THIS year the Association met at Philadelphia, October 12th, and began at 3 o'clock, P. M., as usual, with divine service. The sermon by our brother, Rev. Morgan Edwards, from Numbers xxiii:9; who, after observing, that "standing alone and unreckoned among the nations" meant a religious "singularity;" and comparing his text with the king of Moab's sense of it, Numbers xxiv:10, advanced this doctrinal point, and exemplified it in the case of the Baptists from the beginning of Christianity to the present time. "Standing alone and unnumbered with any religious society, is, in some supposable cases, a commendable and blessed thing." Those who have solicited a copy of the sermon for the press, will be gratified when all the Association sermons come to be printed.
2. After divine service, Brother John Gano was chosen moderator, and Brother Morgan Edwards, clerk. Letters from forty-two churches were read, and the names of the messengers enrolled.
3. A letter from the warren Association was read, whereby it appears that three churches joined them, with an increase of one hundred and four members; that the oppression of the Baptists in Massachusetts continues; the paragraph relating to this follows: "Our sufferings in Boston government on religious accounts still continue in several places; a particular narrative of which is to be printed, with a fair representation of the treatment which the Baptists have met with in said government in time past."
4. A letter from the Congaree Association, in South Carolina, was read, soliciting the continuance of our correspondence, and exhibiting the state of their churches, whereby it appears that there was a great increase among them; but the number is not specified. Next year they promise to be more exact.
5. Also a letter from Quekuky Association, in North Carolina, thanking us for our care in sending messengers among them; exhibiting the state of their churches, and soliciting the continuance
of correspondence and MISSIONS. The increase of members this year among them is two hundred and seventy-five.
6. No letter from Sandy Creek Association, in the same province, nor from the Rapidanne Association, in Virginia. A letter was prepared by the Ketokton Association, and Rev. Richard Major appointed messenger. By some means the letter came not to hand; but the messenger informs us of a very great increase among them, with the addition of three churches to their Association. No letter from the Charleston Association, in South Carolina. But as letters and a messenger are sent to each, we hope to have it in our power next year to gratify the churches with the state of their brethren to the southward.
7. The second church of New York applying for admission, and some obstacles appearing in the way, a committee was appointed to meet at New York, November 8th, to inspect into the matter; and, if the obstacles could be removed, to receive said church into union, in the name and behalf of the Association. The persons appointed are Rev. Messrs. Benjamin Miller, Isaac Stelle, and Alderman Stites.
8. The case of Mr. Henry Dawson, late of London, but now of Newport, Rhode Island, came before the Association.
Agreed, That Messrs. Samuel Jones, David Jones, David Sutton, Henry Williams, and Joseph Hart, be a committee to consider the matter, and make their report.
They met, and reported as follows: "As it doth appear to us that the said Henry Dawson hath. deposited all his substance in a safe hand for the benefit of his creditors, and otherwise manifested a suitable inclination, and endeavors, to the utmost of his abilities, to pay and discharge his debts, we are of opinion that any minute or record, formerly made by this Association respecting him, should and ought to become null and void, as if the same had not been made."
The Association agreed thereto, and the records were made void.
N. B. The reason of our having to do with Mr. Dawson was that, till of late, he professed himself to be a First-day Baptist, but now is in the observance of the Seventh day.
9. A letter from a company of people at Oyster Bay, on Long Island, was read, requesting help in their present difficulties.
Resolved, That Messrs. Benjamin Miller, John Lawrence, John Gano, Isaac Stelle, Ebenezer Ward, Henry Williams, and John Stites, do meet at said Oyster Bay, the 10th of November, to give them the help they requested, and also to provide supplies for them. this year.
10. A petition from a certain number of well disposed persons at Cowmarsh, in Kent, was attended to, and the following supplies provided for them: - Fourth Sunday in November, Rev. John Blackwell; second in April, Rev. William Worth; last in May, Rev. P. Peterson Vanhorn.; last in July, Rev. Morgan Edwards; the fourth in, September, Rev. Robert Kelsay.
11. An answer to a query from the Great Valley, to be sent with their letter.
12. The money brought in by the church of Cape May, Salem, and Croswick, for the use of our suffering brethren being remanded ordered, that Treasurer Wescott deliver said money to their messengers, and the rest to the other churches, if demanded by their messengers.
13. Agreed, that Messrs. Rogers and Vanhorn shall write the circular letter; and Messrs. Jones and Edwards write to the Associations corresponding or to correspond with us. Also, that Brother Abel Morgan do, against next Association, consider a plan, and present a specimen of a circular letter to be addressed to the churches. Agreeable to a request in the letter from New York, our ministers were pressed to visit the brethren at Pigskill, in New York government; and at Stamford, in Connecticut.
14. The usefulness of a travelling minister on this continent appearing more manifest by trials, and Brother Morgan Edwards declining the office, it was agreed, that Brother John Gano be a messenger of the churches for this year; and that the treasurer do pay him the interest of the Association fund, to help defraying his expenses.
15. Agreeable to a petition from the church of Newmills, the following supplies were provided for them, as they are destitute, occasioned by the excommunication of their late minister, Mr. David Branson, of whom the churches should be aware: - Fourth Sunday in December, Rev. Samuel Jones; second in February, Rev. William Worth; fourth in March, Rev. David Jones; first in Rev. P. Peterson Vanhorn; fourth in June, Rev. Robert Kelsay; third in August, Rev. Ebenezer Ward; fourth in September, Rev. Samuel Jones; fourth in October, Rev. William Vanhorn.
16. The following supplies are provided for Hopewell church: - Fourth Sunday in October, Rev. John Blackwell; fourth in November, Rev. Nicholas Cox; first in February, Rev. Morgan Edwards; third and fourth in February, Rev. William Worth; second in April, P. Peterson Vanhorn; fourth in May, Rev. Samuel Jones; fourth in June, Rev. William Rogers; fourth in July, Rev. David Jones; second in August, Rev. Ebenezer Ward; fourth in October, Rev. John Blackwell.
