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A Famine of the Word

Gladness was spread through Israel’s host
When first they Manna viewed;
They labored who should gather most,
And thought it pleasant food.
But when they had it long enjoyed
From day to day, the same;
Their hearts were by the plenty cloyed,
Although from heav’n it came.

Thus gospel bread at first is prized,
And makes a people glad;
But afterwards too much despised,
When easy to be had.
But should the Lord, displeased, withhold
The bread his mercy sends;
To have our houses filled with gold
Would make but poor amends.

How tedious would the week appear,
How dull the Sabbath prove?
Could we no longer meet to bear
The precious truths we love!
How would believing parents bear
To leave their heedless youth,
Exposed to every fatal snare,
Without the light of truth?

The gospel, and a praying few
Our bulwark long have proved;
But Olney sure the day will rue
When these shall be removed.
Then sin, in this once favored town,
Will triumph unrestrained;
And wrath and vengeance hasten down,
No more by prayer detained.

Preserve us from this judgment, Lord
For JESUS’ sake we plead;
A famine of the gospel word
Would be a stroke indeed!

by John Newton

(HT: Paul Martin)

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