Tuesday, October 5th. — At three o'clock, P. M., Brother Thomas Ustick delivered a suitable discourse, from 1 Philippians 1:27, "That ye stand fast in one Spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the Gospel."
2. Brother Samuel Waldo was chosen moderator, and Brother William Vanhorn, clerk.
3. Letters from the churches were read. Adjourned till to-morrow morning, nine o’clock.
4. October 6th. — Met pursuant to adjournment. A letter and minutes from the Warren Association were read; whereby it appears that they are, in general, at peace amongst themselves. The additions to their churches this year are fifty-eight; their whole number three thousand five hundred and sixty-one. That, besides this Association, they correspond with four others in New England, viz., one in Vermont, one in New Hampshire Grants, one in Stonington, in Connecticut, and another in the State of New Hampshire, consisting of six churches and four hundred members, which opened a communication with them this present year.
5. A letter from the Ketockton Association was read, informing us that they enjoy peace among themselves; that the additions to their churches this year were thirty-four; and that two churches joined them at their last meeting.
6. Our ministering brethren, William Rogers, Burgess Allison, Ebenezer Ward, and Nicholas Cox, being present, their company and assistance were desired.
7. A letter from a church constituted the last year in Lower Smithfield, Northampton county, State of Pennsylvania, under the care of Elder David Jane, was read, requesting admission to the Association. Upon a particular and, satisfactory relation of their faith and practice, by Brother Cox, who assisted at their constitution, we are free to receive them into union with us, when they shall appear by their messengers.
8. Brother William Rogers was requested to prepare a letter to the warren Association; Brother Nicholas Cox, one to that of Ketockton, in Virginia; and Brother Ezekiel Robins, one to that South Carolina. Adjourned to three o'clock, P. M.
9. Met pursuant to adjournment. — To a query: Whether Jesus Christ was an object of prayer? we answer: We are surprised that one of our sister churches, or any of the members thereof, should be in doubt of an article of faith so plainly revealed in the word of God. The instance of the penitent thief on the cross; of Stephen when stoned, praying to the Lord Jesus; and the injunction to honor the Son as we honor the Father, are sufficiently plain on this point.
Upon inquiry of the messenger from the church who sent the query, and by information of others present, we found that something had been delivered amongst them, and elsewhere, by one in the ministry; which, in our opinion, favors of that deistical error that we discard and abhor as heresy. We therefore seriously recommend it to all our churches, and those who compose them, to try the spirits, whether they be of God, and if they do not maintain the divinity of Jesus Christ, neither to receive them into their houses, nor to bid them God speed.
10. In answer to a query from one of our churches: What measures ought to be taken with a sister church who holds and actually admits unbaptized persons to the Lord’s supper? we observe, That such a church may and ought, in the first instance, to be written to by a sister church, exhorting them to desist from such a practice, and to keep the ordinances as they were delivered to them in the word of God.
11. The letters prepared for the different Associations being presented and read, were approved.
12. The circular letter, written by Brother John Gano, was presented and read. Adjourned till to-morrow morning, nine o'clock.
13. October 7th. — Met pursuant to adjournment. With respect to the request from the church at Kingwood for supplies, we answer, That from the representation made to us, we are in hope transient visits will not be wanted, as, in our opinion, Providence points out clearly the propriety of Brother Cox's settlement with them.
14. From a statement of the circumstances of a bequest of Mr. Honeywell to this Association, which was laid before us by Brother Elkana Holmes, we are induced to appoint our brethren, Elkana Holmes, Dr. John Dodge, Ebenezer Ferris, together with Brother Samuel Jones, or any two of them, a committee to treat with any person or persons concerning the same.
15. Brother Vanhorn reported that he got the binding of the books of the Association library repaired; and from the vouchers he produced, it appears there was a balance of cash in his hands of 16s.; 6d.; 4s. of which he is ordered to pay for the postage on the Ketockton
Association letter, the residue is granted to him for his superintendence of said business.
16. Whereas, there has been much inattention in some of our churches to a communication with this Association by letters and messengers; and the same being in our opinion of importance to the interest of the churches, we recommend to our Brethren John Gano and Samuel Jones, the former to write to those in the eastern parts, and the latter to those in the western parts of this Association, and press them to a due regard to that connection and correspondence of the churches, which experience has proved to be both comfortable and in many instances advantageous.
17. Met pursuant to adjournment, at three o'clock, P. M. The circular letter being again read and considered, was approved.
18. Our Brethren John Gano and William Rogers, are appointed messengers to the Warren Association; Brother Thomas Fleeson and Brother Elkana Holmes, to that of Virginia. Our Brethren Gano, Rogers, and Vanhorn, jun., or either of them, to that of Charleston, South Carolina.
19. Brother William Rogers is appointed to write the circular letter for the next year.
20. Supplies granted to the following destitute churches: — Scotch Plains, Morristown, Lyon's Farms, and Dividing Creek.
21. Brother William Rogers is appointed to superintend the printing of the minutes of this Association.
22. Resolved, That our next Association be held at Philadelphia, the first Tuesday in October, at three o'clock, P. M. Brother John Dodge is appointed to preach the introductory sermon; or, in case of failure, Brother Elkana Holmes.
BY REV. JOHN GANO
The elders and brethren of the several churches, met in Association at New York, October 5th, 6th, and 7th, 1784.
