FIRST ANNUAL SESSION OF THE LIBERTY ASSOCIATION OF UNITED BAPTISTS
Circular Letter, 1840
Liberty Baptist Association
By J. M. Pendleton
[Meeting at Mount Tabor Baptist Church, Barren County, Ky.]
Dear Brethren: -
We are much gratified to inform you that the first meeting of the Liberty Association has been characterized by a spirit of christian love and union. Our deliberations have been harmonious, and every important resolution has been passed with unanimity. We trust that we devoutly realize the import of the inspired exclamation, "Behold how good and pleasant a thing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity." May we ever enjoy this "unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." How different the proceedings of this Association from those of the Green River Association last year. There all was confusion and distraction. Here all is harmony and love. There an effort was made to fetter our consciences in religious matters. Here we are permitted to serve God according to the requisitions of his word. We felicitate ourselves and congratulate you on the favorable change which has taken place. The causes of our secc[e]ssion from
the Green River Association are familiar to you. We need not repeat them. We will only say that the high estimate we place on religious liberty has led us to protest against ecclesiastical tyranny and flee from its power. You are aware, dear brethren, that many unkind remarks have been made in relation to us, because we have dared to act independently, and maintain rights which we deem sacred. A part of our anti-mission brethren have denounced us - they have misrepresented us - they have cast out our names as evil, considering us the offscouring of all things: but let us indulge no revengeful feeling. Let us return good for evil, blessing those who persecute us. We are the disciples of him who when he was reviled, reviled not again, and who, when he suffered threatened not. May we ever bear with patience and meekness the injustice that is done us, "rejoicing in the testimony of our consciences that in simplicity and godly sincerity we have our conversation in the world." Our time is too short and too valuable to be spent (even if it were allowable) in retaliating the injuries we receive. Every moment should be profitably employed. We have much to do. We are engaged in the work of the Lord. This work is to be carried on through the agency of the church. Look round you, brethren, and see many portions of your own country comparatively destitute of the preaching of the gospel. Surely such destitution calls alound [sic] for home mission effort. Take also a survey of heathen lands, involved in superstition and idolatry - clad in robes of moral darkness - listen to the last command of the king of Zion, preach the gospel to every creature. Then you will see the importance and grandeur of the Foreign Mission
enterprise; and with your prayers and pecuniary contributions, aid in the prosecution of that enterprise. How little have we done for him who bowed his head in death for our redemption. Let shame mantle our cheeks, and "Let the love of Christ, in its sacred energy, constrain us to [blur] to ourselves, but to him who died for us and rose again. Let us be faithful unto death, which will be the period of our release from labor in the vinyard [sic] of the Lord. That period is not remote, and upon its arrival we will in rapture ascend to the right hand of God, to rest from the toils of earth and participate in the enjoyments of heaven. Animated by considerations like these, let us be steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as we know that our labor is not in vain in the Lord. With brotherly affection, farewell.
JACOB LOCK, Moderator.
RICHARD GARNETT, Clerk.
[From Liberty United Baptist Association Minutes, 1840, pp.6-8; via SBTS Archives digital documents. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
More Kentucky Circular Letters
Baptist History Homepage