An Account of the Affairs that Came to be Considered
by the Association of the Aforementioned Churches, Since They Held
An Association, As Far As Any Records Of The Same Can Be Found.
By A. D. Gillette, 1851
THERE is no track or footsteps of any regular association, agreement, or confederation, between the first churches in these colonies of Pennsylvania and the Jerseys, that I can find, before the year 1707, when we have, in the records of the church of Pennepek, this account, viz: - Before our general meeting, held at Philadelphia, in the seventh month, 1707, it was concluded by the several congregations of our judgment, to make choice of some particular brethren, such as they thought most capable in every congregation, and those to meet at the yearly meeting to consult about such things as were wanting in the churches, and to set them in order; and these brethren meeting at the said yearly meeting, which began the 27th of the seventh month, on the seventh day of the week, agreed to continue the meeting till the third day following in the work of the public ministry. It was then agreed, that a person that is a stranger, that has neither letter of recommendation, nor is known to be a person gifted, and of a good conversation, shall not be admitted to preach, nor be entertained as a member in any of the baptized congregations in communion with each other.
It was also concluded, that if any difference shall happen between any member and the church he belongs unto, and they cannot agree, then the person so grieved may, at the general meeting, appeal to the brethren of the several congregations, and with such as they shall nominate, to decide the difference; that the church and the person so grieved do fully acquiesce in their determination.
In the year 1710, several able men, ministers and elders, and in the year following also, came over from South Wales and the West of England - as the Rev. Mr. Nathaniel Jenkins, Mr. John Burrows, Mr. Abel Morgan, and some that had been ruling elders in the churches they came from - all of them men long concerned in the affairs of churches and associations in their own countries.
One Thomas Selby made a disturbance and rupture in the church at Philadelphia and Pennepek; and application having been made to the Association, the Association did nominate persons from among themselves, to hear and determine of and concerning the said difference. And both parties consenting, the said nominated men proceeded to hear and determine of the same, and brought in their judgment and determination, confirmed under their hands, as followeth, (vide the afore mentioned book, page 47.)
"With respect to the difference between the members and others, some time belonging to the Baptist church at Philadelphia, as it hath been laid before us, persons chosen by both sides, they having referred the whole of their difference to our determination; we, doing what in us lies for the glory of God, and the peace of the whole church, in regard of the transactions past, and what may be best for the future, for the interest of the gospel, upon due consideration of what hath been laid before us, as followeth, viz: - we do find the way and manner of dealing and proceeding with each other hath been from the rule of the Gospel, and unbecoming Christians in many respects, and in some too shameful here to enumerate the particulars.
"And first, we judge it expedient in point of justice, that Mr. Thomas Selby be paid the money subscribed to him by the members of this church, and he discharged from any further service in the work of the ministry; he being a person, in our judgment, not likely for the promotion of the Gospel in these parts of the country; and considering his miscarriages, we judge he may not be allowed to communion.
"And secondly, as to the members of this congregation, we do apprehend the best way is, that each party offended do freely forgive each other all personal and other offences that may have risen on this occasion, and that they be buried in oblivion; and that those who shall for future mention or stir up any of the former differences, so as to tend to contention, shall be deemed disorderly persons, and be dealt with as such.
"And thirdly, that those that exempted themselves from their communion on this account, except as above, be allowed to take their places orderly without contention, and such as refuse to be deemed disorderly persons."
Subscribed - Timothy Brooks, Thomas Shepherd, Thomas Abbot, John Drake, Nicolas Jonson, Dickason Shepherd, Job Shepherd, James Bollen, Samuel Jones, John Hart, John Bray.
Let it be noted, that the said Thomas Selby, though he and his party referred as above said, yet he appeared afterwards very outrageous while he stayed in the province, and some of his adherents joined to other denominations, and neverreturned to seek their place in the church, and the church did accordingly exclude them. But the greatest part took their places personally.
From the year 1712 to the year 1720, though the churches continually maintained a yearly association, yet their minutes are not to be found, for aught I can hear. In the year 1720, nothing appeared before the Association. The minutes of 1721 are wanting.
At the Association, in the year 1722, it was proposed for the churches to make inquiry among themselves, if they have any young persons hopeful for the ministry, and inclinable for learning; and if they have, to give notice of it to Mr. Abel Morgan before the first of November, that he might recommend such to the academy on Mr. Hollis, his account.
At our Association, convened September 28, 1723, a query from the church at Brandywine came, viz., which way they might improve their vacant days of worship, when they have no minister among them to carry on the public work.
Solution. We conceive it expedient that the church do meet together as often as conveniency will admit; and when they have none to carry on the work of preaching, that they read a chapter, sing a psalm, and go to prayer and beg of God to increase their grace and comfort, and have due regard to order and decency in the exercise of those gifts at all times, and not to suffer any to exercise their gifts in a mixed multitude until tried and approved of first by the church.
Agreed, that the proposal drawn by the several ministers, and signed by many others, in reference to the examination of all gifted brethren and ministers that come in here from other places, be duly put in practice, we having found the evil of neglecting a true and previous scrutiny in those affairs.
In the year 1724, a query, concerning the fourth commandment, whether changed, altered, or diminished. We refer to the Confession of faith, set forth by the elders and brethren met in London, 1689, and owned by us, chap. 22, sect. 7 and 8.
2d Query. Whether a believer may marry an unbeliever, without coming under church censure for it?
Answered in the negative.
3d Query. Whether an officer in the church, who forfeits his office, forfeits his membership? Answered in the negative. But if he forfeits his membership he forfeits his office. Whether he, if restored to his membership, must also be restored to office, is another case, not here considered.
4thly. Concluded and agreed, that a church ought to be unanimous
in giving their voice in choosing and setting up, or deposing one set up, to act in any church office, or to act as an officer in the church. Any act of that nature, commenced without common consent, is void, and hath no power in it.
5thly. Concluded, that the letter from the churches to Association hereafter, may contain salutations, contemplations, congratulations, &c., in one page; and the complaints, queries, or grievances, &c., be written apart; for it is agreed that the former shall be read publicly the first day of the Association's meeting, and the latter, the church's doubts, fears, or disorders, &c., be opened and read to the Association only.
In the year 1725 nothing presented but what is common, and the. Association concluded to send suitable exhortations especially answering the case of those that made their application for the time then being.
In the year 1726, the Association ordered that all the churches do observe a day of fasting and prayer, on account of several occurrences them then thereunto moving, and to be observed on the tenth day of November then next ensuing. And the said Association had a troublesome work about defraying the charges incurred by an unhappy youth, son to one of our ministering brethren in London, recommended to us here by our benefactors, Mr. Hollis and others, and ordered proper persons, viz., Mr. John Moline and Mr. Jenkin Jones, to write to Mr. Hollis, &c., and to carry on a correspondence with our friends in London.
