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1884 Circular Letter Delaware River

Written by Elder William J. Purington


The Elders and messengers of the Delaware River of Primitive Baptists, in session with the church at Kingwood, Hunterdon Co., N.J., May 28th, 29th, and 30th, 1884, to the churches composing this association, whose messengers we are, send Christian salutations.

Beloved of God, Called to be Saints: – Grace to you, and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. Through the mercy, faithfulness and wisdom of Israel’s God we are preserved to meet again in our accustomed manner; and for the expression of our faith and practice we will present in the usual way our Circular Letter.

The Scripture recorded by the inspired writer to the Hebrews is the solid foundation upon which we hope we stand. “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds; whop being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Hebrews 1:1–3.

In days or times before, God spake by men or prophets, at different times and in various manners; but now, or in the Gospel day, He has spoken “by one man, Jesus Christ.” – Romans 5:15. He declared unto John, “This is My beloved Son; hear ye Him.” In the temple Jesus opened the book of the prophet Isaiah and read, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the broken–hearted, to preach deliverance to the captive, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” “This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears.” This is truly the Sabbath, or last day. That word which is spoken by Jesus is riches to the poor, a better and enduring substance which shall not pass away; health to the sick, freedom from bondage, light unto them that sit in darkness, and them who find no soundness in self, but bruised, are made to run and not be weary, to walk and not faint. Well may we, brethren, “consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.” Who of all the race of men have such a word of power spoken unto them? The days of labor and travail are past, and blessed be His name, there shall be no word spoken after His. May we be enabled to rest in His commandments, and feel they are not grievous, but joyous. “Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after.” Who that has felt His power or lisped His praise, has not felt that precious testimony that we are not Moses’ disciples? But Christ built the house, and hath more honor than the house. Believer, rejoice that a law was given, and that you were made to feel the galling yoke, for by it came the knowledge of sin. He that honored the law, that was your shame, hath made you free indeed.

While we read the Old Testament Scriptures, and behold the word of our God by the prophets, we are lost in wonder and amazement in the fulfillment of the holy commandment which He required of His people through His Son. He hath spoken by Him in the experience of the believer after His own manner. “He speaks, and it is done; He commands, and it stands fast.” By the first commandment there was a remembrance made of sin. This the prophets continually kept in view. This the four evangelists have faithfully recorded that Jesus ever showed unto the people from their law, saying, “My time is not yet come: but your time is always ready.” “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to  serve the living God?” The believer is made to know the conscience purged from dead works or carnal works by the blood of Jesus. His flesh is truly meat, and His blood is drink indeed. It is His body that was broken for you.

“I’m not ashamed to own my Lord,
Or to defend His cause,
Maintain the honor of His word,
The glory of His cross.

“Firm as His throne His promise stands,
And He can well secure
What I’ve committed to His hands
Till the decisive hour.”

God has spoken. He must be heard; He will be, He shall be, He is heard. “O Lord, Thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my down-sitting and mine uprising, Thou understandest My thoughts afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, Thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid Thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from Thy presence?”

“Whom He hath appointed heir of all things.” “For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there by gods many, and lords many,) but to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him. How beit there is not in every man that knowledge.” – 1 Cor. 8:5-7. “Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession.” – Psa. 2:8. “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.” – John 3: 35,36. The things of the Gospel are all, for there is none beside them, neither shall there be any after them. “And He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.” – Luke 1:33. This God has appointed. “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever; nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before Him.” – Eccl. 3:14.

“By whom also He made the worlds.” “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.” – John 1:3. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the Truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” – John 14:6. “As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him.” – John 17:2. Passive are all the worlds in His hand, to subserve His purpose alone. “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,” is the breathing of every new–born soul.

“Who being the brightness of His glory.” “The Lord is high above all nations, and His glory above the heavens.” – Psalm 113:1. “His name shall endure forever: His name shall continue as long as the sun; and men shall be blessed in Him: all nations shall call Him blessed. Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. And blessed be His glorious name forever: and let the whole earth be filled with His glory; amen, and amen.” – Psalm 72:17-19. This is the glory of God, and in the believer Christ is revealed as His brightness. Jesus said unto the apostles, “Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” – Matthew 19:28.

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” Here is truly brightness, believer, full of grace and full of tuth. “My God shall supply all you need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

“And the express image of His person.” “And God said, Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness.” “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.” – Eccl. 7:29. In uprightness and dominion in the earth man was in image, but not in express image, because of the weakness of the flesh to withstand the power of Satan. “The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.” “That was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.” “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” – 1 Tim. 3:10. “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.” – John 1:18. “Philip saith unto Him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” – John 14:8,9. This is truly person, and not individual.

“And upholding all things by the word of His power.” No other power to support then the power of God. “I and My Father are one.” “All power is given unto Me.” “I have power to lay down My life, and I have power to take it again.” Here is the resurrection from the dead; and preaching Him is declaring His blood cleanseth from all sin.”

“When He had by Himself purged our sins.” “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.” “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished: and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost.” – John 19:28,30. By Himself. This is confounding testimony to all who trust in their own strength; and the believer is made to know the putting away of all things, and trusting in His blood alone. It was His blood, and not the blood of another. Purged, not simply washed, with no power to remain unstrained; but are “kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.” He “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” In the Gospel there are no contingencies or mishaps, but it is the positive word, “sat down;” for when He is sat, who shall rouse Him up? At the right hand, the power of the glorious Intercessor. No suppliant’s voice shall ever pass unheard; He ever lives to make intercession for us.

“Of the Majesty on high.” Not upon the earth, for this Majesty is not of an earthly nature. When the poor soul is made to bow before the Majesty of God, he is made to feel that Jesus is his righteousness; and though in the most secret place of men, he is in the full light of the eye of God’s presence. He alone is the Intercessor of His people. When He asks grace for the poor mortal, He knows it shall be given. “Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” These are the blessed promises of life, and happy indeed is he who knows them. Take heed that no man deceive you in word or in doctrine. “Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.”

William J. Purington, Moderator.
G. M. Fetter, Clerk.

Transcribed by Stanley Phillips – January 2009