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MINUTES OF THE PHILADELPHIA BAPTIST ASSOCIATION,
HELD AT NEW YORK, MAY 25TH. 1774

New York, May 25. — At 3 o'clock, the Association began, as usual, with Divine service. The sermon was preached by our brother, Rev. Samuel Jones, from Matthew 5:16.

2. After Divine service, Brother Samuel Jones was chosen moderator, and Brother William Rogers, clerk. Letters from several churches were read, and the names of the messengers enrolled.

3. Adjourned. — Sermon in the evening by our brother, Rev. Abel Morgan.

4. Thursday, May 26. Met at 8 o’clock, and after prayer proceeded to business.

5. A letter from Stanford church was read, desiring admittance among, and union with us; received accordingly.

6. The minutes and letters from Charleston Association, South Carolina, were read. The plan adopted by them respecting Rhode Island College recommended to us. Agreed to recommend the same to the churches we stand respectively related unto; and whoever shall see good to contribute, the money so gathered, agreeable to the plan, to be remitted to Colonel Job Bennet, in New Port, Rhode Island, or brought unto the next Association.

7. A letter from the Association at Little River and Broad River, South Carolina, was read, by which it appears that sixty-six joined them by baptism the year past; their number of members six hundred and ninety-two. Good, news from a far country.

8. A motion being made, that Brother John Gano should give an account of his travels to the southward: he accordingly did, by which it appears he has been indefatigable in his labors, and that a minister, travelling annually, according to the plan proposed, may answer very valuable purposes.

9. The second church in New York having been received into the Association by the committee appointed last Association, they presented their letters and messengers, who took their seats.

10. The Association of ministers and elders, from the several Baptist
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churches, met at Philadelphia, October 12th, 1773, thought it expedient that some plan of the general letter to the churches, somewhat different from the usual mode of addressing them, should be considered and fixed upon, and nominated BrotherAbel Morgan to present a specimen at the next Association; who, considering the case, proposes as follows: —

I. That the contents of the general letter shall consist of observations and improvements of some particular article of faith, contained in our Confession, beginning with the first, and so on in order, unless occasion require the contrary; the manner and improvement, whether explanatory, confirmatory, consolatory, or by questions and answers, to be concluded by the writer. Also, that a brother be nominated beforehand, to prepare against the next meeting.

II. Let diligent care be used to caution the churches against innovation in doctrine and practice, and to watch against errors, and avoid them wherever they rise, and by whomsoever they may be propagated.

III. That suitable endeavors be made as heretofore, to resolve cases and questions proposed by the churches, to the best of our knowledge, according to the scripture.

IV. That all seasonable counsel and advice be given to the churches; and, as occasion may require, let them be pressed with fervency and convincing arguments.

V. That records be kept of all the copies of letters sent from, and received by, the Association.

11. Agreeable to a petition from the church at Lyon's Farms, sup. plies were provided.

12. Supplies were also provided for Oyster Bay.

13. Agreed, That Brother Samuel Jones prepare the general letter against next Association.

CIRCULAR LETTER
BY REV. ABEL MORGAN
The Association of elders and messengers of the several Baptist congregations in Pennsylvania, and the neighboring colonies, met at New York, May 25th, 1774.

Send our Christian salutation. Beloved Brethren, — Whereas, unity in judgment (Ephesians 4:12, 13; 1 Corinthians 1:10), and growth in every grace (Ephesians 4:15; 1 Thessalonians 4:9. 10), are the two principal ends of all ministerial means and institutions; whatever, therefore, directly or natively tends to promote those valuable purposes, is hereby manifested to be good and right. The meeting of churches by their messengers at stated seasons, is esteemed to have this useful tendency. Such meetings ought then, not only to be continued, but also improved to the utmost for obtaining those desirable aforesaid designs. And that they may be more so, it is thought expedient, that henceforth the contents of the general letters to the churches consist of an improvement of some article of our Confession of faith, following the order therein observed,
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unless some particular requires otherwise, beginning with the first, viz., Of the Holy Scriptures; which are contained in the books of the Old and New Testament, as in our said adopted Confession. — These holy writings are of God, divinely inspired, 2 Timothy 3:16; the word of God, John 10:36; 1 Corinthians 14:36, 37; the mind of Christ, 1 Corinthians 2:26; of Divine authority, Isaiah 40:8; the infallible ground of faith and certain rule of obedience, Isaiah 8:20; full and complete in all its parts, historical, doctrinal, and prophetical; every way useful and profitable: e. gr. to obtain the saving knowledge of the one only living and true God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, 2 Timothy 3:15; the knowledge of his essential attributes and immutable counsels, Hebrews 6:17; also of his works, of creation, providence, and particularly of redemption by Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, the one Mediator, God-Man. In the Scriptures we are clearly informed of the offices which he executes; of his unparalleled condescension and glorious exaltation, his approbation with the Father; and of his grace, love, merits, titles, and benefits.

The Scriptures are likewise useful, to give us the knowledge of man's ruin by sin; his misery, guilt, and condemnation; the consequences of his transgression; of the ever wonderful way of recovery by Christ, together with the certain characters of those who are restored; the change produced in them, and their obligations to new obedience; the blessedness of the godly, and the misery of the wicked and unbelievers; and also, the final state of both, after this life. Hence, be exhorted, brethren, to consider what a special privilege God has granted you, and continued with you. The Bible in your hands! Let this word of God dwell richly in your hearts also, in its doctrines, promises, commands, cautions, and threatenings; for your enlightening, your acting of every grace, your avoiding every sin, and for your perfecting holiness in the fear of God, 2 Cor. vii. 1. Some are forbid the use of the Bible, others are taught and persuaded to slight the Scriptures, while others again corrupt the word of God, 2 Cor. ii. 17. All those come short of receiving the full benefit thereof. Beware ye, dear brethren, lest your adversary, the devil, render it useless to you, by your neglecting of it. Frequently read the Scriptures in your retirements, read them in your families; make conscience of giving opportunities to all your households, of hearing what God says of them and to them. Speak of God's word, meditate upon it, and according to it, Psalm 1. 23. Especially, look that you have an experimental acquaintance with the operation of Divine truth upon your hearts, 1 Thes. ii. 13. Pray God for a blessing to accompany it wherever it is preached; and always admire God, and praise him for his special kindness in giving you the holy Bible.
SAMUEL JONES, Moderator,
WILLIAM ROGERS, Clerk.
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THE MINISTERS AND MESSENGERS AT THE ASSOCIATION, AND STATE OF THE CHURCHES DURING THE YEAR.
[Chart in progress.]

NOTE. — The Ministers' names are in SMALL CAPITALS. Those marked thus * were not present. The Churches marked thus † sent neither letters nor messengers, and their numbers remain as last year. A dash — denotes no settled minister.
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[A. D. Gillette, Minutes of Philadelphia Association, May, 1774, 1851; rpt. 2001. - jrd]



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