To the Brethren and Churches composing the Franklin Association.
Under the kind auspices of Providence, your letters of correspondence and your messengers have been received and united in an associated capacity; and we rejoice and thank God for all the pleasing intelligence which you have been permitted to communicate; and we would most deeply sympathise with you in the afflicting dispensations with which an all-wise Ruler has visited you, and hope that they may be converted into blessings, by the sanctifying influence of the Divine Spirit.
Brethren, suffer us to exhort and advise you all, in the language of inspiration, to "lay aside all malice, and guile, and strife, and evil speaking, and as new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word." With humble spirits and prayerful hearts, let us all betake ourselves, with renewed industry, to the perusal of God's holy word; remembering that while but a small portion is devoted to our instruction in doctrine, we have line upon line and precept upon precept, to inculcate and impress, the practical duties of our blessed religion. Let us be solemnly impressed that not by our professions, but by our fruits we shall all be judged in that great and trying day, when-God shall come in his power arid glory; to pass his sentence of approval or condemnation upon our world; and let us ever remember that they who enter into eternal life are to be followed by .their works.
Standing upon the border of the expiring year, let us look back and consider all the causes which have produced coldness or sinfulness in our own hearts, or which have led to schism or disturbance in our churches; arid let us sincerely deplore these causes, and mourn over these effects, and while we draw the broad mantle of charity over them, let us fervently implore the God of mercy to pity and forgive.
From the same position, brethren, let us review those agencies and means which seem to have received the blessing of God, and under the Divine smiles have promoted the prosperity of his church, the glory of his cause, and the welfare of his creatures. Let us
pour out our souls in gratitude and thanksgiving to God for these blessings, and by all which we can do or say, let us continue these means and increase these influences; humbly trusting that the same God who has blessed them heretofore, will continue more abundantly to prosper them in future.
And during the year which is just opening before us, let us be characterized by a more punctual attendance upon the ministrations of God's sanctuaries; by more humble and fervent application at the throne of his grace, and by the more punctual observance of all the duties which distinguish the Christian character, and more careful wearing all the graces which adorn it.
And may the God of all grace guide, govern, and direct, and finally save us all, is our prayer, for Jesus' sake.
[From Franklin Baptist Association Minutes, 1841, pp 7-8. This document is from the Kentucky Historical Society Library, Frankfort, KY. - jrd]
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