February 21—Morning Devotion
“Saw ye him whom my soul loveth.”—Solomon 3:3
Is Jesus still the object of my soul’s warmest affection; the subject of all my thoughts, all my discourse, all my inquiry? Oh, yes, my scul; whom else, in heaven or in earth, wilt thou seek after but him? Tell me, ye ministers of Jesus, ye watchmen upon the walls of Zion—”Saw ye him Whom my soul loveth?” Ye followers of the Lamb, can ye shew me where Jesus feedeth his flock at noon? Or rather, ye in the upper regions, where the Son of God manifesteth himself in the full glories of his Person; “ye spirits of just men made perfect,” ye who have known, while sojourning here below, what feeling of the soul that is, which, in the absence of Jesus, is longing for his appearance. Ye angels of light also—ye who see him without an intervening medium—tell him, I beseech you, how my soul panteth for his visits: tell him, that a poor pensioner, well known to my Lord, is waiting this morning alms: nay, tell him that I am sick of love, longing for a renewed view of his person, —his pardoning love,—the renewals of his grace. Jesus knoweth it all before you tell him, and he will send his gifts and mercies—nay, he will come himself; for he hath assured me of this. He hath said, “If a man love me, my Father will love him, and we will come and make our abode with him.” Behold my soul, thy Jesus is come! I hear his well-known voice: he saith, “I am come into my garden.” Now will I hold him, and not let him go, and pray him not to be as a wayfaring man that turneth in to tarry for a night, but abide with me until the breaking of the everlasting day.
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."