To the churches with whom we are connected, send greeting:
Dearly beloved — The preceding minutes will give you every necessary information relative to our meeting, the state of our churches, and our endeavors for their prosperity. We trust, you will unite your efforts with ours, to the same good purpose; and that our thanksgivings for the present peace, harmony, and increase of our churches, our prayers for their further growth, with a more powerful effusion of the Divine Spirit and grace upon them, will be mutually offered up. May the consideration of our effectual calling prove an incentive thereunto! Which is the subject now to be considered, as in the tenth chapter of our Confession of faith. That we may investigate this subject as fully as the limits of a letter will allow, we will consider, first, the call; secondly, the Author of the call; thirdly, the called; and fourthly, its efficacy.
I. The call. This is an act of sovereign grace, which flows from the everlasting love of God, and is such an irresistible impression
made by the Holy Spirit upon the human soul, as to effect a blessed change. This impression or call is sometimes immediate, as in the instance of Paul and others; though more ordinarily through the instrumentality of the word and providence of God. Though in both the impression or power upon the soul or rational principle of operation must be the same. This may be considered as one power capable of exerting itself in various modes; as in perceiving, choosing, refusing, loving, hating, &c. Likewise the impression before mentioned may be viewed as one spiritual principle of operation in the soul, exerting itself in divers ways, rather than as different principles of grace.
II. We are to consider the Author of the call. The Author is God, the Father, Son, and Spirit. As in 1 Thess. ii. 12, "That ye walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory." Also, in 2 Tim. i. 9, "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace," &c. In others it more directly applies to the Father, who is said to call them unto the fellowship of his Son. Sometimes it is ascribed to the Son, as in Proverbs i. 20, viii., where saints are said to be called of Jesus Christ. Lastly, it is ascribed to the Holy Ghost, as in Phil. i. 6; "Being confident of this very thing, that he who hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." Upon the whole this call is heard as it is in deed and in truth, the call of God, and not the voice of man.
III. We are to consider who are the called. They are such as God hath chosen and predestinated both to grace and glory, elected and set apart in Christ, as redeemed by his blood, although by nature children of wrath even as others; not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles. This is an holy, heavenly, and, consequently, an high calling.
IV. Its efficacy. It is effectual to bring the subjects of it to a piercing sense of their guilt and impurity. The mind is deeply convicted, that the fountain is in his very heart or nature, from which all its criminal actions have sprung; and that the lust within disposes us to violate the laws of God in as great a variety of ways as nature is capable of exerting itself, agreeable to Paul's expression, "Sin revived and I died." The soul is affected with a view of its sinfulness and the malignity of sin in its nature, as entirely opposed to the holy law of God; hence arises an abhorrence of sin, as vile and odious, and a sense of its demerit as deserving eternal death. This call produces a consciousness of the absolute impossibility of our contributing in the least degree towards a recovery from this wretched condition, and destroys all confidence of help in the flesh. It is a call to Christ, and gives a view of him in his suitableness and ability as a Saviour; the merit of his obedience and sacrifice, and the treasures of his grace are all brought into view, which creates desires of an interest in him, and resolutions of looking unto and relying wholly upon him for salvation; at the same time cordially acknowledging desert of rejection from him, and yet strengthened to rely entirely
upon and surrender all unto the disposal of Christ; setting to our seals that God is true; believing the record he has given of his Son, which is eternal life, and that this life is in his Son. The changes produced are from darkness to light, from bondage to liberty, from alienation and estrangedness to Christ to a state of nearness and fellowship with him and his saints. This call administers peace of conscience towards God, and disposes its subjects to peace with mankind, so far as is consistent with righteousness.
This is an holy calling, and is effectual to produce the exercise of holiness in the heart, even as the saints are created in Christ Jesus unto good works. God having called us, not to uncleanness, but to holiness, yea, even to glory and virtue, and "to live holly, righteously, and godly in this present evil world;" and to conform us, both as men and as Christians, to the pure dictates of nature and the authority of revelation, in all virtuous actions. To believe what is divinely revealed, and to obey what is divinely enjoined; in which the saints are required to persevere unto "an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, which is reserved in heaven for them," and unto which this effectual vocation ultimately tends. From all which considerations, we learn what it is to be both good and great, and that the way to advance in durable riches and righteousness; to live on high; live above the vanities and pomp of this trifling world, and to shame those who walk unworthily, is to retain a sense of our heavenly vocation. Thus will the hearts and hands of all God's people, and especially his ministers, be supported and strengthened; thus will the religion of our adorable Redeemer be honored in the world; thus shall we glorify God in life and enjoy his peace in death, and leave behind a finished testimony that our calling was effectual and our profession sincere.
Signed by order of the Association, SAMUEL WALDO, Moderator WILLIAM VANHORN, Clerk.
THE MINISTERS AND MESSENGERS AT THE ASSOCIATION, AND STATE OF THE CHURCHES DURING THE YEAR.
NOTE. — The ministers’ names are in SMALL CAPITALS. Those marked thus * not present. The churches marked thus † sent neither letters nor messengers. A dash — denotes no settled minister. [A. D. Gillette, editor, Minutes of Philadelphia Association, 1707-1807, 1851; rpt. 2001. — jrd]
Minutes of Philadelphia Association
Baptist History Homepage