“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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“The name of the city from that day shall be, The Lord is there,” by Louis A. Dole

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“The name of the city from that day shall be, The Lord is there.” – Ezekiel 48:35

Readings

Ezekiel 48:19-35 · Matthew 10:1-15 · Psalm 16

Sermon

These words are spoken of the city seen in vision by Ezekiel. We may recognize it as the same city as the New Jerusalem seen by John. And the New Jerusalem, called the bride the Lamb’s wife, we know to be the New Church.

The term city is a fitting name for the church. A city has streets along which we walk. So has the church. Its principles of right conduct are paths in which the affections move. The Lord said of His thoughts and affections, “I am the Way.” And when our thoughts and affections are pure and holy, when they are the expression of love from the Lord, “the streets of the city are pure gold.”

A city provides conditions for business, social intercourse, education, and training. It contains dwelling places of many kinds where individuals live, gather, and rest, and at firesides enjoy companionship, love, and happiness.

So of the church. There our Heavenly Father’s business is centered, and the church provides for association, spiritual education, and the training of the higher faculties. The church has dwelling places, general truths and particular truths, differing in kind and quality. Each one in the church chooses some kind of general truth in which he abides, and in it, as at a fireplace, he gathers spiritual warmth. He meets others in like principles, and from things in common they find companionship and pleasure.

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The Penalty of Sin, by Louis A. Dole

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“But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.” – Ezekiel 18:24

Readings

Ezekiel 18:19-32 · John 8:33-51 · Psalm 101

Sermon

The Scriptures are written according to the doctrine of appearances, that is, according to how Divine things appear to us in our natural states. This means that we must have some principles from which we may judge, principles which will enable us to determine what sin is and what goodness and truth are in themselves. An immutable standard is necessary by which we can measure and determine questions concerning human conduct and character, and their good or evil results.

That standard is the Lord Himself. “The way of the Lord is perfect.” He changes not. He is “the way, the truth, and the life.” We are created in His image and likeness. Here we must not think of outward form. The sculptor can cut an image of a man from a block of marble, but the likeness is only on the surface. The Divine qualities are finited in us. We are recipients of the Lord’s love and wisdom. All our faculties and powers are from Him. But there is this difference: the Lord is infinite but we are finite. We are created, and have no underived life; the Lord is uncreated and is Life itself. We are so formed that we can continue to approach our Creator in the power and excellence of all our faculties and joys, but we shall always be finite and we can never be more than recipients of life.

What is required of us is that we use the life and power we receive as the Lord would have us use them. To the extent that one does this he is upright, just, and righteous, for he lives and moves in the currents of the Divine providence.

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