“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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“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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“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee.” – Zechariah 9:9

Readings

Zechariah 9 · Matthew 21:1-14 · Psalm 146

Sermon

These words of the prophet Zechariah were literally fulfilled when the Lord entered Jerusalem at the beginning of His last week upon earth. Palm Sunday was first celebrated in the early history of the Christian Church, and became increasingly popular, being celebrated by processions intended to dramatize the triumphal entry of the Lord into Jerusalem.

Because of the part that children played in praising the Lord with songs at His entry and in the temple, as recorded in the Gospels, Palm Sunday has come to be regarded as a specially fitting time for the introduction of children into the Church.

Certainly it is one of the duties of the Church to see that its children and young people are instructed in the teachings of the Church. For these teachings were revealed by the Lord that men and women might know them and direct their thoughts and their life according to them. The teachings of the Church of the New Jerusalem are the fundamental principles of human thought and life, without which it is impossible for anyone to live a truly sane and rational life. The first essential of all sound thought is a true idea of God. It may be a very simple idea, but it must be true; otherwise the basic falsity will infect all the lower ideas and planes of thought. Likewise there should be a true idea of the Word of God, a recognition of the fact that it is holy, and that it is the Divine wisdom for angels and men. And children should be taught the necessity of obedience to their Heavenly Father, and that all people should obey Him throughout eternity.

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“Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.” – Ezekiel 3:17

Readings

2 Samuel 18:19-33 · John 8:12-32 · Psalm 130

Sermon

The watchman is a picturesque figure in Old Testament history. We recall the picture of the watchman posted upon the roof in a city beyond Jordan, where David awaited news of the battle with his rebellious son Absalom, announcing to King David one runner, and then another who came with tidings. And there is the watchman on the tower of Jezreel who gave warning of the approach of Jehu, driving furiously in his chariot up the valley from the Jordan.

It was the duty of the watchman to see in the distance an approaching enemy and to give warning of the danger. And if he saw the danger and failed to give the alarm, we are told by the prophet Ezekiel that he would be held accountable for the harm that fell upon the people.

Another duty of the watchman was to watch for the breaking of the dawn. A vivid picture is given us of the watchman in Jerusalem, standing on the high pinnacle of the temple watching for the first beams of the morning sun to appear above the Mount of Olives. Then with the threefold blast of the silver trumpets the signal was given to proceed with the morning sacrifice, and the city awakened to its busy life. This watching for the day is suggested in the passage from Isaiah: “Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night,” and in the familiar Psalm: “My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.”

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“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
“Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
“Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies.” – Psalm 103:1-4

Readings

Exodus 15:20-27 · Matthew 9:18-38 · Psalm 30

Sermon

Our text expresses the feeling which we should always have toward the Lord.

Some people think that the Lord is severe with them. They want many things but do not get them. They suffer many things and they do not see why. They grow to be discontented with their lot, and feel that they are worthy of better and that the Lord disregards them. Inwardly they do not bless but curse the Lord.

The text describes the state into which we should strive to come, or the relation that we may all sustain toward the Lord, a relation toward Him whereby we feel in our hearts that He always blesses us. From this inward feeling that He always blesses us we are given to exclaim, “Bless the Lord, O my soul.” Then it is added, “and forget not all his benefits.” If we do not from our souls bless the Lord, it is because we forget His benefits and dwell upon what we have not obtained, or upon some minor thing.

There are many things over which people grieve, worry, and fear; but there is only one real source of sorrow, only one actual cause for fear, and that is our sins. There is absolutely nothing that can hurt us except our own evils. The Lord so governs our ministering and guardian angels, in whose care we are, that no matter what is said to us or done to us, only good will come out of it if we are strong in temptation and refrain from sin. And this is the strength that we may be given from the Lord: to say in affliction and joy alike, “Bless the Lord, O my soul.”

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“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever,” by Louis A. Dole

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“The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” – Isaiah 40:6-8

Readings

Isaiah 40:1-17 · John 10:1-18 · Psalm 103:8-18

Sermon

Today there are those who say, “All flesh is grass. What is man that God is mindful of him? We die like the beasts of the field. The rocks crumble, all flesh perishes, the sun will in time burn out, and omnipresent death will reign.”

And so from the changes which occur in the outer stratum of creation man reasons that there is no inner enduring creation, that there is no stable realm of everlasting life. We pass on. Our places are quickly filled.

But why does anyone believe these merely seeming truths? Our text tells us the reality: “The word of our God shall stand for ever.” There is a deeper meaning to the words “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth.” The grass is a lower form of vegetation, the first to spring out of the ground, and the basis of animal life. The first truths that come to us are like the grass. They are the basis of more vital things because they are external facts upon which interior things depend and rest. The grass is created before the herbs, the blade before the ear. And the flowers? They are spiritual truths unfolded in their beauty. It is the desert of the mind that the Lord promises shall blossom as the rose. So is pictured the soul of man beautified with spiritual truths.

