Ye wretched, hungry, starving poor

Ye wretched, hungry, starving poor.  Anne Steele* (1716-1778). From Steele’s Poems on subjects chiefly devotional (1760), where it was entitled ‘Longing Souls invited to the Gospel-Feast. Luke xiv. 22’ The reference is to the parable of the great supper (Luke 14: 16-24). Verse 22 is ‘And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.’ The title of the hymn makes it clear that, like the parable, it is not a hymn on the social situation: it is an extended metaphor in which the hungry and starving are those for whom the gospel feast is waiting. The servant’s ‘yet there is room’ is quoted twice in the seven stanzas: Ye wretched, hungry, starving poor,...

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