“And Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and… Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan,” by Louis A. Dole

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“And Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and… Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan.” – Genesis 13:11, 12

Readings

Genesis 13 · Luke 17:20-37 · Psalm 125

Sermon

The story of the return of Abram and Lot from Egypt would as mere history have little meaning for us today. It would be only a statement of the fact that two shepherds, to keep their herdsmen from strife, agreed to separate, one to keep to the highlands, the other to the plains. As mere history there is nothing in the story of the Jewish people any more than in the history of any other nation.

The Word is Divine not because of the mere historicals, but because the Lord has worded and arranged those historicals so as to express spiritual truths. By means of this history He has drawn pictures of otherwise invisible and inexpressible spiritual things. And more than this, He has taken the natural events and ideas and so arranged them as to tell the story of His own Incarnation and Glorification, and to tell it in the order of its progress from infancy until His work was completed. So the story tells about spiritual changes that took place in the human nature which the Lord assumed in the world, and at the same time it teaches us about changes that must occur in every regenerating person.

There is an evident and practical lesson just beneath the surface of our text. We can not get knowledge of spiritual things until we have knowledge of natural things in some degree. There are two reasons for this. First the faculties are developed on the natural plane before they can be developed on the spiritual plane. Natural things are used to develop the faculties. Second, into the knowledge of natural things spiritual knowledges can be insinuated.

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“There were giants in the earth in those days… mighty men which were of old, men of renown,” by Louis A. Dole

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“There were giants in the earth in those days… mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” – Genesis 6:4

Readings

Genesis 6:1-13 · Luke 17:20- 37 · Psalm 14

Sermon

The text for today is from the opening chapters of the Bible taken from the Ancient Word which, in the letter, tell of the development of man from his creation to the call of Abraham. Before the development of the natural sciences these chapters were regarded as literally true. With the opening of the Word it can be seen that they are true in a deeper sense than literally. They are Divine allegories. These chapters treat of the rise and fall of two great spiritual dispensations which once took place on this earth. And they contain general truths, truths which must be learned before particular truths can be added. This applies to the whole book of Genesis, which is referred to throughout the Scriptures, Old Testament and New.

“There were giants in the earth in those days.” This verse is often interpreted by people as applying to those days of the past when things were supposed to be a good deal better than they are today; but actually they refer to the closing days of the Most Ancient Church. It was just before the flood. We sometimes speak of the giants of the past as though they were the great ones of the earth, to whom we should look up with veneration, and with whom no one at the present time can be compared. It seems to be a natural tendency with many to think of one’s own time as being inferior to the greater glories of the past – that modern people are of less stature and less worthy than those who have gone before. There have indeed been men who towered above others from time to time in the historical picture – some good and some bad. But spiritual stature is not peculiar to any age.

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The River of Eden, by Louis A. Dole

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“And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.” – Genesis 2:10

Readings

Genesis 2:8-15 · Revelation 7:9- 17 · Psalm 46

Sermon

It has been noted that the opening chapters of Genesis are a Divine allegory. The Garden of Eden does not denote a natural place, but a state of life. The people of the Adamic age had an intuitive perception of the Divine symbolism of nature. The lands and rivers of the earth were to them representative of the internal things of heaven and the church. They saw that the world of nature was a theater representative of the world of mind, and that there was a living and vital relation of correspondence between the two worlds. Remnants of the knowledge of this correspondence of natural things to spiritual are found among us today. We speak of Jerusalem, Canaan, and Jordan with spiritual ideas attached to each name. In using these names we often do not think of natural cities, but of what they spiritually stand for.

Search has been made to find the river with four branches that went out of Eden. And unsuccessful attempts have been made to make known rivers conform to this description. Yet there is such a river with its four branches, just as the Word describes it. It is not a natural river, but we can find it if we look in the right place for it.

As Eden was a highly developed state of heavenly love, as the Garden of Eden pictures a beautifully cultivated state of heavenly intelligence, so the river of Eden that parted into four heads was not a natural river, but the Divine wisdom of the Lord, which flowed into the mind, performing for it a service represented by the service a river renders to the natural country through which it flows.

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“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” by Louis A. Dole

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“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” – Genesis 1:1

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” – John 1:1

Readings

Genesis 1:1-13 · John 1:1-14 · Psalm 84

Sermon

No one who has observed the tendency of the popular literature of today and its influence on the public mind can have failed to note the widespread doubt that everywhere prevails as to the inspiration of the Scriptures.

Particularly the opening chapters of Genesis have been the cause of many controversies in the church and in the world. As soon as the natural sciences began to be developed, the opening chapters of the Bible came into question, as the rational man cannot reject the demonstrated facts of science. To meet this new advance in human development the Lord made His Second Coming in revealing the inner meaning of the Word. This was a final Divine revelation of spiritual truth essential to this new age.

The first eleven chapters of Genesis are a Divine allegory, and only as such can they be understood. In fact all of the inspired books of the Bible have a spiritual meaning within the letter. Heaven and earth are used in the Bible as symbols – heaven as the symbol of the spiritual mind and earth as the symbol of the natural mind. Regeneration, which is the subject treated of in the story of creation, is the orderly formation and development of the distinct planes of life that are involved in the structure of the two minds. The spiritual mind is formed of three distinct degrees, the celestial, the spiritual, and the natural. The natural mind is also constituted of three degrees, the rational, the scientific, and the sensual. These two minds, with their degrees of life, constitute the difference between man and the mere animal, for the mere animal possesses only the sensual degree, with something that makes an approach to the scientific, and is wholly without the rational and the three degrees constituent of the spiritual mind.

