May 1—Morning Devotion
“Thou shalt call his name Jesus.”—Matthew 1:21
This is one more of the Redeemer’s names, which is as ointment poured forth. As if the Holy Ghost had been graciously consulting the everlasting comfort and happiness of his people, and therefore commanded the church to know their Lord, by so many different and endearing appellations. As if he bad said, are you kept back from approaching him through fear? Oh no;—go to him, for he is Emanuel. So great, as God, that he is able to save; so tender and near, as man, that he is more ready to bestow mercy than you are to ask it. Are you kept back for want of righteousness? Be not so, for he is the Lord our righteousness, and what you need he hath for you. Or, are you depressed by reason of sin? Let not this discourage you, for his name is purposely Jesus, because he, and he alone,” shall save his people from their sins. “My soul, what knowest thou practically and personally of this most blessed name of thy Saviour? It is one thing to have heard of him as Jesus, and another to know him to be Jesus, There are multitudes who rest satisfied with the name. The Jews knew him, saw him, conversed with him; but they knew him not as a Saviour. Nay more than this, many have had, and still have, an historical knowledge and belief that Jesus is a Saviour, but yet no apprehension or concern for an interest in him. Thus Balaam, whose eyes were so far opened, but his heart never affected, as to have visions concerning Christ. But what an awful account did this impious creature give of himself! “I shall see him, (said he) but not now; I shall behold, him, but not nigh.”—Numb, 24:17. What an awful state! O my soul, bless thy God, thy Jesus, that thy knowledge is not of the head only, but of the heart. Thou hast not simply heard of Jesus, but received him as Jesus, to the salvation of thy soul. Thou hast seen God in Christ; the Father’s name, the Father’s authority in him. Thou hast come to him in that name, and by that authority, as a poor sinner, and found Jesus precious. And is not Jesus precious to thee? Is not the very name of Jesus most precious? As one of old expressed it, so hast thou found it, that in this one name of thy Lord, the whole of the gospel is folded up; it is the light, the food, the medicine, the very jubilee of the soul. Yes, thou blessed, holy, gracious Lord! Yes, thy name is indeed Jesus, for thou art, thou wilt be Jesus. “And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee, for thou shalt save thy people from their sins.”
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."