The Barren Fig-Tree

The church a garden is

Author: John Newton
Published in 14 hymnals

Representative Text

1 The church a garden is,
In which believers stand,
Like ornamental trees,
Planted by God's own hand:
His spirit waters all their roots,
And ev'ry branch abounds with fruits.

2 But other trees there are,
In this enclosure grow;
Which, though they promise fair,
Have only leaves to show:
No fruits of grace are on them found,
They stand but cumb'rers of the ground.

3 The under gard'ner grieves,
In vain his strength he spends,
For heaps of useless leaves,
Afford him small amends:
He hears the Lord his will make known,
To cut the barren fig-tree down.

4 How difficult his post,
What pangs his bowels move,
To find his wishes cross'd,
His labours useless prove!
His last relief, his earnest pray'r,
"Lord, spare them yet another year.

5 "Spare them, and let me try,
What farther means may do;
I'll fresh manure apply,
My digging I'll renew;
Who knows but yet they fruit may yield,
If not--'tis just they must be fell'd."

6 If under means of grace,
No gracious fruit appear;
It is a dreadful case,
Tho' God may long forbear;
At length he'll strike the threaten'd blow
And lay the barren fig-tree low.

Source: Hymns and Spiritual Songs for the use of Christians #43

Author: John Newton

John Newton (b. London, England, 1725; d. London, 1807) was born into a Christian home, but his godly mother died when he was seven, and he joined his father at sea when he was eleven. His licentious and tumul¬≠tuous sailing life included a flogging for attempted desertion from the Royal Navy and captivity by a slave trader in West Africa. After his escape he himself became the captain of a slave ship. Several factors contributed to Newton's conversion: a near-drowning in 1748, the piety of his friend Mary Catlett, (whom he married in 1750), and his reading of Thomas √† Kempis' Imitation of Christ. In 1754 he gave up the slave trade and, in association with William Wilberforce, eventually became an ardent abolitionist. After becoming a tide… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: The church a garden is
Title: The Barren Fig-Tree
Author: John Newton
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain



Instances (1 - 14 of 14)
Page Scan

A Choice Collection of Hymns, in which are some never before printed #114

Page Scan

A New Selection of Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs #644

Page Scan

A Selection of Psalms and Hymns #266

TextPage Scan

A Selection of Psalms and Hymns #CCLXVI

Page Scan

A Selection of Psalms and Hymns #266

Page Scan

Baptist Hymn Book #a545

Hymns and Spiritual Songs for the use of Christians. 9th ed. #d171

Hymns and Spiritual Songs for the Use of Christians #d140

TextPage Scan

Hymns and Spiritual Songs for the use of Christians #43

Hymns and Spiritual Songs for the Use of Christians. 8th ed. #d165

Hymns and Spiritual Songs, for the Use of Christians #d104

Select Hymns #d166

Page Scan

The Baptist Hymn Book #545

Suggestions or corrections? Contact us


It looks like you are using an ad-blocker. Ad revenue helps keep us running. Please consider white-listing or subscribing to eliminate ads entirely and help support