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  • THE BARREN FIG TREE
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    OR, THE DOOM AND DOWNFALL OF THE FRUITLESS PROFESSOR:

    SHOWING THAT THE DAY OF GRACE MAY BE PAST WITH HIM LONG BEFORE HIS LIFE IS ENDED: THE SIGNS, ALSO, BY WHICH SUCH MISERABLE MORTALS MAY’ BE KNOWN.

    TO THE READER.

    COURTEOUS READER:

    I have written to thee now about the barren fig tree, or how it will fare with the fruitless professor that standeth in the vineyard of God.

    Of what complexion thou art I cannot certainly divine, but the parable tells thee that the cumber-ground must be cut down.

    A cumber-ground professor is not only a provocation to God, a stumblingblock to the world, and a blemish to religion, but a snare to his own soul also. “Though his excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds, yet he shall perish for ever, like his own dung; they that have seen him shall say, Where is he?”

    Now they count it pleasure to riot in the daytime. But what will they do when the axe is fetched out?

    The tree whose fruit withereth is reckoned a tree without fruit, a tree twice dead, one that must be plucked up by the roots.

    O thou cumber-ground, God expects fruit — God will come seeking fruit shortly.

    My exhortation therefore is to professors, that they look to it that they take heed.

    The barren fig tree in the vineyard and the bramble in the wood are both prepared for the fire.

    Profession is not a covert to hide from the eye of God, nor will it palliate the revengeful threatening of his justice; he will command to cut it down shortly.

    The Church and a profession are the best of places for the upright, but the worst in the world for the cumber-ground; he must be cast, as profane, out of the mount of God — cast, I say, over the wall of the vineyard, there to wither, thence to be gathered and burned. It had been better for them that they had not known the way of righteousness. And yet if they had not, they had been damned, but it is better to go to hell without than in or from under a profession. These shall receive greater damnation.

    If thou be a professor, read and tremble; if thou be profane, do so likewise. “For if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and sinners appear?” Cumber-ground, take heed of the axe; barren fig tree, beware of the fire.

    But I will keep thee no longer out of the book. Christ Jesus, the dresser of the vineyard, take care of thee, dig about thee, and dung thee, that thou mayest bear fruit, that when the Lord of the vineyard cometh with his axe to seek for fruit or pronounce the sentence of damnation on the barren fig tree, thou mayest escape that judgment. The cumber-ground must to the wood-pile, and thence to the fire. Farewell.

    Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus in sincerity! Amen. John Bunyan.

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