The North-Bend Association of Baptists, met at Dry Creek, Campbell County, Ky. the third Friday in August, 1828.
To the Churches of which we are composed, Grace, mercy and peace, from God our Father, and Jesus Christ our Lord.
BELOVED BRETHREN IN THE LORD:
The revolving scenes of another year have again brought us together as an Association. With reverence and humility let us adore our heavenly Father for preserving us through the various toils of anothe year, and affording us the pleasure of seeing and uniting with many of our kindred in Christ; in the work and worship of the Lord. Although we have not had the happiness of receiving the interesting intelligence of a general outpouring of the holy spirit in the conversion of sinners; yet we rejoice to hear that some of our churches have been blessed with a display of divine grace in causing sinners to bow to the sceptre of King Immanuel. A sufficient number have been added to call forth our praise and gratitude to our God for the tokens of his goodness, continued to us; yet a large portion of our letters are filled with mourning; and complaining that they are barren and unfruitful, that the presence of the Lord seems to be withdrawn from them: — O, Brethren, why is it thus? God is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever; the cause must rest with us. Let us set forward with renewed resolutions. In our journey through life, we are exhorted to press forward; there is no place for standing still. Again, it is represented by a race. We are told so to run, that we may obtain. Now, we know that Salvation is alone of grace, for it is "by grace we are saved;" but we should let our works testify that our faith is not dead.
Dear Brethren — Matter of praise and adoration cannot be wanting to those that are redeemed of the Lord, if they look impartially around them, althogh they are not always rejoicing in his love. God in his providence permits us to pass through scenes that are trying, as well as those that are comforting. In every situation, we should submit with reverence to the will of our heavenly Father, humbly relying on his parental care to guide, direct, and protect us in our journey here below.
Beloved Brethren — Search the scriptures. A proper knowledge of the relations existing between us and our God, cannot be had without some correct views of his divine character, and also of our own. God must be known as a being infinite, and eternal, possessed of every moral excellence; as our Redeemer and our Judge. We must also know ourselves as accountable beings, capable of enjoying eternal happiness, or enduring endless misery, and that we are dependent on God for every blessing we enjoy; hence we perceive our obligations of obedience, of love and of reliance on him.
Another Christian duty, and indeed a very high privilege, is prayer to God. Do we pray in our families, in secret, for one another, and for our enemies. It requires much meekness and humility to pray for our enemies, to indulge resentment towards them, is beyond doubt a sinful frame of mind; whenever a sense of injury is awakened by any untoward circumstance, instead of revenging ourselves, we should immediately go to the throne of grace. Stephen prayed for his enemies amidst a shower of stones — our Saviour in the agonies of death said, "Father forgive them; for they know not what they do."
Time is precious beyond all calculation: Its flight is rapid and resistless. Infinite consequences beat in every pulse. Eternity is just before us. The compass of human life is but a span, yet short as it is, in it the great preparation for eternity must be done or remain undone forever. Hence we perceive the propriety of a careful attention to Religion, for it is the source of all true happiness, and parent of all our virtues. It sweetens our journey through this vale of sorrows, and opens up a cheering prospect of eternal felicity beyond the grave. Influenced by this divine principle, Paul and Silas could rejoice whilst their feet were fastened in the stocks. The martyrs could shout victory amidst the flames — The saints will triumph when the last trump shall summon the living and the dead to the bar of God, and finally enter into the joys of their Lord. We bless God that peace and unity have abounded amongst us since we have been together, and that in all our deliberations a spirit of love has prevailed. And now dear brethren, we commend you to God and the Word of his Grace, which is able to save you, and to give you an inheritance amongst all them that are sanctified in light. Farewell.
[From Northbend Baptist Association Minutes, 1828. The grammar and spelling are unchanged. — Jim Duvall]
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