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Circular Letter, 1862
Elkhorn Baptist Association (KY)

Brotherly Love
By R. T. Dillard

      To the Churches of the Elkhorn Association

      DEAR BRETHREN: - We propose in this letter to address a few words for your consideration on the all important subject of Brotherly Love. The Psalmist, in 133 Psalm, exclaims: "Behold how good and how pleasant it is, for Brethren to dwell together in unity." The present condition of society, - both religiously, politically and socially, -

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demands at the hands of all the followers of Jesus Christ, the most prayerful considerations of the topic proposed for your consideration.

      The christian system is essentially one of Love, - Love to God and man. We may become great philianthropists in the sight of man, by bestowing our goods to feed and clothe the poor, but we can not be good christians without love to God also.

      The Psalmist introduces the subject with a note of admonition: "Behold! Look at the brethren! see how they love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples when ye have love one for another. There are many things good, but not pleasant and many things pleasant, but not good. Medicine is good for the sick, but not pleasant. Correction is good for children, but not pleasant. Also, sin is pleasant to the wicked, but it is not good. The unsatifying pleasures of the earth are pleasant to the dissolute, but they are not good for him nor promotive of his eternal welfare. But DWELLING TOGETHER IN UNITY is both good and pleasant to the true christian. Good, because its tendency is, to conform more and more to the image of the blessed Saviour; and causes him to make rapid advances in the Divine life. Pleasant, because, tasting the goodness of God, through nor [our] Lord Jesus Christ, he is made to delight in the love of God - becoming sweeter than honey and the honey comb to his spiritual taste. The service of God is the spiritual atmosphere he inhales; the garden of spices, in which he delights to wander; the fountain of cool waters, by which he loves to walk - in a word, to do God's will, is his meat and his drink.

      The Text, perhaps, has reference to a well ordered family - dwelling together in love, - keeping the unity of the spirit in the love of peace. Such should be the Church - continually holding forth the lamp of life to the poor and lost of earth by dwelling together in unity.

      A Church thus united is like the oil of consecration upon the head of Aaron, which ran down his beard and garments, smooth and fragrant, brightening the countenance of God's great High Priest; and as iron sharpeneth iron, so does the countenance of a man his friend.

      Christian unity is like the dew of Hermon and the mountains of Zion, gently descending, softly falling on the tender herbage, sweetly infolding the lovely flowers and ripening the delicious fruits; and, above all. "there the Lord commanded the blessings - even life forevermore."

      In view of these precious words, dear Brethren, let us all, ministers and people, strive for the things that make for peace, lest some root of bitterness should spring up, - defiling the body of Christ, - rending asunder her golden bands, and rendering her a bye-word to the ungodly.

      Finally, Brethren, we exhort you by the things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report; if there by any virtue, and if there by any praise, think of these things. God bless you all - farewell.


[From the Elkhorn Baptist Association Minutes, pp. 6-7. This document is a copy of the original from the association office in Lexington KY. - Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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