1855 Circular Contentnea Baptist Association

Written by Parrot Mewborn

The Contentnea Baptist Association with the church at Toisnot, Wilson County N/C., commencing on Saturday before the 4th Sunday in October, 1855, to the churches composing our body and to the faithful in Christ Jesus into whose hands this may come,; Sendeth greeting.

Dearly Beloved brethren and sisters: - Through the kindness and mercy of a Covenant-Keeping God, we are permitted to meet once more in our associate capacity; for which (if not deceived) we desire to be thankful. Although we have not been favored with large acquisitions by the outpouring of the Spirit of our God we have reason to be thankful for the peace and harmony which pervades our churches and for the steadfastness of the faith of the Elect of our God which prevails among us in this day of delusion, enthusiasm and superstition. Nevertheless “the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal; the Lord knoweth them that are His.” The saints of God know the voice of their Shepherd, but a stranger they will not follow; for they know not the voice of strangers.

Beloved: the Doctrine of the Immutability of God’s love to His Church, His people – yea, the Bride, the Lamb’s wife – is so clearly demonstrated in the Scriptures of Divine Truth, that it would seem strange that any should deny it, even when not informed by the inspired testimony of God and demonstrated by every days experience of the total depravity of the human heart. The result of disbelieving and disobeying God, who had said, “In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die;” and yielding submissively to the subtlety of that arch-enemy of God, that old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, who said, “God doth know, thou shalt not surely die, &c.” whereby sin was introduced into the world, and death by sin, so death hath passed upon all men, for that all have sinned for, “when lust is conceived it bringeth forth sin, and when sin is finished it bringeth forth death. Then all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

But beloved, in this state of sin and death a word of consolation is given for the encouragement of the weary traveler. “For holy men of God wrote as they were moved by the Holy Ghost,” and for the comfort of our ancient parents who plead guilty before God. It was said, “the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head,” (Romans 8. 5). But “God commendeth His love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” God’s love to a world of sinners, dead in trespasses and in sin is the most delightful theme that ever employed the mind or tongue of men or angels (1st John 4. 8). For God is love. Therefore for Him to cease to love He must cease to be. And the beloved object must have been complete in the all penetrating eye of Deity else His love never could have centered there (Jeremiah 31. 3). “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee.” The everlasting love of God draws sinners to Him by the word of His power through grace given them in Him before the world began (John 15. 13). “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend (1 John 4. 10). “Herein in love, not that we love God, but that He loved us, and gave Himself to be the propitiation for our sins.” Then this love and foreknowledge of God was contrived in eternity when He laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53. 6.) “All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to His own way, and the Lord hath laid upon Him the iniquity of us all (John 3. 16.) “Hereby we perceive the love of God, because He laid down His life for us.” Here His love is perceivable by us, proved to us and greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends; but the love of God exceeds that; for He lay down His life for His enemies (Romans 5. 10). “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son; much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” We were by this love in the death of His Son reconciled to God while we were enemies; and we have known and believed the love of God hath for us. The love of God made known to a sinner, begets in his bosom a love to God, and to His ways (Prov. 3. 17); for they are ways of pleasantness (Luke 1.19) to guide our feet in the way of peace.

Beloved: Seeing we are, and were the beloved of God, and that while were His enemies and proved ourselves such by wicked works, let us as much as in us lie manifest our love to Him (Ephesians 4. 1,) with all lowliness and meekness with long-suffering for bearing one another in love (Phil. 2.3). Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Being children of the same heavenly parent, we should love as brethren. That disciple who leaned on Jesus’ breast at the Supper admonished us to love one another (1st John 4.7). Beloved, “let us love one another for love is of God: and every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God” &: verse 8#: “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” verse 9#: In this was manifested the love of God towards us because God sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him, verse 10#, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”11#. “Beloved if God so loved us we ought also to love one another.” The Scriptures of Divine Truth abound with admonitions to the dear children of God to love one another and so fulfill the law of Christ (Col. 1. 4). Since we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love which ye have to all the saints (Romans 12. 19,) let love be without dissemination; abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Yea, beloved, when love is in lively exercise the yoke of the Lord is easy and His burden is light. It is then we love to meet and pray, and sing and tell the wonders of Immanuel. Then when Christians salute each other, the hand and heart goes together. There is union and fellowship: we are one in Christ. Then let each esteem others better than himself and endeavor to provoke each other to love and good works (Jas. 1. 26.) “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue that man’s religion is vain.” 27# verse. “Our religion, and undefiled before God and the Father is this: To visit the fatherless and the widows in their afflictions and keep himself unspotted from the world.”

If it has been the will of God to bless us with this world’s goods, let us administer to the necessities of the saints, not grudgingly, but freely and cheerfully; for God loves a cheerful giver; not as the Pharisees (Matt. 6. 2). “Therefore when thou doest thine alms do not sound a trumpet before thee as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the street that they may have glory of men; Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.” (verse 3). “But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth,” verse 4#; “that thine alms may be in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”

Beloved, we recommend the subject to your consideration, believing that what was written aforetime, was written for our learning , that much comfort and consolation may be drawn therefrom by the dear children of God.

Beloved, we are admonished to come to a close and in doing so permit us to exhort you, to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

Transcribed by Stanley Phillips - May 2009