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The Smoking Flax

During the winter, we have a coal fire for our heating. Nearly everybody has gas central heating, but we still light the fire every morning. This means that we have to clean out the fireplace each morning, and this entails removing the pan of ashes. But although the fire has died out overnight, the ashes are still warm. 

Now, if when removing the pan I just rake the top of the ashes with my gloved finger, invariably I come across a small, glowing cinder. Although it is covered with this mass of grey ash, it still glows red. Life amongst the dead cinders.
What does that little ball of glowing energy teach me? Well, should I not be very careful in measuring and assessing other souls? They may seem cold and backslidden, and maybe considered mistakenly, as not having the root of the matter in them. Externally, they appear dead, and yet the principle of grace may be still resident, and struggling to keep alight in them. How careful we must be in judging others, and even writing them off. The Lord does not quench the smoking flax.