Robert Hawker's Poor Man's Morning Portions

August 9—Morning Devotion

“And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it: it shall not be put out. The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar: it shall never go out.”—Leviticus 6:1 2, 13

Pause, my soul! behold the precept in one verse, and the promise in the other. The Israelites was not to put out this altar fire; and Jehovah promised that it should never go out. Neither did it, through all the Jewish church, until Christ came. And if it be true that it actually did expire (as it is said it did) the very year Christ died, what is this hut a confirmation of the grand truth of God concerning the putting away of sin by the blood of Christ? For is not fire an emblem, through all the scriptures, of Jehovah’s displeasure against sin? Is not God said to be a consuming fire? And by its burning, and that miraculously preserved under all the Jewish dispensation, is it not meant to manifest Jehovah’s perpetual wrath, burning like fire against sin? And as the fire was never extinguished upon the altar, notwithstanding the numerous sacrifices offered, can any thing more decidedly prove the inefficacy of sacrifices under the law, how expensive soever they were, to take away sin? And is the fire now gone out? Hath God himself indeed put it out! Then hath he accepted that one offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all, who came to put away sin, and hath for ever put it away by the sacrifice of himself. Hail, thou great, thou glorious, thou everlasting Redeemer! Thou art indeed both the High Priest and the altar, both the Sacrifice and the 6acrificer, whose one offering hath both put out the fire of divine wrath, and caused the holy flame of love and peace to burn in its stead, which hath kindled in every heart of thy people. Yes, yes, thou Lamb of God, it is thou which hast delivered us from the wrath to come! Thou hast made our peace in the blood of thy cross. Thou hast quenched, by thy blood the just fire of divine indignation against sin. Thou hast quenched no less all the fiery darts of Satan. Thou hast subdued the flaming enmity of our hearts, with all their fiery lusts and burning affections. What shall I say to thee, what shall I say of thee, what shall I proclaim concerning thee, Oh thou, the Lord our righteousness? Lord, help me to begin the song, and never suffer sin or Satan—nay, death itself, for a moment, to make an interruption in the heavenly note; but let thy name fill my whole soul, and vibrate on my dying lips, that I may open my eyes in eternity, while the words still hang there: “To him who hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and made us kings and priests unto God and the Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

Robert Hawker (1753-1827) was an Anglican (High-Calvinist) preacher who served as Vicar of Charles Church, Plymouth. John Hazelton wrote of him:

“The prominent features…in Robert Hawker's testimony…was the Person of Christ….Dr. Hawker delighted to speak of his Lord as "My most glorious Christ.” What anxious heart but finds at times in the perusal of the doctor's writings a measure of relief, a softening, and a mellowing? an almost imperceptible yet secret and constraining power in leading out of self and off from the misery and bondage of the flesh into a contemplation of the Person and preciousness of Christ as "the chiefest among ten thousand and the altogether lovely." Christ and Him crucified was emphatically the burden of his song and the keynote of his ministry. He preached his last sermon in Charles Church on March 18th, 1827, and on April 6th he died, after being six years curate and forty-three years vicar of the parish. On the last day of his life he repeated a part of Ephesians 1, from the 6th to the 12th verses, and as he proceeded he enlarged on the verses, but dwelt more fully on these words: "To the praise of His glory Who first trusted in Christ." He paused and asked, "Who first trusted in Christ?" And then made this answer: "It was God the Father Who first trusted in Christ."

Robert Hawker on the Biblical Covenants (Complete)
Robert Hawker's Poor Man's Morning Portions