Elder J.C. Swindall
Dear Brethren and Sisters of the Union Association: Being appointed last year by the Association to write a Circular Letter for your inspection, I will endeavor to do so, trusting I may be guided by the Holy spirit to write this letter to you, hoping and trusting it will be a comfort to God’s little children, that are cast out but not forsaken. while alone one day in solemn meditation, this scripture forcibly struck my mind, so I will offer a few thoughts on it. I Cor. 1:10, “Now I beseech you brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
This was written by Paul to the church at Corinth. Paul very well knew that there was some divisions among the brethren that ought not to be is why Paul exhorted them to be joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment, and to all speak the same thing. Paul knew if they would all obey his instructions that prefect peace would abound. Now dear brethren this instruction of the apostle is as much binding on the children of God as any other instruction he ever gave. In Roman 14: 10, Paul again says, “Why do you judge your brother, or set at naught your brother? For we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, said the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So every one shall give an account to God for himself. Paul again says, in Romans 14:13, “Let us not therefore judge one another any more, but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block, or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.” This shows plainly, that the brethren had been judging one another, and Paul admonishes them to quit it. Romans 15:1, says, “We that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” Now dear brethren, if we all possessed that kind of mind, that we could sacrifice our own fleshly desires in order to build up the weaker brethren, instead of trying to destroy them, that might differ from us, on none essentials, how much better would it be for the up building of Zion, for God’s cause and his kingdom here on earth? May the God of patience grant you to be likeminded one towards another. The Psalmist, David said, “Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” Not in strife, but in love, preferring another above ourselves. Now this teaches the very same lesson that Paul taught in my subject-For all to be of one mind and of one accord. So brethren let us all lay aside every weight and the sin that does so easily beset us, and run the race with patience ever looking unto Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith.
We can not run the race with hatred and malice and envying one another. If we attempt it God says, We shall be consumed one of another. Now brethren so long as we preserve these ties of love, which has bound us together in love and union in days that are passed by and gone: so long as we be found faithful to that trust, which has been committed unto us by the Holy Ghost: so long as with prayerful hearts, we strive to obey God’s will and follow his wise counsels, and remain steadfast and unmovable, in the faith once delivered to the saints, and with full fellowship with one another: just that long God has promised to be with us and that to bless. Brethren the Bible says, First get the beam out of your own eye, then you shall see clearly to get the mote out of your brother’s eyes, we would not see so many motes in our brother’s eye.
Dear Brethren, When we consider the great bloody war, that all the world has of late been engaged in and think of our people that has fallen on the bloody battle fields of Europe and the dreadful epidemic, “Influenza” that has taken from us our loved ones and made our homes desolate, it looks like to me, we that are spared, by the mercies of God, to live, ought to be more solemnly engaged in prayer and supplication and thanksgiving than ever in before, and found calling on God to keep us humble and in prayer for one another; instead of trying to destroy one another. If I knew I had offended any of my brethren without a cause, it seems to me my soul would be made to cry out in bitterness, Oh retched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? The Bible says, It is better that a millstone were tied about out necks and we cast into the depth of the sea than to offend one of these little ones. Yet the apostles knew that offenses would come, and said, Woe unto that man by whom the offense comes. Here is a woe pronounced against the man, who brings about offense to his brother. The Bible says, The love of man shall grow cold and it seems to me, that time is here.
Instead of having a heart full of love and sympathy for one another, there seems to be a spirit of devouring one another. This is not of God, flesh reap corruption, for the Spirit of God works peace, joy and love in the Holy Ghost. Then let us submit ourselves into the hands of God and pray mightily for God’s will to be done among us. Let us look into our own hearts and see what kind of creatures we are before trying to destroy our brethren. In my humble judgment, if we would examine ourselves first we would not be found throwing stones at our brethren. So let us strive to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace and love, and fellowship one with another.
Now Dear Brethren, when we come together in our Association, if we all would be like the apostles were on the day of Pentecost-all of one mind and of one accord, praying for God’s will to be done among us, and our own selfish desires laid aside God would pour out his Spirit among us and then we would all be of one mind and one accord, and shout and praise to his holy name, and the people would be made to cry out as they did on the day of Pentecost. Men and brethren what shall we do to be saved. Dear brethren, let us strive to work in our churches and Association in a way that God will own and crown our work to the honor and glory of his name’s praise.
Now dear brethren and sisters, in all probability, this will be my last Circular Letter to you, as I am getting old and feeble, and have now been preaching over 40 years, and the nearer my departure, the stronger my desires grows for all of God’s people to be of one mind and of one accord and all speak the same thing, in order that peace and love may abound throughout all our churches and Associations. So farewell dear brethren, may God Almighty, by his Holy Spirit, guide us all through coming life; to the honor and glory of his holy name, to whom be all the glory and honor, both now and forever.
Your humble servant in the Lord.
J. C. Swindall.