1925 - Tygarts Valley River Association

Circular Letter

Written by Elder J.N. Bartlett

The Tygarts Valley River Association of Old School, or Primitive Baptists, now in session with the Amnon Church, Marion County, West Virginia, to the several churches of which she is composed, and to all with whom we correspond, sendeth christian salutation.

DEAR BRETHREN IN SWEET FELLOWSHIP: - It is through the goodness, mercy and longsuffering of our heavenly Father that we are again permitted to meet together in an associate capacity as messengers and correspondents, brethren and sisters, to hold sweet communion together, and with our heavenly Father, as we hope, in order that we may be comforted, edified and established in the word of God. As it is our custom to address you by way of a Circular Letter, and with this in view, we call your attention to the subject of “fellowship.” Fellowship is a subject worthy of our consideration, for it not only concerns our mutual fellowship with each other in the church of God, but fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ. (1 John i. 3.) Love and fellowship are joined together, and fellowship comes from love, and there can be no fellowship without love, and it must be mutual. As the words “fellowship” and “communion” are often used synonymously in the New Testament Scriptures we will use them as such. “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” Now in all our spiritual devotions and worship of God, we commune with him. In their prayers his spiritual children implore their heavenly Father for all the blessings they earnestly desire, and thus commune with him in Spirit. God the Spirit, when we pray according to his holy will, hears and grants unto us what he has put into our hearts to pray for, and thus communes with us. After the resurrection of Jesus Christ two of his disciples journeyed together to Emmaus, and they talked together of all those things which had happened, and while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. He joined in this holy communion by expounding unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself, by opening their eyes that they knew him, and by causing their hearts to burn within them while he talked with them by the way, and while he opened to them the Scriptures. O, dear brethren, think of all this. Those two disciples walked with him, talked with him, and he with them, were enabled to see him and know him who they had seen suffer and die on the cross now risen and communing with them until their hearts were burning within them with love and gladness. In a measure and in spirit have we not seen him? Has he not manifested himself unto us as he does not unto the world as our once crucified but nor risen Savior? Does he not open unto us some beautiful passages of Scripture for our edification and comfort, and give us faith, hope and love, until, like doubting Thomas, we say, My Lord and my God? We feel to fellowship all those of like precious faith. Oh the fellowship of the saints, it is wonderful, for it is God-given; it is durable, for it will last forever. It is that which joins us together in christian love as one, and enables us to join together in praise to God in our meetings, bow together at the throne of grace, and join our prayers together to God for his mercy, for his loving compassion and his grace, preach the unsearchable riches of Christ all in union and in fellowship, partake at the Lord's table of the same bread, drink of the same cup in commemoration of the suffering of the same Lord when his body was broken and his blood was shed for our sins. Yes, in all our worship love and fellowship flow from heart to heart, which joins us together as two drops of water in one. It is only those who are regenerated, born of God, who have the mind of Christ, having one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all, who are joined together in fellowship. Those three thousand who were added to the church on the day of Pentecost continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship and in breaking of bread and in prayers. Yes, those steadfast children of our God, steadfast in the apostles' doctrine could also continue steadfast in the communion of the saints. They are agreed, therefore they can walk together, can commune together in sweet converse on the things pertaining to the kingdom of our God, and the things pertaining to our eternal salvation. But two who cannot agree cannot walk together, they would soon fall out by the way. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” “Now we command you brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly.” “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Now, dear brethren, permit me to exhort you to love one another with a pure heart fervently, content earnestly for the faith once delivered unto the saints, and may the fruit of the Spirit show forth in all your walk and conversation one with another. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.”

J.B. Cross, Moderator
J.N. Bartlett, Clerk

Signs of the Times
Volume 93, No. 10
October, 1925