February 17—Morning Devotion
“Knowing that whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: we are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to he present with the Lord.”—2 Corinthians 5:6-8
My soul, is this thy real language? Pause, while thou art at home in the body, how dark and dim, how few and short, are all the glimpses thou hast by faith of Jesus. What from the workings of corruption, the claims of the body, the concerns of the world, and the numberless, nameless, obstructions which surround thee, how little dost thou know of Jesus J And wouldest thou desire for ever to live at this distance? Think what the first view only of Jesus will be, when thou art once absent from the body, and present with the Lord!— What holy transports will break in upon the soul, when all the lines of love meet in one centre, to manifest the Lord Jesus to thy view in his redeeming fulness! If here below a single hour’s enjoyment of thy Jesus, through the medium of his word or ordinances, be so precious that no felicity on earth are equal; what must a whole eternity be, in the full uninterrupted vision of God and the Lamb! If, through the influences of thy blessed Spirit, dearest Jesus, the tear of joy, and love, and praise, will fall in the contemplation of thy person and work; surely all the flood gates of the soul will open, when I see thee as thou art, and come to dwell with thee for ever. Oh! for grace, then, to long for that blessed hour, when, absent from the body, I shall be present with the Lord;—”when I shall be-hold thy face in righteousness, and shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness.”
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."