One query from the church at Montgomery, viz: - In case there might be a division, and on the division a rent and separation follow in any church in Great Britain, and each party combining together in church form, each being sound in the faith, and during the separation both parties recommend members unto us here, as in full communion with them, how may the churches here proceed in such a case?
Answer. We do advise that the churches here may take no further notice of the letters by such persons brought here, than to satisfy themselves that such are baptized persons, and of a regular conversation, and to take such into church covenant as if they had not been members of any church before.
In the year 1727, it was agreed that the messengers of the churches, who usually met on the seventh day of the week, should, for the future, meet on the sixth day of the same week before the fourth Lord's day in September, at ten of the clock afore noon, in order to prepare for the affairs of the churches; and that the churches should endeavor to free their messengers from their businesses
at home, and assist them with money to bear their expenses in that affair.
In answer to a query from the Great Valley, viz: - How far the liberty of marriage may be between a member and one that is not a member? Answered, by referring to our Confession of faith, chapter 26th in our last edition.
In the year 1728, the Association met the sixth day of the week.
1. Query from Hopewell: What course to take in choosing a ruling elder in the church? We answer, that a church wanting ruling elders or deacons, as in other cases, should set a day apart, and by fasting and prayer, seek the guidance and direction of God, and then unanimously pitch upon one or more of their brethren to act upon trial in the office of ruling elder or deacon; and our judgment is, that persons called upon trial in the said offices, may act by authority of the church, with as full power as if completely qualified; but not so teaching elders or ministers of the word and ordinances.
2. A query from the church at Montgomery: Whether a church is bound to grant a letter of dismission to any member to go to another church, while his residence is not removed? Answered in the negative, we having neither precept nor precedent for such a practice in Scripture. See Discipline.
The elders and messengers of the baptized congregations, in Pennsylvania and the Jerseys, met at Philadelphia, September 27th and 28th, 1729, in a solemn Association. Sendeth greeting: -
Dearly beloved Brethren in the Lord Jesus Christ, We heartily rejoice to see your care, diligence, requests, and desires, on our behalf, at the throne of grace; and also your care and diligence in maintaining our yearly correspondence and communion in the gospel. We, your representatives, met together in love, perused your letters and gladly received your messengers. We find cause to rejoice that God has crowned the labors of his ministers with such success. There have been considerable additions the past year in several churches, and some in most. Praise be rendered to our gracious God, we find the churches generally to be at peace and unity amongst themselves. We think it expedient to give you an account of our proceedings. We conferred together, without any jars or contentions in our debates; our souls have been refreshed, hearing of the welfare of the churches in general; also, in hearing the sweet and comfortable truths of the gospel declared among us, by the faithful labours of our ministering brethren, which we hope is to the glory of God and the good of souls. We earnestly desire you to walk worthy of your holy vocation, standing fast and striving together for the faith of the gospel. It is the general complaint of many, that there is much lukewarmness and deadness in matters of religion, which we hope is
not a mere compliment, but rather the grief of the churches. In order to remedy this soul distemper, our advice and desire is, that you be diligent to keep your places in the house of God; be frequent and instant in prayer, both in secret and in public. Strive after the life and power of religion; make religion your earnest business. Keep your garments undefiled from the world; walk as becomes saints before God and men; improve your opportunities in all religious duties, both among your families and in the church. Stand fast for the defending and maintaining the ordinances of Christ; wait on God in them, that you may reap the benefits of Christ by them. Strive to keep together; maintaining the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace; always resisting the assaults of Satan, who waiteth opportunities to disturb the peace of God's children. Be careful that you do nothing that may tend to breed disturbances in the church of God.
Query from the church at Philadelphia. Suppose a gifted brother, who is esteemed an orderly minister by or among those that are against the laying on of hands in any respect, should happen to come among our church; whether we may allow such an one to administer the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's supper or no?
Answered in the negative; because it is contrary to the rule of God's word: see Acts 13:2, 3; and 14:23 compared with Titus 1:5; 1 Timothy 4:14; from which prescribed rules we dare not swerve. We also refer to the Confession of faith, chap. xxvii., sect. 9. The messengers shall meet on the sixth day of the week, at the time before appointed, by 2 o'clock, P. M., to consider the affairs of the churches. Agreed, that a sermon be preached on the seventh day, in the afternoon, as usual; - first day, a sermon to be preached in the morning, and another in the afternoon, with the administration of the Lord's supper; - on the second day of the week, a concluding sermon in the forenoon. Mr. Jones and Mr. Holmes shall send a letter to Mr. Walden and Mr. Hollis, in London, in order to maintain a christian correspondence.
Commending you to God and the word of his grace,
Your brethren, in the best of bonds,
Jno. David, Ben. Stelle, Owen Thomas, Geo. Hugh, Gershom Mott, Joseph Eaton, Jno. Devonald, John Welledge, Wm. Kinnersley, Saml. Osgood, John Clarkson, John Holmes, Jeremiah Kollet, Jno. Bartholomew, John Heart, Robt. Chalfant, Elisha Thomas, George Eaton. Dickison Shephard, Jenkin Jones, Ebenezer Smith, Simon Butler.
In the year 1730, a query from Cohansie In case a member of a regular church separate himself on the account of the seventh day, and join himself to those that hold the same for a Sabbath, when, at the same time, the church he was member of allowed, if it was to him a matter of conscience, he might observe it, and keep his place where he was a member, and, that they would respect him as they used to do; yet, nevertheless, he goes away, and presumes to be a leader among the aforesaid seventh-day people. What must the church do in such a case in order to discharge their duty?
Resolved, That it is the duty of such a church, in as moderate a way and manner as they can, to disown such a member, so as he may not be looked upon to be a member any further with them on any account.
As to the application from Brandywine, it may be referred to the answer given in the same case to the same church, Anno Domini 1723; only here they were advised to read some sound, profitable, approved sermon books, in the absence of the ministers that visit them.
As to a request from the Great Valley, we would have them encourage the gifts they have among them, and send to their nearest neighbors' churches for helps and supplies as often as they and them can agree.
As to the request from Piscataqua, for the help of our ministering brethren at their general meeting, we judge it necessary that our ministering brethren do supply such general meetings; nevertheless, we not knowing who, nor how to bind any of them, we think it necessary that the church, where such are held, send to them, that, if possible, they may be certain of some help.
