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

Read the original sermon in PDF format

“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.

Please click here to read on.

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

Read the original sermon in PDF format

“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.

Please click here to read on.

“Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool,” by Louis A. Dole

Read the original sermon in PDF format

“Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.” – Isaiah 66:1

Readings

Isaiah 65:17-66:2 · John 15 · Psalm 48

Sermon

The great gap in the world’s knowledge is that of knowledge of the Lord. This is in part due to a lack of understanding of the Word. By the majority of Christians the Word is thought to be the work of fallible men. But when it is understood in the light of the revelation given to the New Church, it is seen to be the source and repository of knowledge of spiritual things.

Our text sets forth in very few words the three fundamental facts that lie back of the explanation of all things, namely, the Lord, the heavens, and the earth. Translated into more abstract terms it refers to the Divine life, the substantial spiritual world, and this ultimate realm of physical matter. This is the great trine into which the universe is resolvable, it being the expression in its broadest reach of the primal law of end, cause, and effect which, because it reflects the inseparable union of love, wisdom, and use in the one God, lies at the base of all unity and being.

Please click here to read on.

“O Lord, by these things men live,” by Louis A. Dole

Read the original sermon in PDF format

“O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit: so wilt thou recover me, and make me to live.” – Isaiah 38:16

Readings

Isaiah 38 · Revelation 8:1-4, 9-13 · Psalm 34

Sermon

In order to understand what the things are by which men live we must know the conditions under which these words were spoken. Hezekiah was one of the good and faithful kings of Judah, Israel’s southern kingdom. The northern kingdom had fallen hopelessly into idolatry, and had been carried captive to Assyria, never to return; and the southern kingdom, the kingdom of Judah, had been almost as unfaithful. Under Ahaz, Hezekiah’s father, the worship of the Lord had largely given place to the worship of idols, and the holy temple had become defiled. Hezekiah destroyed the idols. He even destroyed the brazen serpent, which had been preserved for seven hundred years or from the time of Israeli’s sojourn in the wilderness, because the people were now making an idol of that. He restored and rededicated the polluted temple, and reestablished worship of the one God. He smote the Philistines, Israel’s ancient foe. He did other great works and brought back to the nation something of its ancient glory and power. But in the midst of this achievement and at the height of his power he was smitten with disease, and the prophet Isaiah, his counsellor and friend, was sent to him by the Lord to tell him that he would not recover, but would die.

Please click here to read on.

“I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron,” by Louis A. Dole

Read the original sermon in PDF format

“I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron.” – Isaiah 45:2

Readings

Isaiah 45:1-2, 13-19 · John 17:1-15 · Psalm 48

Sermon

The children of Israel have been carried away captive to Babylon, and are represented as being hidden away behind gates of brass and bars of iron in the land of their exile. Now the days of captivity are drawing to a close, and through the instrumentality of Cyrus, a just and gentle prince, they are to be set free to return to their native land. Cyrus was raised up for a special mission, namely, to subdue the Chaldean oppressor and to let the oppressed go free. So Cyrus is told that the Lord will be with him and give him might. Let him not fear.

The Lord came into the world to redeem men from the power of evil. The prisons cannot be locked up so fast, the doors and bars cannot be so strong but that the work of this redemption will succeed. “I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron.”

Please click here to read on.

“And Hezekiah was glad of them, and shewed them the house of his precious things,” by Louis A. Dole

Read the original sermon in PDF format

“And Hezekiah was glad of them, and shewed them the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.” – Isaiah 39:2

Readings

Isaiah 39 · Matthew 7:1-20 · Psalm 62

Sermon

Hezekiah had recently been healed miraculously of a fatal illness. Merodach Baladan, King of Babylon, sent a delegation of distinguished Babylonians to congratulate him on his recovery. At least this was the reason set forth by Babylon. We usually have more than one reason for every act, and we do not always give the main one.

The truth was that Merodach Baladan cared little for Hezekiah’s recovery. He was, however, very much interested in the resources of the kingdom of Judah. And this embassy was practically a band of spies instructed to inspect the country and its treasures, so that if Babylon should ever desire to invade Judah, the undertaking could be accomplished more intelligently. Espionage is not new; it goes back into the dim past. Claiming to be solicitous for Hezekiah’s health, this Babylonian delegation came really to inspect the arsenals and the golden and silver treasures which they hoped one day to rifle.

