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

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“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.

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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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“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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“Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.” – Psalm 104:30

Readings

Isaiah 43:1-21 · Revelation 4 · Psalm 104

Sermon

Every year brings new and amazing discoveries. This is due in part to the growth in knowledge of the world of nature. There was a time when every natural phenomenon was thought to be the immediate effect of some arbitrary fiat of the Almighty. The eclipses of the sun and moon, thunder and lightning were thought to be manifestations of God’s displeasure. But when it became known that the heavenly bodies move in orbits and cast their shadows on one another, the terrors of an eclipse departed. When electricity was recognized as one of the latent forces of nature, lightning ceased to be thought of as a special instrument of Divine power.

The ever-increasing knowledge of the laws of the universe does not, however, make it any less marvellous. We merely come into a truer understanding of the laws by which the Lord operates in the world, and the world seems to be more perfect rather than less. God is not removed from His creation. It can be seen more clearly than before that “it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves.” Certain principles emerge which can now be rationally seen.

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