Robert Hawker's Poor Man's Morning Portions

May 10—Morning Devotion

“By the high-way side begging.”—Mark 10:46

My soul, learn a lesson from the beggar this morning. And Oh thou blessed friend of beggars, do thou sweetly make the view gracious to my soul. What was it led this poor man to the high-way side to seek alms? Surely his poverty, wretchedness, and a sense of want. And art thou come forth, my soul, from the same cause, and on the same errand? I presume this poor creature came forth empty; for had he been full he would never have come. And art thou so, my soul! for otherwise it is certain, they that are full in themselves never seek Jesus. But amidst his want and poverty, had this poor beggar hopes that the passers by would commiserate his case and relieve him? Yes, no doubt: though some might overlook and disregard him, all would not. But, my soul, thy case far exceeds his. Though all disregard, Jesus will not: and thou art sure he will pass by, and not only behold thy misery, but give thee needed relief. Jesus, Master, have mercy upon me! Behold, I am come out this morning as poor, as wretched, as empty, and as needy, as though I never before had heard of thy dear name, or been living upon thy fulness. But thou knowest that I cannot live upon the alms of yesterday, no more than my body can keep in health from the food received in the many days that are past, without a new supply, Lord, I know that I am thine, and that thou art mine. I therefore come to thee for a suited supply; and surely, thou wilt not send me empty away. Indeed, Lord, I rejoice that I feel my poverty; for I am thereby, as an empty vessel, better suited for receiving of thy fulness. Give in, blessed Jesus, to my poor hungry soul, and then I shall find cause to rejoice that my emptiness and beggary constrained me to seek thee; and that my need afforded an opportunity for the display of thy grace. Yes, yes, blessed Lord, I am not only content to be poor and to be needy, but to be nothing, to be worse than nothing, so that if thereby my blessed Jesus gets glory in the manifestation of his love and the giving out of his riches, “I will glory even in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” A beggar still I wish to be, and to lay at thy gate, if but to glimpse at thy face, and to receive one token from thy fair hand. Indeed, indeed, then am I most full, when most empty, to be filled with Jesus.

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