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Circular Letter
Philadelphia Baptist Association
"The Holy Scriptures"
By Abel Morgan, Pastor
Middletown Baptist Church
May, 1774

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

Send our Christian salutation.
     Beloved Brethren, -- Whereas, unity in judgment (Ephesians iv. 12, 13; 1 Corinthians i. 10), and growth in every grace (Ephesians iv. 15; 1 Thessalonians iv. 9. 10), are the two principal ends of all ministerial means and institutions; whatever, therefore, directly or natively tends to promote those valuable purposes, is hereby manifested to be good and right. The meeting of churches by their messengers at stated seasons, is esteemed to have this useful tendency. Such meetings ought then, not only to be continued, but also improved to the utmost for obtaining those desirable aforesaid designs. And that they may be more so, it is thought expedient, that henceforth the contents of the general letters to the churches consist of an improvement of some article of our Confession of faith, following the order therein observed,

[p. 137]
unless some particular requires otherwise, beginning with the first, viz., Of the Holy Scriptures; which are contained in the books of the Old and New Testament, as in our said adopted Confession. -- These holy writings are of God, divinely inspired, 2 Timothy iii. 16; the word of God, John x. 36; 1 Corinthians xiv. 36, 37; the mind of Christ, 1 Corinthians ii. 26; of Divine authority, Isaiah xl. 8; the infallible ground of faith and certain rule of obedience, Isaiah viii. 20; full and complete in all its parts, historical, doctrinal, and prophetical; every way useful and profitable: e. gr. to obtain the saving knowledge of the one only living and true God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, 2 Timothy iii. 15; the knowledge of his essential attributes and immutable counsels, Hebrews vi. 17; also of his works, of creation, providence, and particularly of redemption by Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, the one Mediator, God-Man. In the Scriptures we are clearly informed of the offices which he executes; of his unparalleled condescension and glorious exaltation, his approbation with the Father; and of his grace, love, merits, titles, and benefits.

     The Scriptures are likewise useful, to give us the knowledge of man's ruin by sin; his misery, guilt, and condemnation; the consequences of his transgression; of the ever wonderful way of recovery by Christ, together with the certain characters of those who are restored; the change produced in them, and their obligations to new obedience; the blessedness of the godly, and the misery of the wicked and unbelievers; and also, the final state of both, after this life. Hence, be exhorted, brethren, to consider what a special privilege God has granted you, and continued with you. The Bible in your hands! Let this word of God dwell richly in your hearts also, in its doctrines, promises, commands, cautions, and threatenings; for your enlightening, your acting of every grace, your avoiding every sin, and for your perfecting holiness in the fear of God, 2 Corinthians vii. 1. Some are forbid the use of the Bible, others are taught and persuaded to slight the Scriptures, while others again corrupt the word of God, 2 Corinthians ii. 17. All those come short of receiving the full benefit thereof. Beware ye, dear brethren, lest your adversary, the devil, render it useless to you, by your neglecting of it. Frequently read the Scriptures in your retirements, read them in your families; make conscience of giving opportunities to all your households, of hearing what God says of them and to them. Speak of God's word, meditate upon it, and according to it, Psalm 1. 2, 3. Especially, look that you have an experimental acquaintance with the operation of Divine truth upon your hearts, 1 Thessalonians ii. 13. Pray God for a blessing to accompany it wherever it is preached; and always admire God, and praise him for his special kindness in giving you the holy Bible.

SAMUEL JONES, Moderator,

[From Philadelphia Baptist Association Minutes, October, 1774. jrd]

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