Fayette Co., PA
Redstone Baptist Association,
HELD BY APPOINTMENT AT
Uniontown Fayette County,
August 31, and September 1 and 2, 1827.
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4. Brethren Brownfield, Estep, Frey, Seymour, and French, were appointed a committee, to arrange the business for to-morrow.
Adjourned, till to-morrow 9 o'clock.
Saturday, September 1.At 9 o'clock, agreeably to appointment, the Association convened, [and] after singing and prayer by the Moderator, proceeded to business.
5. Resolved, That the fifth article of the Constitution of the Association be, and the same is hereby amended so as to read as follows:
It shall be the duty and privilege of every church in union with this body, to send representatives with a letter addressed to "The Redstone Baptist Association;" stating the time and place of the meeting of the Association; their faith, by refering to the regular Baptist Confession of Faith aforesaid, or give such other view of their faith and [practice] agreeing therewith, as will be satisfactory to the Association, their number baptized, received by letter, dismissed, excluded, deceased, and total number remaining since the last session; and enter all difficult cases, that cannot be settled in the church according to good order, by way of postscript or query at the bottom or on the back of the letter, with the name of the clerk of the church signed thereto, which shall only be read before the session.
6. Resolved, That the following section, be a part of the Constitution [of the] Association.
If any church be suspected of departing from the doctrines or discipline of this Association, as set forth in the confession of Faith, and book of discipline adopted by this Association; it shall be competent, for any church in the fellowship of this Association, to make a representation of such departure, to the Association, stating the same in writing, and requesting an investigation thereof; upon which, the Association shall proceed to consider the complaint. and if it shall appear to be well founded, shall make out a copy thereof, and cause it tobe delivered, as early as possible, to the church complained of, and appoint the next meeting of the Association for the hearing of the parties.
7. A circular meeting, appointed by request, at Indian Creek to [be] commenced on Saturday before the 3rd Lord's day in May; brethren Brownfield and Seymour to attend.
8. The church at Little Redstone, being destitute of preaching, brother Brownfield agrees to preach to them, on the 5th Lord's day in September, brother J. Patton, on the 3rd Lord's day in December, brother Frey, on the 2d Lord's day in April, and brother French, on the 5th Lord's day in June.
9. Resolved. that the letter preparing by brother Brownfield being unfinished, the circular letter published in the Minutes of the Franklin Association, Kentucky, 1826, and prepared by Elder S. M. NOEL, D. D. [be adopted by this Association, and published in the Minutes of this year.
10. Appointed, the next meeting of the Association to be held at [the] Baptist meeting-house at Turkeyfoot, Somerset county, Pa. to commence on the Friday preceding the first Lord's day in September, precisely at 11 o'clock A.M.
11. Request, from the church at the Forks of Cheat, for [ministry] supplies. Whereupon, the following brethren agree to visit them; W. BROWNFIELD, on the 4th Lord's day in October; JAMES FREY on the 2d Lord's day in June; and WILLIAM FRENCH on the 3d Lord's day in July.
12. Appointed, brother French, to preach the introductory Sermon for next year, and in case of failure, brother Brownfield.
13. Appointed, brother JAMES ESTEP, to write the Circular Letter for next year.
14. Appointed, brother French, to superintend the printing of the Minutes, and distributing them to the churches.
15. Brethren, P. Sturges, M. Nixon and E. Jones were appointed a committee., to appoint persons to preach on the Lord's day; accordingly, brethren J. Thomas, J. Estep, and J. Frey were appointed.
Adjourned, till to-morrow 10 o'clock.
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Creeds, formed or enforced by the civil authority, are usurpations, leading to persecution and to despotism; while those formed by voluntary Association of Christians, enforced by no higher penalty or sanction than exclusion from membership in the society, are not only lawful, but necessary, in the present state of the religious world. To deny to any religious society the privilege of expressing their views of the Bible in their own words and phrases, and of denying admission to those who reject their views, is a violent interference with the rights of conscience -- it is tyranny. -- It is to subjugate the many, with all their interest, right and happiness, to the dictation of one or a few -- the very essence of tyranny.
By a creed, we mean an epitome or summary exhibition of what the Scriptures teach. Are we to admit members into office, are we to license and ordain preachers, without enquiring for their creed? Shall we ask them no question in regard to principles, or doctrines? Shall we receive, license and ordain candidates, upon a general profession of
faith in Christ; requiring of them this only, that they agree to take the Bible for their guide? Can we do this, and still expect to preserve the unity, purity and peace of the Church? There are but two methods [for] admitting members into office. It must be done either with or without respect to a Creed. We cannot conceive of any third method. [If a] Church rejects a candidate because he holds Sabellian, Arian or [Socinian] principles, she then has respect to a Creed -- She insists upon [her] interpretations of the Bible, upon fundamental points. She does [not deny] him the liberty of interpreting the Bible for himself; this would be usurpation -- it would be tyranny. But while he contemns and [rejects] her views of the Bible, she claims to herself the right of denying to him her fellowship. She tells him, that her interpretations of the Bible, touching doctrines, considered cardinal, are settled. -- In other words that her creed is fixed, and that his hostility to these well settled principles, disqualifies him for membership in her body. If this be an unwarrantable exercise of power, the result is inevitable, that the Church is constrained to receive into her bosom, and cherish with her fellowship those whom she must esteem her worst enemies; the enemies of [truth]. Yes, without respect to a Creed, she is reduced to the cruel necessity of harbouring under her wings the vilest heresies that now disgrace [the] Christian name. Can she do this, and incur no guilt? Can a Church. a New Testament Church, keeping the unity of the Spirit, in the bonds of peace and love, be found in that miserable Babel, composed of Trinitarians, Unitarians, Hutchinsonians, Universal Restorationists, [Reily---] Universalists, Destrovetionists, Swedenborgians, Mystics, Dunkards, Jumpers, shakers, and all others who profess to take the Bible for their guide? Is there communion between light and darkness, fellowship between righteousness and unrighteousness, concord between Christ and Belial?
If the modern adversaries of all Creeds and confessions should [say] that they will not go thus far, that they will not admit into the Church, and much less into the ministry, or rather the bishop's office, one holding Socinian principles, they evidently yield the question. They admit that in the present state of things, it is both lawful and expedient to have a Creed. They cease to oppose the principle of requiring subscription to a creed; or they merely oppose in theory, what they [adduce] in practice. For if they can make one article to exclude a Socinian, they may make another to exclude the Arian, and a third to exclude the Pelagian, and a fourth to exclude the Armenian [sic - Arminian?], &c. &c.; adding article to article, until they get as many as they conceive the exigencies of the Church require. We have not forgotten, that one of our churches not long ago, in her wrath against all Creeds, protested against the Confession of Faith, with forty-two articles, and published it. A memorable instance of anti-creed inconsistency, of which sheherself became quickly convinced, and honestly retraced her steps. but not without injury. It is one thing to oppose the principle of requiring a subscription, to a summary of leading principles; it is quite a different
[---] thing to oppose the principles contained in that summary. And those who would refuse membership, or office to Socinian, or Universalist [---], by their act, admit the necessity of a creed; and in reviling this principle the revile themselves. If they regard consistency and truth, they will no longer denounce what they are pleased to term an odious "array of creeds and confessions." They will no longer be found associated with Latitudenarians and Heretics, who have been the [immutable] foes of confessions in every age of the church, from her infancy to this day. They will cease to despise a remedy, merely because it has not healed every malady, cured every disorder. For the same [----] they might pour contempt upon the Holy Bible. They will cease to fight against Scripture, sense and reason -- against the experience of the Church of God, in all ages, which speaks volumes upon this subject. Before the adversaries of creeds can boast of having gained any thing in this controversy, it devolves upon them to do, what we apprehend cannot easily be done; they must exhibit some method, scriptural and practicable, of excluding corruption from the Church, without a creed. * It is in vain to say, that the Bible is sufficient for that purpose; for [these] corruptions grow out of false and spurious interpretations. And according to their plan, each one is allowed to interpret [for] himself; to place his own constructions upon the Scriptures. It [----es] to the Church, the right to interfere in these "matters of conscience." Their Church can only concern with the actions or morals, [----] with the faith or principles of its members and Bishops. Whether [they] be sound or unsound in the faith, is a question upon their plan, [reserved] for the day of judgment. In such a church, there surely will [be no] unity and purity, worthy of all admiration and great harmony [----ing] from that charity which throws her mantle over multitudes [of -----s], great and small.
