Scripture Verse

When He saw a fig tree by the wayside, He came to it and found nothing thereon, but leaves only. And He said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And immediately the fig tree withered away. Matthew 21:19


Words: Chris­to­pher Words­worth, The Ho­ly Year (Lon­don: Riv­ing­tons, 1862), num­ber 40. Christ’s ex­hor­ta­tion to His Dis­ci­ples…af­ter the wi­ther­ing of the bar­ren lea­fy fig-tree; an ex­hor­ta­tion to Faith in Christ in times of tri­al.

Music: Old Mar­tyrs Psalms (Ed­in­burgh, Scot­land: 1615) (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tunes:

  • New Bri­tain Vir­gin­ia Har­mo­ny, 1831) (🔊 pdf nwc)
  • New York Tune The Sab­bath Hymn and Tune Book, 1859 (🔊 pdf nwc)
  • Prière d’Es­prit W. C. Fos­ter, pro­ba­bly ear­ly 20th Cen­tu­ry (🔊 pdf nwc)
Christopher Wordsworth (1807–1885)
National Portrait Gallery



Wikimedia Commons, Anaxibiacc-license

The fig tree near the way­side showed
Its bright leaves from afar,
But those green leaves, which looked so fair,
Now sere and blight­ed are.

Green leaves it had, but fruit had none;
Christ came and looked for fruit;
Let none e’er eat of thee, He said;
It wi­thered to the root.

Have faith in God—yon ci­ty now
Shines bright­ly in the sun;
Christ search­es it; it shows much leaf,
But fruit of faith has none.

Soon Christ Him­self will wi­thered seem
By that proud ci­ty’s scorn;
But Pas­sion-tide will lead Him forth
To a bright East­er morn.

Have faith in God. Be not per­plexed
By Cal­va­ry’s suf­fer­ing;
From that dark win­ter Christ re­vives
To an eter­nal spring.

Have faith in God; that ci­ty proud—
That leafy, bar­ren tree—
Will, by the light­nings of His Word,
Withered for ev­er be.

The hy­po­crite and ev­il man
May flour­ish in the breeze
Of way­side earth­ly fame; but God
Will blight all bar­ren trees.

Root us in faith, make us bear fruit
Of ho­li­ness and love;
So may we ever flour­ish, Lord,
In pa­ra­dise above.

To Fa­ther, Son and Ho­ly Ghost
Eternal glo­ry be;
O praise and bless with songs of joy
One God, and Per­sons Three.