A Rich Feast

One evening I had been out preaching about seven miles from home, and when I was returning, it being late before I reached home, O what a keen feeling of hunger came upon me before I got there! And what was my greatest distress, I knew there was nothing to eat when I got home.

O the dreadful feelings and hard thoughts which rose up in my mind against God! I dare neither speak nor write them. O the dreadful rebellion I felt against His dealing so hardly with me, that when I was hungry I could not have even bread and water!

“Ah,” cried the old adversary, “where are your fine promises now that you have so often boasted of – ‘Thy bread shall be given thee, and thy water shall be sure’?”

Just as I entered the house these words struck my mind: “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head.”

O what a sight had I of the sufferings of my dear Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and what He endured in this vale of tears, from the cradle to the cross, for such a wretch as I!

And how it sounded in my heart, “And did my Lord suffer, and shall I repine?”

How I blushed and was ashamed at my wretched feelings and rebellions!

I did not know where to hide my guilty face.

“O,” cried I, “what are my sufferings of hunger compared with Thy bloody sweat in the garden for such a monster as I?”

How I looked upon Him, and what a godly mourning I had over my sins and over Him!

And how I begged that He would forgive me; and the hatefulness I had against myself for my sins no tongue can tell!

“O,” cried I, “how could I be so base as to have such hard thoughts of Thee, who hast blessed me with so many mercies?”

How sweet were these words, “Though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich”!

What wonders did I see in all the goodness that God had caused to pass before me in my way up to that very moment!

My little empty house was a palace now in my eyes, full of all sorts of riches.

I suppose that it was rather late in the evening when I reached home, for my wife and children were all in bed and fast asleep, for which I was thankful, as I wanted to enjoy the sweet company of my dear Lord, for it was heaven upon earth to my soul to be with Jesus.

By and by I found my poor body very weak, and I took the candle and went to search if I could find an old crust of bread. After some little searching I found an old crust which had been laid aside a long time, until it was quite hard and not fit for food. I then got a cup of water, and if ever my soul went out to God in prayer it was then, that He would bless it to the satisfying of my hungry appetite. And how sweet it came into my mind that Jesus turned water into wine at the marriage feast!

And I believed in my heart that He was the same yesterday, today and for ever. I looked up to Him just like a child, and begged of Him that He would bless this morsel of bread and water, that I might prove that He was the Lord my God.

O how precious were those words to my soul, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God”!

How I was overcome, and blessed and praised and thanked His dear Majesty that He had blessed the rich food that I was about to eat!

O how my soul did thank Him for it!

I took the dry crust, but it was so softened and enriched with the love and mercy of God that the manna never tasted more sweet to the Israelites than the old crust did to my taste. I blessed and thanked God, and took the water, and it was richer to my taste than the richest wine I have ever drunk since. I never felt my body more refreshed, nor my appetite more satisfied. I had everything needful and abounded. My soul again entered into that text, “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and He addeth no sorrow with it.”

“Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.”

By John Warburton (1776-1857)

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