The Barren Fig Tree

Within a vineyard's sunny bound
An ample fig tree shelter found,
Enjoying sun and showers -
The boughs were graceful to the view,
With spreading leaves of deep-green hue,
And gaily blushing flowers.

When round the vintage season came,
The blooming fig was still the same,
As promising and fair;
But though the leaves were broad and green,
No precious fruit was to be seen,
Because no fruit was there.

"For three long years," the master cried,
"Fruit on this tree to find I've tried,
But all in vain my toil;
Ungrateful tree! the axe's blow
Shall lay thy leafy honours low;
Why cumbers it the soil?"

"Ah! let it stand just one year more,"
The dresser said, "till all my store
Of rural arts I've shown;
About the massy roots I'll dig,
And if it bear, we've gained the fig -
If not, then cut it down."

How many years hast thou, my heart,
Acted the barren fig tree's part,
Leafy, and fresh, and fair,
Enjoying heavenly dews of grace,
And sunny smiles from God's own face -
But where the fruit? ah! where?

How often must the Lord have prayed
That still my day might be delayed,
Till all due means were tried;
Afflictions, mercies, health, and pain,
How long shall these be all in vain
To teach this heart of pride?

Learn, O my soul, what God demands
Is not a faith like barren sands,
But fruit of heavenly hue;
By this we prove that Christ we know,
If in His holy steps we go -
Faith works by love, if true.

August 14, 1834.

No. Song / Poem Title
1 The Barren Fig Tree
2 Jehovah Tsidekenu
3 The Sing the Song of Moses
4 On Mungo Park's Finding a Tuft of Green Moss in the African Desert
5 I am a Debtor
6 Children Called to Christ
7 Thy Word is a Lamp Unto My Feet, and a Light Unto My Path
8 Fountain of Siloam
9 The Sea of Galilee
10 To Yonder Side
11 On the Mediterranean Sea in the Bay of Carmel
12 The Child Coming to Jesus
13 Oil in the Lamp
14 On J.T a Believing Boy