We do not propose to enquire how long, or how short, a church covenant, or creed shall be. Nor will we examine now, into the merits or [---cts] of any existing summary of Faith. These questions do not enter
* An objector may ask: Will you let a delinquent have recourse to [the] whole Scriptures?
Answer. Yes, certainly; but let him tell us frankly, and fairly, [that] he understands the scriptures. A delinquent might have recourse [as his] defence, to the whole scriptures, and yet believe and teach damnable heresies. He might wrest the Scriptures to his own destruction, [as] blind guides seldom perish alone. They draw others into the ditch. [Let] an honest man repeat a passage of Scripture in the very language ]of] inspiration, still he wants to tell how he understands, and what [he----] is his Creed. If Creeds are unlawful, then there is an end to preaching, praying, singing and conversation; except in the language of scripture. He who believes in transubstantiation, and he who denies it, [must] both say, "this is my body," and give each other the right hand of fellowship, when their religious opinions are as different as light and darkness.
into the present controversy. Is it lawful and expedient for a Church to adopt any articles of Faith, whatever, as a test of union and a fence against corruption? This is the enquiry to which the attentionof the christian world, has been recently summoned, and to which we respond.
We are not concerned to enquire, whether this creed should be written or unwritten; whether it should be registered only in the minds of the members, or for greater certainty recorded. Our practice evinces that we are not disposed to leave a matter so essential, to the well [be---] of a church, to the uncertain recollections, to the vague and very [---] impressions of individuals. A nuncupative creed, is not calculated to quiet disturbances or to exclude corruption. If we use a religious [test] at all, we should be honest and independent enough to avow it; and to exhibit its principles, in our pulpit ministrations, as a tribute to [truth] and candor, which every christian church owes to other churches, and to the world around her.
Our confessions are human productions, they may all require remission, and be susceptible of ammendment; but to erase them from [our] practice, is to make a tremendous leap into chaos; into the awful vortex of Unitarianism.
It has been said, that to adopt a creed as a religious test, is to supercede the Bible, and to make a human composition instead of it, a standard of Faith. That when we do this, we offer a public indignity to the sacred volume, as we virtually declare either, that it is not infallible or not sufficient." In reply to this, we use the language of a distinguished divine, who in a few words has exposed its fallacy, and swept it from the arena of ecclesiastical controversy. "The whole argument which this objection presents, is founded on a false assumption. No Protestant ever professed to regard his Creed, considered as a human composition, as of equal authority with the Scriptures, and far less as a paramount authority. Every principle of this kind, is with one voice disclaimed by all the Creeds, and defences of Creeds, that have appeared in ancient or modern times, so far as we are informed. And whether, notwithstanding this, the constant repetition of the charge, ought to be considered as fair argument or gross calumny, the impartial will judge. A Church Creed professes to be deduced from the Scriptures, and to refer to the Scriptures for the whole of its authority. Of course, when any one subscribes it, he is so far from dishonoring the Bible, that he does public homage to it. He simply declares by a solemn act, how he understands the Bible, in other words, what doctrines he considers it as containing. In short, the language of an orthodox believer, in subscribing his ecclesiastical Creed, is simply of the following import:
While the Socinian professes to believe the Bible, and to understand it as teaching the mere humanity of Christ; while the Arian professes to receive the same Bible, and to find in it the Saviour represented as the most exalted of all creatures, but still a creature; while the Pelagian and Semi-Pelagian make a similar profession of their general belief in the Scriptures, and interpret them as teaching a doctrine far more favorable to human nature, and far less honorable to the grace of
God, than they appear to me really to teach. -- I beg the privilege of declaring, FOR MYSELF, that while I believe with all my heart, that the Bible is the word of God, the only perfect rule of faith and manners, and the only ultimate test in all controversies; it plainly teaches as I read and believe, the deplorable and total depravity of human nature; the essential divinity of the Saviour; a Trinity of persons in the Godhead; justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ; and regeneration and sanctification by the Holy Spirit, as indispensable to prepare the soul for Heaven. These I believe to be the radical truths which God has revealed in his word, and while they are denied by some, and frittered away, or perverted by others, who profess to believe that blessed word, I am verily persuaded, they are the fundamental principles of the plan of Salvation.
Is there in all this language any thing dishonorable to the Bible, Any thing that tends to supercede its authority, or to introduce a rule, or a tribunal of paramount authority? Is there not on the contrary, in the whole language & spirit of such a declaration, an acknowledgment of God's word, as of ultimate and supreme authority; and an expression of belief in certain doctrines, simply, and only, because they are believed to be revealed in that word? Truly, if this is dishonoring the Scriptures, or setting up a standard above them, there is an end of all meaning, either of words or actions.
But still, we are asked, "if the Scriptures are not plain and easy to understand? Can we make them plainer than the author has done? Why hold a candle to the Sun," &c. This objection amounts to nothing, while the fact remains undisputed, that thousands who profess to [believe] the Scriptures, by their false and spurious glosses, do virtually [---y] the radical doctrines contained therein. The lamentable fact, that [the] enemy (even now,) comes in like a flood devolves upon every religious society, who would bear witness to the truth, the imperious duty, of lifting up a standard for truth.
