January 8—Morning Devotion
“Thou hast kept the good wine until now.”—John 2:10
The good wine of the gospel must be Jesus himself, for He, and He alone, trod the wine-press of his Father’s wrath, when the Lord bruised him and put him to grief. This is the wine which, in scripture, is said to cheer both God and men; for when God’s justice took the full draught of it for the sins of the redeemed, the Lord declared himself well pleased. And when the poor sinner, by sovereign grace, is first made to drink of the blood of the Lamb, he feels constrained to say, the Lord had kept the good wine until now; for never before had his soul been so satisfied. Oh, precious Jesus’ how sweet is the thought! Thy first miracle converted water into wine. Moses’ ministry, under thy commission, was first manifested in turning water into blood. Yes, dear Lord! when once thy grace hath wrought upon the heart of a sinner, thou makest his most common mercies, like water, to become richer than wine. Whereas the law, which is the ministration of death, as long as the poor sinner continues under its power, makes all its enjoyments to partake of the curse. 0 for continued manifestations of thy glory, dearest Lord! Give me to drink of thy best wine, my beloved, which goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that sleep to speak.
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."