith, to be legally baptized, so as to have a right, to, and to partake of, the Lord's Supper, at every legal opportunity, through the whole course of his life."

     Whosoever will come after me (says the Saviour, Mark 8:34,) let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord -- 2 Corinthians 6:17. Acts 22:16 -- And be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. Mark 16:16 -- He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned. Acts 10:47, 48. Can any man forbid water that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized. We close by saying, blessed is that servant whom his Lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing. Matthew 24:46. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of live, and may enter in, through the gates into the city. Revelation 22:14.

     Our meeting has been numerously attended; about thirty-five ministers and preachers; perhaps from five to seven thousand hearers; many mourners; some confessed conversion; 1761 returned baptized.

     >Finally, brethren, farewell -- and may the Great Head of the Church make you and us truly humble, very thankful, bless, guide, direct, sanctify, and save., and fill the whole universe with streams of divine glory! Amen, Amen.
     JESSE MERCER, Moderator.
     J. P. MARSHALL, Clerk.
     In behalf of, and appointed by the Association to write and append this Circular.

[From Jesse Mercer, A History of the Georgia Baptist Association, Washington, GA., 1838. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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