For a good tree brings not forth corrupt fruit; neither does a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.…
"The tree is known by his fruit." That is a fact with which we are all familiar. To stock the garden with fruit-trees, I repair to the nursery, but not in spring, when all are robed alike in green, nor in summer, when the bad equally with the best are covered with a flush of blossoms: it is when the corn turns yellow, and sheaves stand in the stubble-fields, and fair blossoms are gone, and withered leaves sail through the air and strew the ground — it is in autumn I go to select the trees, judging them by their fruit. And as certainly — may I not say as easily? — as the tree is known by his fruit, may we know our spiritual state and character, if we will only be honest, nor act like the merchant who, suspecting his affairs to be verging on bankruptcy, shuts his eyes to the danger, takes no stock, and strikes no balance. Or take, for another example, two houses that stand on the banks of the same stream. Under a cloudless sky, amid the calm of the glen in a summer day, with no sound falling on the ear but the bleatings of the flock, the baying of a sheep-dog, the muffled sound of a distant waterfall, the gentle murmur of the shallow waters over their pebbly bed, each house in its smiling garden offers, to one weary of the din and dust of cities, an equally pleasant and, to appearance, an equally secure retreat. But let the weather change; and after brewing for hours, from out the darkness that has deepened into an ominous and frightful gloom let the storm burst! Suddenly, followed by a crash like that of falling skies, a stream of lightning, dazzling the eye, glares out; and now the war of elements begins. Peal rolls on peal; flash follows flash; and to the roar of incessant thunders is added the rush of a deluge, and the hoarse voices of a hundred streams that leap foaming from hill and rock down into the bed of the river. Red, rolling, swelling, it bursts its dykes, overflows all its banks, and, attacking the foundations of both houses, breaches the walls of one, and at length tumbles the whole fabric, all of a heap, into the roaring flood; and while the houseless family that had fled from its rocking walls gather, shivering on a neighbouring height to see, where once stood their pleasant home, only the rush and hear only the roar of waters — how easy, as we look on the other, erect and defiant in this widespread sea, to know that the one had been built on sand, but the other founded on a rock.
(T. Guthrie, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.