The Long Run Association to the churches composing her body: DEAR BRETHREN: - We avail ourselves of the fact that we are "an advisory council," by way of inviting your prayerful attention to some suggestions on the subject of Christian responsibility; which we present with the sincere desire that God's blessing may attend them, and reader them highly promotive of his declarative glory. An Apostle has said, "Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." The obligation resting upon us, in view of the price paid for our redemption, is inconceivably great. If we could fix an estimate on the infinite sacrifice.made on the Cross, we might see the extent of our obligation. Suffice it to say, we are called upon to do all for Christ, which he has enjoined upon us in his word; and that individual who is satisfied with a partial conformity to God's revealed will, may well doubt his acceptance with God; and need not wonder that he walks in darkness, having but little of the Divine presence.
Our Heavenly Father, instead of removing us in early conversion to a "kindlier clime," has left us in the world, that we may do good; having spread out before us an extensive field of usefulness, and furnished every facility for the accomplishment of the work assigned us. In addition to this, he has so happily blended our duty and interest, that his people have ever found, that "in keeping his commandments there is great reward." They have also found that disobedience "pierces them through with
many sorrows." We might urge upon you, dear brethren, "an upright walk and Godly conversation," in all the vicisitudes of life; so that others might be constrained through your example, to follow Christ. This is affectionately and earnestly recommended; knowing that in so doing, you will both save yourselves and those around you. But we wish to appeal to you chiefly with reference to your identity with this age of benevolent action. You live in eventful times. Various institutions are being originated under Divine sanction, for the amelioration of the condition of our race. God is showing his approval of these arrangements by crowning them with his gracious blessing. We rejoice to know, brethren, that you have not stood still, contented with witnessing the rapid diffusion of light and truth through the agency of others, but have been engaged to some extent in contributing your efforts to the furtherance of the glorious cause. Permit us, however, to propound the solemn question, (and we would do it in view of the approaching Judgment,) have you done all that has been required at your hands? Have you done all that you might have done without the least detriment to your temporal interests? Have you in all cases followed the dictates of conscience on this subject? We feel constrained to say to you, in the name of the Lord, you have not. "It is required of a man according to that which he hath." This is not only the rule on earth, but will be the rule in the day of Judgment. As you hope to stand acquitted in that dread day, awake to this subject, and let your serious, prayerful inquiry be, "Lord what wilt thou have me to do?" As an incentive to zealous action, O, think of the extended fields all abroad that are "already ripe to the harvest." Think of the millions of immortal beings who sit in the "region and shadow of death," without Bibles - without the living ministry - without Christ - without hope and without God in the world. It will not do coldly to: speculate about whether the heathen can be saved without the gospel. God has never authorized such a course. His language is, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." You know that the gospel "is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth," and while there remains a doubt as to salvation without it, O, send it to the remotest parts of the habitable globe. Great indeed is the responsibility devolved upon us with regard to this matter. May God suitably affect our hearts, and lead us faithfully to perform our Christian duties!
We would now invite your attention to the Temperance reformation, which, under God's fostering care, is blessing mankind, and promises still further to contribute to the happiness of our race. We have abundant cause for devout thanksgiving, that so much has been accomplished in this department. But "there remaineth much land to be possessed." The groanings of broken-hearted females - the weeping and wailing of defenseless children - the extreme degradation of thousands wio were "made but a little lower than the angels," as they stagger downward to a drunkard's fearful doom - the murders and other enormous crimes that are committed under the influence of intoxicating drinks, with all the train of ills accompanying their use, appeal to every Christian, saying - "come to the rescue." And then, alas, the harrowing reflection that there are some in almost all our churches who, while they recognize and claim the guidance of God's Holy Spirit, are kuown to be often under the influence of the deadly draught, to the dishonor of the cause of Christ, and the wounding of the hearts of their brethren, makes the heart sicken, and calls forth the deep-drawn sigh in view of the ravages of the fell destroyer. Lives there a Christian in all
Long Run Association, who can think for a moment of what ardent spirits have done to curse the world and stigmatize the Church of Jesus Christ, and remain unmoved? Ah, brethren, remember that in the Great Day, you will be required to answer for all your responsibilities. It is in vain for any Christian to seek to shield himself from the obligation to "total abstinence," upon the score of ardent spirits' being "a good creature of God," and "ought to be received with thanksgiving." No "good creature of God" can be tolerated, which commits so fearful ravages among the fairest portion of his creation. "God made man upright, but man has sought out many inventions," among which was the method of extracting from grain, &c., (designed by the Almighty to feed his creatures,) the means of destroying both soul and body in hell. As mankind are instigated to evil by "the Father of Lies," the best appellation that can be given to strong drink is "bad creature of the devil." It is one of the devil's chief instruments by which to people his dark domains.
And will not every Christian do what he can to arrest the tide of woe? Will any child of God encourage by his example the use of an article that has done more to curse mankind than war, pestilence and famine?
We do not ask you, brethren, to connect yourselves with the Temperance Society. This we leave for you to decide upon for yourselves. But we appeal to our brethren all, imploring them by the tears and sighs of widows and orphans, and by the vows that are upon them, "to do good to all men as they have opportunity," that they "touch not, taste not, handle not the unclean thing;" and that they use all laudable means to discourage the use of it among others. And shall our appeal be vain? Nay verily! For we have so much confidence in the intelligence and piety of our denomination generally, that we will indulge the pleasing hope of a response in manv a brother's heart. Sisters, too, we appeal to you. Let your unbounded influence over the sterner sex prompt you to aid in dissuading from the use of the deedly poison. Be faithful to your God, and true to your own best interests, and you may accomplish much in this noble enterprise. ============[From Long Run Baptist Association Minutes, 1853. From the Southern Baptist Seminary Library, Archives and Special Collections, Louisville, KY. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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