February 19—Morning Devotion
“The prisoner of Jesus Christ.”—Ephesians 3:1
My soul! art thou a prisoner of Jesus Christ? See to it, if so, that, like the apostle, thou art bound with Jesu’s chains for “the hope of Israel.” They are golden chains. When Paul and Silas were fast bound in the prison, the consciousness of this made them sing for joy. Men have their prisons, and God hath his. But here lies the vast difference: no bars or grates, among the closest prisons of men, can shut God out from comforting his prisoners; and, on the contrary, nothing can come in to afflict Jesu’s prisoners, when he keeps them by the sovereignty of his grace, and love, and power. Blessed Lord! look upon thy poor prisoner; and come in, dear Lord, with thy wonderful condescension, and do as thou hast said: sup with him, and cause him to sup with thee.
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."