Gods Axemen

In old time “a man was famous according as he had lifted up axes upon the thick trees” (Psa. 74:5); and the spiritual woodman is accounted famous of God by his weighty and skilled use of Holy Scripture upon the stout hearts of rebellious men. There have lived but few to rank with John the Baptist, whose blows fell with a thud and a keenness of edge that shook oaks of Bashan. But his axe was heavier than the weak muscles of this generation could swing; it had been forged in the wilderness, and its edge was guaranteed not to turn. The new pattern is regarded an improvement on the heavy and roughly-shaped one that John used. It is lighter and more highly polished, and there is much greater comfort in swinging it. Yes, but what sort of trees can such axes fell?

When John wielded his axe in that sermon reported in Matthew 3, he made the chips fly. That rough-looking man in the camel’s hair suit, with loins girt with leathern girdle, whose meat was not dainties for fastidious palates, but locusts and wild honey: that man produced a trembling in the hearts of the dwellers of Jerusalem and all Judea, and a confessing of their sins. This is the need of the times: men of God skilled in the use of the axe of the Word, and not mere playing at being woodmen and snipping trees with gilded toys. We need men whose lungs have inhaled the desert air, who hold not men’s persons in admiration; men absorbed with one object, the Cross of Christ; men who traverse the world as strangers and pilgrims, who suffer the loss of all things for the Master, as did Paul. There is a widespread outcry nowadays against hard strokes; but we have observed that the heavy blows of a man of God are worth their weight in gold, for the good they bring to souls.

Brethren, let there be heart and vitality in our ministrations; let us put soul into our gospel preaching and exhortation to saints; let us speak in all fidelity as before God, and speak as men on the eve of a catastrophe, for verily the climax of the age is approaching. Let us be men essentially of one Book; and not merely read it, but soak the mind in it till we think of little else, morning, noon and night. And let us be men of the sanctuary who commune with God, and from His presence come forth with the Divine message.