The Barren Fig-tree.

"MOTHER, I'm almost discouraged about my

peach tree. I've taken more pains with it than

I have with all my roses and carnations and tulips, and yet they all grow, and there is nothing

but leaves on my peach tree;" and Lewis leaned

upon his little garden hoe, and, as he brushed 

the damp hair from his forehead, he fixed his

 eyes once more upon the fruitless branches

 which cast their shadow upon the flowering

 shrubs that grew beneath.

"What have you done to your tree, Lewis, to

make it grow?" kindly inquired his mother.

"Done, mother! I have watered it, and dug

around it, and bent away the branches of that

large apple tree, so that the sun-could shine 

upon it all day: and now I have spent the whole

 afternoon in hoeing around it, when, if it had 

only grown, I should have got my Sabbath lesson.

 0, dear' I've a great mind to cut it down."

"No, Lewis let it be. Now put your hoe

away, and let us go in. You have but a short

time to prepare your Sabbath lesson and"

"Mother, I don't care about my lesson. It

seems to me the Sabbath comes so often.'" and

Lewis petulantly laid aside his garden tools, and

followed his mother into the house. Had he

seen the tear that dimmed her loving blue eye,

and stole silently down her cheek, he would have

been sorry he had spoken so lightly of the day

dearer to her than all others.

It was evening and all around was hushed to

quietness. Lewis sat by the window, watching

the fluctuating shadows in his little garden. At

length, his father entered. He had patiently 

listened to Lewis' complaint of his unfruitful

 tree, and now he spread upon the table a large


"Here, my son is something for yon."

"0, how beautiful" eagerly exclaimed Lewis. '

"There is a tree all covered with leaves and

blossoms and there is a man cutting down a poor

"barren tree just like my peach tree. Well, that

will have to go next week, for I won’t have it

spoiling the looks of my garden any longer.

Father, what is this picture?"

"Lewis, a great many years, ago, in the eastern

country, was a fertile and beautiful garden.

The soil was rich, the sun shone clear, and the

trees were covered with glossy green leaves. At

the earliest dawn of morning, and as the dusky

night came on, the watchful gardener watered

each plant and every tree. He never wearied, and

most abundantly was his toil rewarded. But

there was one tree upon which no fruit ever grew.

The bright sun of summer lay smiling upon its

branches all the day long; the gentle rain

 moistened its roots and the dew of evening

 descended upon it. Vain were sun, and shower,

 and evening dew. Untiringly- did the gardener

 cultivate the unyielding tree. Vain were his

 labors. His eye rested upon its leafy verdure;

 and the joyous birds built their nests, and 

warbled their songs among its shady brandies;

 but his heart wearied that such promise should

 never be realized For three successive years, 

at the end of each summer season, the owner

 had come from a distance, and disappointment

 had succeeded his expectation with regard to

 the yet barren tree.

Again he came; and now he said to the gardener;

'Behold these three years I come seeking

fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down;

why cumbereth it the ground?' And the gardener

answered; 'Let it alone this year also, till

I shall dig about it; and if it bear fruit well;

and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.'"

The father of Lewis paused. For a moment,

the eyes of his boy were earnestly fixed on the

barren tree: then he said; "Father, I shan't cut

down my peach tree this summer."

"My son, there is a deeper meaning in the story

I have told you, than you have yet learned.

The garden represents the world. Our Father

in heaven is its owner. You are one of his plants.

You have been nourished and watched. A 

mother's tears and anxieties a father's prayers

 and hopes have been added to the sun of heaven

 and the dew of grace. Lo, these ten years has 

your Maker come seeking fruit. And what has he


Have you been an obedient, dutiful child? Have

you loved the Sabbath? Have you sought more

than all things else to please Jesus? My son,

think of this evening's lesson. Never, never 

forget the barren fig-tree. Bring forth fruit here,

and hereafter you shall be like a tree planted by

the rivers of water in the garden above. The 

glory of God will shine there, and the Lamb 

lighten for ever the fadeless trees of the garden

 of heaven.''

Sabbath School Visitor.