This book was first written in the spring of 1951, and published a few weeks later. It seemed to lay almost dormant for a number of years, for great revivals were sweeping the country, and the spiritual drought of many decades had given way to times of refreshing. God had much more for His people, but as long as the blessings continued to flow very few seemed to be interested in anything more. But then there came a famine in the land, and once again God was able to speak to the hearts of His people. In spite of all the wonderful things that were taking place in the Church, God's people were beginning to realize that something very vital was lacking; and many began to lose interest in the spectacular. The big tents were folded up and the people began to gather together just to "hear" what God was saying. There had developed a new hunger to know God's ways, and a new thirsting after God and righteousness.
This is not to say that God stopped working in the realm of the miraculous, for He has indeed been faithful in pouring out His Spirit upon all flesh even as He promised He would do in the last days. But in spite of the miraculous many of God's people have become aware of the fact that we have not been able to meet the challenge of this hour. And for every victory that we may seem to have entered into there remain evident areas of great distress and great defeat on every hand. The Church has still not become that vital, living manifestation of Christ in the earth that she should be. Our prayer is that God's people everywhere might quickly come to the overwhelming realization that we are still far, far from God's desire for us, and that there might come into our midst a genuine spirit of repentance before the Day of the Lord breaks forth upon us. For truly we are very close to that hour. It is harvest-time, and the Husbandman walks through the fields, examining the fruit to see how good it is, and if it is ready yet for the sickle. For in this hour He is looking for one thing, and for one thing only... and that is, "the precious fruit of the earth." That is why He is faithful to send the "latter rain" where it is needed, and faithful also to send the sunshine and the heat and the drought, to hasten the maturing of "the full corn in the ear." In harvest-time He desires one thing, and one thing only, and that is the FRUIT. In harvest-time everything else is chaff!
And what is "FRUIT"? Let any gardener answer that question. For certainly it is not just gathering what you can in a certain season called Autumn. Certainly it is not just coming to the end of a long, dry summer, and getting ready for winter. From the time He planted the seed the good gardener has been waiting patiently to receive something from His field that will be equally as good as the precious seed that He planted. Now the Lord is a good Gardener, and He is the Lord of the Harvest. And He cannot be satisfied until He comes into His garden and discovers the FRUIT that corresponds to the Seed that He became in the earth when He "fell into the ground and died."
And so beloved, let us remember that harvest-time is threshing-time. Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you... and let us not be discouraged when we see all the devastation that is taking place, and will yet take place, in the political, the economic, and the religious world. For all must be crushed in pieces in this day when God is shaking "not the earth only, but also the heaven..." And let us remember that He is doing this for His own glory, and for your sake and mine. We have a kingdom which cannot be shaken; and we must be loosed from all the entanglements of this present world system. God has been very patient with us as He prepared our hearts, planted the good seed, weeded the soil, watered it with the showers of heaven, and then sent the sunshine to dry up the stalk and to mature the fruit. "Be ye also patient, establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh."