January 19—Morning Devotion
“As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, destroy it not, for a blessing is in it; so will I do for my servants’ sakes, that I may not destroy them all.”—Isaiah 65:8
It is blessed to trace our mercies to the fountain head, and to find them all folded up from everlasting in Jesus. What was it that preserved our whole nature when blasted and withered by the fall? Was it not because Jesus, the promised seed, was in it? And what is it that preserves every individual among the children of God during the dark season of their unregeneracy, but the same precious cause? He that looks on (and who is this but Christ himself?) amidst all our perishing circumstances, by his powerful and all- prevailing intercession, commands the destroyer not to touch his people; for though in themselves loathsome, yet in Jesus they are fair and lovely. My soul, learn hence thy security. The whole cause for which thou wert preserved until called, and, when called, preserved through grace unto glory, both in conversion and in every after-act of God’s dealings with thee, all refers itself into this one source. Destroy it not, there is a blessing in thee, though not from thee: Jesus is in thee, as the new wine is found in the cluster!
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."