ASSOCIATION: I do not presume to-day, to become a historian, neither do I propose to offer myself as an ecclesiastical law-giver, for it is my appointment to write (in brief) a short essay, for your consideration, and on the spur of the moment, I can think of no subject that bears with it more interest than the above, as it implies a friendly union of sentiment and feeling, a social combination, bound together in one bundle of the love of God, mutually shed abroad in each heart; and this combination, looking forward to the accomplishing of some grand object, with a common interest leading them on from victory to victory, until the crown is reached. There are, however, associations formed for evil purposes, that have something besides this mutual love to bind them together; and often (shame to the Christian world) they work with more zeal and seeming earnestness, than those who profess to be working under that bond of love in an associate capacity, to build up the cause of Zion, for which cause the organization now called "Baptist Associations" were made. It has been many years since the people called Baptists saw that a concentration of effort was necessary to success, in the great work of evangelizing the world. And in proportion to the rapidity that a deep and abiding interest has been aroused in this great work, in that same proportion have the organizations been effected, whenever the Baptist banner (which is the banner of King Jesus) has been unfurled, not going back further than the time when our fathers made their exit from England, and sought a home in the wilds of America; and though they were few in number, yet they were interested in the work, and early effected the organization known as the Philadelphia Association, the oldest in America, and, according to the best information that I can get, is now the largest and most influential Association on this vast continent, notwithstanding she has, from time to time sent out help, and given off from her borders, churches, to form other similar conbinations. Now, my brethren, the secret of success on the part of that body has been, concentration of effort, working with a holy boldness, that defies the attempts of the grand enemy of the cross to deter them in their onward progress, or to shut out the light of truth from them. Our Association is now in its infancy, compared with the one we have mentioned , and many others that we could mention, and now, brethren, if we have not hitherto, let us, like them, gird ourselves about with the whole armor of God, and work henceforth for the glory of God, thus strengthening the ties that now bind us together, which will enable us more fully to realize the advantages that are offered by such a union as we now have, meeting annually, to consult with each other concerning God's will concerning us, that we may let the same mind dwell in us which was in Christ Jesus.
I fear that sometimes we fail to appreciate the advantage it might be to us to hear from various chruches, to know of their travels, their joys and prospects; but if we consider it rightly, it enables us, in conformity to the Apostolic injunctions, to be perfectly joined together, in one spirit, to be of the same mind, and to speak the same things. As we mutually enjoy the meetings of our Association here on earth, let us not forget that these joys, which are such feasts to our souls, are only foretastes of those that await us when our labors here shall have been finished, and when, if we have borne the cross with patience, we shall recieve our reward, when we shall meet in that Association that shall never break up, and we shall then triumphantly sing a never-ending song of praise, around the throne of God in Heaven.
W. Jayne =============
[From Greenup Baptist Association Minutes, 1872. This document was typed from a microfilm copy obtained from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Library, Lousiville, KY. The punctuation is unchanged. — Jim Duvall]
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