Plenty in the time of dearth
My soul once had its plenteous years,
And throve, with peace and comfort filled,
Like the fat kine and ripened ears,
Which Pharaoh in his dream beheld.
With pleasing frames and grace received,
With means and ordinances fed,
How happy for a while I lived,
And little feared the want of bread.
But famine came, and left no sign
Of all the plenty I had seen;
Like the dry ears and half-starved kine,
I then looked withered, faint, and lean.
To Joseph the Egyptians went;
To Jesus I made known my case;
He, when my little stock was spent,
Opened his magazine of grace.
For he the time of dearth foresaw,
And made provision long before;
That famished souls, like me, might draw
Supplies from his unbounded store.
Now on his bounty I depend,
And live from fear of dearth secure;
Maintained by such a mighty friend,
I cannot want till he is poor.
O sinners, hear his gracious call!
His mercy’s door stands open wide;
He has enough to feed you all,
And none who come shall be denied.
from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:
[Whit] Sunday 7 June 1778
Mark 8:17 [And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened?]
Tuesday 9 June 1778
Met Capt Scott as I expected. He came home with me, and preached in the evening from Psalm 34:8 [O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him]. A warm experimental discourse.
Wednesday 10 June 1778
Thou hast visited Emberton with a putrid fever, and some of thy people are likely to be removed by it. A Taylor who through some unaccountable prejudice has withdrawn from us for several years, now she is ill desires to see me. I went accordingly. Hope if her life is spared we shall be acquainted again, but it seems probable she will die.
Thursday 11 June 1778
Holiday week, did not meet the children. Mrs Wilberforce came in the afternoon. May thy blessing be with us.
[Trinity] Sunday 14 June 1778
Dissipated in my own mind, and empty, I am still enabled to look to thee, and thou art pleased to supply me for current services. I have reason to praise thee, if thou waterest others by me, but O that thou wouldst water me also. The liberty I find in speaking, seems too often to come rather from my head than from my heart. Yet I hope I love thee, and along that others may love thee likewise. Hymn No. 314
2 Peter 1:16
Hymn No. 314
[On this date Newton preached from the above texts at his church, St Peter & St Paul, Olney, during the morning and afternoon services, and from this hymn at the informal evening service]