Let those who oppose the use of Creeds, answer these questions. Has the Head of the Church made no qualifications necessary, for the admission of members into the Church? Has he made no qualifications necessary for admission into office? Has he established no tribunal on earth, to judge these qualifications! Is an Arian, Socinian, or Universalist qualified for either membership or office? Can it be said they [are] not without respect to a Creed? Strip the point in issue of all the [sundry] guise, which the ingenuity of modern times has cast over it, and there is scarcely room for controversy. The common sense of every [man] revolts at the idea of assembling in the same church, and around the same board, every thing that now bears the name of Christian; [or may] bear it, who consider the worship of Christ abominable idolatry; whom an Apostle would pronounce accursed; whom he would not suffer you to receive into your houses or bid God speed. Even in [his day] there were some who preached another Gospel, and there are many such yet. Are you to welcome these into your communion? Has the spirit of inspiration, any where suggested, that the Church of Jesus Christ, is made up of this mixed assemblage; this heterogeneous
group of conflicting elements? Is this the body of Christ fitly joined together and compacted? And what becomes of those heresies, which the Apostle pronounced damnable? Must these too, be embraced and cherished in your fellowship, and affections? Must those who maintain the true Gospel, walk together in Church fellowship, with those who are accursed for preaching another gospel, and who espouse damnable heresies? Is this the New Testament plan? If you say, (as doubtless you will,) that it is not that such a Society would not be the Church of Christ -- the result is this: If there be any divine warrant for a Church (in this day,) there is a divine warrant for a Creed, as a test of union and bond of fellowship, a fence against error, and a shield against that system of restless innovation, which esteems every novelty an improvement. What shall be its dimensions, its height, or depth, its length or breadth, is not now the topic of enquiry. But one thing is certain, it should be large enough to meet the exigences of the Church, by preserving [it] while in the wilderness, exposed to trials, in peace, purity and loyalty. And it should be small enough, to find a lodgement in the heart of the weakest lamb, sound in the faith. When we cease to "hold fast the form of sound words," we cease to strive together for the faith of the Gospel; we cease to contend earnestly, for the faith once delivered to the saints. The churches of Jesus Christ, who would shine as light unto the world, amidst the darkness of surrounding corruption, must [expose] to the eyes of each other, and all around, that "good confession," which they are commanded to profess before many witnesses. Upon [this] interesting subject, the history of near eighteen centuries should admonish us. To live, as a society, without a Confession of Faith [has] been often attempted -- but we have yet to be informed of the first instance of its succeeding. We understand that the Congregational churches of Massachusetts, have made the dangerous experiment, [and] like those who have embarked before them in the same presumptuous enterprise, they have fallen a prey to dissention and heresy, to a degree equally instructive and mournful.
Some suppose that a new order of things is about to open on the church, bringing as great a change as ever marked the progress of the Redeemer's kingdom, in any preceding age. In this new and undefined prospect, they seem to themselves, to see the approaching prostration of most of those fences, and the dissolution of most of those ties, which have heretofore been regarded as indispensable to the maintenance of unity and harmony, in the family of Christ. We consider it time enough to provide for this new order of things when it shall arrive. Were [these] religious societies to give into that quixotic scheme, which proposes proposes to [disemble] and amalgamate them into one church, while they retain their [various], conflicting, & opposite views of the Bible, this era would be [ne----] unprecedented, & unparalled. But who, or what could dwell in this nondescript community? It is possible, that genuine Arianism, which belives in two Gods, a greater and a lesser one; and in two Creators, one supreme, and the other subordinate, might dwell there. That [modern ------ism], the votaries of which affect to call themselves "rational Christians," who deny our Lord's divinity, and the distinct personal existence of the Holy Ghost; the doctrines of original sind, and the
[advent]; who discard the belief of the miraculous conception, and the [worship] of Christ, in which they outstrip the Tuscan Apostle, Faustus Socinus himself. These might dwell there: and the Socinianism of the deepest dye, which ridicules the very idea of the existence and agency of the devil; of the spirituality and separate existence of the soul; of an intermediate state between death and the general resurrection; and of the eternity of future punishments; all this might dwell there. And [also] the disciples of Robert Sandeman, who believe that the whole benefit of the work, finished by Christ in his death, is conveyed to men, only by the Apostolic report concerning it, * that every one who understands this report to be true, or is persuaded that the event actually happened, as testified by the Apostles, is justified, and finds relief to his guilty conscience. That he is relieved by finding their report to be true; that the event itself, which is reported, becomes his relief, so soon as it stands true in his own mind, that all the divine power which operates on the minds of men, either to give the first relief to their consciences, or to influence them in every part of their obedience to the gospel, is persuasive power, or the forcible conviction of truth; and of course [they] have no use for the Holy Spirit in this business; -- all these might [possibly] dwell there; those who have made Ship wreck of the faith; [are] tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine; [and] who consider erroneous views of the plan of salvation quite innocent or unimportant, who have sunk into the state of chilling indifference to gospel truth; and suppose all contending for its essential and distinguishing doctrines, useless or perhaps criminal; all those may be [-----] there. But what conscientious Christian, who has received the truth as it is in Jesus, who scorns to compromise away his principles, [and] aspire to a name and a place in this Church, without a Creed; [in a] Babel confederacy.
Beloved Brethren. -- Be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord; be strong in the Lord, in the power of his
might, by a continual reliance on him for protection, support and assistance; put on the whole armour of God, which is the fulness of Christ, and in the graces of the Spirit is provided for every believer, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil. By prayerful, vigorous, ardent and persevering efforts, labour to strengthen and draw closer the bonds of union; strive to hold on your way, turning neither to the right hand, nor to the left, esteeming it your highest honor and happiness, to be employed as humble instruments in building up that kingdom, which is from generation to generation. Pray for the coming and enlargement of God's kingdom, for when it shall be fully come, the whole earth shall be filled with its glory; wars shall cease unto the ends of the earth; the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under whole Heavens, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High. Then shall the bride, the Lamb's wife, look forth as the morning, clear as the sun, fair as the moon, and terrible as an army with banners. She shall come out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, leaning upon her beloved, and shall dwell in peace -- Till then, she must try the Spirits, while sailing through sea of conflict and tribulation. Brethren, let us be admonished and encouraged by the voice of the Spirit unto the churches. These things saith the first [to] the last, which was dead and is alive; I know thy works, tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich,) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give to thee a crown of life. Amen.
N. B. The writer suggested, that he was indebted to Dr. [Miller for] some of the leading views in this letter, expressed in his own language.
S. M. NOEL, Moderator.JAMES FORD, Clerk.
Note: See Alexander Campbell's editorial, in the Christian Baptist for Aug. 6, 1827 for a critical response to Dr. Noel's essay. Noel replied to Campbell, in another "circular letter" to the churches of the Franklin Baptist Association, published in their Minutes for 1830.
Somerset Co., PA
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3d. Chose Barnett Witlatch Moderator, and William Shadrach clerk.
6. Luther Rice from Washington City, being present, was cordially invited; and received a seat with us.
7. A request from the Church at Plumb-Run for a quarterly meeting, to be held the fourth Sunday in May next.
Resolved. That their request be granted, and that Francis Downey and Brownfield attend with them.
8. Appointed JAMES FREY, Robert Colbourn, Phineas Sturges, David Roderick a committee to select ninisters to preach on Sunday.
9. Appointed the next meeting of the Association at Georges Creek, Fayette County, Pa., to convene on Friday before the first Sunday in September 1829, at 11 o'clock A.M.
10. Wm. Shadrach to preach the introductory sermon: But in case of failure JAMES FREY.
11. William Shadrach to write the Circular Letter for next year.
12. The Circular Letter for the present year, which James Estep was appointed to write, being in an unfinished state, and not presented, James Frey, James Seymour, Barnett Whitlatch, Wm. Shadrach, and Brownfield, with the author [---] appointed a committee to meet at Big Redstone Meeting House, on the Saturday before the third Sunday in October to inspect it.
13. A request from a number of Baptist Brethren at Saltsburgh, for ministerial assistance, and if on examination thought expedient, to organize them into a church.
Resolved, That their request be granted, and that James Seymour, James Estep, John Thomas, James Frey, and Brownfield visit them on the Saturday before the [fourth] Sunday in Nov. next, and if advisable in their judgment, organize said brethren into a regular Baptist church.
14. The committee of arrangement for preaching on Sunday, reported, that they had selected Barnett Whitlatch, Wm. Shadrach, and Luther Rich for that purpose.
