"The tree of life" is the second of six movements which comprise the major work, "The Gift of Life". The six movements reflect different facets of the miracles of creation and of life. The text for this second movement is taken from Joshua Smith (1760–1795), an early American hymn compiler and Baptist minister in New Hampshire, USA. Smith authored Divine Hymns, or Spiritual Songs, a book of hymns first published in 1784 featuring and popularizing well-known folk songs such as "Jesus Christ the Apple Tree". This arrangement is written for combined Concert Band and Chorus, but may be performed by Concert Band alone.