Circular Letter, 1831
Franklin Baptist Association (KY)
Brethren S. M. Noel, William T. Webber, John Taylor, Jas. Ford, and Abraham Cook, were appointed a committee to write a Circular Letter to the Churches
The Franklin Association to the Churches of which it is composed –
tendereth Christian salutation.
BELOVED BRETHREN --
Through the munificence of our Heavenly Benefactor, we have been permitted to assemble at the time and place appointed. Our minutes will show you the business presented for our consideration, and the manner in which it was disposed of; and, in accordance with our usual practice, we address you the following letter. The letters from the Churches composing this body, generally, complain of barrenness in religious matters; but speak of a good degree of amity existing
among them. "Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren, to dwell together in unity" - and may the mighty God of Jacob so rule over us and dwell in us, that every step we take may be marked with humility and filial piety towards Him, who hath begotten us unto a lively hope, to be partakers of that rich inheritance provided for the Saints, by the superabundant goodness and meritorious atonement of the Immaculate Lamb of God. For when we were without strength, Christ, in due time, died for the ungodly; therefore, we should be careful not to let Sin reign in our members, nor to yield to the lusts thereof, but to live soberly, righteously and Godly, in this present world. We should not forget that the Apostle calls the Saints of the Most High, a chosen generation, a royal priesthood; and that obedience is due unto the precepts of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvellous light: He who was rejected of men - a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; who was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed.
Surely Brethren, such unmerited kindness demands, at our hands, unfeigned devotion; and we ought to feel a great satisfaction whenever we have an opportunity of convening with any part of the household of faith; where we can have a free and unreserved communication of our thoughts and feelings to each other, relative to the trials and difficulties to which we are incident while the soul is shrowded in a body of sinful flesh. And, in addition to all this, we have the assurance of God's promise, that where two or three are gathered together in His name, that he will be with them to bless them. This promise, beloved brethren, is admirably calculated to stimulate the Saints of the living God, to a regular and constant attendance at their Church meetings; and further, the Apostle directs the members of the Church riot to forsake the assembling of themselves together; and it is only in the way that God directs his people to go, that his disciples may, or ought, to expect to receive a blessing. Humility, brethren, is a christian virtue absolutely necessary to the peace and harmony of Zion; for it is only when this virtue is in full exercise ill the Church, that the members feel themselves in lowliness of mind, esteeming each other better than themselves. He that humbleth himself shall be exalted. For it is the humble christian alone who is sensible of his weakness: for St. Paul says, when I am weak then am I strong. The more humble, the more comfortable the christian feels. And brethren, as humility is so essential to the christian character, we may calculate with certainty, that Satan will exert his skill to decoy us from the heavenly path: for if he desired to have St.
Peter, strong in the faith, that he might sift him as wheat, what is it that he will not do to annoy the feeble lambs of the fold. But one thing affords abundant consolation, that is, let Satan roar and prowl around the Saints of Jesus as much as he may, although he may worry, yet he cannot destroy one feeble lamb. For their lives are hid with Christ in God, and when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory, and nothing shall separate the true believer from Christ - neither things present, nor things to come, nor heights, nor depths, nor principalities; nor powers; the malice of neither men or devils, with all the united powers of darkness combined, shall be able to pIuck them out of the hands of Him who is their judge, their Protector, their Father, and their Everlasting Friend: and when the Heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll, and the son and moon shall be darkened, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat - then shall the chosen of the Lord be put in complete possession of that inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away. Be ye, therefore, stedfast [sic] , immovable – always abounding in the work of the Lord - for as much as ye know that your labor shall not be in vain. Let us endeavor to fill our several stations in the Church, and in the world, in such a way that we may be as way marks to the honest inquirers, who may be asking the way to Zion; and by our examples of charity, sobriety, temperance, and holiness of life, shew that we have been redeemed from the spirit of the world, and are no longer captivated with the vanities thereof.
Finally, brethren, farewell. We commend you to God, the shepherd of Israel, and to the word of his Grace, who is able to build, you up in your most holy faith, and direct your feet in the way of holiness and peace, and finally, put you in possession of a crown of immortal felicity.
[From Franklin Baptist Association Minutes (KY), 1831, pp. 6-8; via SBTS Archives digital documents. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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