15. Resolved, That we hereby recommend to the members of the several churches composing this Association, not to hold communion with the people calling themselves "The Washington Association." on account of the errors for which many of them were excluded from us, together with those errors contained in the circular annexed to their minutes of 1827.
16. Appointed Brownfield to prepare for press, superintend the printing, and distribution of the Minutes.
While the business of Association was transacted by the session, Downey preached to an attentive congregation at the stage from Matthew ii, 28, 29, 30. De Garmo from Eph. 1, 19. Seymour from Rom. viii, 1.
The solemnities of the day were closed with prayer and praise.
Adjourned until to-morrpw 10 o'clock, A. M.
Sermons were delivered by the ministering brethren, in several places, this evening.
Sunday Sept. 7. Met pursuant to adjournment.
At 10 o'clock A. M. the evangelical exercises of the day were introduced by [-----], Whitlach prayed, and agreeably to the arrangement by committee, delivered the morning sermon from John iii, 16. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life."
Wm. Shadrach preached from Acts xxii, 24, 25. "And after certain days when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness
temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.
Luther Rice preached from Luke xxii, 61, first clause of the sentence. "And the Lord turned and looked on Peter." Wm. Brownfield prayed.
The Congregation devoutly united in the exalted exercise of Divine praise.
The concluding benediction.
Adjourned until next year.
BARNETT WHITLATCH, M.D.R.WM. SHADRACH, C.L.A.
In conformity with a long established usage of the Baptist's denomination, we address our Pastoral letter to you. In the doing of which we do not assume any lordship over your conscience; but as helpers of your spiritual welfare. Christians are directed to teach, and edify one another; and to build up one another in their most holy faith.
The Christian world is at present divided into many sects and parties, and some making a near approach towards each other in doctrinal sentiments and practices; while others widely differ from each other in both: And in some cases, whether on making a near approach towards, or as widely differing from each other, they have exercised the most rancorous disposition towards each other. Brethren, these things ought not so to be. We are, however, decidedly of the opinion, that we are not bound to receive into our christian fellowship any person merely because he bears the christian name:neither are we to reject any man because he does not receive all our explanations of the scriptures. To receive every person because he bears that precious name Christian, without any relation to what he believes, or practices of christianity, we think, would be nothing short of treason against the King of Zion. There are some fundamental truths of christian religion, that the departure from them destroyes the person's right to the christian name. Thus, for instance, a disbelief of the resurrection of the dead, was considered by the Apostle Paul as amounting to a "ship-wreck of faith," and to be as injurious to the church as the eating-kanker to the body. So, also, a denial of Christ in any of those offices and relations in which the Father hath revealed him unto us, constituted the person so denying an Antichrist; and so destroyed his claim to the christian character. -- We would observe further, that in judging of a person's christian character, from the system of doctrine that he believes, we are to consider his capacity, and his opportunities to receive instruction. Thus, the Apostle Paul, in travelling through the upper coasts, came to Ephesus, where he met with certain disciples, who had only been instructed in the Baptism of John. And though they were very deficient in christian knowledge, yet they are denominated Disciples. Similar to this was the case of Apollo's, who was a very gifted man, and possessed of great eloquence; and who, in his honest zeal for the Lord, had entered on the ministry of the word, and having come from Alexandria to Ephesus, and there delivered a discourse in a Jewish Synogogue; among his hearers there were two disciples named Aquilla and Priscilla, who, when they had heard him, "they took him and instructed him in the way of the Lord more perfectly." In both these cases, there was a teachable disposition manifested on the part of the junior brethren. Such, also, should be our conduct towards every person wishing to unite with us in the ordinance of God's appointment. A contrary course, is calculated to drive from us, and into the ranks of the opposition against us, persons who have wished to unite with us. May there never be those among us, who will "push with side and shoulder" and drive from us, those with whom we might otherwise walk in sweet fellowship! Still, if we shall find persons now in fellowship, or wishing to unite with us, yet differing from us in the fundamental doctrine of salvation, according to the plain and obvious meaning of the Scriptures, we cannot leave Christ and his doctrine to embrace them. More especially if they manifest a disposition (not ----
[----] out) to obtrude their sentiments on us, and to draw away disciples after [them].
The subject to which we wish your attention, is the ministry of the Gospel. On this subject there are three things we wish to present before you. The persons [chosen] to minister; The matter of their ministry; And the manner in which the Gospel is to be preached.
The persons who are to minister. In the consideration of this part of the subject, we assume it as a first principle, that the ministry is an ordinance of God. We can scarcely think that this proposition needs proof to the mind of the attentive reader of the New Testament. It might be argued from the reciprocal duties enjoined on the teachers and the taught, as also the qualifications that are pointed [out], that more ought to possess who are Pastors of churches: But more especially [by the] commission given by Christ to his apostles, recorded in Mathew, chapter xxviii. [19-20]: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and Lo! I am with you always, even unto the end of the world!" There is a duty enjoined, and a promise annexed. The duty enjoined is to teach and baptize, and if it be not an authority given to administer the ordinance of Baptism now, we are at a loss to tell from whence it is derived. To all that are authorized and enjoined, there is a promise annexed, "Lo! I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." Now it is not a more correct principle [of] [civil polity], that where allegience is rendered, protection is due, than this, -- [promised], and to be looked for.
[Thus], there must be some rule to be acted on, and an acting power in introducing [persons] into the Ministry. And we cannot conceive of any other, or higher power [-----] the Church. Because Christ made the church the depository of all power [respecting] her own order, and beyond which the scriptures acknowledge no power [or] authority in church matters. The church, then, in the exercise of her judgment, [and in] respect to divine call, and qualifications laid down in the Scriptures, makes [the selection] of such person to rule, and minister to her the things that God hath [ordained]. And as some of the persons so chosen, were set apart to that office and [----] by the laying on of hands and prayer by the presbyters or elders, we think it [--- and] reasonable to infer, that the same rule was acted on in all cases. And [this also], should always be our own practice, in introducing persons into the ministry.
The matter of Gospel ministry. -- This, we think, will be best ascertained by [an inquiry] into the object of its institution. This is comprised in three things -- [--- --ay] of the glorious character of the Divine Being, as "God over all," -- the [plan] that infinite wisdom has ordained for the salvation of his sinning creature [----] together with the duties he requires of us, both in relation to himself, and to [one another].
1. The display of the glorious character of God -- On this part of the subject, we [shall] briefly observe, that all the works of God are to be examined and exhibited [for that] purpose. "All thy works praise thee O Lord!" There are but few [subjects more] frequently, or more forcibly presented, than this; that the glory of the Lord is displayed in ALL his works. Hence the propriety of occasionally introducing into pulpit discourses, the consideration of "the things that are made" for [the] purpose of illustrating "the invisible things of the Creator; even his eternal power and (thiotes) Divine nature." There is also a frequent reference to this [effect] in the Scriptures, for the purpose of humiliation. Thus, the Psalmist David, [says] 'When I consider thy Heavens the work of thy fingers; the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him.' Here the Psalmist leaves a lesson of humility from the contemplation of the glory of the [Divine] being, as exhibited in the variety, velocity and magnitude of the visible
heavens. The history of the nations of the earth, which is in some respects, a history of the doings of God among the children of men, is also highly worthy of profound consideration for the same purpose.
