The Elders and Brethren, convened at Black Rock, to the Old School Baptists throughout the United States, send Christian salutation.
We have pursuant to appointment again met, through the kind providence of God, and our hearts have been warmed and our spirits cheered by communications both written and verbal from various parts of our beloved country, in relation to God's Zion. With regard to our views of Gospel faith and order as expressed in a former address we still stand fast with increased encouragement and zeal, believing that the various institutions of men, dubbed with the appellation benevolent, and which are the order of the day, will, if not checked, result in any thing other than the real peace and prosperity of Zion. We should profit from the history of past ages, and guard against Priest-craft or the corruptions of that order of men wishing to be distinguished as the Clergy; which order now wield all the machinery, and have a governing influence over all the funds and movements of the various institutions of the day. As they are in a great measure irresponsible, in the appointing of their Agents, and in the expenditure of the vast sums of money collected from a liberal but misguided public, it requires but little knowledge of human nature to divine the consequence. It lays a strong temptation for speculation, and will in the hands of selfish men become a political engine to subvert our civil rights, and the dearer rights of conscience. As the church of Christ is merely an administrative body entrusted along with the application of the laws of her King, it is an arrogant assumption of power to set up any standard of religious action or test of religious obedience not sanctioned by his word; she has not the authority in herself to enact rules for the government or direction of Zion's children, much less, can she delegate this power to others. Has it, Brethren, come to this that our Lord will not or cannot accomplish the purposes of his grace without his people's exerting all their powers to obtain money? Is it so, that there is a necessity for those whom he has called into the gospel ministry, to leave the preaching of the word and the care of the churches over which they have been made overseers, to ravage the country and in the language of the horse leech's daughters to cry give, give, without ever being satisfied? Could not He who once turned water into wine prevent the necessity of this perversion of the ministerial office, and at the same time provide at once the means, pretendedly so necessary for accomplishing his purpose, by transmuting the native granite of our mountains into gold?
Beloved Brethren, may we ever be kept from imbibing notions so reproachful of the God of our salvation, as these which suspend the purpose of God the efficacy of a Savior's blood and the regenerating power of the Holy Ghost, in relation to a great proportion of the human family, upon money, the love of which is the root of all evil.
Brethren, while we rejoice in the glorious truth that salvation is of the Lord, may it be manifested by our lives that we are under the influence of that grace which teacheth that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world.
Thomas Poteet, Chairman William Wilson, Clerk