Robert Hawker's Poor Man's Morning Portions

April 22—Morning Devotion

“Wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. “—Matthew 24:28

My soul! these are the words of Jesus, none of which should be suffered to fall to the ground. No doubt much instruction is contained in this passage. An eagle is a bird of prey: and Job saith, that the eagle hasteneth to the prey as the swift ships. Job 9:26. In all birds of prey there is great sagacity, a vast quickness of scent to smell their proper food afar off; and thus natural instinct, added to a rapacious appetite, compel those creatures to fly swift to their prey, and to devour the carcase. Is there nothing in all this that suits thee, my soul? Oh yes: If Jesus hath given thee a real principle of life in himself, which becomes a spiritual quickening from day to day, and from one hour to another, thy hungering and thirsting for Jesus will be as earnest and as importunate as the instinct of nature in those birds for daily food. Pause, my soul, and say—is it so? Dost thou seek after Jesus in his ordinances, in his word, in retirement, in meditation, in prayer, in providences; and, in short, in all the various ways by which thou mayest enjoy him, as a famished bird would hasten to his prey? If Jesus be indeed the one blessed object of thy desire, will not this be manifested by the earnestness of thy desires? Did David long for the waters of Bethlehem when thirsty? Did he declare,” that as the hart panteth for the waterbrooks,” so he longed for the enjoyment of God? Here then, my soul, mayest thou learn how to estimate the real standard of thy affections to thy Jesus. Oh for grace to have the soul exercised day and night, and never, never to give over those longings, like pregnant women, until the full desires of the soul in Jesus, and upon Jesus, be fully gratified. Methinks as the eagles gather together unto the carcase, so should believers be found feasting upon Jesus. In Jesus, and his glorious excellencies, every thing is suited to the wants of the believer: his name, his person, his work, his blood, his righteousness; every perfection, every promise, every experience we have had in him in times past, becomes food to the soul. So that the spiritual cravings of the soul, when the soul is in health and strength, like the natural cravings of the bird of prey, act like the same instinct to lead to and to feed upon Jesus. See then, my soul, whether this morning thou art risen with a keen appetite for Jesus. Surely thou hast tasted that the Lord is gracious in times past. And if thou art in health of soul, wilt thou not as much hunger again for this heavenly food, as the body of an healthy man craves for his morning meal? Oh blessed Lord, give me this appetite. Excite an hungering in me for thee. Let it be for thyself; not for thy gifts only, not for thy graces only, sweet as these are; but, blessed Jesus, let it be for thyself. And let this desire be continual: every day, and all the day. And let it be wholly to thee, in all that belongs to thee. I mean, after every thing in Jesus; thy cross, if needful, as well as thy crown; a love to thy precepts, as well as thy promises. And, O let this desire be so insatiable, so earnest, so unceasing, that nothing I have of thee may so satisfy me that I should long no more after thee; but rather provoke my soul’s appetite, and tend but to inflame my heart and longings more and more, till, from tasting of thee here below, thou bringest me to the fountain-head of enjoyment above, where my longing eyes and longing soul shall feast upon Jesus and his love for ever and for ever. Amen.

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."

Robert Hawker on the Biblical Covenants (Complete)
Robert Hawker's Poor Man's Morning Portions