Bald Eagle, Bath County, Ky.,
The Licking Association of Particular Baptists, in Session with our sister church at Bald Eagle, Bath County, Kentucky, September 10th, llth and 12th, 1880, - to the churches of which she is composed, sendeth greeting,
DEARLY BELOVED IN THE LORD:
Through the goodness and mercy of our covenant-keeping and merciful God we are again per-mitted to celebrate our annual festival, for which our hearts should rise in strains of sweetest melody and harmonious accents of praise to His matchless name. As our custom has been to try to cheer up the saints by a Circular Letter, we have no disposition to discontinue the custom on such occasions; yet we feel greatly in need of light from above to enable us to present the Truth as it is in Jesus. Our Circulars for some years past have been chiefly written upon doctrinal subjects, and to avoid too much repetition in our letters, we have chosen a more experimental subject: The walk and conversation of the disciples of the lowly Jesus.
The subject of divine grace is arrested by a writ issued by the Judge of the High Court of Heaven, arraigned and found guilty, passes Judgment upon himself, and cries for mercy. This is an evidence of divine life implanted, as the dead cannot hear the summons. When God summons His outcasts to appear before Him, it is to show them their lost and ruined condition, how they are completely enveloped in the cloud of darkness and despair, and how impossible it is for them or any of their fellow-mortals to extricate themselves from the gloomy recesses of sin wherein they lie. Yet He gives them a desire above all things to escape the polluted dungeon, where they see and feel enough of the horrid consequences of sin to court its favor no more forever; and not only so, but to show them His great loving-kindness in providing a ransom, and in making a way for their escape, whereby they are enabled to lay hold upon Jesus, who is presented to their faith as the only name under heaven given among men whereby they must be saved.
With rapture and surprise they see the law indelibly imprinted in their hearts and revolving in their minds. The law of sin and death condemns, but the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus makes them free. The Holy Ghost is sent to teach them. The first lesson they learn is that they are sinners saved by grace, taken up out of an horrible pit, their feet placed upon a Rock; but they wonder why it is so.
“Why was I made to hear His voice,
And enter while there is room,
While thousands make a wretched choice,
And rather starve than come?”
Their wonder and astonishment is increased when they see their utter inability to repay the great God for such unprecedented favors. But the divine Teacher sends home to their hearts the joyful tidings that they were included in the great purpose of redemption before the world was, that He has hid these things from the wise and prudent, but revealed them unto babes, for so it seemed good in His sight, and those sins and iniquities from which they are redeemed can torment them no more forever, for He put them away by the sacrifice of Himself, and removed them as far as the east is from the west.
They are taught how great an undertaking it was for Jesus their Redeemer to come down from heaven and sojourn in a body of flesh, in a ruined, sin-polluted world, to mix and mingle with sinners, to eat with them, sleep with them, and dispute with them, to suffer from hunger, thirst, cold and heat, from opposition, derision, persecution and scorn, and then to bow under the weighty load of imputed sins of all His covenant people, for the law demanded divine Justice and divine wrath to mark Him out as the victim of vengeance. They view the innocent and holy Jesus performing His routine of labor without a murmur. He goes yonder to cleanse a leper, traverses the burning sand to lift up and heal a cripple, thence to the wilderness to open the sightless eyes of a blind man, and is called from beyond Jordan to visit the sepulchre of the departed, to call the spirit back to its deserted temple.
They are taught by this glorious anointing that He did bear our griefs and carried our sorrows, that He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities, that He was led up to Calvary as a lamb for the slaughter, to be nailed on a tree as a malefactor, to breathe His tender life away, to give them a clear receipt, written in indelible characters of blood, against any and all charges. There they can sit and read their release, for it is written in their hearts, locked up from the prying eyes of the adversary, a lamp always burning within, and an unerring tutor always present to spell and pronounce the words in every conceivable form, to suit the infant capacities of His children, namely, “By grace are ye saved,” “Saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation,” “Saved by the Lord,” &c.
But these children have learned in their sojourn here that there is much to lament. They want to follow their Savior, if they can, while the sun shines; but when clouds arise something whispers to them that there is trouble ahead. But the faithful sentinel of their souls whispers to them, Cheer up; if you pass through the waters I will be with thee, or through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee. My presence with thee shall protect thee from all harm; for I am resolves that no weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper, and every tongue that riseth up against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. Sooner can a woman forsake her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb, than that thy God should forget thee or forsake thee.” He says, “I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands; thy walls are continually before Me.” Nothing can separate thee from His love: tribulation, distress, famine, or any other creature. If He decks the fair lily with a mellow tinge, and causes it to exhale a rich fragrance, He will much more provide for thee. It was He that sent His feathered and dumb messenger to His servant with bread and flesh at morn and night. (Elijah). It was He that stayed His handmaid’s meal to feed His disconsolate prophet. It was He that formed the coals and baked the bread while he (Jonah) sat under the juniper tree and slept. It was He who said of His disciples, “Bread shall be given them, and their waters shall be sure;” and His disciples have found it true.
