The Church A Garden Is

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.

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.

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.

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.

“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.”

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.