The elders, ministers, and messengers, of the baptized congregations in Pennsylvania and the Jerseys, met in Association at Philadelphia, September 24th, 1731. To the respective congregations we represent, send greeting: -
Dearly beloved and highly esteemed brethren, our joy and our crown, at the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, we cannot but rejoice to see your care and diligence, in maintaining this our annual communion, in sending your messengers to associate with us. We met together in love, admitted your messengers, perused your letters, and had cause to bless God that we find the churches in peace among themselves, without distraction, schism or division, or destructive errors, and that in most churches there hath been some addition this last year; for which we bless the great Husbandman, who gives success to the labours of his poor servants. Yet we find the old complaint of dullness, coldness, and indifference in the things of God; and we hope you do not rest in complaints, but that you endeavour to provoke one another to
love and good works. Consider seriously, dearly beloved, that our Master will come the rounds, to view his servants, and woe then to the slothful and loitering. Therefore, bestir yourselves, be close and diligent, every one according to his work in the vineyard, lest ye be found unprofitable. Prize your privileges and admire your dignities; you are the redeemed of the Lord, therefore be not earthly minded; you are the children of the King of Zion, walk as such; ye are espoused to Christ, magnify your match; lean upon him, and duly prove the knowledge of your heavenly and best realities.
The harvest is great and the labourers are few; pray mightily for more, and treat honourably the few you have left. Your neglect of hearing them may provoke the Master of the vineyard to call home from you those labourers you have, as of late he hath many of our reverend brethren. See what gifts you have among you: if there be any hopeful youths, let them exercise themselves, and be kind to them and tender of them; take heed that you do not. discourage them you have, lest you should be made to lament your imprudent and inconsiderate management.
We had a loving and comfortable conference together, in the public work we have had, both of ministers and hearers; also, necessary truths preached and plainly propounded according to the unerring rule of God's word.
Beloved of the Lord, we beseech you, add your hearty prayers to God, that our endeavours, both public and private, may be watered with blessings from on high. We commend you to the care of the Almighty and ever merciful God, who is able to do abundantly for us, beyond what we can ask or think.
We have appointed brother Enoch Morgan to preach the sermon next year; and, in case of failure, brother Owen Thomas.
Agreed to the request of the church of Philadelphia, setting forth that they have been at a great charge in building a meeting-house, which is to be very heavy, unless the rest of the churches of the same order will find in their hearts to contribute towards the defraying of the same.
The Association had neither queries nor requests from any of the churches; but the associated brethren, seeing no messengers from Piscataqua as usual, and hearing by some of our brethren of the sad and distracted condition of that congregation, they thought proper to write to them, and to appoint Mr. Jenkin Jones and Mr. Joseph Eaton to give them a visit before the winter, which, by the blessing of God, proved a means to reduce that church to peace and order.
Jenkin Jones, Jno. Davis, Wm. Hugh, Enoch Morgan, John Devonold, George Eaton, Nathaniel Jenkins, Jno. Morgan, Henry Oxly, Benjamin Griffith, Reynolds Howell, Jno. Holmes, Joseph Eaton, Robert Chalfant, Job Shepherd, Owen Thomas, Evan Mathias, Jno. Coward, William Kinnersly, Jno. Heart, Wm. Thomas.
In the year 1732, a question was moved: Whether a person, not being baptized himself, and presuming, in private, to baptize another; whether such pretended baptism be valid or no, or whether it might not be adjudged a nullity?
Resolved. We judge such baptism as invalid, and no better than if it had never been done.
Upon the consideration of the great want of ministerial helps, which some churches have moved, it is agreed by this Association, that a day of fasting and prayer be kept by all the churches in our communion, that the Lord may gift some among ourselves, such as may be serviceable; or order, in the course of his providence, some such to come among us from elsewhere; and we do fix upon the 26th day of October, next ensuing, for that purpose, humbly requesting the members of our churches conscientiously to observe the same.
The elders, ministers, and messengers, of the congregations holding believers' baptism, in Pennsylvania and the Jerseys, met in Association, at Philadelphia, the 22d day of September, 1733, to the several congregations we represent send Christian salutation: -
Dearly beloved in the bowels of Jesus Christ, and in the bonds of his gospel, whom we here represent, and whose interests we hope all of us have chiefly at heart; at the conclusion of our meeting, we think ourselves bound to give you an account of our affairs while together. We met, and had an Association sermon preached by Enoch Morgan; afterwards received and heard your letters; accepted your messengers; and are glad to see your care and diligence in sending them to maintain visible annual correspondence together. The letters show the churches to be at peace, and additions to most of them the last year. Blessed be God for it. At our public meeting we had many great and excellent truths of the gospel of Christ preached from divers texts by our ministering brethren, very edifying and comforting.
Dear brethren, our joy and crown at the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, the chief Shepherd, we beseech you to consider seriously your great privileges, as you are favored with those which belong to God's children, and have a nail in his holy place, and a name among the living in Jerusalem, and are called to glory and virtue. What obligations you are under to adorn your profession, to walk worthy of your vocation, and to make religion your main and most important business in life, that you may be found doing your Lord's will when he cometh.
We cannot but observe to you again the scarcity of ministerial supplies in many churches, and put you in mind of your duty to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send forth more men to the work of the harvest. Dear brethren, pray earnestly for a blessing on the labors
of those you have, and let your frequent presence and walking with God in the use of means, be their encouragement. Most of the churches complain of much indifference and lukewarmness in the things of God: we hope it is not merely to complain, but out of experience. We advise you to keep close with God in every gospel duty, public and private; use all means to provoke one another to love and good works; pray fervently to God to give you more hearty affections and clearer sight of the excellency of Jesus Christ.
We conclude, commending you all to the care of God Almighty, in the name of the blessed Jesus. Amen.
Brother Jenkin Jones to preach the Association sermon the next year; in case of failure, brother Joseph Eaton.
Enoch Morgan, Obadiah Holmes, John Heart, Ben. Griffiths, John Garret, Robert James, John Davis, Robert Chalffont, Gershom Mott, George Eaton, ___ Randolph, Ben. Stelle, John Davis, Jenkin Jones, John Evans, John Holmes, Joseph Eaton, Richard Hall, Ebenezer Smith, Wm. Thomas, Jer. Collett, James Cox, Simon Butler, Joseph Fitz Randolph, John Devonald.
The elders, ministers, and messengers, of the congregations holding believers' baptism, in Pennsylvania and the Jerseys, met in Association at Philadelphia, on the 21st, 22d and 23d of September, A. D., 1734, to the several congregations we represent, send Christian salutation: -
Dearly beloved in our Lord and holy Redeemer Jesus Christ, and in the fellowship of the gospel of the Son of God, our joy and our crown of rejoicing in the day of his appearing, we have cause to bless God on your behalf, who is pleased to continue you as so many candlesticks to hold forth the glorious light of the gospel in these remote colonies. We return you our thanks for your care and diligence in sending your messengers to associate with us in this our yearly correspondence, and to assist in the work before us. We think it meet to give you an account of our affairs and procedure at this time. Beloved, we met in love at the time and place appointed, perused your Christian letters, accepted your messenger, and we find the churches we represent to be mostly in peace among themselves, though some of them are, at present, under disagreeable circumstances, which, we hope, God will remove in his mercy. Some additions have been made this last year in most of the churches, in some large additions, which is very comfortable to hear.
