Near Lexington, Ky. Jan’y. 31.
DEAR BROTHER BEEBE: – Since I last wrote you, I have felt more encouraged than for years past. I trust we have experienced a refreshing from the presence of the Lord. Three of the churches I supply have had additions within the present month, I Baptised two on the first Lord’s day, three on the third, & two on the fourth Lord’s day – all upon profession their faith in the Lord Jesus: we require something more than a bare assent to the truth that Jesus is the Son of GOD; each of them related all that we cold ask, in order to full fellowship.
Thus you discover that preaching the Doctrine of Sovereign, Reigning Grace, so far from hindering the gathering together of the ELECT, into the Churches (as is contended by some) it encourages the
“Helpless and poor, to Jesus to come,
Nor hope to bring a perfect thought.”
For with him there is for such Mercy and plentious Redemption. It has often been said of us, that the rigid course we pursue in examining Candidates for Baptism, will operate as a hinderance to young Converts who may be seeking an Asylum with us.
I have yet to be convinced, that Heaven-born, and Heaven-taught souls object to a critical search after fellowship, without which we have no disposition to increase our number. There is considerable excitement amongst the members of those churches belonging to what is called the “General Union,” but which would more appropriately be styled General dis-Union. In our vicinity the frequent applications to join our Churches by letter and examination, I consider a good omen. The practice of our Churches, is to read our declaration of Faith at the introduction of every Church Meeting, and no one is received into fellowship who does not profess to receive cordially our declaration of faith and practice. Hence you may account for the unprecedented oneness of sentiment prevailing in our Association.
Perhaps there is no section of our country where the same means have been resorted too, to arouse prejudice against a body of people, which have characterized a number of the General Union Baptist against the Particular Baptist in this Country; and those efforts have been but too successful where there is no Particular Baptist Ministry. But where our Ministry visit these sections, they are by many received cordially; and frequently greeted with: – “This is the Doctrine our souls feed upon and you are not the people we have been taught to believe you were!”
The crisis is at hand when I conceive another split amongst the Baptist is inevitable; an event I much desire to see, forasmuch as I consider it indispensible to the production of harmony of sentiment from whence flows Brotherly love and affection amongst professers. Indeed there is little of what I denominate Gospel fellowship existing among a large portion of the Baptist in Kentucky, hence a division, if such division shall throw those who harmonize in sentiment together, should be ardently desired by all those who love the cause of our Redeemer. Our Association stands firm, and uncompromising to the Doctrine of the Cross, and in her opposition to the trickery of the times, combining Schools, Societies, Conventions &c., in which the errorests of our day would seem to think they are helping the Lord to build up his Kingdom upon the earth. I wonder whether they have ever thought of Uzza and the Ark? Or of David’s declaration, “Except the LORD build the House they labor in vain that build it; except the LORD keep the City, the Watchman waketh but in vain.” Ps. cxxvii, 1. It is confidently believed there is not to be found in our Ass’n one dozen who are favorable to these establishments; and yet the Lord seems to prosper us: without the use of such means. One of the Churches I supply was constituted about eighteen months ago with six members, in the midst of a Baptist Church composed of more pliable materials and surrounded by several other Baptist Churches of the General Union Stamp besides a variety of other denominations from whom the little Church has had to encounter opposition to a considerable extent, and yet, requiring as she does, a renunciation of all connexion with, and fellowship for the popular societies of the day she has quadrupled her original number, and her prospects are brightning daily, for a further and more extensive increase.
I must desist as my paper is nearly full,
THOMAS P. DUDLEY
Signs of the Times
Volume 2, No. 7
March 5, 1834