Robert Hawker's Poor Man's Morning Portions

April 27—Morning Devotion

“Behold how he loved him!”—John 11:36

The tears of Jesus at the tomb of Lazarus produced that astonishment in the mind of the Jews, that they thus exclaimed! But had they known, or did the whole world know, what I know of thy love to me, thou dear Redeemer of my soul, every one that heard it might with greater wonder cry out,” Behold how he loveth him!” I would for the present pass by, in my contemplation of thy love, all the numberless instances of it, which I possess in common with thy church and people; for though these in every and in all cases carry with them the tokens of a love that passeth knowledge, yet, for the meditation of the morning, I would pause over the view of Jesus’s love to me a poor sinner, not as it is displayed in general mercies, even the glorious mercies of redemption, but as those mercies come home, in their peraonal direction of them to my own heart, even to mine. Think, my soul, what a huge volume thou wilt have to read over in eternity, of Jesus’s love to thee, as distinguished, express, personal, and partieular. And, amidst all the several chapters of that love, how wilt thou dwell with rapture on those two sweet verses of it, which, like the hymn in one of the psalms, thou wilt have to chaunt aloud, after the review of every blessing noted down; “for his mercy endureth for ever. “I mean, first, that Jesus should ever look with pity on thee; and next to this, that after such distinguishing grace, the floods of sin and corruption in thee should not have quenched that love, and extinguished it for ever. The thought of Jesus’s love, if looked at only in these two points of view, will be enough to employ thy immortal faculties in contemplation, and love, and praise to all eternity. Pause, my soul, and take a short view of each. Jesus looked on thee, loved thee, called thee, redeemed thee, manifested himself to thee, otherwise than he doth to the world; and this at a time when thousands and tens of thousands are passed by, of temper, mind, disposition, and understanding, in every point of view vastly thy superiors, and far more promising to glorify him. Bow down, my soul, while thou ponderest over the rich mercy, and refer all the praise and all the glory unto him, whose free grace, not thy deserts, became the sole cause. And when thou hast fully turned this astonishing subject over in thy mind, think again, that after such distinguishing grace, how increasingly astonishing it is that all thy repeated and aggravated transgressions have not extinguished this love towards thee, but that Jesus still loves, though thou hast been, and still continuest, so ungrateful. Oh love unequaled, past all comprehension! When shall this base, this shameful heart of mine so love thee, as to live to thy glory? Lord, I abhor myself in this view of thy grace and my vileness!

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