Our public opportunities have been so employed, that, by the blessing of Almighty God upon the labour of our ministering brethren, we hope all will be to his glory and the good of souls. Now, dearly beloved of us, and we hope also of the Lord Jesus Christ himself,
the God of glory, who hath called you to glory and virtue, we exhort you, we beseech you, by the tender mercies of our gracious God, that you walk worthy of the vocation wherewith you are called; that your conversation may shine with gospel purity and holiness; that you behave yourselves as sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of this crooked and perverse generation; that you make it your business to keep close with God, in gospel duties and the use of means; be instant in prayer for the prosperity of Zion; labour earnestly to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace; love one another from a pure heart, that so you prevent the great design of Satan, who endeavours to sow discord and animosities among God's people. We advise the churches that want ministerial helps to set a day apart, once a month, to implore the Lord of the harvest to thrust forth faithful labourers into his harvest; by fasting and prayer, continue in a faithful depending, waiting and heartily crying to God, until he be pleased to grant youthe desirable blessing. Those that have such helps, we advise to beg a blessing thereupon, and successive continuation thereof.
Several queries from Middletown came to the Association, viz. -
1. Whether we may accept and take in a minister of a different persuasion at our appointed meeting.
Answered in the negative; unless the church see cause, upon some particular occasions.
2. Whether it may not be more convenient for us to keep up our meetings, as usual, by reading the Scriptures, singing of psalms, and prayer, than to admit men of different persuasions?
Answered in the affirmative.
3. Whether it be justifiable for our members to neglect our own appointed meetings, and at their pleasure go to hear those differing in judgment from us?
Answered in the negative. Hebrews x:25.
Brother Joseph Eaton to preach the Association sermon the next year; and in case of his failure, brother Benjamin Griffith to preach the same.
Minutes of the case between the Association and William Davis, considered September 30, 1734: -
Respecting the crimes alledged against him, of selling two books sent him, and of representing us in a wrong light to Mr. David Rees and Mr. Hollis. He, upon confession of his faults, was pardoned by the Association.
These advices and directions were given to the church of the Great Valley and William Davis: -
1. That William Davis should give himself a member of the church at the Great Valley, and those that were baptized by him shall be examined by the said church, or by a committee of the church appointed for that purpose; and if they be satisfied, then the persons may be received.
2. If they should unanimously agree to divide and constitute themselves in two separate churches, we advise that they be so divided
and ordered, as that there be no picking and choosing in the case; that is to say, that those who live in one place should not give themselves members to the church farthest off, for any reasons arising from biased ends or inclinations, or already received partialities.
3. That, on the proof that they happen to jar or disagree, or any person or persons be dissatisfied, whether it be in respect to their accommodating thepresent peace or agreement, or of hereafter dividing themselves, as above said, if they proceed that in such cases they shall call for help from neighbouring churches.
We conclude, recommending you and the whole work into the hand of God, and remain,
Yours, in gospel services and relations,
John Drake, Samuel Jones, John Donald, Jenkin Jones, John Garret, George Eaton, Benjn. Griffiths, Abel Morgan, Hr. Collett, John Davis, Enoch Morgan, John Evans, Simon Butler, Owen Thomas, Garret Wall, John Dardis, Joseph Eaton, Robert Chalfant, Samuel Osborne, Jno. Holmes, John Clarkson. John Hart.
The elders, ministers, and messengers of the baptized congregations in Pennsylvania and the Jerseys, met at Philadelphia, 27th, 28th, and 29th of September, A.D. 1735.
To the several congregations we are related unto, do send Christian salutation.
Dearly beloved in Christ Jesus our Lord, we rejoice to see your care and diligence in maintaining this annual Association. It is comfortable to us to see your zeal in the welfare of our Zion in general, and of the several little tabernacles we are related unto in particular, which our dear Lord hath placed in these remote parts. We have reason to praise God that you are preserved from the floods, delusions, errors, and other manifold temptations, which have hurled many away from the faith of God, and from holding fast theirprofession and duty to God and his people. Knowing that it is your expectation to hear of, and also our duty to acquaint you with, our affairs, we hereby give you an account of the same. We met at the time appointed, and perused your letters, whereby we find most of the churches to be at peace and unity, which we heartily pray God to preserve where it is, and to restore where it is not. To our great joy and comfort we find that large additions have been made this year to some churches, and some in every church belonging to this body; blessed be God for this refreshing news. Our ministering brethren have preached several of the important truths of the gospel, to our great comfort, which we hope Almighty God will water with his heavenly blessing. Dear brethren, as God, by his gospel, hath called you with an holy calling, we pray God that you maybe fitted and
furnished with all grace to adorn your profession, and make you fruitful vineyards unto himself, that your conversation may shine with gospel purity, to the praise and glory of his rich grace.
In the year 1735, upon a proposal made, that a book should be provided, and a scribe nominated to transcribe the minutes of the Association, and to insert therein all that may be of use and information to their successors; - it was agreed that Mr. Jenkin Jones be the scribe, and Mr. John Holme to be his assistant. But it failed then.
Query. If any member, or members, of a congregation grow scrupulous about matters merely indifferent in themselves, such as the mode of administration, as is usual in our churches, or the quality of the bread or wine, or the manner of serving, as the cup upon a plate, or without, making the same a matter of conscience, and thereupon totally refrain their communion. What is best to be done in such a case?
Solution. That such persons, contending, quarreling, and so refraining church communion upon such light grounds - since such things are left undetermined by our great Lawgiver - are much to be blamed; and a church is nowise obliged to yield to such vain humours, but may continue their order, according to the rules of expediency and harmless decency, and deal according to the word with such delinquents; for it is to be doubted that such person or persons have not a design to make a rupture, seeing the matter in debate is so trivial.
2. Upon a motion moved by some members of the Association Whether a person that is a well-wisher to us, and desires to be admitted a member into a church far distant from the place of his abode; whereas a church of the same order is nearer to him than the church that he proposes to join with; whether it be orderly for the distant church to receive such an one? Yea or nay?
Resolved in the negative, there being substantial reasons to the contrary. Such practice is contrary to the intendment, in instituting particular churches. - See Confession of Faith, chap. xxvii. See also our Treatise of Discipline, 28, 29.
Brother Benjamin Griffith is, to preach the Association sermon next year, and Brother John Davis alternate.
Recommending you to the blessing of heaven, we remain yours in the dearest of bonds.
Ebenezer Smith, James Tapscot, Jenkin Jones, John Manners, William Thomas, Enoch Morgan, Isaac Whitten, Owen Thomas, Nathaniel Jenkins, Thomas Curtis, Benjamin Griffith, Hugh David, George Eaton, Joseph Eaton, Jeremiah Collett, Benjamin Stelle, John Davis, Joseph Powell, John Clarkson, John Holmes, Griffith Evans, Moses Martin, John Hart, Hugh Evans, James Cox, John Davis.