2. The means that infinite wisdom has ordained for the salvation of his sinning creature man. -- Of the former we have said, that it with propriety may be occasionally introduced into our pulpit illustrations; but the latter is never to be [lost] sight of or omitted. This should always be our leading theme. In presenting [to] the minds of our hearers, the great doctrine of salvation by Jesus Christ, we should always endeavor to do it in such a manner as would be most likely to gain their attention, and influence their hearts. In doing this, we have a few examples from the New Testament of Apostolic preaching, that we think worthy of being taken as models and examples. From these examples we learn that they insisted [on these] leading subjects -- the fall of man, and his entire ruin in consequence thereof; [-----] his recovery, through the meritorious obedience and sufferings of Jesus Christ alone. But their manner of presenting these subjects were different, according to [whether] their hearers were Jews or Gentiles.
To the former, they reasoned out the Scriptures, "opening and alleging that Jesus is the Christ." The latter, they endeavored to persuade "to turn from dumb idols, to serve the living and true God." And in either case they exhorted the people to "repent and turn to the Lord," accompanied with a gracious [utterance] that "whosoever called on the name of the Lord should be saved." The Apostle Paul assures the converted Corinthians, that he "preached unto you first of all, that Jesus died for our sins according to the Scriptures." [This] was the doctrine he told them "that they believed wherein they stood and by which they were saved." And in preaching and worshipping to other saints [their] addresses were the high mysteries of redemption, as having its foundation [laid on] the eternal love of God, and they as having been "elected according to the [----] knowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the spirit unto obedience -- "as having been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world -- [predesignated] to the adoption of children."
3d. Of the manner in which the word is to be preached -- In presenting [the invitations] to come to Christ, to the gospel feast, or in exhibiting the large [extent of] the promises; or exhorting to the duties that the word of God enjoins or exhibits the fundamental doctrine of Salvation, we should endeavor to do all as [may be] possible in "the language used by the Holy Ghost;" not being scrupulous [while] it savours too much of Calvinism or Arminianism. Who is there among us, [that] have not heard some of one party give passages of scripture to a universal [furbish] which the sense and obvious meaning of the language did not admit of, [and who] among us have not heard some of the other party give passages of scripture a [more] restricted sense, when it is manifest that the Holy spirit intended, and the [strict] construction of the passage required the greatest possible extension to be given to it? The warm partizan whatever denomination he may belong to, is often more careful to make the scriptures speak the language of the party, to which he belongs, than to give us the mind of Christ. In preaching the word, we should never [lose] sight of the great objects of the christian ministry, -- namely: the display of the gloryof God, and the benefit of souls. The word should be preached clearly and distinctly. But no man can deliver a discourse in that manner, that does not comprehend it clearly and distinctly in his own mind. From hence we learn the propriety of the admonition of the Apostle Paul to Timothy "study to show thyself a workman that needeth not to be ashamed." The word is also to be preached solemnly and affectionately. Solemnity of appearance in a preacher, when it arises from a sense of the high omportance of the subject and an awful responsibility [unto] God is admirably calculated to transfuse a corresponding feeling in the mind of the hearers -- a feeling very necessary tp hear with profit.
Fayette Co., PA
Redstone Baptist Association
HELD IN THE
M O U N T M O R I A H C H U R C H,
SEPTEMBER 4, 5 AND 6, 1829.
F. A. WISE, PRINTER.
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Note: Names of Ministers are in SMALL CAPITALS; those [who are] licentiates in Italic. Churches marked thus + were [removed] this year.
3. Appointed Brother THOMAS Moderator, and Brother Seymour, Clerk.
4. Appointed brethren Frey, Brownfield, Seymour, Thomas and Rush, a committee to arrange the business of the Association. -- Adjourned to 9 o'clock to-morrow morning.
Saturday 5. Opened with singing and prayer by the Moderator.
5. Invited brethren Spears, Smith and Ong, to a seat.
6. Rec'd to our fellowship the Church at Saltsburgh.
7. The Church at Casteel Run, received to fellowship.
8. The unfinished business of last year, postponed till this [year], viz: the reconsideration of the 5th and 6th items of business for 1827, taken into consideration; and, after some [desultory] observations, indefinitely postponed.
9. The Circular, written by brother Shadrach, read and unanimously adopted.
10. Appointed brother John Thomas to write the [Circular for] next year.
11. The next association to be held at Indian Creek, Va.
12. Brother James Estep to preach the Introductory Sermon [for] next year: In case of failure, brother John Thomas.
13. Resolved, That the following "Report" of the Beaver Association, "relative to the Mahononing Association," be [printed] in our Minutes.
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some information respecting that Association. It arose chiefly out of Beaver, and progressed regularly until A. Campbell and others came in. They now disbelieve and deny many doctrines of the Holy Scriptures, on which they were constituted. They contend that there is no salvation without baptism -- that it should be administered to all that say they believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, without examination on any other point, -- that there is no direct operation of the Holy Spirit on the mind prior to baptism, -- that baptism procures the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit, -- that the Scriptures are only evidence of interest in Christ, -- that obedience places it in God's power to elect to salvation, -- that no creed is necessary for the church but the Scriptures as they stand, -- and [that] all baptised persons have a right to administer the ordinance. All which sentiments have been taught by the messengers of that Association. Conscious that this is [the case] with that Association, we deeply deplore their state, and feel constrained to warn our brethren in other parts against them; believing that they have departed from the faith and order of the Gospel Church. We would also notice, that the Grand River and other neighboring Associations have withdrawn their fellowship from them.
14. That this Association be represented at the Baptist General Association of Pennsylvania, to be held a [Philipsburgh], Centre county, on the Thursday before the first Lord's day, in October next: Brethren John Thomas and William Shadrach to attend.
15. That brother James Estep, superintend the printing and distribution of the Minutes.
CIRCULAR LETTERThe Ministers and Messengers of the Redstone Baptist Association, to the members of the several Churches, [which] they represent: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.
BRETHREN, BELOVED IN THE LORD: The period has arrived, at which, agreeable to our custom, it becomes our duty to address you. It is not, however, from a [sense] of duty alone, nor yet for the sake of conformity [to] common usage, that we engage in this service. [When] we consider you as fellow heirs with us, of the same [fulness of] grace, and expectations of the same eternal weight of glory, motives of a superior nature inspire us [with] fervent desires for the promotion of your welfare, [both] present and eternal. So that what otherwise [might] seem to be a burthensome imposition, becomes a [----]
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[duty] pleasureable indeed. If we be at all perplexed, it [is] for want of being able to determine how we shall [render] to you the most essential services.
Brethren: Shall we labor to benefit you by attempting a lengthy disquisition on some abstruse, metaphysical dogma? Would you have us to gratify your curiosity, or rather, perplex your minds, by leading you into the labyinths of speculative theology -- the fine-spun theories, subtle distinctions and hair-splitting points of scholastic divinity? We think we hear you answer: No, no, sufficiently long, too long, alas, have our souls been [--red] by the acrid, tough and mouldy crusts of Christian, or to speak more properly, Anti-christian polemics. Away with those van janglings, perverse disputings, and wives' fables; -- those engenderers of strife, daemons of discord and disaffection. These have drunk our spirits, drained our souls, nipped our promising buds, withered our green leaf, and blasted our flowers -- they have parched our soil -- changed gardens into deserts -- our fruitful field to a barren waste. We conjure you, therefore, by our secret sighs, our midnight tears, [and] bitter lamantations; -- by the desolations of Zion, the [---y] of our Sovereign, and the love of our God, that [you] abandon this cause, so fraught with mischief. Feed us with the bread of life; lead us to the living springs of God's free grace, and cheer us with the wines of everlasting love; that we may live, be refreshed, and [animated] -- that we may not be barren or unfruitful, but abound in the work of the Lord.
