The North Bend Association of Baptists, now in session at Bethel Meeting-House, Boone County:, on the third Friday, Saturday and Sunday, in August, 1839, --
Sendeth greeting, to the Churches composing our body:
VERY DEAR BRETHREN IN CHRIST: Through the unchangeable goodness of our Heavenly Father, we have again been permitted to meet at our annual appointment, and attend to the busines that came before us, and for information relating to the same we refer you to our minutes.
But we feel it to be our duty, as on former occasions, to address you on the all-important subject of RELIGION, and when we speak of religion we mean the religion of CHRIST, and that is like its author, yesterday, to-day, and forever the same; then if this be true, all the doctrines and commandments of men, set up in the world to produce religion, is false; and the great exertions used by deceivers in the present day to make proselytes, is only the fulfilment of prophecy. But, dear brethren, let us consider the secure standing of the church of God, it is built on a rock: listen! to the language of the Savior, where he said, in reference to himself, "Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Hence, we discover that Christ himself is the great master builder as well as the foundation: and in speaking of the foundation, the apostle Paul said, 1st Corinthians, "for other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." And the same apostle said, 2nd Timothy, in opposition to false foundations, or notions of men: "Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his." The foregoing passages presuppose a building -- a building of great magnitude, as the author of it is Great, even God himself, as known to us as Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and these three are one, and the church of God is called in Scripture a Spiritual House. But the mat- erials taken to build with as connected with Adam, their first head, was chldren of wrath, even as others, and as Adam their first head was a natural man, so is all his posterity; then if the church of God is built entire of spiritual materials, there must be some process by which natural people can be made spiritual, and upon this subject there is diffeent sentiments. But we have no disposition to speak of all the different notions of men on that subject at this time, "but will touch one sen- timent before we give our own: that is to say, that being baptised in a natural creek, or pond, can- not produce a spirital subject; the case is plain, because a natural thing cannot produce a spiritual thing." We therefore say, that the new birth is produced alone by the spirit of God, in the heart of a poor sinner, who is as passive in the reception of it as the reception of the natural birth. But what does this spirit of life in the heart produce? It causes the subject now to act as a live sinner, and as the Lord pleases to give light to these spiritual eyes, the judgment is informed, and the sinner now prays for mercy in language like this: I have sinned against heaven, and before thee; I have no merit of my own; I am a helpless creature justly condemned. But the language of the heart is, Lord save; or I perish: and in some unexpected moment the Lord speaks peace to the troubled mind in the gift of faith, and the soul receives that gift with joy unspeakable, and full of glory: and wherefore, because the soul is now realizing the merits of a precious Savior, and in like manner all the subjects of the Spiritual House was, and is, and will be prepared, until all the purchase pos- session is brought in, and all such subjects upon the profession of their faith, is entitled to baptism, and then to all the privileges of the church of God, in which capacity we are called upon to render spiritual service, which is only acceptable through our Lord Jesus Christ, -- then, as brethren and sisters of the same family, let us endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace; and in so doing, we will shew forth the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into his mar- vellous light. Then let us address the servants of the Most High in a word of exhortation, "to feed the church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood," and to contend "earnestly for the faith which was once deliverd to the saints;" that the feeble of the flock may be established in the doctrine of the gospel of Christ, until the Chief Shepherd shall come and take his ransomed flock home, "where the wicked will cease from troubling, and the weary will be at rest:" where no sound of a different sentiment will be heard, and no material wanting, to complete the church. And the Savior will say, Come ye blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you, from the foundation of the world. Then comfort one another, with these things, and the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you all. Farewell.
[From Northbend Baptist Association Minutes, 1839. The grammar and spelling are unchanged. - jrd]
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