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By John Dale
To the Churches composing the Long Run Association of Baptist.
     DEAR BRETHREN: - It has been the good pleasure of the Lord to grant us another interview; for which favor, we desire grateful [sic] hearts to praise his adorable name. We rejoice to hear of the prospects among many of the churches for a glorious revival of the work of the Lord, and of the many precious souls who, since our last annual meeting, have been led by the holy spirit of God from the dark valley and shadow of death, to the marvelous light of the gospel, and the blessed kingdom of our Redeemer. Oh brethren, cease not to pray to the Lord for the conversion and salvation of the nations of the earth. Dear brethren, we wish to submit to you a few thoughts 011 the subject of watchfulness. No duty is more insisted on than this in the word of God. The importance of watchfulness arises from the fact, that the human heart is deceitful and desperately wicked; that we are attacked on all sides by the cunning craftiness of Satan, and the al[l]urements of a wicked world; these are all enemies to God, the advancement of his kingdom, and the peace and happiness of his children. The Redeemer, who knew the trials his people would have to grapple with, having been tempted in all points, like as we are, urged constantly the necessity of watchfulness and prayer. Nor shouId this duty he indifferently performed: we are to watch continually against every sin. Brethren, let us watch against degrading thoughts of God, or his divine perfections; or against any principles which will tarnish his glory, or sully the brightness of his attributes. Let us watch against unbecoming ideas of the glory or dignity of Christ, and the merits of his sufferings. Let us never forget the duty office and efficient work of the Holy Spirit in bringing lost sinners unto life, liberty, and the joys of salvation through the reconciling blood of our dear Redeemer. Let us watch against all the evils which arise from our own depraved and corrupt hearts - especially pride, which causes us to entertain high thoughts of ourselves, and consequently disqualifies us for fulfilling that noble duty, esteemteeing [sic] others better than ourselves, and in honor preferring one another in love; and particular, as Christ has said, he that exalts himself shall be abased. Let us watch against an undue regard for the pleasures, honors and vaid [?] fashions of the world; not fashioning yourselves according to the former lust in your ignorance, but crucify the flesh with the affections and lusts thereof, and be not high minded, but fear. Brethren watch against every species of intemperance, especially execess [sic] in the use of ardent spirits, which has been the downfall of so many, even of those who profess to be the deciples [sic] of Christ.
     Let us recollect the Saviour has said, no drunkard shall inherit or enter into the kingdom of Heaven. How many degrade themselves, their profession, and sink in the estimation of all the pious and in the sight of God beneath the brutes. May the Lord prevent and save the rising generation from this dreadful curse, and especially, all those that profess the religion of Christ. Above all things let us watch and guard against self, and deny it, taking up your crosses daily and following Christ - guard against covetousness, which is idolatry. Let us guard against that unruly member the tongue, and ever bear in mind the saying of the Apostle James, if any man among you seem to be religious and bridleth [sic] not his tongue, but deceiveth his own soul, that man's religion is vain. Let us guard over all our actions, and so conduct ourselves before our children, our neighbors, that they may take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus; thus shall we, by well doing, put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. And lastly, watch against a back sliding spirit. We are sorrounded [sic] by so many objects calculated to lead us from the Saviour and lead us into sin, and expose us to danger; we should give earnest heed to the admonitions of our Saviour, and not only watch, but watch and pray, least we enter into temptation, and in every thing give thanks. Dear fathers and mothers in Israel, are you drawing near the grave? Yes, you will soon leave the church below; then he active and strive to lead young converts in the road of New Testament discipline, that when you are removed to the church above, they may fill your places with dignity and propriety in the church below. And ye dear young converts who have lately enlisted for war, look to the captain of your salvation, and remember the exhortation of your Saviour, search the scriptures. Brethren, stand fast in the faith - be not shaken by every floating vapor or wind of doctrine - know nothing but Jesus and him crucified, and you shall ultimately be redeemed by his grace from a world of sorrow, of trials, persecutions and distress, and taken home to reign and rest with Him in glory. We must now bid you farewell. Shall we ever meet in the flesh again, and join in sweet converse about the goodness of God, the Lord knoweth; but should we meet no more on the shores of time - oh God, in the matchless name of Jesus, we pray thee, that we may all be qualified to meet in peace around thy throne in glory, with all the redeemed from sin and condemnation - to admire and adore the riches of that grace which is able to save us forever. Amen.

[From the Long Run Association of Baptist Minutes, 1834, pp. 3-4; via SBTS digital documents. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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