In the year 1736, no queries appeared, nor any request made to this Association; nevertheless, the Association being informed of a discord and contention in the church at Montgomery, did nominate and appoint Mr. Jenkin Jones, and Mr. Owen Thomas, ministers, with any two other brethren that they might judge serviceable, to visit, and to endeavour to conciliate matters between them. And it was accordingly effected.
In the year 1737, there came no requests nor queries from the churches; and, consequently, no other from the Association, but a warm and lovingexhortation to diligence and watchfulness in our religious duties, and to maintain the great and necessary doctrines of the Christian religion; and, in particular, to be steadfast against errors, and faithful in belief of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, of man's creation, fall, restoration by grace through Christ, the real divine and human nature in union in the person of Christ.
The elders and messengers of the several congregations, holding believers' baptism in Pennsylvania and the Jerseys, met in Association at Philadelphia, the 23d day of September, and continued to 25th, 1738.
To the several congregations, we represent, we wish grace and peace from God our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, may be multiplied.
"Dearly beloved in the faith and fellowship of the gospel, we are glad to see your care and diligence in sending your messengers to associate in this manner, hoping it proceeds from love to God, and due regard to the general interest of Jesus Christ, and the interest of the several little tabernacles in these provinces. At the close of our meeting, according to our practice and your expectation, we send you an account of our affairs; we perused your letters, received your messengers, and, by your letters, we have been informed that some have been added this year to most of the churches, and we rejoice to hear that the churches are in peace and unity. We have complaints of much coldness and indifference in the things of God and the concerns of religion, which, we hope, are not only by way of compliment, but from a sense of the growing evil. We beseech you, dear brethren, be earnest with God in prayer, for the increase of your graces; for, where these graces abound, they will make you that you shall be neither barren nor unfruitful in the things of God. Give all diligence to make your calling and election sure. Attend upon the means of grace. Keep close to your respective meetings. Exhort and admonish one another in love. Endeavor to provoke one another to love and good works. Have a special care to maintain a sure discipline, as well as doctrine. Let it be every one's endeavor to wait
in the way of duty, for the coming of the Son of God from heaven; for he that cometh will come, and will not tarry, and will faithfully reward the labors of his faithful servants. In due time we shall reap, if we faint not. We recommend you to God, who is able to build you up in the holy faith which is in Christ Jesus; to make you abound in all the fruits of the Spirit, and, by his power, to keep you through faith unto salvation. We remain your brethren in the fellowship of the gospel."
John Davis, David Davis, Enoch Morgan, James Cox, John Manners, Jenkin Jones, James Mott, John Holmes, David Evans, Joshua Martin, Simon Butler, Ebenezer Smith, Joseph Powell, John Heart, Benjamin Griffith, Stephen Shepherd, John Coward, George Eaton, Abel Morgan, Nath. Jenkins, Thomas Davis. Eben'r Kinnersly, Joseph Eaton,
Query. Whether a person, ordained by laying on hands, for a ruling elder, who should afterwards be called by the church, by reason of his gifts, to the word and doctrine, must be again ordained by imposition of hands? Resolved in the affirmative.
Agreed, that since the catechisms are expended, and few or none to be had, and our youth thereby not likely to be instructed in the fundaments of saving knowledge, that the several congregations we represent should consult amongst themselves what they can raise of money for so good a design, and send, against the 1st of May next, by their letters, to Mr. Jenkin Jones or John Holmes, in Philadelphia, that they may know what number to draw out of the press.
Ordered, that Mr. Enoch Morgan preach the Association sermon next year; in case of his failure, Mr. Jenkin Jones.
The elders and messengers of the congregations holding believers' baptism in Pennsylvania and the Jerseys, met in association at Philadelphia, 22d September, 1739.
To the congregations we represent, we send our Christian salutation.
Dearly beloved in our Lord and holy Redeemer, Jesus Christ, and in the fellowship of the gospel of the Son of God, our joy and crown of rejoicing in the day of his appearing, we have cause to bless God in your behalf, that our gracious God is pleased to continue us so many candlesticks to hold the glorious light of the gospel in these remote colonies; we also return thanks, brethren, for your care and diligence in sending your messengers to associate with us in this our yearly correspondence together, and to assist in the work before us. We think it meet, according to your desires, to give you
an account of our affairs and proceedings at this time. We met in love, at the time and place appointed. After hearing a sermon, we perused your letters and received your messengers, and find the churches mostly in peace amongst themselves. Additions have been, made in some churches. As we met in love, so we lovingly conferred together, and are now about to depart in peace. Our public opportunities have been so employed, that we hope, by the blessing of God upon the labors of our ministering brethren, it will be to the glory of God and the good of souls. Now, dearly beloved of us, we hope also by our Lord Jesus Christ himself, the Lord of glory, who hath called you with a holy calling, we exhort you, we beseech you by the tender mercies of our God, that you walk worthy of that vocation wherewith you are called, that your conversation mayshine with gospel purity and holiness, that you behave yourselves as the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of this crooked and perverse generation with whom we live. Keep close with God, in all gospel duties. Be instant in prayer for the prosperity of Zion. Labor earnestly to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace; love one another with a pure heart; that so you prevent the great desire of Satan, who endeavors to sow discord and animosities among God's people. We further advise those churches that want ministerial help, to pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest, to thrust forth faithful laborers into his harvest; and, as to those who have ministerial help, we exhort them, in the spirit of meekness and love, highly to prize such a mercy, and bless God for the same, and assist them, both by prayers and godly conferences, with other necessaries, according to the rule of God's word.
A query from the church at the Great Valley: In case that members will absent themselves from the communion of the church, and will give no reason for their so absenting, nor any account why they withdrew, notwithstanding messengers have been sent to such divers times, what ought the church to do further?
Solution. That the church shall send messengers once more to such, to inform them, that if they further absent themselves, without giving sufficient reason, the church may deal with such offenders as covenant breakers, and as despisers of the authority that is given to the church by Christ her head.
In answer to a proposal from Montgomery, concerning the keeping of the present Association, whether it be as usual, or altered?
Resolved, that it be continued as usual the present year, and other general meetings at the discretion of the churches where they are appointed; and if the churches desire the method of the Association altered, let them consult unanimously, and insert the same in next year's letters.
Upon a proposal made by a member of this Association, that some better method should be taken to keep up and maintain this present Association more regularly than it hath been heretofore.
Resolved, that a copy of the same be transmitted to every congregation
relating to this body, that it may be concluded upon at the next meeting.
Agreed, that Brother Owen Thomas is to preach next year; in case of failure, Brother Jenkin Jones.
