“I have even called thee by name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me,” by Louis A. Dole

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“I have even called thee by name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.
“I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me.” – Isaiah 45:4-5

Readings

Isaiah 45:1-13 · John 18:28-37 · Psalm 30

Sermon

Cyrus the Persian is mentioned twice in Isaiah and three times in Daniel. He was not an Israelite, not one of the “chosen” people. He was of the heathen world, but he was one of the great and good men of the ages. Isaiah prophesied of him even before he was born that he was chosen to be a special son of God.

Every individual, whatever his origin, may be such a son of God. God has a definite life plan for each individual, girding him visibly or invisibly for some exact use which it will be the true significance and glory of his life to have accomplished. Man is born for heaven. But the Lord alone is God, and from him alone is salvation. He said of himself, “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” All who are in good will look to the Lord for truth and will receive him.

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“And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known,” by Louis A. Dole

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“And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” – Isaiah 42:16

Readings

Isaiah 42:1-16 · Matthew 3:1-12 · Psalm 139

Sermon

This is a prophecy of the Advent. And what an encouraging prophecy it is! It promises good, for it says, I, your Redeemer and Savior, when I shall come, will cause the spiritually blind to walk in new ways, I will lead them in new paths, I will turn their darkness into light, and straighten their poor distorted hopes and ideals so that their spiritual vision shall be clear and radiant with the light of heaven.

“I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known.” New ways and new paths! Our text is not speaking of any natural journey, but is referring to something spiritual when it uses these familiar terms of our natural life. The Psalmist prays, “Remove from me the way of lying,” and “Therefore I hate every false way.” And the same inspired penman speaks of the “paths of righteousness,” “the way of truth, “the way of thy commandments.” What are these ways and paths? Are they not those habitual ideals and forms of thought that lead the soul to the attainment of some purpose, whether good or evil? The modern psychologist speaks of pathways formed by habits in the substance of the brain. But how could there be these pathways in the brain substance if there were not corresponding pathways or “ways of thinking” in the life of the soul?

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“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” – Matthew 5:17

Readings

Jeremiah 31:27-40 · Matthew 5:13-26 · Psalm 33:1-11

Sermon

The “Law” is summed up in the Commandments, which were given from Sinai and were called the “covenant” with the children of Israel.

In Leviticus we read: “If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them… I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.”

There are passages in both the Old and New Testaments which have been interpreted to imply that the commandments will sometime be suspended or outgrown and other laws will take their place. Those who take this view call attention to the fact that Jeremiah tells of a time when the Lord will make a new covenant with His people: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord,” and that the Lord says, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time… But I say unto you…”

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Service for Arthur Sewall, August 2, 1961, by Louis A Dole

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“Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.

“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.”

“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.

“He will not always chide; neither will he keep his anger forever.

“He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

“For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.

“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

“Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.

“For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

“As for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.

“For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.

“But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children.

“To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.”

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“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13

Readings

Exodus 15:1-22 · Revelation 19:11-21 · Psalm 144

Sermon

This week-end we celebrate Memorial Day. War is accompanied with so much destruction, waste, loss of life, both physical and mental suffering that we are not surprised when we hear some people declaring war to be wrong, all wrong, always wrong, wrong for everybody, wrong even in self defense.

The doctrines of our church teach that in most ancient times people lived in peace, that no one desired more than necessaries and so riches were not collected and hoarded. But eventually lust for wealth sprang up. Then men commenced to desire the possessions of others, and the love of accumulated riches and dominion ever grew. Wars then arose, their purpose being to extend dominion and get the property of others.

Who cannot now see that those who started the first world war did so to wrest wealth and territory from other nations? So from one point of view we see clearly that war arises from the love of dominion and lust for riches growing until it bursts all restraints. The beginning of a war is always in evil. But our problem is not so simple. Have we a moral right, by force of arms, to resist and conquer this lust of plunder which, like Lucifer who exemplifies it, would enslave all the world and ascend, if it could, even above the Most High?

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“And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds,” by Louis A. Dole

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Fryeburg, Maine, January 30, 1927

“And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.” – Mark 13:27

Readings

Joel 2 · Mark 13:1-27 · Psalm 147

Sermon

The chapter of the Gospel of Mark from which this text is taken is sometimes called the “little Apocalypse,” for it treats of the same subjects as the Book of Revelation. Our text, then, forms a part of the Lord’s description of His Second Advent. That Advent was to be the bright and happy culmination of a series of tremendous events and dire catastrophies. The whole earth is described as being in the throes of a great convulsive struggle, nations warring against each other, kingdoms fighting one another, earthquakes, famines, pestilences, people fleeing to the mountains for refuge, others praying upon their housetops. And then the sun goes out into blackness, the moon no longer shines, the stars fall from their high places, and the very heavens tremble and seem on the point of collapse. But all at once the scene brightens. The judgment struggle is over. The bruised earth lies helpless and still. And then in Divine radiance appears the figure of the Son of man “coming in the clouds with power and great glory.”

