Robert Hawker's Poor Man's Morning Portions

April 30—Morning Devotion

“Nevertheless, I am continually with thee. “—Psalm 73:23

Yes, my soul, and well it is for thee that it is so; there is a nevertheless in the precious redemption by Jesus, which secures thee, amidst all thy languishing seasons, when to thy view it sometimes appears as though the Lord had forgotten to be gracious, and had shut up his loving-kindness in displeasure. And whence this security but in Jesus, and the covenant engagements of God thy Father in him? The everlasting worth and efficacy of the Redeemer’s righteousness and death, are the same amidst all the changeable circumstances of his people’s warfare. By the expression of being continually with Jesus, is meant, no doubt, that union with his person, as the sinner’s Surety, which gives security and firmness to the everlasting state and happiness of his redeemed. And it is this which constitutes, not only the safety of his people now, but the happiness of his people for ever. Heaven itself, but for Jesus, and the constant flow of righteousness and glory in him, and from him, would cease to be heaven. The souls of just men made perfect could be no longer happy nor righteous, but as those supplies flow in upon their souls from him. So that the everlasting preciousness of Jesus, as the glorious Head of his people, is thus confirmed, and the felicity of the church must be wholly made up from this eternal union with him. Hence how precious the thought, “I am continually with thee!” And is this thy portion, my soul? Art thou alive to this sweet and soul-reviving thought? Is Jesus, thy Jesus, continually with thee, and thou continually with him? See to it, that the nearness of Jesus to thee hath the same effect upon thee, as with things in nature, when the earth and the inhabitants testify their sense of feeling. Doth not the earth, and the plants, and the birds, and every thing look gay when the sun renews the face of the earth, and shines with loveliness to make all nature smile? And shall thy Sun of Righteousness arise unobserved or unenjoyed, who comes with healing in his wings? Oh precious Jesus, cause me so to live upon thee, that I may be always eyeing thee, in dark seasons as well as bright hours; that, from never suffering thy dear image to depart for a moment from my heart, I may be so prepared to behold thy face in open glory, when the veil of this flesh is removed, and I awake up after thy likeness, that, though I change my place, I shall not change my company. In earth, or heaven, yet, if with thee, happiness is begun in the soul; and faith, in lively exercise, is itself an anticipation of glory, by just so much as the soul realizeth thy sweet presence, in being ever with the Lord.

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