Well, brethren, if this be the spirit which you breathe; [if] these be the views you entertain -- the desires you feel, [we] bless the name of God on your behalf; and pray to be enabled, by Him, to serve you to profit. Our object, then, shall be, to take a brief survey of our privileges, as an incitement to zeal in the service of God. Orthodoxy [of] principle, without holiness of life, is of little use; faith, without works, is dead.
Come, brethren, survey, for a moment, your privileges as Christians. We believe that God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even while we were enemies to him by wicked works; having our understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that was in us, because of the blindness of our hearts; when we were [polluted], depraved, guilty, condemned, yes dead in trespasses
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and sins, hath quickened us together with Christ. We repeat the astonishing fact: God loved us, notwithstanding our moral degradation, turpitude, and [des---]. and loved us, too, with a love that is everlasting [and] unchangeable. And as an expression of his love, (and such another expression, all Heaven could not afford), he sent his Son to our world to live and suffer -- to [bleed] and groan, and die, that we , who were dead, and justly deserved to die, a "death that never dies," might live for ever.
God, having sent his Son, in our nature, to magnify, fulfil, and make hinorable the violated Law -- to satisfy to vigorous, but just demands of inflexible justice -- [to] pay, as our surety, our dreadful debt -- to reconcile us to himself, by the blood of the cross, can, consistent with his high and holy attributes, justify the believing sinner, and still be just; Can exercise, in all their [vast] and boundless extent, his mercy and his love, without doing violence to truth or justice -- changing his nature, or slackening, in the least degree, the reins of moral government. All his attributes harmonize and shine forth, with splendor ineffable, in the plan of man's redemption through Jesus Christ;
Which of the glories brightest shines,
The justice or the grace."
Christ Jesus, our Lord, has become a channel, through which God communicates to us all the treasures of his everlasting love: Riches, unsearchable riches of [glory] here to prepare us for inconceivable and eternal glory hereafter! We believe that we have been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world -- quickened by the influences of the Spirit in him -- called, justified and renewed, by God's rich, full, and matchless grace; -- we are, even now, not only quickened with Christ, [but] raised also, and seated with him in heavenly places; that we are adopted children, in the family of God; made heirs, according to the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, hath promised, before the world began; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ, of an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away; but is reserved in heaven for us, and we [are] reserved for the inheritance, by God's almighty power through faith.
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Brethren: Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of [God]! Behold, what grace! Electing, quickening, justifying, renewing, and preserving grace. Bright constellation, in that supremely glorious system, of which He, [who] is the brightness of God's glory, and the express image of his person, is the Centre and the Sun! Now his rich and abundant grace, we believe to be all our [own]. Yes, we believe God to be our Father -- the Holy [Spirit] our inmate -- Christ our Redeemer, Brother, [friend] -- Heaven our peaceful, glorious, and eternal [prize]. The world, life, death, things present and things to come, all are ours; and we are Christ's; and Christ is God's. Brethren: Elevate your siuls to the contemplation of all that is profitable in life, pleasureable in death, [and] boundless, and glorious in eternity. Dive deep [into] the mysteries of redeeming grace. Soar aloft, upon the eagle wings of that faith, which is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Gaze [----], and lay hold of the perfections of Jehovah. [Enter] near to comprehend, with all the saints, the breadth, [and] length, and depth, and height, of the love of Christ, which passeth all knowledge, that you may be filled with [all] the fulness of God. Borrow all the sublimest images [of] glory, that time and nature can afford: Stretch every [---]: Summon to the task all the noble energies of your immortal soul, to form an idea of your privileges, your dignity and glory as the sons of God; and when you have done all, acknowledge, with John, that you know not what you shall be; but that one thing you do know: When He shall appear, you shall be like him. Marvellous grace! Sublime idea of eternal glory! You shall be like God! for you shall see him as he is.
At the same time, while you thus survey your privileges as Christians, forget not your demerit as sinners, [contrast] Paradise and all its unfading flowers, rich [devotions], unclouded splendors, and endless glories, with all that is horrible in hell: Then ask by what means you have escaped the one, and obtained the other: [Call] to mind Bethlehem's Illustrious Babe -- Gethsemene's Sacred Supper -- and Calvary's bleeding Victim! [Think] of the indigence, the reproach, the buffetings, the [scourgings], the sweat, the cries and tears, the wormwood and the gall -- the cross and nails and spear -- the guilt, [wrath], darkness and death which Jesus, the sinner's
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friend, endured; -- the Jews and Romans, the [infernal] legions, principalities and powers he encountered, [while] as the Great Captain of our salvation, he wrought [our] deliverance. Pere intensely upon this marvellous thought, until every tender feeling of the heart be touched -- every noble power of the soul awakened -- till you are constrained to vent the fulness of your melted heart in the language of the Poet, and say,
To save from sin and hell?
A love so wonderful as this,
Calls for a glowing zeal."
Or, with the Psalmist, ask: "What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me?"
Christian zeal is that to which we wish to excite [you]. But, before we proceed any further, perhaps we will do well to inquire into the nature of this Christian ]zeal]. There are counterfeit graces, as well as ciunterfeit money; and deception in the former, is infinitely more dangerous than in the latter: This regards time -- and eternity. There is not another among all the graces [of] the Christian, susciptible of such a variety of dangerous forgeries, as the grace of zeal. It is a virtue, compounded of sound knowledge, firm faith, and [fi---] love. Faith is the living and enlivening principle in action; love fixes on the object, and, by its sacred [guidings], impels us forward, in spite of all opposition, [this] knowledge leads the way and guides our movements. We profess to have faith, and it is the faith of Christ we have. This faith works by love. Love fixes on [----] through Christ as its object, and on his glory as its [sole] aim. Now if the subject of firm faith, and dlaming [zeal] be intelligent -- have sound and extensive knowledge [and] is in possession of all the elements of Christian [grace]; Forgetting the things that are behind, we see him, [with] unwearied step, pressing toward the mark, for the [-----] of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. He [w------] and he works to purpose: He fights, but it is the [battle] of faith; fought with the armor of God, to benefit [the] vanquished, and give life to the slain! He runs, [but it] is the Christian race; which he runs with patience, [focusing] his eyes, steadfastly, on the Author and Finisher of faith -- the Captain of salvation. Knowledge is so indespensably necessary to this Christian exercise, that [----]
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[----] it, in many instances, in place of being a virtue, [becomes] a vice; and the more zealously the more injurious. [We] have said that our faith works by love, and that [it], having fixed on God as its object, aims at his glory. [But], let us, from the Bible adopt this well known principle for the guidance of our lives, and act according to [---] "God is to be glorified by promoting the welfare of mankind." If, then, we would be zealous toward God, [let us] be benevolent towards man. Do you ask, how shall [we] best promote the welfare of our race? We answer, [by] endeavoring to secure the salvation of their souls. [As] Christians, we hope and trust, that the salvation and [eternal] blessedness of our souls are secured in Christ our Lord. We have briefly surveyed our privileges: We have seen what was the price of our parson, peace and [happiness]: We have faith in Christ; and faith works by love. Love aims to glorify God: We glorify God by endeavoring to secure the salvation of sinners. What remains now, but to survey the field for operation? And [this] survey, we trust, will prove such another incitement [to the] noble exercise, as to render it almost needless to [conclude] with an exhortation. The field for operation, [what] is it? In the most enlarged sense of the expression, "the field is the world." But, let us begin at home. What is the state of the Churches composing our Association? Do they, generally, increase in the numbers and graces of their members? Do they enjoy peace and [accord], love and friendship among themselves? What [is the] state of our Ministry? Are our Churches all supplied with Pastors? Is our Ministry efficient? Are our places of worship crowded with willing converts, eager [to join] our march to the heavenly land? Alas! alas! for [the] many proud and haughty blasphemers, practical [---eists], and selfish Pharisees in our neighborhood, -- the unsuccessfulness of our Ministry; the destitution and [dilapidation] of our Churches; and our want of peace. [Peace] and prosperity are, however, enjoyed by a few of [our] Churches: Blessed are they, who are in such a case. [----], have we endeavored to promote the peace and prosperity of Zion within our own bounds? Have we [labored] for the success of the preached gospel among us? Have we labored to procure preaching for the destitute churches? Have we given that encouragement and support to our to our Ministers, which is their due, or have we muzzled the ox while treading out the corn; -- damped
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100,000,000 more; making, in all 700,000,000 of [precious] souls, Candidates fpr eternal torments!! Oh! dreadful and alarming picture of the world.
