March 3—Morning Devotion
“That ye may be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.”—Ephesians 3:18-19
Did Paul pray that the church might be thus blessed? So should all faithful pastors. And there is enough in Jesus to call up the everlasting contemplation of his people. All the dimensions of divine glory are in Jesus. Who, indeed, shall describe the extent of that love which passeth knowledge? But, my soul, pause over the account. What is the breadth of it? Jesus’s death reaches in efficacy to all his seed—all his children: to thee, my soul; for thou art the seed of Jesus. And though that death took place at Jerusalem near two thousand years since, yet the efficacy of his blood, as from an high altar, as effectually washes away sin now, as in the moment it was shed. Remember, Jesus still wears the vesture dipped in blood. Remember, Jesus still appears as the Lamb slain before God. Indeed, indeed, Jesus was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. So that, in breadth, it is broader than the sea, taking in all the seed of Jesus, through all ages, all dispensations, all the various orders of his people. Neither is the length of it less proportioned. Who shall circumscribe the Father’s love, which is from everlasting to everlasting? Who shall limit Jesus’s grace? Is he not made of God, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption? Is he not all this, in every office, every character, every relation? “Jesus Christ; the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever!” And what is the depth of this love, but reaching down to hell, to lift up our poor fallen nature. And what is the height, but Jesus in our nature, exalted far above all principalities, and powers, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come! Precious God of my salvation! Oh, give me to see, to know, to entertain, and cherish, more enlarged views of this love; which hath no bottom, no bounds, no shore; but, like its Almighty Author, is from everlasting to everlasting. Shall I ever despond? Shall I ever doubt any more, when this Jesus looks upon me, loves me, washes me in his blood, feeds me, clothes me, and hath promised to bring me to glory? Oh, for faith “to comprehend, with all saints, this love of God which passeth knowledge.”
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."