March 2—Morning Devotion
“For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.”—2 Corinthians 8:12
Sweet thought this to comfort the soul under small attainments, “If there be first a willing mind.” Surely, Lord, thou hast given me this; for thou hast made me willing in the day of thy power. I feel as such, my soul going forth in desires after thee, as my chief and only good; though, alas! how continually do I fall short of the enjoyment of thee. I can truly say, “whom is there in heaven, or upon earth, that I desire in comparison of thee?” When thou art present, I am at once in heaven; it makes a very heaven in my soul: thou art the God of my exceeding joy. When thou art absent my soul pines after thee? And truly, “I count all things but dung and dross to win thee;” for whatever gifts thou hast graciously bestowed upon me, in the kindness of friends, in the affections and charities of life, yet all these are secondary considerations with my soul. They are more or less lovely, as I see thy gracious hand in them; but all are nothing to my Lord. Is not this, dearest Jesus, a willing mind? Is it not made so in the day of thy power? But in the midst of this, though I feel this rooted desire in me after thee, yet how often is my heart wandering from thee. Though there is at the bottom of my heart a constant longing for thy presence, and the sweet visits of thy love; yet through the mass of unbelief, and the remains of in-dwelling corruption in my nature, which are keeping down the soul; how doth the day pass, and how often doth the enemy tempt me to question my interest in thee. Dearest Jesus! undertake for me. I do cry out, “When wilt thou come to me,” though I am thus kept back from coming to thee? When wilt thou manifest thyself to my soul, and come over all these mountains of sin and unbelief, and fill me with a joy unspeakable and full of glory? And doth Jesus indeed accept from the willing mind, he hath himself given, according to what a man hath, and not according to what he hath not? – Doth my Redeemer behold, amidst the rubbish, the spark of grace he himself hath kindled? Will he despise the day of small things? No, he will not. It was said of thee, that” thou shouldest not break the bruised reed, neither quench the smoaking flax.” Mine, indeed, is no more. But yet Jesus will bear up the one, and kindle the other, until he send forth judgment unto victory. Peace, then, my soul! weak as thou art in thyself, yet art thou strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
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."