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Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream of the Great Image, by Louis A. Dole

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“Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image… The image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.” – Daniel 2:31-34

Readings

Daniel 2:31-49 · Matthew 8:1-13 · Psalm 139

Sermon

Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylon when it was at the height of its power. It subdued Egypt and Assyria and took Judah into captivity.

Babylon is used in the Scriptures as the symbol of self-love – that love of ruling over others which would subject everything to its dominion, even the Church, that it might rule over the souls of men to the end that thus it might dominate the whole world, both natural and spiritual.

The king of Babylon represents the principle of unbridled love or rather lust of dominion. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had conquered many nations; he was ambitious to rule the whole world. And while he was in this state of mind, he had the significant dream which is narrated in our text.

This dream was a revelation from the Lord as to the state of the world and as to the future conditions of the church.

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“Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy.” – Psalm 93:4

Readings

Exodus 30:1-10 · Revelation 8 · Psalm 138

Sermon

Altars are mentioned many times throughout the Word. It is recorded that Noah built an altar unto the Lord, Abraham built an altar, Moses built an altar, Joshua, Balaam, Elijah, Gideon, and David built altars. Altars are mentioned also in the Gospels and in Revelation.

An altar is a symbol of Divine worship in general. In the tabernacle there was the golden altar of incense in the Holy Place and there was the great brazen altar in the outer court. Likewise in the temple built by Solomon there were the golden altar and the brazen altar.

We read in the writings that “Altars were made of soil, of stones, of brass, of wood, and also of gold; of brass, wood, and gold because these signified good” (A.C. 8940e).

From most ancient times men built altars for worship. The altar of stone represents worship from truth. The stones were to be used just as they were found in nature, to represent the fact that truths as found in the Word are from the Lord and that they must not be changed or altered to fit the desires of men.

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“The king hath commanded me a business,” by Louis A. Dole

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“The king hath commanded me a business.” – 1 Samuel 21:2

Readings

1 Samuel 21:1-9 · Luke 19:12-27 · Psalm 143

Sermon

Every man and every woman is a merchant. This fact the Scriptures use to inform us of the true nature of our life here. There is the parable of the talents and the command to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven.

If in our external life our business continues to show losses, failure will inevitably result. The business of life is both natural and spiritual. We have spiritual possessions as well as natural. All our gains and losses, all our spiritual as well as our natural possessions are made by an exchange.

We need capital to commence business, and we recall that in the parable of the talents in Matthew it is written, “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.” In these terms are laid down the conditions on which spiritual prosperity depends. The kingdom of heaven is compared to a man traveling into a far country, who called his servants and delivered unto them his goods.

Two important truths are taught in both parables of the talents: first, that all things we possess, by the use of which we may attain eternal happiness, are a free gift to us from the Lord alone, and that if we make proper use of them, they are finally given to us as our own and are never taken from us; and second, that while we live in this world, we are left so much to ourselves that according to all appearance we are our own masters, independent of Him from whom all that we have is derived.

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“What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,” by Louis A. Dole

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“And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” – Deuteronomy 10:12

Readings

Deuteronomy 10:12-22 · Luke 22:24-30 · Psalm 101

Sermon

The purpose of our creation is that we may be of service to the Lord. The Lord works by and through man, because man is a receptacle of life from Him and the only intelligent subject of His providence. All things below man are included in man. They precede him in the order of creation because man is their end. It is theirs to make ready for him, and this they do, or rather the Lord does for them. The Lord’s method of operation can be seen through the study of nature, as nature illustrates the law of His operation.

What is this law? It is the law of service or use to something higher. Nothing is created for itself alone. Everything is for something above itself. The mineral underlies, supports, and sustains the plant, the plant the animal, the animal man. And as nothing in the realm of nature has the power to disturb or to contravene the operation of this law, we find in nature the perfect peace and harmony that result from its fulfillment. In nature we find the Divine order perfectly carried out except in so far as man has disturbed it. Things in nature that are hurtful to life are of man, not of God. Man alone, as we know, has the power to act with or against God – from God or from himself. Acting from himself he has been the cause of all that is hurtful in nature. But even so he has no power to reverse its order, and when he acts contrary to order, the Lord makes even these acts serve a use. Poisonous minerals and plants, corresponding to false and evil thoughts and feelings, are used as medicines to cure diseases in the bodies of men and animals, and the time will come when, through an advance in the knowledge of the science of correspondences, they will be still more helpful. This is what is meant by the words of the Psalmist: “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.”

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