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Sixty Years In The Ministry PDF Print E-mail
Written by T.S. Dalton   



At Bethel Church, Fairfax County, Va., on Nov. 10, 1929 The Sixtieth Anniversary of His Entry Into The Ministry.

Sixty years ago today, according to the Sundays of the month, I made my first effort to preach. I felt then, as I feel today, to fully adopt the language of Paul, who said, “Necessity is laid upon me, and woe is me if I preach not the gospel.” I took as a text, that day, the latter clause of the twenty-first verse of the second chapter of Galatians: “For if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” And I recall some of the points I made that day. In my stammering way, I tried to show that we, as a Gentile people, were never under the Ceremonial Law, or law of carnal offerings. This law embraced the Jewish nation, or the literal seed of Abraham only, and that God never required of the Gentiles to offer lambs, or pigeons, or turtle doves, to appease the wrath of His law, for the Gentiles were considered “without law,” and yet were a law unto themselves; therefore, they were not under the law of carnal offerings. Neither were the Gentiles under the civil law for the government of National Israel. They were not considered amenable to that law, but they were under the Decalogue, or law of the Ten Commandments, which embraces every nation on earth, and demand that all should “Love the Lord their God with all their heart, and with all their mind, and their neighbor as themselves.” All of us know this to be an impossibility, for no one can love the Lord with all his mind, soul, and strength, and have any mind to love anything else. No wonder that even Moses should quake at the reception of such a law, and no wonder that the people should request that these words be not spoken to them any more, for they could not comply with the requirement, and they knew that if heaven was conditioned on that, there could be no salvation, for any of Adam’s fallen race.
But blessed be the name of God, He has produced one that is “mighty and able to save” poor lost sinners by assuming their responsibilities under the law, fulfilling its requirements, and dying the ignominious death of the cross. In this way God’s law can say “Deliver him from going down to the pit, for I have found a ransom.”

These were my sentiments then, and sixty years have elapsed, and I rejoice to say I stand on these sentiments now. And in conclusion (while I know my language is inadequate to express what I feel) may I tell you of the gratitude in my heart for your kindness shown me on this the Sixtieth Anniversary of my entry into the ministry. I want also to express, as best I can, my thanks to these ministers for their presence on this occasion, and for every good word and action toward me. Such tokens of love cause me to feel very unworthy. I want you to know that you lie near my heart, and while life lasts, I shall continue to try to pray for you, and the precious cause in which you are so faithfully engaged. Trials and afflictions await you, but God will deliver you out of them all.

Now a few words about Bethel. You have ever been true and faithful to me, and the name Bethel, always sounds good to me. I remember when Jacob started out from Bersheba toward Haran, he journeyed until the sun had set, then he placed some rocks for his pillow and sweetly slept. He had sweet dreams, and the next morning he said, “The Lord was in the place, and I knew it not.” He also said, “It is none other than the house of God,” and he called the name of the place Bethel. It was truly a dear spot to him, and I often recall the words of the poet in my own case, when he said:

“There is a spot to me more dear than native vail or mountain,
A spot for which affection’s tear springs grateful from its fountain.
It’s not where kindred spirits dwell, though that on earth is heaven;
But where I first my Saviour found and felt my sins forgiven.”

My membership, and that of my family, is here at Bethel, making it a sweet, dear home for me, and I hope the brethren and sisters will bear my weaknesses for the time I have yet to live on this earth, and let me enjoy their sweet fellowship.

Remarks:—Both days of this meeting the weather was delightful, and a large crowd was in attendance, especially on Sunday. The following ministers were present one or both days:—Elders T. W. and Jas. E. Alderton, C. W. Miller, J. T. Power, A. J. Garland, B. H. Seekford and R. H. Pittman, and all took some part in the services commemorating Brother Dalton’s sixty years of service. Bethel Church presented her aged pastor with sixty dollars in gold, and other churches also made contributions. The occasion was one of pleasure to those favored to attend, and many and sincere were the good wishes expressed for Brother Dalton, our able and loyal yoke-fellow in the ministry.


Last Updated ( Wednesday, 27 September 2006 )
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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.