Olney Hymns Book 3 Hymn 92
Hungry, and faint, and poor...
Manuscript Hymn No. Before Sermon: 4
SHORT HYMNS: BEFORE SERMON
Hungry, and faint, and poor,
Behold us, Lord, again
Assembled at thy mercy's door,
Thy bounty to obtain.
Thy word invites us nigh,
Or we must starve indeed;
For we no money have to buy,
No righteousness to plead.
The food our spirits want
Thy hand alone can give;
Oh, hear the prayer of faith, and grant
That we may eat, and live.
Thursday 28 January 1779: ‘I finished transcribing the Hymns, only that I have a few short ones to make, suited to the introduction and conclusion of divine worship.’
The last hymn dated in Newton’s diary, No. 334, was written for 1 January 1779, which may also have been the date for No. 335. But judging from their sequence in his ms notebook, some may have been written prior to that, possibly from around November 1778.
With no certainty of dates, some perhaps pertinent quotes:
Sunday 3 January 1779
I have to praise Thee my gracious Lord, for thy great mercy in enabling me still to preach thy good word, with liberty and acceptance. The cold weather and other circumstances shorten my retirement, or rather furnish excuses which indolence and the flesh catch at. Ah! this depraved heart – I want no excuses to keep me from the fire when cold, or from food when hungry. Yet wretched creature – though I freeze and starve without thee, I am backward in drawing nigh to thee.
Thursday 4 February 1779
Met the children and preached in the evening. Concluded the Apostle’s exhortation to the afflicted. Lord do thou apply to myself the truths I propose to others. Let me see and own thy hand in them, and not faint or despond under them. But experience that by thy blessing, they promote my sanctification, and produce in me, the fruits of righteousness to thy praise.
Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Wednesday 10 February 1779
The Fast Day
Very far, my Lord, was I, from a temper and disposition suited to the day. My part in the service seemed much constrained, and to lie upon my invention. My judgement was convinced but my heart unfeeling. Yet I hope Thou didst enable me to deliver what might be useful to others. In the evening I had much liberty in speaking. May an answer to the prayers of thy people, and good effects of the preaching of thy servants on this day be visible throughout the land!
Zechariah 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
Isaiah 63:15 Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained?
Thursday 11 February 1779
Began the history of Elijah for a new subject. I am chiefly employed in forwarding and finishing the Hymn book, which is now almost done. May it please thee to favour its publication and accompany it with thy blessing.
1 Kings 17:2-6 And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. So he went and did according unto the word of the Lord: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.
Hymn: MS Eng 1317, Houghton Library, Harvard University
Diary: John Newton Collection, CO199, Princeton University
Marylynn Rouse, 12/09/2013