Robert Hawker's Poor Man's Morning Portions

September 15—Morning Devotion

“As for me I am poor and needy, yet the Lord thinketh upon me.”—Psalm 40:17

My soul, sit down, and reckon up thy true riches. See what are thine outward circumstances, and take an inventory of all thine inward wealth. Thou art, by nature and by practice, one of the children of a bankrupt father, even Adam, who lived insolvent, and died wretchedly poor in himself, having entailed only an inheritance of sin, misery, and death, with the loss of divine favour, upon the whole race of his children. By nature and by practice thou art poor in the sight of God, despised by angels on account of thy loathsome disease of sin; thine understanding darkened; thy will corrupt; passions impetuous, proud, self-willed; all in opposition to the law of God; exposed to all present evil, everlasting evil; a slave to Satan, a willing captive in his drudgery; hastening daily to death, to the second death, and with an insensibility which is enough to make every heart mourn that beholds thee. Such, my soul, was thy state by nature; and such, and far worse, would have been thy state for ever, had not Jesus interposed, and looked upon thee, and loved thee, when thou wast cast out to perish, and no eye to pity thee, nor help thee from thy ruin. My soul, canst thou now say, though poor and needy, the Lord thinketh upon thee? Oh blessed Jesus! thou dost indeed think upon me, and provide for me, and hast given me to see, to feel, my poverty, need, and misery; and to live wholly upon thee and thy alms from day to day. Yes, Jesus! I would be poor, I would be needy; I would feel yet more and more my nothingness, worthlessness, poverty, wretchedness, that Jesus may be increasingly precious, and thy salvation increasingly dear. Oh for grace, as a poor needy debtor, daily to swell my debt account, that my consciousness of need may make thee and thy fulness increasingly blessed. Let it be my daily motto—” As for me, I am poor and needy; but the Lord thinketh upon me.”

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