Doing Our Duty, by Louis A. Dole

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“But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?
“And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?
“Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.
“So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” – Luke 17:7-10

Readings

Genesis 16 · Luke 17:1-19 · Psalm 116

Sermon

The lesson in this seemingly harsh parable is very clear even in the letter. Under the figure of master and servant our relation to the Lord is mirrored. As a servant, in doing his duty, does not place his master under special obligation, so men, the servants of the Lord, cannot claim any merit for their service. If we do all that we can, we cannot do more than our duty to the Lord. When we consider the gifts we continually receive from the Lord and the continual manifestation of His mercy and lovingkindness to all mankind, it is clearly evident that it is our duty to keep His commandments, and to do all the good that lies in our power. The balance will always be heavy on the Lord’s side, and we have no claim to merit.

But the parable also has a meaning applying to the mind of the individual himself. Between the mind and the body this relationship of master and servant exists. The body is the servant of the mind. Its office is to do always the commands of the soul. It is forever a servant. For the body to command the mind would be to invert order, and would bring disaster.

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Sleeping the Perpetual Sleep, by Louis A. Dole

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“They shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts.” – Jeremiah 51:57

Readings

Jeremiah 51:47-58 · Matthew 25:1-13 · Psalm 90

Sermon

The fifty-first chapter of Jeremiah treats of judgment. There is a way to intelligence and wisdom. This way is through the Word. But the people had falsified the Word, destroying the means whereby they might be enlightened and the higher faculties in their souls awakened. Therefore the Lord said of them, “They shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake.”

As used in Scripture the word sleep has two meanings. It may mean the rest which comes when selfish desires and lusts cease to burn. As the Psalmist writes, “So he giveth his beloved sleep,” and in Daniel “His spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.” In its opposite meaning it refers to the state in which one is unconscious of spiritual realities. The “deep sleep” into which Adam fell was ignorance of the happiness of the time when he trusted fully in the Lord. The whole plane of natural life, regarded in itself, is nothing else than sleep. Zechariah writes, “And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep.” And when Daniel says, “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt,” he is telling us in the language of correspondence that those who in this life have been faithful to the Lord will be received into His kingdom, and the others cast out. This same lesson is taught in the parable of the ten virgins when it is said of them, “While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.” Here slumbering refers to the will and sleeping to the understanding.

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“And the Lord said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail,” by Louis A. Dole

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“And the Lord said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail.” – Exodus 4:4

 Readings

Exodus 4:1-17 · Mark 16 · Psalm 140

Sermon

Moses had been called to deliver his people from bondage in Egypt. It was the Lord, of course, who delivered them, but this deliverance had to be effected through human instrumentality, for that is always the method of Divine operation.

We are familiar with the story of the birth of Moses. Hidden because of the fear of the Pharaoh he was put in a little ark of bulrushes and placed among the reeds of the Nile, and left to the care of Him who feeds the ravens and clothes the lilies. The Divine providence watched over him and destined him to become greater than the Pharaoh who ruled the greatest kingdom in the world, and to play a part in history which would immortalize his name, while the powerful dynasty of the Pharaohs was doomed to disappearance and oblivion.

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