“And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds,” by Louis A. Dole

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Fryeburg, Maine, January 30, 1927

“And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.” – Mark 13:27

Readings

Joel 2 · Mark 13:1-27 · Psalm 147

Sermon

The chapter of the Gospel of Mark from which this text is taken is sometimes called the “little Apocalypse,” for it treats of the same subjects as the Book of Revelation. Our text, then, forms a part of the Lord’s description of His Second Advent. That Advent was to be the bright and happy culmination of a series of tremendous events and dire catastrophies. The whole earth is described as being in the throes of a great convulsive struggle, nations warring against each other, kingdoms fighting one another, earthquakes, famines, pestilences, people fleeing to the mountains for refuge, others praying upon their housetops. And then the sun goes out into blackness, the moon no longer shines, the stars fall from their high places, and the very heavens tremble and seem on the point of collapse. But all at once the scene brightens. The judgment struggle is over. The bruised earth lies helpless and still. And then in Divine radiance appears the figure of the Son of man “coming in the clouds with power and great glory.”

And our text states that with His Advent there is instantly a world-wide effort to gather together into a blessed company “the elect” who in this time of judgment have been scattered far and wide. To the uttermost parts of the earth, to the farthest boundaries of heaven angels are sent on their errands. East, west, north, and south they speed on their way, and presently they are seen returning, here with one, there with another, a chosen few brought together that they may form the nucleus of a new humanity – a new church.

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“Give ye them to eat,” by Louis A. Dole

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Graduation address at the New-Church Theological School
May 27, 1960 · Louis A. Dole

“Give ye them to eat.” – Luke 9:13

The story of the feeding of the five thousand is a familiar one. There was only a little food at hand, five loaves and two fishes, but the Lord commanded that it be brought to Him. He blessed it and gave it to His disciples to distribute, and lo, there was enough for all, and there remained left over twelve baskets full.

There is a lesson here for every minister starting out on his work. The loaves and fishes are the goodness and truth with which he begins. Under the Divine providence you who graduate today have been led to prepare yourselves to become ministers in the Lord’s New Church, the church of this new age. Your first duty is expressed in the words “Give ye them to eat,” and again, “Feed my sheep,” “Feed my lambs.”

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

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“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.

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The Mission of the Church, by Louis A. Dole

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“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.” – Isaiah 2:2

Readings

Isaiah 2:1-17 · Matthew 7:13-29 · Psalm 50

Sermon

The Word of the Lord everywhere recognizes the necessity of associated effort for spiritual uses. The church is the means by which the Lord is conjoined to men and accomplishes His purposes in them, for the true church is the love and wisdom of God in the hearts and minds of men. Or, in other words, it is the goodness and truth of heaven believed in and practiced on earth. In the Word it is sometimes called the “Kingdom of God” and the “Kingdom of Heaven.”

The word church has various meanings, but we well know that any church is a true church only so far as its members worship the Lord in spirit and in truth. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” The church in its highest sense is a Divine institution, a system of life of inexpressible beauty. In its lower sense it is an association of persons who in their imperfect way are aiming at and seeking to live this life. Yet this latter is a Divine institution as well as the former. “Gather my saints together unto me,” says the Lord, and “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Thus the church as a congregation of people associated to learn and follow the Lord is an institution divinely ordained for the purpose of uniting and blessing mankind.

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“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them,” by Louis A. Dole

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Feb. 1, 1959

 “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” – Matthew 18:20

Readings

Exodus 2:1-10 · Matthew 18:1-20 · Psalms 121, 122

Sermon

In the letter these words convey the promise of the Lord’s continual presence with His church, however small it may be. If the church is true to His teachings as found in His Word, then the Lord is present in it, filling it with His life, blessing it, and making it fruitful.

On January twenty-ninth two hundred and seventy-one years ago a man was born who was to be the chosen instrument of the Second Coming of the Lord. He was born at a time when faith and charity had all but perished from the earth, and it was given him to declare that, according to the prophecy in the book of Revelation, a new church would be established in the earth. Eleven years after Swedenborg’s death the first New-Church society was formed in London.

Since the beginning of the New Church the words of our text have been a comfort to the faithful, giving them the strength to continue in the face of apparently overwhelming odds.

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“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain.” – John 15:16

Readings

Haggai 1 · John 15:1-17 · Psalm 132

Sermon

These words the Lord spoke to His disciples in the upper room at Jerusalem at the close of the Last Supper. “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” Perhaps they thought that they had chosen Him. They had given up their former occupations and all hope of worldly success and even of security. They had forsaken houses, and brethren, and sisters, and father and mother, and wife and children, and lands for His name’s sake. In one sense they had chosen Him. And in this sense we must choose Him, too. We must willingly respond to His invitation, “Follow me.” He does not compel us.

Why then does He say, “Ye have not chosen me?” Toward the end of the last week of the Lord’s earthly life people had turned against Him. The atmosphere of the city was tense and hostile to Him and to His followers. Perhaps they had begun to waver, and to wonder if they had not made a mistake. In reality, however, they had not chosen Him. The initiative had been His. If He had not called them, they never would have chosen Him. He chose them first. And in a deeper sense, their own selfhood had not chosen Him. The part of them that had chosen Him was the part which they had received from Him in childhood. Only the Lord’s goodness within a man can respond to His pleading from without. Man simply cannot choose the Lord; the Lord chooses man.

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