Square me! Prune me!
(Charles Spurgeon, "Flowers from a Puritan's Garden" 1883)
"There is more hewing, and hacking, and squaring used on a stone which is to be set in the wall of a stately palace — than that which is placed in a rock wall. Just so, the vine is carefully pruned — when the bramble is untouched."
This should reconcile believers to their chastisements. It is a well-worn figure; but it is well put.
Brambles certainly have a fine time of it, and grow after their own pleasure. We have seen their long shoots reaching far and wide, and no knife has threatened them as they luxuriated upon the wastelands.
The poor vine is cut down so closely, that little remains of it but bare stems. Yet, when clearing-time comes, and the brambles are heaped together for burning — who would not rather be the vine?
Ah, Lord! Let me never sigh for ease, but always seek for usefulness.
Square me until I am fit for a place in Your temple!
Prune me until I yield my utmost fruit!
"Every branch that does bear fruit, He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful!" John 15:2