March 20—Morning Devotion
“Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty.”—Isaiah 33:17
Who, my soul, but Jesus could be intended by this sweet promise? And who is beautiful and lovely in thine eyes but him? There was no beauty in him while thou wert in a state of unrenewed nature, that thou shouldest desire him; neither can any man truly love him, until that a soul is made light in the Lord. Is Jesus then lovely to thee? Hast thou seen him? Dost thou now know him, love him, behold him, as altogether fair, and the chiefest among ten thousand? Then, surely, this promise hath been, and is continually fulfilled in thy experience. Hast thou so seen him, as to be in love with him, and to have all thine affections drawn forth towards him? Dost thou, my soul, so behold him as to admire him, and love him above all; and so to love him, as never to be satisfied without him? Moreover – hast thou seen this King in his beauty, in his fulness, riches, and suitableness to thee as a Saviour? Surely, blessed Jesus, there are not only glorious, precious excellencies in thee, and thine own divine person, which command the love and affection of every beholder, as thou art in thyself; but there is a beauty indeed in thee, considered as thou art held forth by our God and Father, in all thy suitableness to thy people. In thy beauty, blessed Lord, there is to be seen a fulness of grace, and truth, and righteousness, exactly corresponding to the wants of poor sinners-thy blood, to cleanse, thy grace to comfort, thy fulness to supply; in thee there is every thing we can want-life, light, joy, pardon, mercy, peace, happiness here, glory hereafter. And do I not see thee, thou King, in thy beauty indeed, when I behold thee as coming with all these for my supply? So that, under the enjoyment of the whole, I feel constrained to cry out, with one of old,” I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my strength and my song; and he is become my salvation. “Neither is this all; for in beholding the King in his beauty, I behold him also in his love. Yes, blessed Lord, thou art indeed most beautiful and lovely; for thou hast so loved poor sinners, as to give thyself for them; and the conscious sense that our love to thee did not first begin, but thine to us was the first cause for exciting ours, and the shedding forth that love in our hearts, by thy blessed Spirit, first prompted our minds to look unto thee, makes thee lovely indeed. And now, Lord, every day’s view of thee increaseth that love, and brings home thy beauty more and more. The more frequent thou condescendest to visit my poor soul, the more beautiful dost thou appear. Every renewed manifestation, every view, every glimpse of Jesus, must tend to make my God and King more gracious and lovely to my soul, and add fresh fervour to my love. Come then, thou blessed, holy, lovely one, and ravish my spiritual senses with thy beauty, that I may daily get out of love with every thing of created excellency, and my whole soul be filled only with the love of Jesus; until, from seeing thee here below, through the medium of ordinances and grace, I come to look upon thee, and live for ever in thy presence, in the full beams of thy glory in thy throne above.
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."