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BY A. DICKINSON.
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Preached on the Sixtieth Anniversary of his ministry at that place.
THE DOCTRINES ESSENTIAL TO SALVATION.)
2 PETER, i. 12, 13, 14, 15.- Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you
always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up, by putting you in remembrance ; knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me. Moreover I will endeavor that you may be able, after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.
This day is peculiarly interesting, as it completes the sixtieth year of my ministerial labors in this place. Ten years ago I preached my half-century sermon, which was published at your request, and is probably in most of your houses. I now feel it proper to add some things, suggested by my advanced age, and the return of this anniversary. I am now the oldest offi. ciating minister of the gospel in this state, or, as far as I can learn, in the United States. And I cannot learn, from the history of churches in Con. necticut, that there has ever before been an instance of one of its ministers preaching for sixty years uninterruptedly to the same congregation; nor, during a life of eighty-three years, have I ever met with one who had preached the gospel of the grace of God to one and the same people for so long a period. This, therefore, is a singular instance; and the words selected for my text may be regarded as peculiarly appropriate to the occasion. In them, the apostle Peter informs those whom he addresses, that he was now advanced in age, but that he judged it to be his duty, as long as he continued in the world, to put them in remembrance of the great and essential doctrines of the Christian religion, which he calls “ the present truth," as they were then, and always, equally important and necessary. He tells them that he expected
VOL. VII.-No. 8.
soon to go the way of all the earth ; and that he was anxious that after his decease they might rightly understand and invariably cleave to these essential principles, and never forget or depart from them. Placed in like circumstances, and affectionately desirous of your welfare, I propose in the present discourse,
Concisely to state and explain the essential doctrines of the gospel, and to commend them to your permanent and habitual remembrance.
“ Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth." The apostle Peter felt towards the essential doctrines of grace as all the truly pious do. He wished those to whom he wrote rightly to understand them, and to receive them in their hearts. He resolved that as long as he should be permitted to live, he would not cease—would not fail to state and explain and urge them on the conscience. And had these doctrines been always plainly urged, clearly taught, and solemnly presented to mankind, by the successors of St. Peter, the world would have been comparatively free from gross error and religious contention, and the gospel gloriously triumphant. No preaching can be useful, or acceptable to that God who will have all men come to the knowledge of the truth,” which does not keep these essential doctrines in habitual remembrance. For a minister to neglect them for the indulgence of a fervid imagination, or the pride of learning and philosophy, is to treat with absolute contempt the message with which he is charged. “Preach the preaching that I bid thee,” saith the Lord. These first principles of the oracles of God, Paul denominates “ sound doctrine,” and “the truth as it is in Jesus." The apostle Peter calls them “ the present truth," and “the sincere milk of the word;" and the apostle Jude, “ the faith once delivered to the saints.” Our Lord himself calls them “the truth.” Nor shall we be likely to mistake the mind of God, if we have that reverence for his authority which leads us directly, habitually, and prayerfully to his Word, and that love to souls which makes us willing and desirous to urge upon the conscience the known and established truths of God, rather than any original “ inventions" or theories of our own. The apostles were not ambitious of novelties: they were not ashamed of the simple gospel with which they were charged—were not ashamed or negligent to put men in remembrance of its principles, though they already knew them, and were “established in the truth."
With such examples before me, I now proceed to state and explain what are the essential truths of the gospel, though they have been exhibited to you a thousand times; for I never preached a sermon to you in which they were not either expressed or implied. “And while I am in this tabernacle, I think it meet to stir you up, by putting you in remembrance of them.”
The first which I shall notice, is the fulness and sufficiency of the Scrip. tures, both as a rule of life and standard of faith. If a merciful and gracious God should condescend to give us a revelation of his mind respecting our salvation, we might safely conclude, from his wisdom and benevolence, that he would give us a full and sufficient one; for a defective one would not answer for man, or be promotive of his own glory. We have, in the holy Scriptures, a perfect and infallible guide in the path of duty, and in the path to glory. Abraham is introduced by our Savior, in a beautiful par