“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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“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.
“And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.
“And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God.” – Amos 9:13-15

Readings

John 3:18-36 · Psalm 97

Sermon

This text is a parable of the Lord’s kingdom. It relates to the Lord’s new Church, the Holy City New Jerusalem now descending from God out of heaven.

In the Scriptures “days” mean states. Therefore the words “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord” foretell such a state of the Lord’s Church on earth as is here described. The church is ever progressing to purer and nobler ideals. In the heavens this is apparent, and all that can be desired for human society on earth is that it be brought more and more into harmony with heavenly ideals and customs. For this the Lord taught us to pray: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, as in heaven, so also upon the earth.”

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“For there shall be no night there,” by Louis A. Dole

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Maine Association Sermon
October 14, 1962

“For there shall be no night there.” – Revelation 21:25

Readings

Isaiah 62 · Revelation 21:1-3, 10-12, 22-27 · Psalm 122

Sermon

There is a state of unrest in the religious world today. It is not a state of conflict, in which the lines are definitely and distinctly formed, but rather it is a state of dissatisfaction with old views, a relaxing of old denominational ties, a lack of interest in religious dogmas, and increased interest in what are called practical good works. People of different religions never regarded each other with so charitable a spirit as they do today.

This is somewhat as it was when the Lord came on earth. At that time the Roman empire was dominant. It was supreme in government and in influence in Europe and in a considerable part of western Asia. It, too, was tolerant of opinion, provided the opinion did not interfere with the essentials of government. The Jews were tolerated, and enjoyed freedom of worship. The temple at Jerusalem was even rebuilt for them under a Roman governor. But the central government would not allow any authority to be set up that might be opposed to the governing body, and the Christians were persecuted because it was thought that in the worship of Christ they were setting up a kind of monarchy within the state.

A new era, however, had dawned upon the world, and Rome was unable to turn it back. Truth has the power to overcome difficulties and to prevail over error. The Apostles went forth to proclaim the truth by voice and by pen. Neither principalities nor powers could stop the advance of the new revelation, and in 325 A.D. the Roman emperor himself, Constantine, presided over the celebrated assembly of Christians at Nicea. The work of the early Christians was to make the Word of the Old and New Testaments the common possession of men.

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“Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them,” by Louis A. Dole

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“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” – Revelation 21:3

Readings

Jeremiah 31:31-40 · Revelation 21:1-14 · Psalm 46

Sermon

I suppose that all of us have at some time imagined a city attractively laid out, with noble buildings, broad streets, spacious parks, and beautiful homes. In it there would be no slums, no unsightly manufacturing districts with unsanitary dwellings for the working people. And indeed today there is going on much city planning and a remodeling of cities, the removal of unsightly buildings and the placing of manufacturing districts outside of the city limits. Such a city Plato dreamed of, and since his time others have tried to envision the perfect city. It would be an ideal place in which to live. It would have the peace and quiet of the forest and the beauty of nature’s gardens.

This concept, however, is concerned wholly with material things. Its visions and hopes are of material attainments.

The Word of God also has its dream city. The apostle John, his spiritual eyes opened in vision, saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And the Christian Church has accepted with gladness this vision. But it has regarded it as a prophecy of the splendor of heaven, and looks forward to it as something that the righteous will inherit when they pass beyond the veil.

Yet the Word of God speaks of this city as something to be realized on earth – something “coming down from God out of heaven.”

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“And there appeared a great wonder in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun,” by Louis A. Dole

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“And there appeared a great wonder in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.” – Revelation 12:1

Readings

Daniel 7:15-28 · Revelation 12 · Psalm 96

Sermon

The Book of Revelation is the record of a vision given to the Apostle John. Visions play an important role in the Old Testament story. We are, perhaps, most familiar with the visions granted to Abraham, Balaam, Elisha, and Daniel. Visions were the means by which the Lord revealed many important truths to mankind.

The natural world exists and lives from the spiritual world, just as the body has form and lives from the soul which is within. Vision is sight into this spiritual world. The ability to see into that world is an important and holy gift, granted at times for the welfare of the human race. Thus it is said in the days of Eli: “And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision.” And in Proverbs we read: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” To assure us of the existence of the spiritual world and thus sustain our knowledge of heaven, to give us an insight into that inner world of causes whence come the influences which change and renew this outer world of human society – these are some of the objectives of vision, and where these are not maintained, the people perish.

The visions which were given to John in Patmos were given to show him, and everyone through him, the state of the church as it would be in the later days, a state which we have seen in part realized. So he was commanded, “Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.”

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“This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee,” by Louis A. Dole

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“This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.” – John 2:11

Readings

Exodus 16:9-21 · John 2:1-11 · Psalm 147

Sermon

Though this miracle was done at the beginning of the Lord’s ministry, it discloses the purpose for which the Lord came into the world. Beginnings have their origin in a purpose, and the purpose of anything is the end for the attainment of which a beginning is made.

The beginning of many miracles wrought by our Lord in the days of His flesh was the marriage at Cana of Galilee. To bring about a marriage between Himself and the Church, and a marriage of faith and charity in those who form the Church was the very purpose of His miracles. To unite in a heavenly marriage the will of man with his understanding, his knowledge of truth with the love and practice of it, to unite heaven and the Church on earth is the purpose of all revelation, to confer on men grace and power, that the Lord’s qualities may be embodied in them and His work of redemption carried out in them and His glorification in finite measure fulfilled in them. Symbolic of this – and of much else besides – it is written, “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory.”

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“For your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him,” by Louis A. Dole

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“For your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” – Matthew 6:8

Readings

Amos 9:11-15 · Matthew 6:1-13 · Psalm 97

Sermon

We are brought into this world and gifted with life. We did not ask for it. We cannot refuse it. We cannot give it away or do away with it. We must live forever, whether we will or no.

We do not live from ourselves, God created us and from moment to moment gives us life, and He has given His Word to tell us things which we could not find out for ourselves and to reveal to us the purpose and the way of life. For without a knowledge of the Lord and of His providence over us life here cannot be understood.

We know that we are born in helpless ignorance, knowing neither what we need nor how to obtain it. Through our parents we are provided for. As we grow into childhood and youth, we do not know what we need. If our own desires were granted fulfillment, we should soon come to irreparable harm. And as we grow into manhood and womanhood and become independent, we still must look outside of ourselves for the light to guide us. There is only One who really knows our needs. To give us light upon the path of life He gave the Scriptures, that we may know Him and His purposes for us, for without a knowledge of our Creator and of the purpose of our creation life here cannot be understood.

All religion is based on three essential principles: first, the acknowledgment of God as the object of worship; second, the sense of obligation to Him as manifested by a life according to His precepts; and third, as an intermediate between the other two, the acceptance of Divine revelation, which makes known who and what God is and what His precepts are. These three principles are of necessity involved in every religious system. Religion cannot exist even in name if any one of them is wanting.

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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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