Brethren: You see that the field for the exercise of your zeal, is the world: You see what is to be done, both at home and abroad: Are you discouraged at the greatness of the undertaking? Have faith in the promises of God. Thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set my standard to the people; and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their Queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their faces towards the earth and lick up the dust of thy feet, and thou shalt know that I am the Lord: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me. Lift up thine eyes round about and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: As I live, saith the Lord, thou shalt surely clothe thee with them all, as with an ornament: Thou shalt also, suck the milk of the Gentiles, and the breast of Kings; and thou shalt know that I, the Lord, am thy Saviour, and thy Redeemer; the mighty one of Jacob, For brass, I will bring gold, and for iron, I will bring silver, and for wood, brass, and for stones, iron: I will also make thine officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness. Violence shall [not] be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation and thy gates Praise. The sun shall no more be thy light by day, neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee; but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory: In that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign to the people: to it shall the Gentiles seek, and his rest shall be glorious. The Lord shall stretch forth his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, that shall be left from Assyria and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the Islands of the sea: He shall assemble the outcasts of Israel and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, say ye to the daughter of Zion; Behold, thy salvation cometh, behold, his reward is with him, and his works before him. His dominion
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also from sea to sea, and from the river, even to the ends of the earth. FOR THE WORLD SHALL BE FILLED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE GLORY OF THE LORD, AS THE WATERS COVER THE SEA.
What a glorious picture this, contrasted with the [preceding]! Well, how is the great moral revolution to be [effected]? We answer: It is to be, must, and will be effected, by the preaching of the Gospel of Christ. Thus saith the Lord, "as the rain cometh, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So shall my word be which goeth forth out of my mouth; it shall not return unto me void, but it shall do that which I please, and prosper in the things whereto I send it: For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands." The Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation. This is the means devised, by infinite wisdom, for the conversion of the world. Yes, the preaching of the sanctified Christ, is to banish idolatry, superstition, [----ness] and tyranny, from the face of the earth, and to [fill] the world with righteousness and peace, truth and [goodness]. But the Gospel must be preached, and preached [-----en]. Christ himself preached the Gospel once: but on his leaving the earth, to return no more, till he comes to [judge] the world, he left that in charge with his disciples: [he has] urged them to diligence in this service, and has promised them his blessing.
To conclude, then, we observe: The great and glorious moral revolution that is to take place in the world, [will] be carried on by human instrumentality. God has [opened] the field before us, and the field is the world. He has put the means into our hands, and sent us to [work]. To incite us to the duty, he tells us what great things he has done for us already, and what he intends to do for us hereafter. He tells us that he sent his own Son to die for us, that we shall be made like his son, and [the] sharers of his glory forever. To animate us while engaged in the service, he assures us that his grace [shall] be sufficient for us, and that his strength shall be [made] perfect in our weakness, and that his blessing [shall] crown our labors. Brethren, where is our zeal? Let [us show], by putting forth all the energies we possess, for
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Monongalia Co., VA
REDSTONE BAPTIST ASSOCIATION
HELD BY APPOINTMENT,
INDIAN CREEK CHURCH,
MONONGALIA COUNTY, VIRGINIA,
September 3, 4, and 5, 1830.
PRINTED BY JACOB S. STACK.
Those marked thus * were not present.
11th. The Circular Letter, prepared by brother J. Thomas, was [read], and brethren William Brownfield, William Shadrack, and J. Smith, with the Author, appointed as a committee, to revise and ammend it for a second reading before the session, as soon as convenient.
12th. Resolved. That the next Association be held at Big Redstone Church, next year.
13th. Resolved, That brother Barnet Whitlatch is hereby appointed to preach the Introductory Sermon at our next Association, and in case of failure, brother Francis Downey.
14th. Resolved, That brother James Estep is hereby appointed to write the Circular Letter for next year.
15th. Resolved, That brethren John Smith, William R. Hopkins and Caleb Price, are hereby appointed a committee to arrange the preaching for to-morrow.
16th. The Circular, as revised and amended by the committee, was presented, read, and unanimously adopted.
17th. Resolved, That we recommend to the several Churches composing this Association, that they form Societies Auxiliary to the Baptist General Association of Pennsylvania, for Missionary purposes.
18th. Resolved, That brother William Brownfield is hereby chosen and requested to write a letter of correspondence, in behalf of this Association, to the Juniata Association, agreeably to their request.
19th. Resolved, That brother William Shadrack is hereby appointed and requested to write a letter of correspondence in behalf of this Association, to the Union Association.
20th. Resolved, That the contributions for printing the Minutes of this Association be inserted therein.
21st. Resolved, That brother James Estep is hereby appointed to superintend the printing and distribution of the Minutes of this Association.
Contributions for Minutes: -- Ruff's Creek, $0.75; Uniontown, $0.25; Big Whitely, 0.31 1/4; Forks of Yough, 1.50; Forks of Cheat, $0.25; Turkeyfoot, 0.62 1/2; George's Creek, 2.00; Big Redstone,
1.57; Indian Creek, 0.81; Head of Whitely, 0.50; Bates' Fork, 0.23; Merritstown, 0.50; Meadow Run, 0.87 1/2; Casteel Run, 0.17; Saltsburgh, 0.75; Twolick, 1.00; Smith's Creek, 0.25; Maple Creek, 0.25: -- Total, $13.61 1/4.
While the business of the Association was transacting by the Session, brethren James Frey, Barnet Whitlatch and Francis Downey preached at the stage.
LORD'S DAY, September 5th.At 10 o'clock the services of the day were introduced by brother James Estep, who preached from ___________ and brother G. J. Miles preached from _______________.
After an intermission of a few minutes, brother William Brownfield preached from ______________ and then dismissed the congregation.
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CIRCULAR LETTER.The Ministers and Messengers of the Redstone Baptist Association, to the several Churches which they represent, Grace, Mercy and Peace from the God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.
