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The Fruitless Tree

( Originally Published 1868 )


" NOTHING but leaves ;" so the Saviour said,
And then he blasted the fruitless tree ;
And I ponder his curse with trembling dread,
Lest just such a word he might speak of me :
I have known his name from my early youth,
And my outward homage his cause receives ;
Yet his judgment upon my life in truth
might render the verdict, " Nothing but leaves."

" Nothing but leaves," though the ground was choice;
In the Lord's own garden the tree was set;
And oving parents by life and voice
Gave cheerful care to nurture it ; yet,
Though of rapid growth and comely form,
No answering fruit their toil retrieves;
The bossoms fell off in the first spring storm,
And autumn found on it " nothing but leaves."

" Nothing but leaves ;" yet the church of God
Wide open her doors every Sabbath threw;
And faithful preachers proclaimed aloud
His fearful wrath and his mercy too ;
And the showers of grace, as dew, came down,
And the Spirit called who never deceives ;
How many the blessings my life has known!
And still my returns are "nothing but leaves."

" Nothing. but leaves ;" yet I might have won
More hearts than my own to taste his grace ;
But the world's gay rounds my feet have run,
Ever prone to the broad and downward ways ;
Had I entered with zeal his harvest field,
And now filled my arms with gathered sheaves,
What happy reflections my life would yield !
How fearful the contrast, " Nothing but leaves!"

" Nothing but leaves ;" though it has been so,
Yet a remnant still of life remains;
Great God, thy renewing mercy show
I plead by the dying Saviour's pains !
May my zeal be warm, may my life be new,
While every power of heart believes,
And holy influences ever show,
That I give no longer " nothing but leaves."

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