March 19—Morning Devotion
“Oh that I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to his seat! I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments. Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me.”—Job 23:3,4,6
My soul, are these thy breathings? Dost thou really long, and, like David, even pant, to come before the throne of grace? Art thou at a loss how to come, how to draw nigh? Wouldest thou fill thy mouth with argumerits, and have thy cause so ordered as to be sure not to fail? Look to Jesus! Seek from him the leadings of the Spirit; and while thine eye is steadily fixed on thy great High Priest within the vail, still wearing a vesture dipped in blood, see to it that thy one great plea is, for a perfect and complete justification before God and thy Father, upon the sole footing of righteousness. Yes, my soul, plead earnestly, heartily, steadily; and, like Jacob, wrestling with God, upon the sole footing of righteousness: Wouldest thou fear on this ground? Yes, thou wouldest have cause enough to fear and tremble, if thy plea was with the least reference to any righteousness of thine. But, my soul, remember it is Jesus’s righteousness, and his only, with which, like Job, thy mouth must be filled with arguments. This is the strength thy God and Father will put in thee: and it is a strength of Jehovah’s founded in his justice. As a poor guilty sinner, thou couldest have nothing to plead but free grace and rich mercy. But when thou comest in Jesus, thy Surety’s righteousness, thou mayest appeal, and art expected so to do, to God’s holiness and his justice also. Oh, how sweet the assurance, how unanswerable the plea, how secure the event! Jesus hath fulfilled the law – Jesus hath paid the penalty of justice; and God hath promised to pardon and bless his seed, his redeemed in him. Hence, the apostle Paul, in the contemplation of death and judgment, while looking at his everlasting security in Jesus, cries out, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them that love his appearing. “Behold then, my soul, thy vast privilege; and when, like Job, thou art desiring to approach a throne of grace now, or looking forward to a throne of judgment hereafter- never, never for a moment forget that this is the way, and the only way, (for a blessed sure way it is,) maintaining communion with God in Christ. Thy God, thy Father, will not plead against a righteousness of his own appointing; but he will put Jesus, his strength, in thee. Hallelujah!
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."