The Twenty Ninth of February.


"Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig-tree, and find none: why cumbereth it the ground? Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: and if it bear fruit, well; and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down." --- Luke 13:7-9.

Thou fruitless fig-tree! thou barren professor! dost thou hear this, and not tremble? God is come seeking fruit:- will thy bare profession, thy knowledge of the principles of religion, satisfy the great God? Will the notions of truth in thy head, thy talking and disputing, thy hearing the word preached, thy commending or censoring sermons and preachers, just as thou art in the mood, will this serve thy turn? -- and wilt thou thus endeavour to ward off the heart-searching God?

Know thou, God is come to seek for fruit, and for good fruit from thee; not the fruit of good words only, but the fruit of good works; and not the fruit of talking well, but of walking well, the fruit of holiness in life and conversation:- fruit short of this God will not regard.

If thy conscience be awakened, look to thy merciful High Priest, consider well his intercession for such a barren soul as thou art: "Lord, let it alone," etc. Father, let this man live one year longer;- Oh turn away from thine anger!

I will yet see what may be done;- I will try what corrections may do;- perhaps the rod may work more upon him than my word has hitherto done, and may tend to make his barren heart fruitful; I will also stir up my servants to awaken him by a more sharp and searching manner; and if these new efforts be blesse to him, all shall yet be well, thy grace magnified, and his soul saved; if not, then thou shalt cut him down.

If, under means of grace,
No fruits of grace appear
It is a dreadful case;
Though God may long forbear
At length he'll strike the threaten'd blow,
And lay the barren fig-tree low.