Robert Hawker's Poor Man's Morning Portions

September 16—Morning Devotion

“I will strengthen them in the Lord, and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith the Lord.”—Zechariah 10:12

My soul, mark these words, how precious they are; and mark the Speaker and Promiser, and consider how sure they are. Is not this God the Father speaking of the church, and most graciously assuring the church that he will strengthen the church in Jesus, the church’s glorious Head? Is not this said with an eye to Christ, who is represented in another part of this blessed prophecy as calling upon the church to attend to him, who is come to build the temple of the Lord, and to bear all the glory, and who expressly saith that the church shall know that he, the Lord of Hosts, is sent by the Lord of Hosts unto his people? Who but the Lord of Hosts could build the temple of the Lord of Hosts; or who but him bear all the glory? Zech. 6:12. So then, my soul, observe that Christ is the strength, as well as the righteousness of his redeemed. And do observe further, that when at any time thou art strengthened in Jesus, it is the Father’s gracious hand and office which is manifested in this merciful act. If thou art drawn at any time to Jesus, it is the Father’s sweet constraining love that thus works upon the soul. John 6:44. If thou enjoyest at any time some new and delightful revelation of Jesus, which lifts thee up with a joy unspeakable, remember, my soul, from whom the blessing comes; and learn to ascribe the mercy, the distinguishing mercy, as the apostle did, to the Father’s grace, when it pleased him to separate thee from thy mother’s womb, and called thee by his grace to reveal his Son in thee, Gal. 1:15, 16. Yes, Almighty Father, it is thy special mercy, both to give thy Son, and with him all things, to the highly favoured objects of thine everlasting love. It was he who, from all eternity, didst contrive, order, will, appoint, and prepare the great salvation of the gospel, and choose Christ as the head, and the church as the body of this stupendous work of redemption. It is thou which hast carried on and executed all the great designs; and it is thou who dost strengthen and complete the whole in the final salvation of all the members of it, in grace here, and glory hereafter. Blessed, holy compassionate Lord God! for Jesus’s sake fulfil this promise daily in my soul; bear me up, carry me through, and strengthen me in the Lord my God, that I may indeed walk up and down in his name, until thou bring me in to see his face in thine eternal home, and dwell under the light of his countenance for ever.

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