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    To the members of Landmark Missionary Baptist Church, the readers of the CLARION HERALD; and our many well-wishing friends, the Pastor-Editor and Family express our sincere thanks and deep gratitude. Your love, prayers, fellowship, words of encouragement and liberality toward us during the past year have meant more than words can express.
    May God's mercy, grace and peace be yours in the year ahead -- enabling each of you to know the fulness of His JOY. -- EG & Family

    On December 25, Lord willing, I will be going to Anchorage, Alaska, at the invitation of Pastor Leonard Ford and his brethren for a week of services. They are planning two services daily through December 31. It is my intention to return on January 1, in time for the services on Sunday.
    Brethren Rick Wade and Perry Ferris will handle the services in my absence. Pray for ALL OF US, that our lives and ministry may be a blessing and enrichment to God's people -- bringing glory to His great name. E.G.


    Few people are aware of the price paid for the religious liberty enjoyed by all in America. Most seem to think it something that has been a part our "Christian Nation" (?) from the beginning -- unaware of the cruel confiscations, imprisonments, tortures, banishments and kindred trials heaped upon our early American Baptist fathers as they paid the price of this liberty with their own life-blood.
    It has recently been my privilege to acquire a 3-Volume "History of New England, With Particular Reference to the Denomination of Christians Called Baptists", by Isaac Backus. This history was compiled by Backus at the request of his brethren -- largely from court and church records. It covers a period of 196 years (1600 - 1796) and was published in 1777, 1784 and 1796 as the separate volumes were completed. This appears to be both the earliest and fullest account of the Baptist battle for "liberty of conscience" (not merely for themselves, but for all men) ever to have been printed.
    Isaac Backus, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Middleborough at the time he wrote this history,

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knew experimentally about the injustices of persecution inflicted by a civil court that paid homage to the unscrupulous designs of so-called Gospel Ministers whose devotion was not to Christ, but to a state-church. He had been born of Pedobaptist parents at Norwich, Connecticut, January 9, 1724. Both were descendants of respected old settlers and endeavored to bring up their son in the nurture end admonition of the Lord, as best they understood it.
    During the NEW LIGHT stir (under the ministry of Whitefield) some of his relatives joined the Separates, and were soon being harassed and persecuted by the ruling party. His widowed mother was cast into prison for adopting "religious principles contrary to the law" -- not of the civil government, but of the state church. In the midst of this controversy Isaac was saved (aged l8) and united with a Pedobaptist church in Norwich -- beginning his

ministry in that church in 1746.
    As a Separatist he and the church that he pastored in Middleborough, experienced many persecutions. He was for some time imprisoned for refusing to pay tax for the support of the state-church. It was not until 1756 that Backus made a complete break with the Pedobaptists -- organizing and becoming pastor of a Baptist church, in Middleborough, with which he appears to have been associated for some fifty years.
    In 1772 the Baptists of Massachusetts chose him to represent them in pleading for "religious liberty". And the Warren Association chose him as their agent to make such an appeal before the first Continental Congress that met in Philadelphia.
    During the next few months the CLARION HERALD will be sharing with our readers some very interesting incidents in the religious history of early America.            E.G.


    Reading implications into a very brief article (of November 17) relative to missionary Ed Potter's departure for the Madeira's, some have inquired whether Landmark Church has "cut him off" from support, etc.
    It was assumed that our readers would know the difference between "sponsoring" and "supporting". This church WAS the official "sponsor" of the original Potter mission to Brazil. We supported them regularly while there, have continued to support them as they waited for an

