To the Churches of Which it is Composed. Sends Christian Salutations:
Dear Brethren, in the Lord -- as you will expect an address from us, at our annual meeting, in conformity to our usual custom, we take pleasure in gratifying your reasonable expectations, and have chosen, for the basis of our epistle, the important subject of missionary establishments.
When we take into consideration the state and, situation of mankind in general throughout the world it furnishes an extensive field for the Christian contemplation. Has not every Christian in this Gospel land the greatest reason to bless and adore Zion's King for having favored us above any nation on the earth; that he has not left us to roam the fields of nature without the advantages of civilization and education; but that we are highly favored of the Lord, in that we have the Gospel preached, in its purity, and have free access to the written revealed will of God, and every means necessary (agreeably to God's appointment) for the furtherance and advancement of the Gospel? Notwithstanding we are blessed in so peculiar a manner, there are thousands of the human race that are left in the wilds of nature on our frontiers with no other guide or direction than that of instinct, while many more who have the advantages of science among them are deprived of the blessings we enjoy, by their lots being cast in remote regions, where the blissful sound of salvation has but seldom, if ever, been proclaimed; in addition to these, there are almost innumerable multitudes who are led astray by the cunning artifices of fanatic teachers, who go about to establish their own righteousness, which is calculated to allure the world in general and, if it were possible, to deceive the very elect. Ought we not, brethren, who are so distinguishably favored, to try to unite our energies and use every means within the compass of our power for the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom, by establishing institutions, and casting our mites for the support of missionaries, who are willing to go forth and proclaim the joyful sound of salvation to the heathen, or any of the human family who shall be destitute of a preached Gospel, whether saint or sinner.
Who knows but the Lord will crown our attempts with success, in bringing sinners from darkness into light, and from the power of the anti-christian reign to the liberty of the true Gospel? Our brethren in many parts of the United States, and in Europe, have set us laudable examples and we have heard with inexpressible joy some of the success of their efforts. We have heard good news from Burmah, and that the Lord has blessed their labor in the conversion of some ignorant Hindoos, and our prayer is, that Zion's King may conduct their missions, and bless their efforts to the bringing of thousands of benighted inhabitants of the East to the true light and liberty of the Gospel.
While our brethren in different climes are thus engaged in trying to promote the Redeemer's cause and kingdom, shall we be idle, or shall we not rather unite our efforts and use every means in our power, and pray God to crown our attempts, to the bringing of thousands to the fold of Jesus; such as he will delight to own in the day when he maketh up his jewels?
The promulgation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ ought to be the ruling object of every Christian who wishes his fellow-beings well, or who has the cause of Zion at his heart. When our Savior was on earth he sent forth his disciples to proclaim salvation to the dying world.
The apostles, after his ascension, were zealously engaged in spreading the Gospel of their crucified Lord, and it appears that the labors of the apostles and their successors were blessed to the conversion of multitudes of the human family, and religion, while established on its true basis, flourished as far as the Gospel was proclaimed by those inspired teachers.
But we have to lament that the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth has been permitted, for wise purposes, to retard the progress of the glorious Gospel; and had not God in his providence prevented it, would have obliterated the name of Christians from the face of the earth. But the Lord had a remnant that had not bowed to the image of Baal, and in his own due time, began to work their deliverance. He has placed his appointed means (to deliver his children from under the tyrannic reign of Satan, and the anti-christian power) in the possession of his church, and when his appointed time arrives, the means will be blessed to the salvation of the bride, the Lamb's wife. We know not when, nor in what manner, the Lord designs to bring about his glorious work of grace; let us, therefore, exert our power and all the means in our possession, and look to the Lord to bless our endeavors.
Dear Brethren, be instant at the throne of Grace, pray God that he may send us more laborers into the work of the ministry, for truly the harvest is great and the laborers few; and now may the God of all grace so reign, rule, and overrule all our efforts and attempts to do the will of our glorious Redeemer in that way that shall best redound to his own honor and glory." STEPHEN GARD, Moderator R. Ayres, Clerk. ===============
[From Miami Baptist Association Minutes 1836. Document from the Miami Baptist Association Office, Cincinnati. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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