The Letter Calling for the 1689 General Assembly
(This material is taken from Joseph Ivimey’s History of the English Baptists, Vol. 1: Pg. 478-480).
“The following is a copy of [the letter] sent to the church at Luppitt, in Devonshire, the place where the present church at Upottery then met.
London, July 22, 1689.
“To the Church of Christ in Luppitt, kind Salutations.
“WE the elders and ministering brethren of the churches in and about London, being several times assembled together to consider of the present state of the baptized congregations, not only in this city, but also in the country, cannot but first of all, adore the divine wisdom and goodness of Almighty God, in respect of his late most gracious providence, for our deliverance from that dismal dispensation, which threatened us from the continual and unwearied attempts and designs of the enemy of our sacred religion and civil liberties;by which means our sinking and drooping spirits are again revived, and our earnest hopes and long expectations raised, and afresh quickened, in respect of the more full and perfect deliverance of the church of God, and his more glorious appearance, for the accomplishing of those gracious promises and prophecies contained in the holy scripture relating to the latter days.
“But in the second place, we cannot but bewail the present condition our churches seem to be in; fearing that much of that former strength, life, and vigour, which attended us is much gone; and in many places the interest of our Lord Jesus Christ seems to be much neglected which is in our hands, and the congregations to languish, and our beauty to fade away (which thing, we have some ground to judge, you cannot but be sensible of as well as we); and from hence we have been put upon most mature and serious considerations of such things that may be the cause thereof, and amongst others are come to this result: That the great neglect of the present ministry is one thing, together with that general unconcernedness there generally seems to be, of giving fit and proper encouragement for the raising up an able and honourable ministry for the time to come; with many other things which, we hope, we are not left wholly in the dark about, which we find we are not in a capacity to prevent and cure (as instruments in the hand of God, and his blessing attending our christian endeavours) unless we can obtain a general meeting here in London of two principal brethren (of every church of the same faith with us) in every county respectively. We do therefore humbly intreat and beseech you, that you would be pleased to appoint two of your brethren–one of the ministry, and one principal brother of your congregation with him–as your messengers; and send them up to meet with the rest of the elders and and [sic.] brethren of the churches in London, on the 3rd of September next; and then we hope to consider such things that may much tend to the honour of God, and further the peace, well-being, establishment at present, as also the future comfort of the churches. We hope you will readily, notwithstanding the charge, comply with our pious and christian desire herein; and in the mean time, to signify your intentions forthwith in a letter; which we would have you direct to our reverend and well beloved brethren, Mr. H. Knowles, or Mr. W. Kiffin. This is all at present from us, your brethren and labourers in God’s vineyard, who greet you well in our Lord Jesus Christ, and subscribe ourselves your servants in the gospel.
“WILLIAM KIFFIN, BENJAMIN KEACH,
HANSARD KNOLLYS, EDWARD MAN,
JOHN HARRIS, RICHARD ADAMS.”
“Brother Kiffin lives in White’s alley, Little Moorfields.”