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Circular Letter, 1851
Long Run Baptist Association (KY)
Elder G. R. LePage of Taylorville

To Honor Christ, Our Object

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To the Churches composing the Long Run Association:
BELOVED BRETHREN - As it has been a custom with the Baptists as "far as the memory of man runneth back," to address a Circular Letter to the churches composing an Association; and although, from time to time, attempts have been made to dispense with this practice, yet is it so dear to us as a denomination, that we soon "inquire for the old paths and walk therein." It is with pleasure that we receive and peruse a letter from a very dear friend or relation; and does not the Association occupy this relation to every member composing and making her body? We so conclude. - Yet we fear that but little good (comparatively) is done by our meeting in an associated capacity, or by the letter addressed to the churches. Do we not too often meet together in the Association and churches, without having in view the glorious object which ought to fill every mind and claim all our attention - the promotion, the exaltation of the glorious name of our divine Master, and the advancement of his glorious kingdom. Dear brethren, we would advise and exhort you ever to have before your minds the object which influenced the divine mind to call you from darkness to light, - "that you might know him whom to know is life eternal." - that you might serve him with full purpose of heart - that you might "love him who first loved you." - Now can we know him or love him aright, if he is not the great object that fills and influences our hearts? Can we expect to receive the divine benediction unless we seek it? Can we expect that Christ "will manifest himself unto us as he does not unto the world," when the world, and the cares, the troubles thereof, are the only objects that fill our minds - when we universally come into the temple where "his honor dwelleth," without one thought that "thou, God, seest me?"

Now, what object should we ever have before our minds as an incentive to activity? Why, Jesus Christ is the great central object that claims, fills, and occupies the attention of the whole intellectual world above. God manifested in the flesh - his love - his obedience - his death - the atonement made - the wonders of redemption - his intercessions - his mediations, and the glorious results on a sin ruined world, are themes and objects that will continue to occupy the minds of angels, and of all the blood-washed throng, with wonder and amazement, throughout the endless ages of eternity. Should they not claim our full attention in time? What is time compared with eternity? - Not one sand compared with the balance that fills and makes up the world. But what is man's life (the time allotted to him upon this world) compared with time itself, but a day? Is it not important, then, that we should work whilst it is called to-day, since the night of death cometh when no man can work? Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, our Lord. To be like-minded with Christ, we must have the same object in view, to glorify God the Father on earth - to show him forth and make a display of his love, mercy and truth in the person of his adopted sons and daughters. "Ye are not your own; ye are bought with a price." - Yet we live as though we were our own. How selfish we are - we cling to the fleeting things of life as though we should live always. What attempts to pass well with the world! Who could bear the removal of the drapery that covers his heart and expose the thoughts of his mind? The reason is, because our minds are occupied by a false object. If our souls were fit temples for the indwelling of the Spirit of God, then would the contemplation of the wonders of the cross of Christ be the grand object that would fill our sonls, and its influence would be felt in holy activity in onr divine
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Master's cause. Then when we went to his house to worship, we would realize his promise, "I am in the midst." Then, when at the throne of grace, we would have an object in view, and again realize the promise, "Ye shall receive." Then would the cause of the Lord shine about Zion. Then would Christ "see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied." Then would sons and daughters be born to the living God, and the kingdom of Christ be set up in our hearts. Then would you be filled with joy and peace in the Holy Ghost. Then, and not till then, will you answer the end and object had in view by the divine mind in your "heavenly calling." For then will the benevolent spirit that influenced Jesus, who went about doing good, who sacrificed so much, also influence yon to make some sacrifices for the promotion of the name, honor, and dignity of "Immanuel, God with us," in the advancement of his kingdom on earth. And now, brethren, farewell.
W. P. BARNET, Moderator.
S. VANATTA, Clerk.
[From Long Run Baptist Association Minutes, 1851. From the Southern Baptist Seminary Library, Archives and Special Collections, Louisville, KY. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall]

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