March 13—Morning Devotion
“Oh! thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt.”—Matthew 14:31
My soul, how sweet is it to eye Jesus in all things, and to be humbled in the recollection of his compassions to thy unaccountable instances of unbelief, after the many, nay, continued and daffy experiences, which thou hast had of his love and faithfulness. And doth thy Jesus speak to thee this day, in those expostulating words, “Oh! thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” What answer wilt thou return? Is there any thing in thy life to justify, or even to apologize for doubting? Look back – behold thy God and Father’s grace, and mercy, and love;—a Saviour so rich, so compassionate, so answering all wants, in spirituals, temporals, and eternals; – a blessed Spirit, so condescending to teach, to lead, and by his influences to be continually with thee! Surely, a life like thine, crowded with mercies, blessings upon blessings, and one miracle of grace followed by another – wherefore shouldest thou doubt? What shall I say to thee, Oh! thou that art the hope of Israel, and the Saviour thereof? Lord, give me to believe, and help thou mine unbelief. I beseech thee, my God and Saviour, give me henceforth faith to trust thee when I cannot trace thee: give me tohang upon thee, when the ground of all sensible comforts seems sinking under my feet. I would cling to the faithfulness of my God in Christ, and throw my poor arms around thee, thou blessed Jesus, when all things appear the most dark and discouraging. And thus, day by day, living a life of faith and whole dependance upon thy glorious Person and thy glorious work, pressing after more sensible communion with thee, and more imparted strength and grace from thee, until at length, when thou shalt call me home from a life of faith to a life of sight – then, precious Jesus, would I say to thee, with my dying-breath, ‘Oh! present me, washed in thy blood, and clothed in thy righteousness, among the whole body of thy glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that I may be without blame before thee in love.’
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."