John Stelle, John Davis, Jenkin Jones, Thomas Curtis, Daniel Davis, Joseph Eaton, Richard Whiting, John Bentle, Hugh David, George Eaton, John Manners, John Davis, David Evans, Enoch Morgan, Thomas Jones, John Wooledge, Owen Thomas, John Holme. James Tapscott,
The elders and messengers of the several congregations of the people owning believers' baptism in Pennsylvania and the Jerseys, meeting in Association at Philadelphia, September 27th, 1740:
To the churches we are related to in gospel order, we send our gospel salutation.
Dearly beloved and highly favored of the Lord Jesus, we wish increase of grace, that you may abound in all good works to the praise of him who hath called you from darkness into his marvellous light, that you may be owned and approved as so many delightful gardens or fruitful fields, receiving plentiful blessings from the God of heaven. Brethren, we hope your prayers for us have been accepted at the throne of Zion's King, and that we have experienced the fruits of them in the warm, affectionate love we saluted each other with, and the glorious truths of the gospel, held forth amongst us with all clearness and power, as also in the peace and harmony that appeared in our proceedings, wherein faith or discipline were concerned, though, perhaps, in some other things, we might have different apprehensions. We have great ground of rejoicing in the grace of God towards you, and of praising the Author and Giver, when we hear of your steadfast cleaving to the Lord in his ways and worship; that the power of held hath not been able to blow you away, nor to hinder your growth and numbers, which we find to be very considerable the last year, God owning the labors of his poor instruments. This calls for our and your thanks abundantly. We beseech you, in the bowels of love, to go on in the strength of your God. Pray earnestly that he would stablish you and keep you from falling. You virgin professors, shake off sloth and slumber, the bridegroom is at the door! Search well your vessels; see that you have the true oil of the Spirit. Take heed of counterfeit grace. Rest not on the outside of the ark, but enter in at the right door; that you may be secured in the flood of great waters from being swallowed up and lost. It is an easy thing to profess Christ when the secular power draws not its sword against religion; but it is dangerous, nevertheless, for such to be asleep and careless, for the adversary hath golden baits; in days of peace, he glosses and beautifies errors and false doctrine, so that
they are swallowed without chewing. It concerns all that would keep their garments undefiled, to try the spirits by the Scripture, and get the evidence of the Spirit of truth in your hearts, that you may not be cozened or cheated of true faith; that you may not take the apples of Sodom, instead of the saving fruits of the true tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. Walk in love, peace, and holiness, adorning the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.
Furthermore, we earnestly entreat you to approve, use, and exercise yourselves in all the duties enjoined on you in the charter of our salvation, and the institutions of worship, commanded by the Lord Jesus therein. Take heed of prejudice against any part of God's will recorded in the gospel. Be impartial and universal in your obedience to all. Keep constantly, as much as you may, your own meetings. Break not through nor step over the hedge of the gospel government. Have a tender regard for help, and encourage those that minister unto you in holy things, and if there be any promising gifts arising, nourish the same with love and acceptance. The harvest is great, but the laborers are few; pray that God would thrust out laborers into his vineyard.
Thus we commend you to God and the word of his grace, who is able to establish you to the end, and make you meet for the incorruptible inheritance: to whom be glory, now and for ever. Amen.
We are your brethren in Christ and the fellowship of the gospel.
Evan Loyd, Job Shepherd, James Jones, Richard Whittan, Jeremiah Collett, John Remington, John Watson, Robert Chalfant, Nathaniel Jenkins, Evan James, Thomas Edmunds, Jenkin Jones, John Manners, Griffith Evans, Owen Thomas, Henry Hareys, Benjamin Stelle, Joseph Eaton, James Mott, William Thomas, Benjamin Griffiths, Joshua Martin, Thomas Jones, John Davis, John Holmes, George Eaton, Abel Morgan, Simon Butler, John Coward, David Davis. John Davis,
Brother Jenkin Jones is to preach the Association sermon next year; in case of failure, Brother Benjamin Griffith.
A query from Cohansie: Whether a pious person, of the number of Pedo-Baptists, who forbears to have his own children sprinkled, may be admitted in to our communion without being baptized? And doth not the refusing admittance to such an one, discover want of charity in a church so refusing?
Given to vote, and passed all in the negative. Nemine contradicente.
1. It is not for want of charity that we thus answer. Our practice shows the contrary; for we baptize none but such as, in the judgment of charity, have grace, being unbaptized; but it is because we find, in the commission, that no unbaptized persons
are to be admitted into church communion. Matthew xxviii:19, 20 Mark xvi:16. Compare Acts ii:41; 1 Corinthians xii:13.
2. Because it is the church's duty to maintain the ordinances as they are delivered to us in Scripture: 2 Thessalonians ii:15; 1 Corinthians xi:2; Isaiah viii:20.
3. Because we cannot see it agreeable, in any respect, for the procuring that unity, unfeigned love, and undisturbed peace, which is required, and ought to be in and among Christian communities. 1 Corinthians i:10; Ephesians iv:3.
Query 2, from Piscataqua: Whether it is regular to baptize persons proposing for baptism, upon the plea that they may be at liberty to communicate where they please?
Answered in the negative. Nemine contra dicente, for these reasons:
1. Because, in the great commission, we are commanded to teach and observe all things which Christ hath enjoined upon us in the gospel. Matthew xxviii:20.
2. Because it is not agreeable to the practice of the Apostles, who acted according to the said commission, as appears by Acts ii:41, 42, compared with 2 Corinthians viii:5.
3. Because such a practice is directly destructive to all gospel rule, order, and discipline for by such way all offences and irregularities, yea, even the most scandalous immoralities and fundamental errors must escape without proper censures, according to the gospel rule, Matthew xviii:17; Romans xvi:17; Philippians iii:16, 17; 1 Corinthians v. 5; xi:16, and xiv:32, 33.
Added to the several churches belonging, in gospel love, to this Association, by baptism, the past year, one hundred and eleven souls.
The elders and messengers of the several churches holding believers' baptism in Pennsylvania and the Jerseys, met in Association at Philadelphia, September 26, 1741.
To the churches we represent, send greeting.
