DEAR BRETHREN: - The time having arrived when you reasonably expect an annual circular, we enter upon the task of preparing it under a feeling sense of the peculiar difficulties in which our beloved Zion is involved. The past has been a year of unexampled spiritual declension in the church of Jesus Christ. Owing to the political excitement in which the country was involved immediately subsequent to the last meeting of your Association, the feeling of the great mass of the church were carried into the political spirit of the times. The consequence was that, while practices were tolerated in many of the churches at war with the Bible, the Lord has visited the churches with his displeasure; and therefore error and heresy has prospered, iniquity has abounded, and the love of many has waxed cold. Joined to this season of spiritual declension, other evils, and those too of the most alarming character, have threatened the church, arising from the excitement which has arisen upon the slavery question. The aggressive spirit of Abolitionism, which, with all its intolerence [sic], has been increasing for years, and which lately, under the milder aspect of gradual emancipation, has not only insinuated itself into the counsels of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions, thereby influencing them to pass decisions in direct violation of the Constitution of the Triennial Convention, and subversive of the rights of the churches in the slaveholding States, but has also insinuated itself to a certain extent, for the time being, into the press of our own beloved Commonwealth. The effect of all these combined evils upon the declining spirit of the churches, has been most paralyzing, and especially have the opinions avowed by our Board of Foreign Missions in their answer to the queries of the Alabama Convention, advanced the cause of infidelity and irreligion, and promoted the interest and elevated the pride of the Anti-Missionary Baptists. The foregoing is a brief description of the unfavorable influences of an irreligious character, which have been in operation during our past associational year; and the effect of which has overclouded with gloom our denominational prosperity, and which has brought mortification to the friends of the Redeemer. The question may now very reasonably be asked by the friends of the Redeemer, what remedies shall be applied? How is the cause of the Redeemer, entrusted to our care, to be extricated from the difficulties in which it is involved? These questions are forced more imperatively upon none of the lovers uf Jesu3, than upon the members of the
Long Run Association. Your Association has felt the pressure of this season of gloom, as evidenced by the letters from the churches, as much as any other department of our Zion. Joined to this, you occupy a more extended border line upon the free States than any other Association of Baptists. Here the struggle upon the slavery question has to be met. Here the evils arising from that subject have to be endured. Of course, to meet the evils which will necessarily arise in our bounds, it will be necessary, while we duly remember that the Lord reigneth, that we should nevertheless determine upon a course at once firm, dignified, and pious. First, beloved brethren, we should make common cause upon the subject of missions with our brethren of the South, and carry out, in all our benevolent efforts, tile spirit of the Resolutions of the Shelbyville Convention. Second, in place of having our prayers, efforts, and contributions for the salvation of the heathen of this and other lands decrease, we should increase them tenfold; and whilst remembering the heathen, and contending for our own rights against the aggressive arm of misrule, we should be attentive to the destitute in our borders. Let us then, brethren, become missionaries in our families, and in the domestic circle commend the religion of Jesus. Let us become missionaries in our neighborhoods, and impress by our intercourse in the associations of life, the religion of Jesus upon our neighbors. Let us become missionaries in our churches, and, as the brethren did of old, seek out the best gifts among us, and urge upon them improvement, and encourage them to engage in the labors of the pulpit, and thus brethren you may carry out in your Association the last instructions of Jesus - "Preach the gospel to every creature," and our beloved Zion may again be revived throughout the length and the breadth of our beloved country; and the interesting missions of the Baptist Church again become prosperous, and claim, as they once did, the approbation and sympathy of the whole civilized world. Brethren, farewell. May the God of all Grace sanctify and direct you to walk in Wisdom's ways, and may you be kept by his power through faith unto salvation.
The Long Run Association of United Baptists, to Corresponding Associations:
DEAR BRETHREN: - We rejoice in being permitted to address you once more by letter and messengers. By reference to these minutes, you will find the names of our messengers, whom we have appointed to meet with you and assist in your deliberations. Although we have to lament our coldness, and inefficiency in the dear Redeemer's cause, still we hope that the Lord is about gloriously to revive his work throughout the bounds of the Association. Several churches have recently enjoyed refreshing showers of divine grace from the presence of the Lord, and others are anxiously looking, and seeking for an out-pouring of the Divine Spirit.
Brethren, let your prayers ascend to the throne of heavenly grace, with ours, that the Lord will revive his work more abundantly in the church, that sinners may be converted - and become heirs of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. We feel a deep interest in the benevolent enterprizes of the present age; especially the A[merican]. I[ndian]. Mission Association, and the General Association, and an increasing interest for the Georgetown College.
For the statistics of the Association you are referred to our minutes.
Our next Association will be held at Elk Creek, Spencer county, and will commence on the first Friday in September, 1846.
Brethren! may the great head of the church guide, direct, and lead you by the gentle influences of his Holy Spirit, into all truth, is the prayer of your brethren.
W. C. BUCK, Moderator;
ISAAC McCoy, Clerk.
[From LONG RUN ASSOCIATION MINUTES, 1845, pp. 9-11; via SBTS digital documents. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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