|« Prev||PREFACE.||Next »|
To THE ELDERS in all churches, and chosen of God in Christ Jesus; my beloved brethren in the Lord, unto you be grace; peace and mercy from God, our father, through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, in the power and operation of the Holy Spirit, which he shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ, our Savior; that, being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. To whom be praise forever and ever, Amen.
My dearly beloved brethren in the Lord, we thank the Lord always for you in all our prayers, and pray without ceasing, unto our kind Father, in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, that he would strengthen you with the gift of his Holy Spirit, that you may be filled with all knowledge, wisdom, discretion and power, necessary rightly to oversee the church of Christ, and to dispense the word of God to sincere, pious souls, according to your gift and calling, and that you may walk worthy of the vocation whereto you are called and chosen of God and his holy church, as shepherds and teachers, to the end that the saints may be kept firmly united by the common service, to the edification of the body of Christ. Take diligent care of your charge, and display a sincere concern for your flock, at all times earnestly exhort them to love, to good works, like Paul; to the pure fear and love of the Lord; to a godly, unblamable conversation, in all humility, righteousness, love, peace, harmony, mercy, and obedience to the whole word of God. Caution them against all false doctrine, and against the sword of evil tongues; for if a man bridle not his tongue, nor restrain it, his worship is vain and unprofitable. Also, that they take heed in their whole walk and conversation; circumcise their hearts; season their words, and perform all their actions in the fear of the Lord; that they may procure a good name for the gospel of Christ and his holy church; comply with his word and will, and thus attain unto salvation. Beware of all innovations and strange doctrines not contained in the word of Christ and his apostles, nor conformable thereunto. Show forth, at all times, Christ and his word. If any man introduce a doctrine differing from that taught by Christ and his word, let him be excommunicated. "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." He is the precious corner‑stone in Zion, which shall abide forever. Hear, believe, trust, follow, hope and abide in him; press diligently after him, conforming yourselves unto his Spirit, word and life, and you shall neither deceive nor be deceived. My dearly beloved brethren in the Lord, I beseech and admonish you, neglect not the ministration of your brotherly love, but attend faithfully thereto. Take heed unto yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers, to feed the church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood. Again, all the elders I, who am also an elder, exhort with Peter, "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly." You who teach obedience, be yourselves obedient to the church of Christ, in all things which are good and expedient; as examples for the flock. As Paul directed Titus, saying, "In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works; in doctrine, showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you." Also, "Watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry." Do all in the fear of the Lord faithfully271, and with obedient and perfect hearts, for you are made keepers of the charge of the house, for all the service thereof, and for all that shall be done therein. Study, therefore, to show yourselves approved of God, workmen, obedient, blameless, that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. My wish and desire therefore is, that you be earnest in this, so that they who believe in God, may be made zealous to excel in good works, which is good and profitable unto all men; instruct, reprove, rebuke, exhort and console, as occasion may require; and forsake not the fraternal assembling of yourselves together, the meeting and ordinance of the Lord. Strengthen one another kindly with the word of the Lord, that you may increase in faith, love and righteousness, and come unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
With this, dear brethren, I will commit you to Almighty God, with the earnest desire that you propound unto all the brethren this brief admonition, concerning the education of children, in order that every one may observe and comply with the same in the full sense, in the bringing up, teaching and instruction of his children. The Lord Jesus Christ be with my beloved, yea, dearly beloved brethren throughout eternity, Amen.
|« Prev||PREFACE.||Next »|