The Miraculous Supply; or, the Widow Sustained in the Time of Famine
Widow sustained in the Time of Famine.
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PRINTED BY John Marshall
Miraculous Supply, & c.
A FAMINE once, as holy Scriptures tell,
For Israel's sins their wretched land befel;
And God, whose blessing gives the early rain,
Caus'd them to sigh, and look for flow'rs in vain.
Nor could the parch'd unmoisten'd earth produce,
Grass for the beast, or herb for mortal use;
So that at length all sustenance ws rare,
They pin'd with hunger, and they sunk with care.
How seldom think we, when supply'd with food,
That God alone can grant a gift so good:
And unless his hand renews their store,
Our barns with plenty will be fill'd no more.
This awful thruth Samaria's people found,
Dust, driving dust, sole produce of their ground.
The ploughman saw his toilsome labour fail,
And the poor Thrasher cast aside his flail:
Useless it lay—no hope of full car'd grain,
Or waving harvest in the fields remain.
Three such dire seasons did the land deplore,
This famine lasted three long years or more.
Mean time JEHOVAH heard his prophet's pray'r,
And bade him straight Zarephath repair.
"GO," said the word Divine, undoubting go,
"There shalt thou find I will relieve thy woe;
"A pious widow, who relies on me,
"Shall be the instrument to succour thee;
"Whilst both to ages yet unborn shall prove,
"My care to cherish those who trust my love."
Elijah heard with awe the Voice divine,
And the cheerful journey'd till the sun's decline:
When as his feet approach'd the city's gate,
He saw a woman, patient and sedate;
Who, stooping, gather'd as she pass'd him by,
Of scattered sticks around a small supply.
The prophet felt his fainting spirit sink,
And with an earnest tone implor'd for drink.
"Bring me", he cry'd, "O ! kindly bring with speed,
"The cooling draught of water which I need."
Quick towr'ds her home the pitying stranger went
To fetch a vessel for the kind intent.
"Bring too, I pray," the Seer embolden'd said,
"Bring in thine hand a morsel too of bread."
"Ah, friend!" she cry'd, "that is not mine to give,
"As sure as that the Lord thy God doth live,
"So sure it is that all hopes ar o'er,
"And not one cake remains of all my store.
"Within a barrel, (of all else bereft,)
"A handful only of some meal is left;
"And searching in a Cruse, I found to day,
"A drop or two of Oil not pour'd away.
"These I design to dress, a last supply,
To feed myself and son—and then we die."
Mournful she spoke, Elijah soon reply'd,
"Thy purpose, honest Dame, may good betide.
"Go, do as thou hast said, but let thy care
"First for my urgent need a cake prepare:
"Then for thyself and son provision make,
"And of the rest with thankful hearts partake:
"Nor fear with this request for to accord,
"For thus to cheer thee, faith the sovereign Lord,
"Thy barrel shall not waste, thy cruse shall pour,
"Till from the skies descend the plenteous shower."
The pious widow faithfully obey'd,
Ansd soon before the Seer his food she laid;
While firm in faith her household all did eat,
For many days the same surprising meat.
Read this ye ppor, and learn to trust in heav'n,
That as ye want it, shall relieve be giv'n!
Whate'vr your troubles still unanxious be!
Who feed the Ravens, will provide for thee!
Seek first does Jesus, your Redeemer cry,
Seek first my kingdom, I'll the rest supply.
Be frugal, honest, pious, and sincere,
And good from seeminf evil shall appear.
When faint with hunger, or when worn with toil,
Think of the widow's meal, the widow's oil.
Should thy provisions and thy purse be low,
Consider God does thy condition know:
Nor is his gracious will or power the less,
Thy prayer to answer and thy end to bless.
Wait then on him in every time of need,
Trusting his mercy shall thy work succeed.
Nor let the poorest say within his heart,
"I cannot to my neighbour ought impart:
"Tho' for his woes with sympathy I feel,
"Yet no Elijah will increase my meal;
"And I must keep the little store I have,
"Or sink myself to an untimely grave."
Ah! fear not, if compassionate and kind,
Thou hast indeed a truly virtuous mind;
For know a greater than the Seer of old;
Does to each Christian thus his will unfold.
"If in my name ye help a child in woe,
"And but one cup of water can bestow,
"Tho' cold and cheerless should the bev'rage be,
"It shall not fail of its reward from me."
Thus spake, as in the Gospel you will find,
The just and gracious Saviour of mankind;
Who for thy sake a life of sorrow led,
And had on earth no home to rest his head;
But now exalted to his heavenly throne,
Regards thy wants and sorrows as his own,
If then thou wilt his sacred laws obey,
His arm shall guard thee from the evil day;
where virtue dwells, there hope may still prevail,
However reduc'd, their store shall never fail.