opening to Madeira, and will be sending support to the field as soon as we have an address. The fact that Landmark is no longer the "sponsor" of the Potter Mission (a decision made by the missionary) does NOT mean that we have ceased to "support" it. In reality, whether, or how long, Landmark continues to support this, or any other, missionary is really NO BUSINESS of anyone outside our membership.
    However, we would like all men to know that WE are NOT of that number who demand absolute conformity to our doctrines and practices on the threat of "non-fellowship" and "non-support". We DEPLORE such an attitude -- believing it contrary to the spirit of Christ, and a violation of the basic rule of brotherly love. While we might WISH for more stability among all our brethren, we loathe the idea of any man's attempt to be "lord" over his brother's conscience!
    It has become increasingly evident, during the past few months, that this editor cannot speak on the subject of MISSIONS (a cause that is dear to his heart) without being offensive to some. This is true whether he speaks by way of commendation, or counsels relative to mission policy. Thus, it will be our policy during the year ahead to leave the PROMOTION of missions to the LORD, who calls, and the churches who endorse and send forth specific missionaries. This is NOT a policy that the editor desires to follow; it is one that presently seems necessary if he would be "void of offence".
    In the immediate future the

ministry of the CLARION HERALD will be concentrated on biblical exposition and devotional material -- with historical articles from a day when our Baptist fathers acted brotherly toward each other as they faced a common enemy. Noting the contrast, one MAY be inclined to ask whether "religious liberty" has been a blessing or a curse. -- The Editor

(A study of I Thes. 5:1-11)

    As to the time of our return, no man knows the day or hour. That has been carefully concealed. But the manner thereof is likened to the coming of "a thief in the night", (Lk. 21:34; Matt. 24:42-44; 25:10, 13; 2 Peter 3:10; Rev. 3:3; l:l5). Thieves sound no alarm to announce their arrival or to alert the sleeping. They creep in unawares. Sometimes they "dig through and steal". They break into the houses of the careless and do harm to the flock of God -- killing, stealing and destroying. Aware of this, the Thessalonians had no need for Paul's dealing with "times and seasons".
    The Lord's coming will be contrary to popular human desire and expectation. Man imagines himself capable of devising a system whereby "peace with justice" may be attained and maintained; but such is a self-imposed delusion, (Jer. 6:14-15; Ezek. l3:8-14). When they say: "Peace and safety" their carefully devised schemes erupt in sudden destruction. This is as certain as the pain that comes to a woman

in the hour of labor; there is no escape, (2 Thes. l:9; Jn. l6:20-22).
    Since God's people are "not in darkness" they ought to walk in "the light of the Lord". It is possible to be "in the know" -- at least to such degree that we are not taken unawares, (vs. 4-5; I Jn. 2:8; Acts 26:l8). Children of the light must not sleep (failing to watch) as do others; we must WATCH, with soberness, (Jn. l2:35-36; Eph. 5:8; I Peter l:l3). The sleeping are unconcerned; simply not interested, (vs. 6; Rom. 13:11-14; I Cor. l5:34 Eph. 5:14-16). The drunken choose the night for their revelry and carousing -- lest their deeds be reproved by the light; but the
    Paul calls for the manifestation of true holiness of life. Saints are to "put on" the breastplate of faith and love; for a helmet, the HOPE that salvation makes possible. It is significant that these are all SPIRITUAL gifts -- something no one can DO in his own strength; a challenge to SUBMISSION!
    The apostle braces up his brethren by challenging them to consider their calling and appointment -- not to wrath, but to the obtaining of full salvation through Christ. When He returns His people will "live together with Him". In the meantime the saints are to comfort each other with the message of God's Word, and to encourage one another to the upbuilding of the body, in love.

Our souls, by love together knit,
Cemented; mixed in one
One hope, one heart, one mind, one
'Tis heaven on earth begun.

Our hearts have often burned within,
And glowed with sacred fire,
While Jesus spoke, fed, & blessed,
And filled the enlarged desire.

And when Thou mak'st Thy jewels up,
And sett'st Thy starry crown;
When a11 Thy sparkling gems shall
Proclaimed by Thee thine own;

May we, a little band of love,
We sinners, saved by grace,
From glory unto glory changed,
Behold Thee face to face.