The elders nnd messengers of the Campbell County Association of Regular Baptists, now in session with the church at Wilmington, to those brethren whom they represent, wish grace, mercy nnd peace, from God Our Father, and Lord Jesus Christ. Beloved brethren, various have been the topics submitted to you by the means of our circular letters - such as the "love of God," "love to the brethren," "duty of ministers" and members - all of which are subjects of interest to the disciple of Christ. Your attention is invited, at this time, to the subject of Christ's resurrection from the dead. We are apprised, that the limits of this letter will not admit of a full dvelopement of this all-absorbing subject: however, we remark, that the apostles were "slow of heart to believe all the Scriptures had said concerning Christ: how that he should die, be buried, rise again the third day; that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." Peter, as well as the rest of the disciples, appears to have had his eye on an earthly kingdom; therefore he says to his master, Behold, we have left all,and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? The Savior made him a very liberal promise, which pleased him, no doubt, but he did not understand it: for when the Roman soldiers and chief priests came to take him before the sanhedrim, Peter was more disposed to fight than to surrender. In fine, the whole company of the disciples of Jesus, male and female, were disappointed when Jesus was crucified. Fear and consternation seized them all. Peter acted the coward now, and they all fled. Even on the day of his resurreclion, while two of them were going from Jerusalem to Emmaus, they spake of his death as a complete frustration of all their hopes. "We expected" said they, "that he would have redeemed Israel." But, alas! we are disappointed: he has not redeemed Israel, was their conviction at the moment. A temporal
redemption was their expectation; and as for his resurrection from the dead, so far from plotting any story about it, it was the farthest thought from their mind. The female disciples were preparing to embalm the body, when they found the grave empty; and when they told the disciples that "the Lord was risen indeed," their "words seemed as idle tales, and they believed them not." Now this being the expectation of these witnesses, as every well authenticated document on earth will prove - to suppose them guilty of stealing the body away by night, is to betray the grossest ignorance of the whole history of the times, of the nation, and the circumstances by which they wore surrounded. "Ye have a guard, make it as strong as yo will." Nothing can bo more plain, than when Joseph the senator, petitioned the governor for the body, and interred it, the hopes and prospects of the disciples, as respected worldly office, wore buried in the same grave. Hence the incredulity of all the apostles at first hearing of his resurrection, and the stubborn incredulity of Thomas, who happened to be absent when the Lord appeared to the others. I will not believe, said he. 1 would not believe my own eyes: for unless I handle him, and thrust my fingers into the print of the nail holes, I will not, I cannot believe. But a single sight of Jesus overcame all his resolutions, and he is constrained to acknowledge "My Lord and my God!" Paul, the apostle, was not one of the original twelve. He was not chosen to be a companion of Jesus - nor an eye, nor an ear-witness of what he said and did; but was separated unto the gospel of God, after the resurrection of Christ, for the purpose of bearing his name among the gentiles, and preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ. We shall hear him declaring to his brethren at Corinth the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead; for it appears he had been accustomed to declaring these things in their hearing previously. "Moreover", says he, "I declare nnto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand, by which, also, ye are saved; for I delivered unto you, first of all, that which I also received - how that Christ died for our sins
according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve; after that he was seen by above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain unto this present; but some have fallen asleep." The apostle here affirms the fact, and appeals to these witnesses.
Now for the argument derived from the evidence submitted. To estimate the weight of this, let it be remembered, that Paul had some bitter enemies in Corinth. These were the old Sadducean teachers, who denied the existence of angels, spirit, or future state. Now, as the opposers of the apostle, they would be disposed to detect, if possible, any error, weakness, flaw, or falsehood, in the argument. Mark well the apostle: "Now, if Christ be preached, that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection?" Surely, in the polished city of Corinth which Cicero says was the "eye of all Greece" - surely, we say, if Paul is vulnerable - if what he has said on this subject is false - if his arguments are not conclusive - the "eye of Greece will see it; and they will tell it too to the end of the world. But, at my first entrance into your city, did I not proclaim the resurrection of Christ? did I not prove it? and did you not believe it? "Behold, I show you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed: for this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality: so that the saying that is written may be brought to pass - death ia sallowed up in victory." O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin - the strength of sin is the law - but, thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that our labor is not in vain in the Lord."
[From Campbell County Baptist Association Minutes, 1837, pp. 6-8. The document is from the Campbell County Historical Society Library, Alexandria, KY. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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