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Nothing but Leaves.

Nothing but Leaves.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Apr 27, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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OTHIG BUT LEAVES.BY CHARLES H. SPURGEO"HE FOUD OTHIG BUT LEAVES." —Mark Xi. 13.Most of the miracles of Moses were grand displays of divine justice. What were the first ten wonders but ten plagues ? Thesame may be said of the prophets, especially of Elijah and Elisha.Was it not significant both of the character and mission of Eliaswhen he called fire from heaven upon the captains of fifties ? orwas he upon whom his mantle descended less terrible when theshe-bears avenged him upon the mockers. It remained for ourincarnate Lord to reveal the heart of God. The only-begottenwas full of grace and truth, and in his miracles pre-eminently Godis set forth to us as love. With the exception of the miraclebefore us, and, perhaps, a part of another, all the miracles of Jesus were entirely benevolent in their character ; indeed, thisone is no exception in reality, but only in appearance. Theraising of the dead, the feeding of the multitude, the stilling of the tempest, the healing of diseases — what were all these butdisplays of the loving-kindness of God ? What was this to teachus but that Jesus Christ came forth from his Father on an errandof pure grace ? s" Thine hands, dear Jesus, were not arm'dWith an avenging rod,o hard commission to performThe vengeance of a God," But all was mercy, all was mild.And wi-ath forsook the throne,When Christ on his kind errand cameAnd brought salvation down."OTHIG BUT LEAVES- 169Let us rejoice that God coramendeth his love towards us, becausein " due time Christ died for the ungodly."Yet, as if to show that Jesus the Saviour is also Jesus theJudge, one gleam of justice must dart forth. Where shall mercy
direct its fall ? See, my brethren ! it glances not upon a man,but lights upon an unconscious, unsufFering thing — a tree. Thecurse, if we may call it a curse at all, did not fall on man orbeast, or even the smallest insect : its bolt falls harmlessly upona fig tree by the wayside. It bore upon itself the signs of bar-renness, and perhaps was no one's property. Little, therefore,was the loss which any man sustained by the withering of thatverdant mockery, while instruction more precious than a thou-sand acres of fig trees has been left for the benefit of all ages.The only other instance, at which I hinted just now, was thepermission given to the devils to enter into the swine, and thewhole herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, andperished in the waters. In that case, again, what a mercy it wasthat the Saviour did not permit a band of men to become thevictims of the evil one ! It was infinitely better that the wholeherd of swine should perish than that one poor man should berendered a maniac through their influence. The creatures chokedin the abyss were nothing but swine — swine which their Jewishowners had no right to keep ; and even then they did not perishthrough Jesus Christ's agency, but through the malice of thedevils, — for needs must even swine run when the devil drives.Observe, then, with attention, this solitary instance of stern judgment wrought by the Saviour's hand. Consider seriouslythat if only once in his whole life Christ works a miracle of pure judgment, the lesson so unique must be very full of meaning.If there be but one curse, where does it fall ? What is its sym-bolic teaching ? I do not know that I ever felt more solemnlythe need of true faithfulness before God than when I was look-ing over this mu-acle-parable — for such it may justly be called.The curse, you at once perceive, falls in its metaphorical andspiritual meaning upon those high professors who are destituteof true holiness ; upon those who manifest great show of leaves,15170 OTHIG BUT LEAVES.but who bring forth no fruit unto God. Only one thunderbolt,and that for boasting pretenders ; only one curse, and that forhypocrites. O blessed Spirit ! write this heart-searching truthupon our hearts.I. We will commence our exposition with the remark thatTHERE WERE MAY TREES WITH LEAVES OLY UPO THEM,
AD YET OE OF THESE WERE CURSED BY THE SAVIOUR,SAVE OLY THIS FIG TREE. It is the nature of many trees toyield to man nothing but their shade. The hungering Saviourdid not resort to the oak or to the elm to look for food, nor couldthe fir tree, nor the pine, nor the box offer him any hope of refreshment ; nor did he breathe one hard word concerning them,for he knew what was in them, and that they neither were, norpretended to be, fruit-bearing trees. So, dear friends, there aremany men whose lives bear leaves, but no fruit ; and yet, thanksbe unto God, almighty patience bears with them. They areallowed to live out their time, and then, it is true, they are cutdown and cast into the fire ; but while they are permitted tostand, no curse withers them : the long-suffering of God waitethto be gracious to them. Here are some of the characters whohave leaves but no fruit.There arc thousands who ignorantly follow the sign, and knownothing of the substance. In England, we think ourselves far inadvance of popish countries ; but how much of the essence of Popery peeps out in the worship of very many ! They go tochurch or chapel, and they think that the mere going into theplace and sitting a certain time and coming out again is an ac-ceptable act to God ; mere formality, you see, is mistaken forspiritual worship. They are careful to have their infantssprinkled, but what the ceremony means they know not ; andwithout looking into the Bible to see whether the Lord com-mands any such an ordinance, they offer him their ignorant will-worship, either in obedience to custom, or in the superstition of ignorance. Wliat the thing is, or why it is, they do not in-quire, bu*". go through a performance as certain parrots say theirOTHIG CUT LEAVES. 171prayers. They know nothing about the inward and spiritual gracewhich the catechism talks about, if, indeed, inward spiritual gracecould ever be connected with an unscriptural outward and visiblesign. When these poor souls come to the Lord's Supper, theirthoughts go no farther than the bread and wine, or the handswhich break the one and pour out the other. They know nothingwhatever of communion with Jesus, of eating his flesh and drink-ing his blood. Their souls have proceeded as far as the shell, butthey have never broken into the kernel to taste the sweetnessthereof. They have a name to live, and are dead ; their religionis a mere show ; a signboard without an inn ; a well-set table

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