Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Manna, favour'd Israel's meat,
Was gather'd day by day;
When all the host was served, the heat
Melted the rest away.

In vain to hoard it up they tried,
Against to-morrow came;
It then bred worms and putrified,
And proved their sin and shame.

'Twas daily bread, and would not keep,
But must be still renew'd;
Faith should not want a hoard or heap,
But trust the Lord for food.

The truths by which the soul is fed
Must thus be had afresh;
For notions resting in the head,
Will only feed the flesh.

However true, they have no life
Or unction to impart;
They breed the worms of pride and strife,
But cannot cheer the heart.

Nor can the best experience past,
The life of faith maintain;
The brightest hope will faint at last,
Unless supplied again.

Dear Lord, while we in prayer are found,
Do Thou the Manna give;
Oh! let it fall on all around,
That we may eat and live.
                                            John Newton

from Exodus Chapter 16

And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness..... Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger. Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no. And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the LORD your the morning the dew lay round about the host. And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground.....And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat. This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents. And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less. And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man  according to his eating. And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning.....some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them. And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted. And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the  rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. And he said unto them,.....To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.....And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none.....And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan.

.....Moses, when speaking of the methods the Lord took to humble Israel, mentions his feeding them with manna, as one method.  I could not understand this for a time.  I thought they were rather in danger of being proud, when they saw themselves provided for in such an extraordinary way.  But the manna would not keep, they could not hoard it up, and were therefore in a state of absolute dependence from day to day: this appointment was well suited to humble them.  Thus it is with us in spirituals.  We should be better pleased, perhaps, to be set up with a stock or sufficiency at once,-such an inherent portion of wisdom and power, as we might depend upon, at least for common occasions, without being constrained, by a sense of indigence, to have continual recourse to the Lord for every thing we want.  But his way is best.  His own glory is most displayed, and our safety best secured, by keeping us quite poor and empty in ourselves, and supplying us from one minute to another, according to our need.  This, if any thing, will prevent boasting, and keep a sense of gratitude awake in our hearts.  This is well adapted to quicken us in prayer, and furnishes us with a thousand occasions for praise, which would otherwise escape our notice. 
     But who or what are we, that the Most High should thus notice us!-should visit us every morning, and water us every moment!  It is an astonishing thought, that God should thus dwell with men!  That he, before whom the mightiest earthly potentates are less than nothing and vanity, should thus stoop and accommodate himself to the situation, wants, and capacities of the weakest, meanest, and poorest of his children!  But so it hath pleased him.  He seeth not as man seeth.                                                                
                                                                                                                                           John Newton

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