Dearly beloved in the most excellent relation in the gospel of Jesus Christ, our fellow soldiers in spiritual warfare, our fellow servants in the kingdom and patience of our dear Lord, our joy and crown of rejoicing at the day of his appearing. We met together at the time appointed, and, after a suitable sermonpreached, we perused your letters and accepted your messengers. We found, by your letters, to our great comfort, that the churches in general are at peace: many have been added to their numbers. We have cause to hope our blessed God will yet dwell among his little tabernacles, which he hath erected in this wilderness. We are glad to hear of your unanimous reception of what we offered in answer to your queries last year. We desire the churches may often be reminded of such solutions, which greatly tend to preserving the gospel order among the churches. Dear brethren, we met and conferred together in love, concord, and
harmonious unity among ourselves in our private meetings and prayers to God. Our ministering brethren have been enabled to preach upon important subjects, to our great satisfaction, and, we hope, to the benefit of many souls. We are now ready to part likewise in love. We hope our God will bring us to our respective homes again in safety, to the mutual comfort of both you and us; and we exhort you, with the bowels of Christian love, yea, we beseech you, in and by the tender mercies of our God, to remember you are called to glory and virtue. Endeavor to arise and set a due value on your privileges in the house of God. Remember, holiness becometh his house for ever. Endeavor to give all diligence to approve yourselves as sons of God without rebuke. Gird up the loins of your mind and be sober. Neglect not the assembling of yourselves together. Hold fast the form of sound words in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. Hold the truths declared to you in the gospel. Keep close to sound doctrine. Adhere to gospel discipline and order, to the end that it may keep you pure. Shun all disorders and disorderly persons. Do all your things in love. Be affectionate one towards another. Keep continual correspondence with God in prayer, and promote religion in your families. The God of all consolation be with you, and bless you with all grace and gifts, sanctify you and fit you for a habitation unto himself, by his Spirit, while here, and make you meet partakers of the inheritance of the saints hereafter. We recommend you to God, who is able to make you persevere unto the end.
Joseph Stillwell, John Davis, Jenkin Jones, John Manners, Reynold Howell, Joseph Eaton, Hugh Evans, John Beckingham, Benjamin Griffith, Joshua Potts, Richard Hall, John Davis, David Evans, John Garrett, Abel Morgan, George Eaton, Owen Thomas, David Davis.
Queries from the Great Valley:
1st Query. Suppose a difference happening between two of the brethren, and both refer their difference to the church to be determined; and the church take upon them to pass a judgment upon the matter in debate, according to the best of their understanding, and according to Scripture rule; yet one of the parties is dissatisfied with the judgment, though he cannot render any substantial reason for his so doing: what may be done with the brother so contending?
Solution. The Association having maturely considered the matter, according to the best light we could obtain, cannot help but to judge that the church acted rightly; and we judge the contending person worthy of reproof, because he, having submitted and preferred the matter to the church for final determination, yet, contrary to what might be expected from him as a man, much more as a Christian, refused to comply with the church's determination; (except the said person can give substantial and convincing reasons to make it appear that the church was not well informed of the matter;) as Matthew xviii:17.
2d Query. Suppose a brother is put out of his full communion in the church, upon some dissatisfaction at his conduct, and afterwards shall give satisfaction to the majority of the church, by confession of his fault; but some are not satisfied, and have no substantial reason to render for the same, what may the church do in such a case?
Solution. We advise the church and the persons dissatisfied to use moderation for some time, and endeavor, by private means, to gain the dissatisfied party. If that fails, at your monthly meeting, urge such persons to produce sufficient reasons for their dissatisfaction and for want of such reasons, or upon their refusing to produce such reasons, the church may deal with such as disorderly persons, according to Romans xvi:17, 18; 1 Corinthians xi:16, and xiv:33. Brother Benjamin Griffith is to preach the Association sermon next year; Brother Joseph Eaton in case of failure.
The elders and messengers of the baptized congregations in Pennsylvania and the Jerseys, met in Association at Philadelphia, September 25, 1742.
Send our Christian salutation.
Dearly beloved in the Lord Jesus, - We are heartily glad to hear how you have been preserved hitherto, as so many tabernacles upon which is the name of the Lord, notwithstanding the many enemies and oppositions you have to deal with. Surely it is an evident demonstration that you have the Lord on your side. We commend you, brethren, for your care and diligence to continue to walk with God, also your faithfulness in sending to maintain this our annual Association. We met in the love and unity of the gospel of Christ, and, after an Association sermon was preached, we perused your letters and received your messengers, as the lovely tokens of Christian friendship. Our consultations have been very agreeable to gospel fellowship. We trust we can say the Lord hath been amongst us powerfully, enabling our ministering brethren in the work of the gospel, so that several excellent truths of that gospel have been evidently displayed, such as had a direct tendency to the good of souls, both of saints and sinners. It rejoices us very much to hear that most of the churches have peace among themselves. Blessed be God, the additions this past year are sixty-seven. It seems plain that the Lord is yet visiting his churches with the manifestations of his mercy and grace. We entreat you, therefore, in the bowels of the gospel of Christ, to see your calling, brethren; to prize your places and stations in the house of God. Improve the privileges you enjoy by holy walking, as becometh saints; keep your places in the churches according to your covenant; take heed you do not neglect your own assemblies; be not carried away with every wind of doctrine, but walk steadily in all the ways of religion; keep close to God in family duties; make conscience of the life of religion between God and your
souls in secret; take heed that your conversation be agreeable to your profession; endeavor always to carry a conscience void of offence before God and men; keep yourselves clean from the pollution of sin, and from the vain, wicked world. Now the God of peace be with you, to bless and sanctify you more and more, that you may abound in the work of the Lord, to the praise and glory of his rich grace, through Jesus; is the hearty desire of your beloved brethren in the gospel.
A motion was made in the Association for reprinting the Confession of faith, set forth by the elders of baptized congregations, met in London, A. D. 1689, with a short treatise of church discipline, to be annexed to the Confession of faith. Agreed, that the thing was needful and likely to be very useful; and in order to carry it on, it is ordered to send it to the several churches belonging to this Association; to make a trial of what sums of money can be raised, and to send an account to Mr. Jenkin Jones, to the intent, that when the several collections are computed, if it be found sufficient to defray the charges of the work, that then it shall go on; if not, then to drop it for this year; and if it be carried on, that then an addition of two articles be therein inserted: that is to say, concerning singing of psalms in the worship of God, and laying of hands upon baptized believers. Ordered, also, that the said Mr. Jones and Benjamin Griffith do prepare a short treatise of discipline, to be annexed to the said Confession of faith.
Thos. Curtis, Abel Morgan, Owen Thomas, Job Warford, John Davis, Joseph Eaton, Stephen Shepherd, Wm. Marshall, Ben. Stelle, Joshua Potts, Job Shepherd, Thomas Jones, Nath. Evans, John Coward, George Eaton, John Bently, Richd. Winter, John Davis, John Beckingham, Robt. Chalfant, Peter Nesherman. James Mott, Danl. Howell, David Davis, Jenkin Jones,
The elders, ministers, and messengers of the several congregations, baptized on profession of faith, meeting at Philadelphia, the 24th of September, 1743, and continued by adjournment to the 28th of the same month.
Unto the several churches, we send our loving and Christian salutation.
Dearly beloved in our glorious Redeemer, - We are very much refreshed in beholding your readiness in sending your messengers among us, and we bless God for the grace bestowed upon you, so as to unite you, as we hope, first to Christ, and then to one another in church relation, whereby you are capacitated, with united hearts, to send your comfortable letters, wherein we find our churches, in general, at peace and unity, and some increase in most of them.