DEAR BRETHREN: The revolving year has again brought the season round, when, agreeably to our common practice, it becomes our duty to address you. It is with feelings of peculiar gratification we announce, that our mournings for the desolations of Zion, and our prayers for her prosperity, have arisen as a memorial before God, and our heavenly Father, who is the God of salvation, to whom alone belongeth the issues from death. This God sent down his spirit as a plentiful rain to confirm his inheritance, when it was weary. The breaches in the desolated walls of Zion, have been measurably repaired, and she is become the joyful mother of many children. Our mourning souls have been made joyful in the house of prayer, in realizing peculiar manifestations of the love of God shed abroad in our hearts, and in seeing the potent arm of our heavenly Father stretched forth, to pluck brands from the burning.
The mourning soul rejoice.
We have not only seen the proud, the impenitent and [lofty] minded brought low, and the stranger, brought [back] by the blood of the Lamb, become a fellow-citizen [with] saints, and a member of the household of God, but our hearts have been elated with joy, with consummate pleasure and with swelled voices in full chorus we have sung [our] praise of God, while seeing the good Shepherd, on his own gracious shoulders, bring back again the wandering of the flock.
Beloved: At this season of unusual prosperity, we [---] that we cannot render you a more essential service,
than by leading your pure minds to a precious Saviour [by] a subject, the contemplation of which cannot fail to be both pleasing and profitable. No subject, we think, can be selected, more profitable for the [contemplation] of those who lately commenced their journey from the city of destruction to Canaans happy land, than Him, who is the way, the truth and the life. No task more pleasing, no duty more delightful for those, under the influence of their first love, than to consider Him, who constitutes theur first love, than to Him, who constitutes
"The centre of their soul."
Consider then the apostle and high priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; consider Him as your apostle, as your leader, as your lawgiver, as your infallible guide, for He is the light of the world and the life of men; He is the light of the gentiles and the glory of his people Israel. He is our sun and shield -- He came to dispel our intellectual darkness, and to teach our wandering feet the road to Heaven. Soon as the dayspring from on high had visited our benighted world, the people that sat in darkness saw a great light! To hear his voice and immitate his example, constitutes the duty and privilege of every christian. "No man spake like that man." While the purity, propriety and power of his instructions extorted the admiration of his enemies, meekness, humility and love shone forth in all his actions, The Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, has left no duty we owe to God or to man (compatible with his character) untouched nor unadorned by his own brilliant example. Such was his attachment to truth, his zeal, his deference to the Father's will, and his meekness, that every precept of the law, and every injunction of the gospel, are in his example drawn out in living characters. Whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, we have both learned and received, and heard and seen exemplified, the apostle of our profession, Christ Jesus.
Consider Jesus Christ as your high priest. As such we present him before you, not as the example of your [imitation], -- but as the foundation of your hope.
1st. Consider the dignity of his person. He is the Son of God, the only begotten of son of God, the brightness of the Father's glory and the express image of his person; possessing all the essential attributes of Deity, he thought it not robbery to be equal with God. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last. His throne is an eternal throne. He is an object worthy of the adoration of angels, in whom the fulness of the Godhead dwells bodily.
2d. His condescension. He that is equal with God became the son of man; David's Lord became David's son. Great in the mystery of godliness. God was manifest in the flesh, who being in the form of God thought not robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of [no] reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in [fashion] as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
3d. The efficacy of his atonement. We have redemption in his blood, even the forgiveness of our sins. Being made perfect through the sufferings he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him. Having boldness therefore to enter into the holiest of all by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which he hath consecrated for us through the vail, that is to say, his flesh; and having a high priest over the house of God, let us draw near to a throne of grace with a true heart, full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from [all] evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
4th. His exaltation. Our Divine Redeemer, having bruised the serpent's head, rose in triumph over the grave. Having satisfied the demands of the law, by suffering its penalty, for the transgressions of his people, amidst the exclamations of angels, the king of glory entered through the everlasting gates to appear in the presence of God for [us]. He is made an high priest after the order of Melchisedeck,
not after the law of a carnal commandment, but according to the power of an endless life; wherefore, he is able to save to the uttermost, all those that come unto God by him. Having obtained a more excellent ministry than Aaron, he is the mediator of a better covenant, established upon better promises. He writes his laws upon the hearts of his people, and reigns in triumph there. He will never leave nor forsake his people -- touched with the feeling of their informities he is able to succor them under temptation.
Dear Brethren: having briefly glanced at the dignity of the Mediator's character, his condescension and sufferings, together with the resurrection and mediatorial advocation, at the right hand of God, we present him as such an object of faith; we point to the Lamb of God, as the only refuge of a dying sinner, knowing the terror of the Lord, and having received the ministry of reconciliation, we persuade men to be reconciled by him to God, for he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. We exhort all the ends of the earth to turn their eye to him and be saved, for he is God and there is none else, and there is no saviour but him. We teach and warn every man. We teach, that a person of less dignity than Jesus Christ, could not undertake our cause, nor sufferings less acute, atone for our sins. We warn every man to beware of those teachers who derogate from the dignity of the Redeemer's character, the merit of his blood, or the prevalency of his intercession. When we consider the dreadful consequences of receiving their pernicious principles, we tell you, even weeping, they are the enemies of the cross of Christ, and though they come with a show of humility and swelling words of vanity, we are bound to believe, and bold to affirm, that their erroneous faith, their misguided zeal and their spurious devotion, is neither conducive to the glory of God, nor the salvation of your souls.
We not only call upon the world, to contemplate the perfections of our Divine Redeemer, but the church in particular. In imitation of the Apostle, we call upon our
holy brethren and sisters, who are fellow-partakers with us of the heavenly calling, and of the grace of life, to discharge this duty. For we grow in grace as we grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. We receive of his fulness in proportion to our discoveries of [his] glory. We lament for our sins when we look upon him whom we have pierced. We feel our sins mortified, when we realize our old man crucified with Christ. We feel the transforming influence of his grace, when we gaze on the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ, every precept of morality, every christian grace and [---y], and every bright prospect of future felicity, shines forth with refulgent splendor from the hill of Calvary. We admonish you to make it the dwelling place of your [future] meditations; then shall your peace flow like a river, and your righteousness as the waves of the sea.
Now the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work, to do his will, working in [you] that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever, Amen.
JAMES ESTEP, Moderator.REUBEN SUTTON, Clerk.
Campbell's 1817 Circulating Letter
Campbell's recollections of 1823 (1848)
Campbell's Debate on Christian Baptism (1824)
Campbell on experimental religion/revivals (1824)
Baptism of William Church in Pittsburgh (1826)
Greatrake's first anti-Campbell pamphlet (mid 1824)
Campbell's first reply to Greatrake (1824)
Scott's reply to Greatrake (1824)
Greatrake's second anti-Campbell pamphlet (late 1824)
Campbell's second reply to Greatrake (1825)
Greatrake's Redstone Assoc. Letter (1826)
Greatrake's third anti-Campbell pamphlet (1826)
M'Calla's anti-Campbell pamphlet (1826)
Greatrake's Harp of Zion (1827)
Greatrake's "Dialogue" with Andrew Fuller (1828)
Greatrake's fourth anti-Campbell pamphlet (1830)
McCalla's Discussion of Christian Baptism (1831)
Greatrake's fifth anti-Campbell pamphlet (1836)
Elder Lawrence Greatrake Home-Page
Greatrake sources 1
Greatrake sources 2
Rigdon Among the Baptists - part 1
Rigdon Among the Baptists - part 2
Rigdon Among the Baptists - part 3
Rigdon Among the Baptists - part 4
Rigdon Among the Baptists - part 5
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