Circular Letter of the Universalist General Convention of 1793
Published at Boston, 1793
Reprinted in Universalist Quarterly October 1875: 446-448.
[Note: bracketed additions are in the 1875 reprint.]
The Ministers, Elders and Messengers appointed by the Universal Churches and Societies, in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut and New York, to represent said Churches and Societies in General Convention at Oxford, Massachusetts, September 4th, 1793,
To their Brethren in the faith of the Gospel, resident at Boston, Gloucester, Rehoboth, Bellingham, Milford, Providence, Attleborough, Grafton, Warwick, Orange, Winchester, Clarendon, Apollet [Pawlet], Kingsbury, Whitehall, Granville, Ballstown [Ballston], Milton, Porsmouth, Alstead, Langdon, Chesterfield, Hardwick, Petersham, Grantham, Warner, Deering, Woodstock, Preston, Wallingford, &c., and to every Church and Society scattered abroad in the States of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Vermont and New York, they most fervently wish the fulness of the Blessings of Gospel of Christ, the Saviour of the World.
Dearly Beloved in Jesus, who is Lord of All! — The Great Master of Assemblies having graciously permitted us to assemble, not only in the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, but also in the peace of man, having none to make us afraid, we therefore conceive it our bounden duty to offer the unfeigned tribute of thanksgiving to that most worthy name unto which every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess; and earnestly we beseech our fellow-heirs and of the same body in Christ, to be like minded in humbly acknowledging all that the goodness of the Lord, which He hath caused to pass before us, as all His glory.
Being met together with one accord, for the edification of the Church in love, and having sought His blessing, who blesseth and it is blessed forever, we are thereby enabled to commune by Epistle with your spirits in the power and spirit of the Gospel.
It is mutual cause of rejoicing and consolation, that so many of our dear brethren are coming up from the wilderness of time, leaning on the beloved in whom they are accepted, and who is made of God unto them wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. In this confidence and hope, which maketh not ashamed; in this glorying which neither angels, nor principalities, things present, nor things to come, can make void; in this faith, where the eye is single towards the Great
Shepherd of the sheep, the one Lord of the one fold, we devoutly pray that each one may finish his course with joy, holding fast the word of life eternal unto the end; passing through the valley of the shadow of death by the guidance of the rod and staff of Jehovah; and in the morn of the resurrection, beholding Jesus as he is, be like unto him, changed from glory unto glory, in the express image of Immanuel, of whom the whole family in the heavens and the earth is named.
And to the doctrine of the Saviour God, which hath appeared and bringeth Salvation unto all men, we fervently supplicate mercies from above, that ye may be enabled through grace, to add the adorning of that doctrine by denying ungodliness, and living soberly, righteously and godly; walking together as children of the light, in the unity of spirit and the bond of peace; having no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but counting the time past to more than to suffice in which ye have had your conversation according to the course of this world. And therefore, we most affectionately entreat, that as members in religious connection, ye bear on another’s burdens by an equality, and so fulfil the royal law; as fathers or mothers, bring up your offspring in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; as children, render obedience in good conscience unto your parents; as husbands, love ye your wives, even as Christ loved the Church; as wives, win your husbands by the chastity of your conversation; as maters, remember that ye have one master who giveth things which are equal; as servants, yield service not as unto men, but as faithful in the sight of God; as subjects, unto the powers that are give [sic] honor to whom honor is due, tribute to whom tribute belongeth, and to keep not back from Caesar that which is his. Finally, brethren, may the influence of divine love, shed abroad in your hearts by the operation of the holy spirit, add unto your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness that charity which suffereth long and is kind, and hath its abiding in the perfect day of Jesus, when faith is swallowed up in the vision of the Lord, and hope lost in the fruition of eternal and unchangeable bliss, even in that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory.
And now, dearly beloved, we solemnly commend you to the grace of God, which alone is able to settle, ‘stablish, strengthen and
build up; and in the only name given under heaven whereby men must be saved, we bid you farewell.
Signed for and in behalf of the Ministers, Elders and Messengers,
Test. GEORGE RICHARDS, Clerk.