Below I have posted part of a letter that John Robinson, pastor of the congregation of Leyden in Holland, wrote to those leaving to form a community in America, where they could worship the Lord. It was read aboard the Mayflower, just before they left. I would have posted the whole thing, but it was really long, so I didn't. :P I originally came across it in Plymouth Plantation, by William Bradford. But here's a link to the entire letter in case you want the whole thing:
"And if taking of offense causelessly or easily at men's doings should be so carefully avoided, how much more heed is to be taken that we take not offense at God Himself, which yet we certainly do so oft as we do murmur at His providence in our crosses, or bear impatiently such afflictions as wherewith He pleaseth to visit us. Store up, therefore, patience against that evil day, without which we take offense at the Lord Himself in His holy and just works."
This letter to Mr. Robinson's congregation is filled with warnings and advice like this. What care he had for his congregation! He loved the people therein, and cared for them as if they were a part of his own family! I am of the opinion that that is how it should be. Yesterday morning mommy was reading to us 1 Corinthians 13. It dawned on me that this entire book was a letter. Of course I knew that it was a letter before hand, but I realized this was a letter to a congregation. He was teaching certain congregations these things, and encouraging them in the Lord. And later those letters became a part of the Bible. John Robinson's letter is similar to Paul's, but these papers express and reveal a deeply felt love for the beloved in Christ, the people they were shepherding. I don't know. Just some thoughts. :)