That is why it is said, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Regeneration is the opening of the spiritual mind, by which the natural mind is reformed and brought into order.

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“I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure,” by Louis A. Dole

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“And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die.
“Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant: and I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure, until I come unto my lord unto Seir.” – Genesis 33:13-14

Readings

Genesis 33:1-15 · Luke 18:15-30 · Psalm 119:1-16

Sermon

In the church calendar today is Christian Education Sunday. The purpose which the Lord has in view in the creation and care of men is a heaven of angels. In its spiritual meaning the opening chapter of the Word tells of the stages we pass through in attaining this development. It begins with the creation of light, and the continuous and progressive acquisition of truth. As heaven is formed from regenerated men and women, the highest natural use is the procreation of offspring. So it is written, “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord,” and, “Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”

This truth should be self-evident. From this use comes the happiness of marriage and parenthood.

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“And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
“And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
“And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” – Genesis 2:1-3

Readings

Genesis 2:1-17 · Matthew 12:1-13 · Psalm 92

Sermon

The creation story, with which our Bible begins, treats by correspondence of the spiritual development of the individual man and of the human race. In the “six days,” which represent states, is pictured the process of development from the first state of darkness and ignorance to that state in which man became a new creature, the image – in his finite measure – of his Creator.

But this did not complete the purpose of the Divine love, which was to make man not only into His image but after His likeness. This is the work of the seventh day. That the work was not completed in six days is evident from the words “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made.”

The work described as done during the six days goes on with everyone who is regenerating. The six days of labor are the days in which we fight against our evils, until we come into a state of peace and rest – not rest from the activities of a useful life, but rest from the internal warfare through which we have been passing.

And because it is God who fights for man and enables him to overcome, it is said that God rested from all his work, and blessed, hallowed, and sanctified the seventh day. The sabbath is the state of willing and loving obedience to the Divine will and providence, which the Lord creates and blesses.

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“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” by Louis A. Dole

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“And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.”
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” – Genesis 1:24, 26

Readings

Genesis 1:24-31 · Luke 12:22-34 · Psalm 145

Sermon

The text for today tells of the creation of the animals and man, the work of the sixth day. First the mind with its lower affections is developed, then on the fourth day the sun and moon – love to the Lord and faith in Him – make their appearance, and the fishes and fowl created on the fifth day represent the first living affections for natural truth and for spiritual perception. The higher animals of the sixth day represent the spiritual affections for embodying these truths in life, in the practical forms of gentleness, usefulness, courage, and other truly human qualities. The creation culminates in man. All creation is incorporated and summed up in him. So it is said that man was created in the image of God.

Man is not man because of his body. The body is not the real man any more than the clothes that he wears are the real body. The soul is the real man, destined not to pass away but to live forever in a world where all things are spiritual. The body, marvelous as it is, is designed only for temporary occupancy, to be the instrument by which the man comes in touch with the world of nature.

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“And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind,” by Louis A. Dole

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“And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
“And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.” – Genesis 1:21-22

Readings

Genesis 1:21-22 · Ezekiel 47:1-10 · John 8:12-32 · Psalm 104:24-36

Sermon

The natural world exists from the spiritual world and everything in it corresponds to something in the spiritual as its source; so throughout the Word the mind is described in terms of nature.

Water, as we all know, is the natural representative of truth, and the sea is the general memory in which are stored all the knowledges of the mind, whether true or false. Fishes are those knowledges vivified and made alive by the purified affections. We recall Ezekiel’s vision of the healing waters issuing from the sanctuary. “And it shall come to pass, that everything that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and everything shall live whither the river cometh.” This river, which could not be crossed over, is the Divine wisdom, which can never be fully fathomed by finite minds. The sanctuary from under whose threshold the waters issued is the Lord’s Word and the waters issuing forth are its truths.

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“And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven,” by Louis A. Dole

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“And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” – Genesis 11:4

Readings

Genesis 11:1-9 · Revelation 22:1-14 · Psalms 75, 76

Sermon

With the story of the Tower of Babel all readers of the Bible are familiar. It is one of the Divine allegories of the opening chapters of the Bible and is, of course, not literally true. But even in the letter it presents a striking picture of self-love, and explains why people fail in heavenly attainment and become confused in their vain attempts to find the satisfying life and power.

There are three levels of meaning within the letter of the Word. The meaning next within the letter is the story of the spiritual development of the human race. The story of the Tower of Babel tells of the end of the Ancient Church. In its beginning this church was faithful to the Lord and to the revelation given to it – the Ancient Word, to which reference is made in our Bible. The story begins: “And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech” – of one faith in general and in particular. But the people did not continue to dwell together in unity. “They journeyed from the east” until they came to a valley. Spiritually the east, where the sun rises, means near to the Lord. Of the Holy City it is written, “The glory of the Lord did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.”

Their journeying from the east and going down to the valley of Shinar pictures turning from the Lord and descending into the valley of self-love, self-thought, and strife. They had been living on the mountain top near to the Lord. Now in the valley they are attempting to build the very mountain from which they had descended, using brick for stone, and slime for mortar.

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