And now, children, consider what He has done for thee. He took thee up out of a pit wherein was no water, transplanted thee into His glorious kingdom, made invulnerable walls and bulwarks around thee, supports thee with His everlasting arms, feeds and tends thee well, and waters thee every moment, lest any hurt thee. He has clothed thee with the beautiful garments of salvation, and spread over thee a glorious robe of righteousness. He has decked thy head with a crown of glory, armed thee with the sword of the Spirit, and the shield of faith for the helmet of salvation, which shall quench the fiery darts of thine adversary. For thy weapons are not carnal (as others), but mighty through Him, to the pulling down of strongholds; and when He girds thine armor on, He exposes Himself to shield thee. When thou art wounded He is wounded; for “in all thine afflictions, I was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved thee.”
He has also ransomed thee from the power of the grave; so thou art begotten again (from the dead) unto a lively hope by His resurrection from the dead, to an incorruptible, undefiled, unfading inheritance, reserved in heaven for you. You are therefore His “chosen generation,” His royal priesthood, His holy nation, His peculiar people, that you should show forth His praise, which should be your living and dying theme. As He has made you the light of the world, you should let that light shine. Do not put it under a bushel, for if you do, you do not glorify Him, neither manifest good works. If you fear your Lord, speak often one to another, and your light will shine, and others will see your good works and glorify Him.
Do not seek to lay up treasures in earth, for the moth and rust to corrupt and thieves to steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, and your light will shine and guide you safe. Think not what you shall eat or drink or wear, but seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you, and your light will still shine on; but if you persist in worldly thoughts, first consider how impossible it is for you to add one cubit to your stature (height). Can you make one hair white or black? If not, why be troubled about these things, which God controls for your good? “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His promise;” therefore you have no excuse from the accountability you owe to Him. You are not your own, for you are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your bodies and spirits, which are His. Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together, and hunt up this, that or the other excuse. He meets you in your assemblies, and feeds you at His table. He knows of your hungerings and thirstings after righteousness, and says, “Come unto Me, when laboring and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” God is always found at home on His throne in His kingdom. Do not try to throw His yoke away; but take it upon you and learn of Him, and all will be well with thee. His yoke is easy, and it should be your delight to bear it; His burden is light, and you shall find rest unto your souls. Walk in the light, even as He is in the light. In the assembling of yourselves together notice your delinquents, and exhort one another; and if any should be lame, let it not be turned out of the way, but let it rather be healed. Let him that speaketh, speak as the oracles of God, and they that minister as with the ability that God giveth, that God in all things may be glorified. Let your light shine all around, to reflect His glory, and show to the world that you have been with Jesus, and are taught of God.
J. F. Johnson, Moderator.
J. W. Royster, Clerk.
Bald Eagle, Bath County, Ky.,
The Licking Association of Particular Baptists, now in session with the church at Bald Eagle, Bath county, Kentucky, to the associations, corresponding meetings and churches with whom she is in correspondence, sendeth brotherly salutations.
Dear Brethren: - We have, through the unfailing compassion of God, been enabled, according to appointment, to meet in our associate capacity. We have received your letters of correspondences, and your messengers are with us. Through these our hearts have been cheered, yea, we have been made glad by their coming. The Lord has been pleased to send among us a number of His faithful ministering servants, who have not shunned to proclaim with great plainness of speech the unsearchable riches of Christ; and we desire to be truly thankful to the Lord our God, to feel ourselves in union and fellowship with those who love our Lord Jesus Christ. We feel that we have you in our hearts to live and to die with you. We trust that our present meeting has more fully manifested the mutual love of the brethren and sisters present, and we humbly pray that the peace of Zion may more and more abound. We have no statistical matter of interest to communicate. The letters from the churches assure us of the reign of peace, and a desire to still earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints.
We have appointed our next meeting to be held with our sister church at Goshen, Anderson Co., Ky., on Friday before the second Saturday in September, 1881, when we earnestly hope to meet your messengers and receive your letters. May grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Done by order of the association.
J. F. Johnson, Moderator.
J. W. Royster, Clerk.
The Licking Association of Particular Baptists, in session with the Bald Eagle Church, Bath County, Kentucky, on the 10th, 11th, and 12th days of September, 1880, learning with deep regret of the afflictions of our very dear and venerable brother, Thomas P. Dudley, hereby express our heartfelt sympathy for him, and for the churches, as well as for the association, all of which he has served so faithfully for many, very many years. He was truly one of the ablest as well as one of the most faithful ministers of the New Testament. Indeed, such has been his widespread notoriety, and such his surprising ability, usefulness and faithfulness, that this expression of our sympathy and high appreciation of his valuable services will be felt and realized by all. Not only has his usefulness and faithfulness been proverbial, but his reverence to God, devotion to His cause, and love to his brethren, has been likewise proverbial. His deportment also has been unimpeachable, his conduct and conversation has been without rebuke, and we are therefore assured that the prayers of this association, with many others, will ascend, meet and mingle at the rich throne of grace for him, that if it is not the good pleasure of God to raise him up, He may resign him to His righteous will; for we know that complete resignation to the divine will is well calculated to sweeten the bitter cup of affliction. He has been sixty years a member of the church, fifty-nine years a minister, fifty-nine times chosen a messenger to the association, fifty-six times present, and forty-six times Moderator.
Done by order of the association, and ordered to be printed with the Minutes, this 12th day of September, 1880.
J. F. Johnson, Moderator.
J. W. Royster, Clerk.