A “Threshing” Sermon
1851 — Detroit MI
TEXT: Micah 4:13; Joel 2:28-29; Isaiah 23:18, 60: 6-9; Revelation 12:11
[In] 710 B.C. corn was threshed among the Orientals by means of oxen or horses, which were driven round an area filled with loose sheaves. By their continued tramping the corn was separated from the straw. That this might be done the more effectually, the text promised an addition to the natural horny substance on the feet of these animals, by making the horn iron and the hoof brass.
Corn is not threshed in this manner by us, but by means of flails, so that I feel I am doing no injury to the sentiment of the text by changing a few of the terms into which are the most familiar to us now. The passage portrays the Gospel times, though in a more restricted sense it applies to the preachers o the word. Yet it has a direct reference to all God’s people, who were and are commanded to rise and thresh. Glory to Jesus! now is this prophecy fulfilled. They are also commanded to go to God, who alone is ale to qualify them for their labors by making their horns iron and their hoofs brass. The Lord was desirous of imparting stability and perpetuity to his own divine work, by granting supernatural aid to the faithful that they might perform for him those services for which their own feeble and unassisted powers were totally inadequate. More than this, it is encouraging to the saints to know that they are provided with weapons both offensive and defensive.
The threshing instrument is of the former description. It is of the same quality s that which is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” and this is one of the weapons which he employs in the hands of his people to carry his gracious designs into execution, together with the promise that they shall beat in pieces many people.
There are many instances of the successful application of the Gospel flail, by which means the devil is threshed out of sinners. With the help of God, I am resolved, O sinner to try what effect the smart strokes of this threshing instrument will produce on thy unhumbled soul. This is called the sword of the Spirit, and is in reality the word of God. Such as weapon may seem contemptible in the eyes of the natural man; yet, when it is powerfully wielded, the consequences are invariable potent and salutary. Bless God! the Revelator says: “they overcame by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives until the death.” The atonement is the greatest weapon. In making trial of its efficacy, little children have caused the parent to cry aloud for mercy; but, in every case, much of its heavenly charm and virtue depends upon the mode in which it is applied.
This Gospel flail should be lifted up in a kind and loving spirit. Many shrink at [the] sight of the flail, and some of us know, by blessed experience, that when its smart strokes are applied in the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit, it causes the very heart to feel sore and painful. Penitent soul, receive the castigation, and you will feel, after it, like saying: “now let me be crucified, and this work of the devil, inbred sin, put to death, that Christ may live and reign in men without a rival.”
Source: A Brand Plucked from the Fire, An Autobiographical Sketch, by Mrs. Julia A.J. Foote, by Julia A.J. Foote, (Cleveland: W.F. Schneider), 1879, p. 104-106.
Also: Daughters of Thunder: Black Women Preachers and Their Sermons, 1850-1979, ed. Bettye Collier-Thomas, (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass), 1998, pp. 64-65.