17. Agreeable to a petition from the church of Kingwood, their case was considered; and Brother Abel Morgan appointed to write to them. The letter is as follows:"Beloved brethren, - Whereas you have, in your letter, informed the Association that you are not agreed among yourselves about the genuinesense of that place of Scripture, John xiii, relative to washing the saints' feet; and also request the Association to give you their opinion of it. The Association, taking the same into consideration, are not so happy as to be universally agreed themselves in the point, so as to give you the fixed determined sense of the words; and not choosing at present to enter into disputes upon the subject, they
[p. 131]thought proper to choose I should write you a line upon the occasion, desiring (which is also my earnest desire) you to avoid all unbecoming heats, perverse disputings, contentions, hard thoughts, and evil speaking among yourselves on this account; but rather to forbear with one another in love, that though you cannot see alike in all things, yet you would still follow the things that make for peace; for hereunto were ye called. Endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Let not those who are bound in conscience to practice it, condemn those who are not convinced it is a duty; nor those who cannot see it a duty, despise those who are for practising it. Let all things, brethren, be done among you to edification. Unity is the great design God hath in view to accomplish, Ephesians i:10. Unity among God's people is that which the devil hates, and labors to destroy, who is the sower of discord among brethren.
"With my hearty desire for your prosperity, I am yours,
"Philadelphia, October 14, 1773."
18. Agreed, that by reason of the distances of several of our sister churches to the eastward, the Association should meet twice in the year; once at New York, on the Wednesday after the fourth Lord's day in May, at 3 o'clock, for the conveniency of said eastern churches; and at Philadelphia, on Wednesday after the second Lord's day in October. The sermon to be preached, at New York, by Rev. Samuel Jones, or, in case of failure, by Rev. Abel Morgan; that at Philadelpha by Rev. Isaac Stelle, or, in case of failure, by Rev. William Rogers.
19. Pursuant to a petition from Lyon's Farms, the following supplies were obtained for them: - Third Sunday in November, Rev. Nicholas Cox; last Sunday in December, Rev. Morgan Edwards, who is to be at Piscataqua the Friday before, at 12 o'clock; fourth in May, Rev. Ebenezer Ward.
20. The Association fund being again recommended, the following donations were added this year:
L. s. d.
Church of Philadelphia, 4 0 0
Church of York, 2 0 0
Church of New Britain, 0 7 6
Church of Pennepek, 0 12 9
Church of Montgomery, 0 7 9
Rev. David Jones, 0 7 6
Mr. Hugh Glasford, 0 8 0
In all, L8 3s. 3d., which increased the capital to L118 14s. 5d.
21. Voted, That L18 arising from Mrs. Hubb's donation, be equally divided between Messrs. Peter Smith and Thomas Gier; they giving the usual obligations to the trustees.
22. Voted, that Messrs. John Gano and William Vanhorn be our messengers to the Warren Association; and to the southern Associations Mr. Gano only.
The ministers and messengers of the several Baptist congregations in Pennsylvania, the Jerseys, and provinces adjacent, met in annual Association at Philadelphia, October 12th, 13th, and 14th, 1773.
To the several churches we respectively relate unto, send Christian salutation.
Much esteemed brethren, - Almighty God, in his kind providence, having favored us with another anniversary Association, for which it surely behoveth us to call upon our souls and all that is within us to bless and praise his holy and reverend name.
Through divine goodness we met in peace, and preserved love and harmony. We have (as by our minutes appears) endeavored so to act, that the great Head of the church may be glorified, and much benefit redound to the several branches we stand respectively related unto. The particular accounts transmitted in many of your letters, together with those, of other Associations, are truly very refreshing. Oh, help us to magnify the Lord for his rich favors and tender mercies, which are over all his works!
But, alas, that usual complaint of deadness and lukewarmness in the things of religion, still prevails. It is much to be lamented that vital piety, in many places, decays, for the revival of which we have thought meet to appoint four days in the year ensuing as days of fasting and united prayer and supplication at the throne of grace, viz: the Fridays after the fourth Lord's days in November, February, May, and August. Prayer, you are sensible, has done wonders; it is the very breath of the new creature; yea, it is a command from Christ himself, "Ask, and it shall be given you, &c." Matthew vii:7, 8. Moreover, for our encouragement, let us remember, that if any two or three of us shall agree to petition for any thing in the name of Jesus, it shall be granted unto us.
We entreat you, therefore, unitedly to assemble together, and to be instant with the Lord in prayer, wrestling with. him for his blessing, and those measures of his Spirit and grace, whereby our souls may be quickened, and religion more and more revived in our land.
JOHN GANO, Moderator, MORGAN EDWARDS, Secretary.
*** The following books may be had of Mr. Samuel Davis, Hatter, at the corner of Christ Church Alley, in Third street, viz:, "Baptist Confessions of Faith," 1s. 1d.; [John] "Norcott on Baptism," 4d.; "Catechisms," 3d.; "Materials towards a history of the Baptists," 4s., unbound, 3s. "Customs of Primitive Churches," 3s. 9d.; "Stennett's Sermons," 20s.
THE MINISTERS AND MESSENGERS AT THE ASSOCIATION, AND THE STATE OF THE CHURCHES FOR THE YEAR.
NOTE. - The ministers' names in SMALL CAPTALS. Those marked thus * not present. The Churches marked thus + sent neither letters nor messengers, and their numbers remain as last year. A dash - denotes no minister
[A. D. Gillette, Minutes of Philadelphia Association, May, 1773, 1851; reprint, 2001. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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