Prepared by W. D. Almand
As our God in His Providence has removed, from our midst, our dearly beloved colored brother, Elder Berry Tuggle, by death, on the 17th instant, in the seventy-seventh year of his age, and about the fiftieth year of his ministry, and from his labors here on earth, to his Heavenly home. We as an association would offer this tribute to his memory, and desire to thus openly give expression to the feelings of our hearts, in connection with the sad dispensation. Yet we would not murmur nor repine, but bow in humble submission to the will of God, feeling assured that he has fought a good fight, kept the Faith, and finished his course with joy.
The Yellow River Primitive Baptist Association, in her fifty-seventh annual session, to the churches of which she is composed, sendeth Christian salutation.
Beloved in the Lord: - The object in writing, as well as preaching, should be the edification and establishment of the church of God, knowing otherwise it is distraction and confusion. We then, of course, should avoid the utterance of such things, either with tongue or pen, as have the latter tendency.
Our God is not the Author of confusion, but peace. We wish, therefore, to stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance, and for so doing will quote Psalm cxxxiii., 1: “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.”
Now, there is no Scripture that should be more interesting to us, for the blessings referred to be the Psalmist are very desirable, and should be to all; and as such there is something for all to do, if we enjoy them, and, if we do, peace will be the result in all the churches. How we all love that which is good, and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell in unity! “Behold,” a note of attention, calling upon all that are in an addressable condition to be pleasantly situated.
Now, in order to enjoy this great blessing, we must endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace. Now, to dwell together in unity is to be of oneness – to be one. Now, my brethren, God is One, and His way is one, and we are, or should be one.
The first thing to notice, we should remember to keep our bodies under subjection, endeavoring to glorify God in our bodies and spirits, which are God’s. We should never conclude that we are of much importance, “for he that thinketh himself something, when he is nothing, deceiveth himself.” We should esteem others better than ourselves; and if we are one, we can truly say, if one at all, the least of all.
When we were added to the church, we gave ourselves up to one another and the Lord; then we are one in a church capacity, we then belong to one another, there is but one body, and we are members of that one body; then, of course, we should love and esteem each other, be kind and tender toward one another, and be subject to each other.
Now, in order to realize how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity, we must have a good, sound Gospel ministry, and good, wholesome discipline, well executed, in order to be healthy and prosperous. Let each and all of us be what we profess to be; be punctual to attend all our meetings, unless providentially hindered; never strive about words to no profit; and when you come to attend to any business, endeavor to be ONE.
If you want to choose some deacons, have the matter up in order, take it into prayerful consideration, consult one with the other, all be agreed, so there will be no division in the body, so that it will be unanimous; and the same way in choosing a preacher – do not let your pastor have to serve you over the head of even ONE member. A church is really not in order to choose a preacher when they are divided. Then let us strive to be one, in every respect. Remember, brethren, that the good Lord said, “This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth My praise.”
You are the chosen people of God. He chose you because He loved you, and blessed you with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus; loved and chosen in Christ. Yea, Christ is our Life; for He says, “Ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God, and when Christ, who is our life shall appear, then shall ye appear with Him in glory.” Then, in a spiritual sense, we can see the oneness of Christ and His people, with Him from everlasting.
The Psalmist said, “The Lord has been our dwelling place in all generations.” Then how pleasant the sentiment of the poet:
“Hail, Sacred Union, firm and strong!
How great the grace, how sweet the song
That worms of earth should ever be -
Be with incarnate Deity.
“One in the tomb, one when He rose,
One when He triumphed o’er His foes,
One when in Heaven He took His seat,
While seraphs sang all hell’s defeat.
“This sacred tie forbids their fears,
For all He is, of has, is theirs;
With Him, their Head, they stand or fall,
The Life, their surety and their all.”
Yes, this glorious, eternal, vital union ever did, and will forever exist – glorious indeed! Without it we would have no hope. Then the church has her spiritual standing in her spiritual Head – did actually exist in that sense before she did in a natural sense. She was closely related in covenant relation, as well as spiritual, that she is brought to bear, in the Scriptures, as a married wife, for it is said, “More are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife.” Again, He said, “For thy Maker is thy Husband.” So He was responsible; the law looked to Him for satisfaction, to Divine justice; He was infinite, and did satisfy an infinite law. This was in strict accordance with a glorious arrangement or covenant. Our sins were laid on Him upon legal and just principles, He being the Head and Husband and lawful Representative of His bride, or the people of God, and according to the will and pleasure of God, who has declared the end from the beginning, saying, “My Counsel shall stand, and I will DO all My pleasure.” So, then, we can say with the poet:
“Salvation through our dying God,
Is finished and complete,
He paid what e’er His people owed
And canceled all their debt.”
So in conclusion we can say, “He hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad.” Brethren, this is the salvation in which we believe, and to which we would bear our testimony. It meets with opposition and misrepresentations, but we rejoice to know that is the God we worship, the Savior we adore, the Mediator in whom we trust.
Isaac Hamby, Moderator
R. M. Lasseter, Clerk.