[Hassell's History page 736]
"A paper purporting to be a Declaration of the Reformed Baptists in North read Carolina, dated August 26, 1826, which was presented at last Association, and referred to the churches to express in their letters to this Association their views with regard to it, came up for deliberation. Upon examination, it was found that most of the churches had given their opinions; and after an inter- change of sentiments among the members of this body, it was agreed that we discard all Missionary Societies, Bible Societies and Theological Seminaries, and the practices heretofore resorted to for their support, in begging money from the public; and if any persons should be among us, as agents of any said societies, we hereafter discountenance them in those practices; and if under a character of a minister of the gospel, we will not invite them into our pulpits; believing these societies and institutions to be the inventions of men, and not warranted from the word of God. We further do unanimously agree that should any of the members of our churches join the fraternity of Masons, or, being members, continue to visit the lodges and parades, we will not invite them to preach in our pulpits, believing them to be guilty of such practices; and we declare non-fellowship with them and such practices altogether."
"It was made know at this Association that some persons had suggested that the decision of the last Association, found in the fourteenth article of the Minutes, concerning Missionary and bible Societies, Theological Seminaries and Masonic Fraternities, was not correctly stated; and whereas many members of the Association were members of the last, it was resolved that the article as it appeared in the minutes contained the true spirit of the decision , and that the Association did not approve of any alteration thereof, but advised the churches to strictly adhere thereto"
"That they view with regret the incorrect inferences which have been drawn from the decision of this body in 1827; which have arisen in part from the misrepresentation of those who were affected by that decision, arising from the conviction that it would ultimate in the prostration of their fondest hopes of personal aggrandizement; and we are sorry to perceive, in the words of the decision, that it affords the semblance of justification.
"We do deeply regret the influence which we perceive it has had upon our sister Associations, but we do not, we cannot, and we will not recede from those measures in which we believe are involved the glory of God, the happiness and prosperity of this association, and the destiny of unborn millions. we however owe it to ourselves to make such explanations as will present to our brethren, in clear and unambiguous terms the attitude which this Association has assumed, and which by the help of God she will sustain.
"We disclaim any right, and , consequently, any intention, either directly or indirectly, of meddling with the internal government of any Association but our own. we do not assume to ourselves the right of saying that any member without the bounds of our Association shall or shall not do any act. They are accountable to their own respective Associations, or churches, and not to us. But we do claim a right, in the bounds of this Association, to proscribe (under the authority of the churches) such rules and regulations as are indispensably necessary to promote what we think will be for the peace and harmony of the churches within our bounds; and to discountenance such practices among us as are calculated to interrupt our harmony. Therefore your committee do recommend the adoption of the following resolution and explanation:
First. We will not hold in our churches any member who is in the practice of visiting the Masonic Lodges, or who on any occasion conforms to their custom of parades; nor will we countenance any such individual who may reside or come among us in the character of a preacher.
Second. We will not countenance any preacher who travels within the bounds of this Association, establishing societies for the collection of money, or who may be himself collecting money to support any institution whatever. We do not attempt to circumscribe the liberty of conscience; every person has a right to think and draw his own conclusions. We do not attempt to suppress the liberty of speech; every individual has a right to speak or express the convictions of his own mind. We do not attempt to restrain the liberty of any man; he may give his money when and to whom he pleases. We do not object to the spread of the Bible by all fair and honorable means, but pray for its extension by means which God may bless and own. We do not object to the support of the ministry on the gospel plan, but earnestly recommend it to the direct and immediate attention of al the Deacons in this Association; whose business God has made it to se to this matter, as well as all the moneyed concerns of the Christian community. We do not object to the general diffusion of intelligence and literature in the Baptist community, but wish its extension, But we do object to the education of men to the ministry by establishing seminaries for that purpose, believing that preaching would thereby become a lucrative employment; like the law, physic, etc. If any minister, although he be a Missionary, without the bounds of our Association, comes among us to preach the gospel, and not to make collections, we do not reject him."