The Berean Expositor
Volume 9 - Page 18 of 138
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pp. 46 - 48
These thought were written in October, after having spent a little time pruning fruit
trees. A garden teaches many lessons, and the pruning of fruit trees is by no means the
least helpful.
First of all, why do we prune? While to one unaccustomed to fruit culture the
principles upon which the pruner works may not be at once clear, it would be obvious
that every cut of the knife was not wanton waste, but purposeful and good. Translating
our thoughts into the sphere of spiritual things, we also are persuaded that every branch
or shoot that the heavenly husbandman removes, is taken away for our good and for His
glory. As we stood for a moment considering whether such and such branches should
come off or stay on, the blessed comfort came to us to think how much more may we not
believe that every cut we receive from the pruning of the Lord is the result of wisest
choice and tenderest concern.
Why then do we prune? First, to produce the maximum amount of fruit-bearing
wood; secondly, to give such fruit-bearing wood as much light and air as possible, and
thirdly, that the resulting fruit shall be so placed as to be most easily gathered; these three
reasons for pruning need no alteration of wording to speak to the believer of his own life
and experience. We are expected to produce fruit, and just as the pruner's knife cuts
away much that may look pleasant to the eyes, so the Lord has to remove much that to
the eye of the flesh seems attractive and necessary: the pruner knows, however, that
unwise pruning instead of producing fruit-bearing wood, produces year by year branches
of twiggy growth that rob the tree, and deprive it of air and sunshine. God looks at us, as
we look at our trees. He sees that branch of mental activity, that development of worldly
or social affairs, is a branch that will be unfruitful and will also spoil the remaining fruit,
and so He prunes. The reader should think kindly of this when suffering the cutting off
of some fancied good, some hoped-for success--the Lord is pruning, He desires fruit.
Air and sunlight are necessary not only for ripening the fruit when it has developed, but
for ripening the wood upon which the fruit shall form. Remember, fellow-believer, fruit
forms on ripened wood.
There are other minor considerations which are true in both the natural and spiritual
1. All trees are not alike.--While with some varieties fruit sets all along the
branches, in others, fruit is borne at the tips of the branches and is found
practically all on the outside of the tree; to prune merely by rule of thumb would
spell ruin. How thankful we should be if, hesitating and half afraid at times
through inexperience, we remember in the spiritual sphere that the Lord has said,
"My Father is the  husbandman."  This physical fact (viz., the differing
fruit-bearing habits) should also deter us from hasty comparisons. We are apt to
think that the experiences of one child of God should be modeled upon our own;