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     Editor's note: The Shaftsbury Association was established in 1780 and named for the church in which they first met as an association, which was located in southwestern Vermont. There were also churches from northwestern Massachusetts and eastern New York in this association. John Leland lived in Massachusetts. The Woodstock Association was established in 1783. Jim Duvall

      Stephen Wright in his History of the Shaftsbury Baptist Association From 1781 To 1853, written in 1853, says:

      "The circulars were, generally, upon some doctrinal or practical subject, and only for five or six times has there been a failure to print in the annual minutes this eagerly sought for message of the 'Ministers and Messengers of the churches,' and so worthily accounted, as in the days of Paul, 'the glory of Christ.' The entire series of these letters, with the corresponding epistles to the sister associations, would make an interesting volume of sound and salutary religious reading for the family, if reproduced in our day, for the edification of the present generation of the disciples of Christ. We shall insert in this work, from time to time, a few of them, as specimens of their worth; some of them entire; and others in an abridged form, or in some important extract.

      But who can estimate the value of these earlier circulars, to the fathers and mothers of this Association, in building them up in holiness and truth, and in the order of the Gospel in those days when a religious newspaper or magazine was unknown? They were read with great avidity and profit by the church members of those times. If our interest in such truths were as great, the religious literature of this age would make us champions in the army of Christ." (p. 25)

Index for Shaftsbury Baptist Association Circular Letters
By Jim Duvall

Circular Letter of Shaftsbury Baptist Association
"Gospel Discipline"
by Caleb Blood, 1789

Circular Letter of Shaftsbury Baptist Association
The Nature, Business, Power and Government of a Gospel Church
By Elders Peter Werden, Stephen Gano and Justus Hull, 1791

Circular Letter of Shaftsbury Baptist Association
The Divine Inspiration of the Bible
By Elder John Leland, 1793

Corresponding Letter from the Shaftsbury Baptist Association
By Elder John Leland, 1796

Circular Letter of Shaftsbury Baptist Association
The Plan for Domestic Missions, 1802
By Elders Caleb Blood, Justin Hull, Obed Warren, Elisha Barnes and Lemuel Covell

Circular Letter of Shaftsbury Baptist Association
"The Office of Deacons"
By Elder Caleb Blood, 1804

Circular Letter of Shaftsbury Baptist Association
"The Nature and Benefit of Prayer"
By Elder Isaiah Mattison, 1808

Circular Letter of Shaftsbury Baptist Association
"Knowing the Truth"
By Elder Isaac Webb, 1809

Circular Letter from the Woodstock Baptist Association
Baptism and the Lord's Supper, 1807

Circular Letter from Woodstock Baptist Association
Adhering to the Word of God, 1828

More American Circular Letters
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