And our text states that with His Advent there is instantly a world-wide effort to gather together into a blessed company “the elect” who in this time of judgment have been scattered far and wide. To the uttermost parts of the earth, to the farthest boundaries of heaven angels are sent on their errands. East, west, north, and south they speed on their way, and presently they are seen returning, here with one, there with another, a chosen few brought together that they may form the nucleus of a new humanity – a new church.

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“And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them,” by Louis A. Dole

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Fryeburg, Maine, February 4, 1934

“And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.
“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” – Luke 2:51-52

Readings

Genesis 2:8-25 · Luke 2:40-52 · Psalm 34

Sermon

From the time of the Lord’s return from Egypt, where He had been taken to escape the wrath of Herod, to the time of the beginning of His public ministry, this incident of His visit to the Temple at the age of twelve and His return to Nazareth to be subject to Mary and Joseph is the only incident mentioned.

We think of Him as spending these twenty-five or more years at His home in Nazareth. There He lived in safety and prepared Himself for His work. Nothing is said in the Scriptures about His external life and activities during this period, but He was undergoing temptations and overcoming in Himself all tendencies to self-seeking. At the age of twelve He had marvelous powers, astounding the learned men with His wisdom. With the enthusiasm, confidence, and idealism of youth it must have been a temptation to Him not to go forth and show His powers. But the time was not yet. “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.” We cannot realize our ideals in our own strength. We must learn to wait upon the Lord, to depend upon Him. We can think of this long stay of the Lord in Nazareth as the period of preparation when He was gaining those inward victories which made possible His active ministry.

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“See, thy son liveth,” by Louis A. Dole

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Fryeburg, Maine, December 6, 1931

“See, thy son liveth.” – 1 Kings 17:23

Readings

1 Kings 17 · John 12:23-50 · Psalm 86

Sermon

The story containing our text is most tender and appealing. Death had taken the son of a poor widow. She and her son had been carried through the three year famine by the meal and oil that wasted not, because Elijah, the man of God, had found shelter in her house. Then came affliction sorer than the famine. Her son, in whom lived her hope as a mother in Israel, died in her arms.

To get the vital lesson in this narrative we must see it in its relation to the events immediately preceding, for the striking chapter of the text by three wonderful miracles there told describes three successive states of a regenerating man. The third state is pictured in the raising to life of the dead son of the widow.

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Doing Our Duty, by Louis A. Dole

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“But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?
“And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?
“Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.
“So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” – Luke 17:7-10

Readings

Genesis 16 · Luke 17:1-19 · Psalm 116

Sermon

The lesson in this seemingly harsh parable is very clear even in the letter. Under the figure of master and servant our relation to the Lord is mirrored. As a servant, in doing his duty, does not place his master under special obligation, so men, the servants of the Lord, cannot claim any merit for their service. If we do all that we can, we cannot do more than our duty to the Lord. When we consider the gifts we continually receive from the Lord and the continual manifestation of His mercy and lovingkindness to all mankind, it is clearly evident that it is our duty to keep His commandments, and to do all the good that lies in our power. The balance will always be heavy on the Lord’s side, and we have no claim to merit.

But the parable also has a meaning applying to the mind of the individual himself. Between the mind and the body this relationship of master and servant exists. The body is the servant of the mind. Its office is to do always the commands of the soul. It is forever a servant. For the body to command the mind would be to invert order, and would bring disaster.

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“Now the Egyptians are men, and not God, and their horses flesh, and not spirit,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Now the Egyptians are men, and not God, and their horses flesh, and not spirit.” – Isaiah 31:3

Readings

Isaiah 31 · Luke 6:27-49 · Psalm 80

Sermon

Our recent history has been a history of wars. After each it has been hoped that peace would follow, that the world would see the folly of war, its inability to bring security, and that mankind would begin to seek that concord and peace without which there can be neither happiness, friendship, nor any reward of toil or of thought in the world. Instead there have been years of tension, dissatisfaction, and increasing armaments, and now there are small conflicts in one part of the world or another, which may spread to the larger nations. Fires spread and sometimes get out of control. It is likewise with war, if it is not checked and put out.

It is easy to blame one nation, and perhaps still easier to blame one person, and as futile as it is easy. There are indeed the external aspects of war, the overt acts leading to armed conflict. But it is the inner causes that we most need to discover and to deal with. There is a great conflict going on in the world – a spiritual conflict – and the physical conflicts are but the surface disturbance which point to causes within.

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