Prepared By Brother E. T. Jackson
The Yellow River Primitive Baptist Association, in session with the Church at Ivy, Gwinnett County, Ga., Sept. 27th, 28th, and 29th, 1879, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, preserved in Jesus Christ, and called, sendeth Christian love and salutation.
Dear Brethren and Sisters: Through the good and long suffering of our God, we have been permitted to meet in another Association, for which we desire to be thankful. As it is our custom to address you by a Circular Letter, we hope our mind is directed by the Spirit of God to the words of the Apostle Peter, 1st Pet. 1:2: “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ; Grace unto you and peace be multiplied.” We will first notice the address of this Epistle. It was addressed to the children of God in the different parts of the earth in that day, and is applicable to the children of God in our day. Now we understand that election and choice are synonymous terms and that God did elect or choose a definite number of Adam’s race to grace and glory before the world began. The Apostle Paul said to the Church at Ephesus, “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” - Ephesians 1:4. Again He says to the Thessalonians, “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” - 2nd Thes. Ii. 13. Isaiah says, “For Jacob My servant’s sake, and Israel Mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name. I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known Me.” We understand these characters to be the offspring of Adam. His children, under the law and under the sentence of death; for the Apostle says, “Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, so death passed upon all men for that all have sinned.” Again, “and not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift; for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.” So we find all Adam’s race condemned by God’s righteous law in their Adamic nature, but according to His purpose before one of them was formed of the dust of the ground, (or even the ground created, His eternal mind comprehended them all,) He elected or chose His people in Jesus Christ, that they should be holy, &c. Thus in His mind each member of Christ’s body was present, yea, all things that are created were present with the Father, Son and Holy Ghost which are the Three that bear record in heaven, and are One and constitute the Godhead, and were engaged in the election and salvation of God’s people and that their manifestation should be made in time.
After God had created all things else He said, “Let us make man in our own image.” So we find that He made man in the image of God, for when God was manifested in the flesh His body was like ours. “For the children being partakers of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also took part of the same.” Now man is formed of the dust of the ground, the breath of life is breathed into his nostrils and man becomes a living soul; but his life is not an eternal life; for eternal life comes only through Jesus Christ. For the “gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Now Peter, in the language under consideration, had reference to those chosen ones of Adam’s race who by his disobedience were made sinners, and were by nature the children of wrath even as others, for all his posterity fell in his loins. Yet the elect were the “vessels of mercy whom God had before prepared unto glory.” Jude says, “Sanctified by God the Father, preserved IN Jesus Christ and called.” Paul says, “Who hath saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, but now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ who hath abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.”
Now, Brethren, begin to come in some of the great and precious promises, as it is said in the Scriptures, “that which was written afore time was written for our learning,” that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Now, as long as the heir is a child he differeth nothing from a servant though he be Lord of all; but is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem that were under the law that we might receive the adoption of sons, and because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts crying, “Abba, Father,” which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession unto the praise of His glory. Another precious promise wherein God, willing more abundant to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things in which it was impossible for God to lie, that we might have strong consolation who have fled for refuge, to lay hold of the hope set before us, which hope we have as an anchor to the soul both sure and steadfast and which entereth to that within the veil, whither for us the Forerunner is entered, even Jesus, made a High Priest forever after the order of Melchisadec. The Apostle says to the Romans, “The creature itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now, and not only they but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. The children of God have the witness within, and if there is a doctrine preached among them that does not correspond with their experience, it is no food, but it will cause trouble, and we are commanded to watch. The Savior said, “What I say unto one I say unto all – watch.”
A word to the deacons: Watch your preachers: do not think so much of them as persons that you will not tell them of their errors; do not conclude that you will hurt them by so doing. If you fail, their blood is required at your hands, and you will hurt yourselves; therefore, go to them in the spirit of meekness instructing them, if peradventure God will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil who are taken captive by him at his will.
A few words to the ministers: Take heed unto yourselves and to all the flock over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God which He hath purchases with His own blood. “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.” Also of your own selves shall men arise speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them. But though we or an angel from heaven preach any other Gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed, which means to put him from among you. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Isaac Hamby, Moderator
J. T. Jordan, Clerk.