Many of the hymns in OHP were written for the mid week teaching sessions, and so the first third of the book cover Biblical passages. Each morning I am amazed at how well Newton and Cowper understood the passage and were able to apply it to contemporary life. What is even more amazing is how they were able to write it down so poetically and succinctly.
A great example of this in the early hymns are the way they cover the subject of God’s providential care from Genesis and Exodus.
One of the greatest hymns in OHP that has been all but forgotten is ‘The Lord will Provide’, number 7. Newton wrote this alongside Cowpers number 6 on Genesis 22:14
So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”
This is verses 5 and 6 of that hymn:
When Satan appears to stop up our path,
And fill us with fears, We triumph by faith;
He cannot take from us, Though oft he has tried,
This heart–cheering promise,
The Lord will provide
He tells us we’re weak, Our hope is in vain,
The good that we seek. We ne’er shall obtain,
But when such suggestions Our spirits have plied,
This answers all questions,
The Lord will provide.
The only modern version I could find of this hymn is by Matthew Smith.
Further on they look at God providing Manna in the wilderness. Have a look at these 2 hymns (numbers 15 and 16) and note their warm and relevant application – oh to have half those insights in my preaching!
Manna to Israel well supplied
The want of other bread;
While God is able to provide,
His people shall be fed.
|(Thus though the corn and wine should fail,
And creature–streams be dry;
The prayer of faith will still prevail,
For blessings from on high.)
|Of his kind care how sweet a proof!
It suited every taste;
Who gathered most, had just enough,
Enough, who gathered least.
|’Tis thus our gracious Lord provides
Our comforts and our cares;
His own unerring hand provides,
And gives us each our shares.
|He knows how much the weak can bear,
And helps them when they cry;
The strongest have no strength to spare,
For such he’ll strongly try.
|Daily they saw the Manna come,
And cover all the ground;
But what they tried to keep at home,
Corrupted soon was found.
Vain their attempt to store it up,
This was to tempt the Lord;
Israel must live by faith and hope,
And not upon a hoard.
The manna favored Israel’s meat,
Was gathered day by day;
When all the host was served, the heat
Melted the rest away.
In vain to hoard it up they tried,
Against tomorrow came;
It then bred worms and putrefied,
And proved their sin and shame.
’Twas daily bread and would not keep,
But must be still renewed;
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;
O! let it fall on all around,
That we may eat and live.