Words: , in the New York Christ­ian Ob­serv­er, cir­ca 1858. The words were sug­gest­ed by a ser­mon giv­en by M. D. Con­way.

Music: .

The hymn was a spe­cial fa­vo­rite at the ear­ly Moo­dy and Sank­ey meet­ings. I oft­en sang it as a so­lo for Mr. Moody’s lecture on “The Holy Spirit.” While sing­ing it in Birm­ing­ham a la­dy was con­vinced, as she told me af­ter­wards, that her life had been no­thing but leaves; and she then de­cid­ed to de­vote the rest of her life to res­cu­ing her lost sis­ters. She se­cured a build­ing, which she called “The Res­cue Home,” and for years she ga­thered in poor, wretch­ed girls from the streets of the ci­ty, gave them em­ploy­ment, and taught them the way of life. Through her ef­forts hun­dreds of girls were saved. Af­ter her death the ci­ty of­fi­cials took up her work, em­ploy­ing other wo­men, who are still en­gaged in seek­ing the lost ones. On my last vi­sit to Eng­land I had the plea­sure of vi­sit­ing this res­cue home and sing­ing for the in­mates.

“During the mis­sion in 1884,” write M. C. Broad­man, of Strat­ford, East Lon­don, “the hymn ‘No­thing but leaves’ was of­ten sung. It brought con­vic­tion to one of the stew­ards. He said that this song dis­turbed him. For years he had been a pro­fes­sor of re­li­gion, but with per­son­al in­ter­est in view. He said he trust­ed that hence­forth there would be fruit as well as leaves in his life. From that time he has been an ar­dent Christ­ian work­er.”

Nothing but leaves! The Spirit grieves
O’er years of wasted life;
O’er sins indulged while conscience slept,
O’er vows and promises unkept,
And reap, from years of strife—
Nothing but leaves!
Nothing but leaves!

Nothing but leaves! No gathered sheaves
Of life’s fair rip’ning grain:
We sow our seeds; lo! tares and weeds,
Words, idle words, for earnest deeds—
Then reap, with toil and pain,
Nothing but leaves!
Nothing but leaves!

Nothing but leaves! Sad mem’ry weaves
No veil to hide the past;
And as we trace our weary way,
And count each lost and misspent day,
We sadly find at last—
Nothing but leaves!
Nothing but leaves!

Ah, who shall thus the Master meet,
And bring but withered leaves?
Ah, who shall, at the Savior’s feet,
Before the awful judgment seat,
Lay down, for golden sheaves,
Nothing but leaves!
Nothing but leaves!