We hope God has answered your prayers for us; for we met in love, had the necessary and precious truths of the gospel publicly dispensed with much warmth and clearness; continued in love and meekness in our debates and consultations; though we have been concerned in tedious and difficult business, which has not been the trouble of former Associations in these parts. Now we are to part from one another to our respective homes, after we have given you some necessary counsels.
Beloved brethren, we desire you in the bowels of love to stand fast in defence of the necessary truths of the gospel of Christ, concerning right faith and obedience; give up yourselves to the study of the word, and hold fast the profession of your faith without wavering, in these shaking and wavering days; neglect no duty that the gospel requires. We fear there are many among you who neglect prayer in and with your families. Oh sad! What life of religion can there be in such a Sardis-like state! having a name to live, and at the same time dead; without breath or panting after God. Keep up your stated meetings; worship the Lord on his day, and other appointed seasons; forsake not the assembling yourselves together; it is a dishonor to Christ, a discouragement to your ministers, and weakening the hands and grieving the hearts of your fellow-members, who have the credit of religion and the prosperity of Zion at heart. Bear one another's burdens; withdraw not your shoulders from helping one another; let not carnal interest, or a selfish, stiff, stubborn humor, prevent your kind and generous contribution to the necessity of the poor, or supporting your ministers, or the carrying on of any public work, which may be necessary to the decent and commodious worshiping of the Lord, who giveth all you enjoy. Let your light shine before men; walk in the paths of virtue, holiness, and pure conversation. Glorify God before the world: - it is pleasing unto him, and makes way, by growing and continuing therein, for your comfort and peace in this life, and will administer boldness, and an abundant entrance unto you, in the end, into that glorious kingdom prepared for the doers of God's will.
Tuesday, the house met according to appointment, at 8 o'clock, A. M., to consider further the affair begun yesterday, touching the differences at Montgomery. After some time spent in debate thereon, brother Joseph Eaton stood up, and freely, to our apprehension, recanted, renounced, and condemned all expressions, which he heretofore had used, whereby his brethren at Montgomery, or any persons elsewhere, were made to believe that he departed from the literal sense and meaning of that fundamental article in our Confession of faith, concerning the eternal generation and Sonship of Jesus Christ our Lord; he acknowledged with grief his misconduct therein, whether by word or deed. We desire that all our churches would take notice thereof, and have a tender regard for him in his weak and aged years, and in particular, of that great truth upon which the Christian religion depends; without which it must not only totter, but fall to the ground; which he confesses he was sometimes doubtful of. Our
brother Butler, gave his acknowledgement, written in his own hand, in the following words: - "I freely confess that I have given too much cause for others to judge that I contradicted our Confession of faith, concerning the eternal generation of the Son of God, in some expressions contained in my paper, which I now with freedom condemn, and am sorry for my so doing, and for every other misconduct that I have been guilty of, from first to last, touching the said article, or any other matter."
Dear People: We pray God you would content yourselves and be satisfied with the revealed will of God, concerning the unutterable, as well as inconceivable, mysteries of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, three in one, and one in three, the co-essentiality, the co-eternity, and co-equality, of the three glorious Persons in one eternal God; and that you suffer not a vain and over-curious search to be made thereinto by human reason and worldly wisdom. A number in one of our churches having suffered themselves to inquire therein, according to aforesaid rules of human reason and worldly wisdom, have been so entangled and confused, that they were carried so far as to question the Sonship of the second Person, as he is God, without having reference to his manhood and mediatory offices which conception and supposition we not only disallow, but abhor and condemn, and are glad that God hath blessed means to convict the said parties of their sin and error; and herein we were nemine contra dicente, fully united to repel, and put a stop to, as far as we may, unto the Arian, Socinian, and Antitrinitarian systems; protesting unto the world our joint belief of, and our resolution to maintain, the eternal and inconceivable generation of the second Person in the ever adorable Trinity; and have, we hope, prevailed effectually,so as to bring the persons chiefly concerned, as questioning the same, to a free confession of their mistake therein.
And now, dear brethren, we conclude, praying God to bless you with increase of grace and numbers; and that you would not only read our advice over, and then put it by, but practice what, in love, we send unto you; that God may be glorified, love abound, the peace of the community continue and strengthen. May you be daily made meet for Christ's eternal embraces. Amen.
We had a copy of discipline designed to be annexed to our Confession of faith, by an order of a former Association, read and considered at this meeting, and approved by the whole house.
Brother David Davis to preach the next Association sermon; in case of failure, brother Abel Morgan.
Nathaniel Jenkins, Scribe.
Jno. Bently, Jeremiah Hand, John Davis, Jno. Garrett, Wm. Smith, Job Shephard, James Davis, Wm. Fowler, George Eaton, Jeffrey Bently, Jenkin Jones, Moses Shephard, Joshua Potts, Owen Thomas, Dano Evans, Wm. Folwell, Wm. Davies, John Griffith, James Mott, Abel Morgan, Reynold Howell.
The Association convened September 22d, 1744. Query from the church of Bethlehem Suppose a person baptized by a man, who takes upon him to preach the gospel, and proceeds to administer the ordinances without a regular call or ordination from any church; whether the person so baptized may be admitted into any orderly church. Yea or nay?
Resolved: We cannot encourage such irregular proceedings; because it hath ill consequences every way attending it; it is also opposite to our discipline. We therefore give our sentiments that such administrations are irregular, invalid, and of no effect.
Agreed, that the messengers of the churches shall meet next year on Wednesday before the fourth Sunday in September.
Upon a request made to the Association by Simon Butler, it was, agreed and appointed that our brethren, Nathaniel Jenkins, Owen: Thomas, Benjamin Stelle, and Thomas Jones, visit the church of Montgomery on Wednesday after the first Sunday in November next, in order to try to accommodate the difference amongst them.
The Association convened on Wednesday, the 18th of September, 1745. Agreed and concluded, pursuant to requests made by the church of Bethlehem and brethren about Cranberry, that our reverend brethren, Nathaniel Jenkins and Jenkin Jones, be at Bethlehem the fourth Sunday in October, to assist at the ordination of Thomas Curtis;, and the Friday after being the first day. of November, they are to be at Cranberry, in order to settle the members there in church order.
The procedure of four messengers, sent by the Association the year before, was brought to the house by a report in writing, and. read; and the question was put to the house, whether it was approved as reported.
Resolved in the affirmative. The report itself is not inserted, because Simon Butler and his party did not acquiesce with the determination.
A question being put to the house: Whether the messengers from the church of Montgomery be received as members of this Association?
Resolved in the affirmative. Accordingly, David Evans, Daniel Davis, and Daniel Griffith were received.
Concluded, that the Association continue as now kept, on Wednesday before the fourth Sunday in September, and the sermon begin, at 10 o'clock, A. M.
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