The Church Rest on Immutable Truth
And The Love of God.
To the several churches composing the Warwick Old School Baptist Association, in session with the Middletown & Wallkill Church, June 8th, 9th, and 10thm, 1887, mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.
Dear Brethren: – It is a source of gratitude and thanksgiving unto us that our God, who is rich in mercy, has in His kindness towards us through Christ Jesus preserved the visibility of our churches, and continued unto us our church privileges and blessings, thus enabling us to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. It is presumed that the members composing our several churches have the interest and welfare of their respective organizations at heart, and desire the prosperity of Zion, and prefer Jerusalem above their chief joy. This at least should be the characteristic of all the living in Jerusalem; and we feel assured that if any of God’s children are careless and indifferent in this respect, and forsake the assembling of themselves together, as the manner of some is, they cannot and do not realize the sweet blessedness which is found alone in a faithful obedience to the laws and commandments of Christ. “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they nay have right to the Tree of Life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” – Revelation xxii. 14. How comforting and consoling it is to the children of God to know by experience and the assurance of the word of God our Savior that the perpetuity and visibility of the churches do not depend upon human effort or numerical strength, but upon the power and faithfulness of our God and Savior, who assures us by His word that “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” – Matthew xviii. 20. Therefore we are taught that the members who represent the visibility of our churches are those who have been by the power and grace of God gathered together in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The Spirit of Christ in the prophet Jeremiah tells us how these pillars in the church are gathered together, when he declares, “The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” – Jeremiah xxxi. 3. The everlasting love of God and His loving-kindness are manifested in the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and in the complete redemption and salvation of His people, and by the witness of the Spirit in our own personal experience. By faith we are made to enjoy the sweet assurance of His declaration, “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out.” By the omnipotent power of His life-giving word the dead are made to hear His voice and live. Poor sinners, dead in trespasses and sins, are quickened together with Christ, saved by grace, and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
These are they who as lively stones are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. These are the characters who constitute our several churches, and who are prepared by the teaching of the Spirit to receive the doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness which abound in the inspired Scriptures. It becomes us, amid the religious errors and delusions with which we are surrounded, to earnestly heed the teachings of the great Head of the church.
External appearances and professions are no sure evidence of the stability of a church. A church may be adorned with all the commendable graces accorded to the church at Ephesus, and yet lack the essential element of strength, as in the case of the Ephesian brethren. The Spirit charges them with having left their first love, and commands them to repent and do the first works, else their candlestick will be quickly removed from his place. We refer to this important subject because it is the faithful admonition of Him who holds the seven stars in His right hand, and who walketh in the midst of the golden candlesticks, and who declares with absolute authority, “I Jesus have sent Mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches.” May we be found walking in our first love as it was shed abroad in our hearts in the new birth, and doing the first works with gladness of heart and willing obedience, as in the early days of our experience, and continuing steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
William L. Beebe, 1887
Benton Jenkins, Clerk.