March 10—Morning Devotion
“And hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy; and where is the fury of the oppressor?”—Isaiah 51:13
Pause, my soul, over those sweet expostulating words of thy God. Wherefore should the fear of man bring a snare? How much needless anxiety should I spare myself, could I but live, amidst all my changeable days and changeable circumstances, upon my unchangeable God. Now, mark what thy God saith of thy unreasonable and ill-grounded fears—”Where is the fury of the oppressor?” Can he take from thee thy Jesus? No! Shouldest thou lose all thy earthly comforts, Jesus ever liveth, and Jesus is thine. Can he afflict thee, if God saith no? That is impossible. Neither men nor devils can oppress without his permission. And sure enough thou art, thy God and Saviour will never allow any thing to thy hurt; for all things must work for good. And canst thou lessen the oppressor’s fury by anxious fears? Certainly not. Thou mayest, my soul, harrass thyself and waste thy spirits, but never lessen the fury of the enemy thereby. And wherefore, then, shouldest thou crowd the uncertain evils, and the may be’s of tomorrow, in the circumstances of this day’s warfare, when, by only waiting for the morrow, and casting all thy care upon Jesus, who careth for thee, his faithfulness is engaged to be thy shield and buckler? Peace then, my soul, thou shalt be carried through this oppression, as sure as thou hast been through every former; for Jesus is still Jesus, thy God, and will be thy guide even unto death.
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."