CIRCULAR LETTER, 1831
Written by Moses Scott
Middle Creek Baptist Church
Boone County, Kentucky
Our minutes herewith sent will inform you what has been done, as heretofore, so now, our business has been done in that spirit of harmony and love so highly recommended in the Gospel, and so strongly and frequently urged by the Apostles in their addresses to the churches. Such as, "Let brotherly love continue -- be of one mind -- that ye all mind the same things -- let nothing be done through strife and vain glory, but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem other better than themselves -- let all your things be done with charity -- bear ye one another[']s burdens -- sub- mitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God -- let your moderation be known unto all men -- be patient toward all men -- forbearing one another and forgiving one another -- confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another -- let us therefore follow after peace, and things wherewith one may edify another -- that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God. Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children and walk in love -- having the same love -- being of one accord, of one mind."
Dear Brethren, these are some of the many exhortations and admonitions given by the apostles of our Lord and Saviour, to the church of Christ, and seems to have a special application to his followers in all ages of the world, and the preservation of unity appears to be the design, "endeavouring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bonds of peace." We do not brethren, call your attention to these things because you do not know them, but because you do know them, and we do hope and trust, that, to the exercise of them in some good degree, is to be attributed, that general peace which you as churches have enjoyed, and for which you appear to be so thankful, but we desire, that in the exercise of them, as well as every other christian grace, ye would increase and abound more and more. To the same source we would attribute, that peace, harmony and love which we as an association have enjoyed for twenty-eight years, and for which we embrace the present opportunity of publicly expressing one [our?] unfeigned thanks to him who is the author of peace, to him who hath power, not only, to calm the boisterous sea, and check the raging storm, but also to quell the tumultuous passions of our corrupt nature, and soothe the mind once oppressed with a sense of guilt and condemnation, into peaceful tranquillity and sweet repose. To him, who hath, not only made of one blood, all nations for to dwell upon the face of the earth, but hath and will make of all nations one people, by one spirit, not always to dwell on the face of the earth, nor in his church militant, but a better country, a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. To him who is, not only the light of that city, but who shall also feed them, and lead them into living fountains of water. To him who hath the keys of death and of David, and can set to his church an open door which no man can shut.
To God the only wise, be all the glory and all the praise, for the ordinances of his church, the graces of the spirit, the order of his house, and the fellowship of the saints; thus brethren, in calling your attention to some of the christian duties, in the exercise of which, or in other words, when carried out into acts of faith and obedience flowing from a principle in the renewed mind of love to God, union, harmony, peace and love may not only be expected but felt and experienced, and have also adverted to the motive or moving principle of action. To the same principle of action we think the apostle alludes, when he says to his Thessalonian brethren "But as touching brotherly love, ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another." Here is one instance among many of that great "Apostle of the Gentiles," acknowledging the inferiority, the impotency of his teaching, when compared with the heavenly instructions mentioned in the text, tho' of human teachers he was not "a whit behind the very Chiefest." Here, in the midst of his zealous, and Godly exhortations and admonitions, our apostle, all of a sudden, seems to be impressed with sensations similar to those of Solomon at the dedication of the temple, and which produced the awfully grand and sublime expressions recorded of that transaction. Here Solomon, the king of Israel in the midst of the court of this exceedingly magnificent building, ascends his brazen scaffold erected for the occasion, while all Israel stood before him, arrayed in all the habiliments of royalty, and surrounded by all the splendor of human greatness, he kneels down, spreads forth his hands toward heaven, and having first adverted to his own establishment upon the throne of his father David, seems all of a sudden to have been deeply impressed with a sense of the word of the Lord, by the mouth of the Prophet, "Heaven is my throne and earth is my footstool, what house will ye build me saith the Lord, or what is the place of my rest;" for said he, "But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth, behold the heaven, and heaven of heavens, cannot contain thee, how much less this house which I have built." Here, it would appear, that Solomon, his house, together with all his greatness, sunk in an instant as it were in his own estimation into insignificance when compared with the greatness, the power and glory of the majesty he addressed, or, presented for acceptance, to him who is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. To the existence, the prevalent efficacy and exclusive exercise of this power, does our apostle allude, where he tells his brethren , that they are taught of God to love one another, thus brethren, we contemplate our apostle, actively engaged for many years in endeavoring as it were to erect a spiritual house upon earth, in which might be offered spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ, or, in other words, zealously employed in publishing salvation to sinners through the redemption that there is in Christ Jesus, preaching night and day, repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, putting forth all his energies and all his talents, and that through perils of various kinds, and in much weakness, exerting all his strength as though the cause was all his own, frequently and feelingly advert to the existence and exercise of a power that he could not weild, and to which he attributed all his success. A sense of this prevented his being lifted up with spiritual pride, or self importance: but had he lacked this consciousness, his unparalleled success must have done both; considering the yet existence of carnal appetites, of which he often complained. Paul was a learned man and a philosopher, yet he seldom used either, believing it to be more congenial to the design of the gospel, to confound the wisdom and learning of this world, by the plain doctrines of the cross, tho' possessed of great attainments no man appears to have thought less of himself. Indeed, he was humble to the lowest step of condescension and abasement, insomuch, that he used an unusual combination of words to express it, "less than the least;" thus we see this man even possessing supernatural gifts, refer[r]ing all his success to that power, that can open the ears of the deaf, so that they shall hear the words of the book.
To him, who can cause the blind to see out of obscurity and out of darkness. To him, who causes the meek of the earth, to increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men to rejoice in the holy one of Israel. But does our apostle in this state of humility and under a sense of his own impotance, cease to be active, or tell the church or its members that they have nothing to do, that they are rich, and have need of nothing -- far from it, but having attributed his success to the efficacy of the holy spirit of God, invoking his aid, and relying on his strength, he fearlessly goes forth into the Gentile world, and in the name of his master commands all men every where to repent; while he ceaseth not to declare unto the church, the whole council of God, beseeching and exhorting them to every good word, and work, and to increase in love and more; love to the brethren is so inseparably connected with love to God, that he that loveth God, loveth his brother also, and is seized upon as a criterion by which we may examine ourselves, whether we have passed from death unto life; he exhorts, to give all diligence to ascertain that fact, and in so doing, an abundant entrance shall be administered unto such, into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Brethren, farewell, be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace and the God of peace shall be with you. Amen.
ROBERT KIRTLEY, Moderator. WILLIS GRAVES, Clerk.
(The grammar and spelling are unchanged; insertions are in [ ].) Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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