Elder Jacob Creath Jr. reported a Circular letter, which was read and re-committed to Brethren Jacob Creath Jr., Jeremiah Vardeman, and J. T. Johnson, who in some short time reported a Circular Letter, which was read and unanimously adopted, as follows,
The brethren and churches composing the Elkhorn Association, avail themselves of the pleasing task of again addressing you by circular letter. The friendly feelings which brought this body into existence are highly honorable to the Christian character, and afford the best opportunity for strengthening those bonds of love and friendship which characterize those who profess the one faith, the one hope, and the one baptism. There is a joy in meeting with our brethren from distant sections of the country, which can only be realized by those who have tasted that the Lord is gracious. When we meet and mingle together in the spirit of the gospel, the best feelings of our hearts are roused into action, and all the Christian virtues are brought to, and concentrated in, that great cause which brought the seed of life and glory into the world. This spirit renews our energies; and those who participate in our exercises and labours, return to their brethren with redoubled vigour, and to their respective churches, and are prepared to bear an humble part in promoting that holy religion, whose founder is the only begotten Son of God, and which will shine brighter and brighter until the world shall be illuminated by its heavenly rays.
We entreat you by all that is lovely and heavenly, and by the sacred truths of which we profess to be witnesses, that you be prayerful, watchful and diligent in the discharge of every christian duty. Not with the feelings of the former Pharisee, but with that devotion and humility which is peculiar to those who have passed from death unto life. Let us exhort you to pray without ceasing. The neglect of this indispensable duty has been the cause of many professors going to their graves with mourning and heaviness. When the Christian yields to the imaginary difficulties which surround him, and avoids
prayer, he is then in danger of being overcome by temptation, and of undoing his own soul.
But, brethren, let us remember that it is not enough for us to keep our garments unspotted from the world. We are, made for society. We owe duties to our fellow men. Our redeemer came into the world to redeem man from the dominion of sin. This he does by changing his character, and giving him a relish for pure and heavenly joys. Without such a change, he will forever grovel in the dust, and cling to earlh. He will choose this world for his portion; will live like the beasts that perish, and die almost as thoughtless as they of his future destination. Can we behold our fellow creatures thus sinking, in rapid succession, into a world of despair, and not raise a finger for their rescue? Can we be so selfish, so destitute of the benevolent spirit of the gospel, as to be satisfied with our own safety and our own salvation, and not to care for the misery and wretchedness of others? No; let us feel the stirrings of generous sympathy. Let us awake to the wants and woes of our fellow creatures.
As there is now great agitation in society, we entreat the . brethren to be cautious in taking improper and unwarrantable liberty with the character of those who may differ from them in sentiment, and with whom we stand connected by the strongest ties and obligations. We should remember that in all cases of difficulty and grievance, there are proper tribunals to which we may resort for satisfaction, to which each individual member is accountable for his sentiments and practice; and that these tribunals are accessible to all who subscribe to the tenets of the general union. We exhort the brethren therefore to let their moderation be shown unto all men, and to bear one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever tilings are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, and whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, it there be any praise, think on these things. And may the God of love and peace be with you. Amen.
[From Elkhorn Bapitst Association Minutes, 1829. The document is from Southern Baptist Historical Library & Archives, Nashville, TN and was provided by Stephen duBarry. — jrd]
Elkhorn Association Circular Letters
Baptist History Homepage