January 16—Morning Devotion
“And Hezekiah rejoiced, and all the people, that God had prepared the people; for the thing was done suddenly.”—2 Chronicles 39:36
Sweet thought, ever to keep in view, that it is the Lord that prepares the heart, and gives answers to the tongue. And Oh! how sudden, how unexpected, how unlooked-for, sometimes, are the visits of his grace! “Or ever I was aware (saith the church) my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadab.” Is my heart cold, my, mind barren, my frame lifeless? Do thou, then, dearest Lord, make me to rejoice, in warming my frozen affection, making fruitful my poor estate, and putting new life into my soul. All I want is a frame of mind best suited to thy glory. And what is that? Truly, that when I have nothing, feel nothing, can do nothing, am worse than nothing, that then, even then, I may be rich in thee amidst all my own bankruptcy. This, dear Lord, is what I covet. And if thou withholdest all frames which might melt, or warm, or rejoice my own feelings; yet if my soul still hangs upon thee notwithstanding all, as the vessel upon the nail, my God and Jesus will be my rock, that feels nothing of the ebbings and flowings of the sea around, whatever be the tide of my fluctuating affections.
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."