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.