Hezekiah was taken in by their flatteries and showed them his treasures, which had been gathered laboriously through many generations – even the sacred vessels of the temple fashioned of the purest gold.

Please click here to read on.

“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light,” by Louis A. Dole

Read the original sermon in PDF format

“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” – Isaiah 9:2

Reading

Isaiah 9 · Luke 4:16-44 · Psalm 21

Sermon

This text tells of the condition of the world which made necessary the coming of the Lord. At Nazareth, where the Lord was brought up, He went into the synagogue, took up the book of Isaiah, and read the words “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

The Old Testament throughout tells of the fall of man from his pristine state of innocence and dependence upon the Lord until evil had gained the upper hand and held men in bonds which they of themselves could not break. And when the Lord came into the world, He did not look upon humanity as if it were moving on in the way of spiritual progress. In His eyes evil was not seen to be loosening its hold upon men. He spoke of men as blind. He spoke of them as bound and in prison. He spoke of them as lost. He spoke of the Scriptures as being made of none effect. He spoke of the necessity of a judgment.

Thus the Gospels represent the Lord as considering man to be in spiritual danger. And He came into the world to save men from this danger. He did actually come into the world. He took our nature upon Him and by means of a direct combat with the powers of evil did accomplish a redemption. He lived humanity’s life in the midst of humanity’s need and helplessness and provided the means of salvation for all men and for all time. So He was able to say, “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” And then of His uplifting power in the days to come He immediately adds, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”

Please click here to read on.

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek,” by Louis A. Dole

Read the original sermon in PDF format

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek.” – Isaiah 61:1

Readings

Isaiah 42:1-13 · Luke 1:1-17 · Psalm 145:8-21

Sermon

The season of Advent turns our thoughts toward Christmas and urges us to prepare for the contemplation of the most wonderful event of time or of eternity.

Christmas is properly a time of rejoicing. The announcement of the angel to the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night was, “I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.”

The coming of the Lord into the world is not an isolated event in the history of humanity. We celebrate Christmas in commemoration of an event which took place long ago, but our rejoicings at this season should be very personal. For this event of long ago has a very direct bearing on our own life.

Please click here to read on.

“It shall be even as when an hungry man dreameth, and, behold, he eateth; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty,” by Louis A. Dole

Read the original sermon in PDF format

“It shall be even as when an hungry man dreameth, and, behold, he eateth; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty: or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh; but he awaketh, and, behold, he is faint, and his soul hath appetite: so shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against mount Zion.” – Isaiah 29:8

Readings

Isaiah 29:1-12 · John 8:31-47 · Psalm 73

Sermon

Dreams are mentioned over a hundred times in the Word. Some have a good and some an evil meaning. In the dreams of Jacob as he rested by night at Bethel, of Joseph as he saw the sheaves of his brothers bowing down to his sheaf, and of Joseph the husband of Mary when he was warned to take the young child into Egypt there is a representation and instruction in Divine things. In the Golden Age the Lord taught men by means of dreams, and we may with some reason conjecture that man would be so taught today were it not for his hereditary tendencies to evil. However, occasionally we hear of people who have had instructive dreams. In sleep much of man’s own is quiescent, for in sleep we pass from our natural and worldly consciousness and surrender ourselves to the Lord, that His inflowing life may repair and heal. Were man living in his true order of creation, interposing little or nothing to distort and obscure the inflowing life, dreams would doubtless be a powerful source of enlightenment, instruction, and inspiration. Unfortunately this avenue man has for the most part closed.

Please click here to read on.

“We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks,” by Louis A. Dole

Read the original sermon in PDF format

“In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.” – Isaiah 26:1

Readings

Isaiah 26:1-11 · Revelation 21:10-27 · Psalm 48

Sermon

We are living in the day prophesied by our text. As we read this prophecy of Isaiah, we are impressed with his fearlessness, his confidence, and his hopefulness. He felt assured that God, though working secretly, could not be thwarted, and that, however clouded the present skies, the future was full of promise and of joy.

The Book of Revelation closes with the vision of the Holy City New Jerusalem descending from God out of heaven, in which men would dwell in light, safety, and peace. It is the picture of the establishment of the Lord’s kingdom on the earth, and the doing here of His will as it is done in heaven. It is needless to say that this state has not yet been reached. But we believe that the truths and instrumentalities and spiritual forces adequate to the task of effecting this vast revolution in human thought and life have been revealed to men and are now operating in human society. If we could know the future as we know the past, it would bring us confidence.

Please click here to read on.