May 20—Morning Devotion
“Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left hand riches and honour.”—Proverbs 3:16
What is sweetly said of Jesus in one scripture, as the Glory-wisdom, is as sweetly sung in another scripture, as the husband of his church and people. Yes, Lord, thy right-hand blessings may well be called length of days, for they are life itself, even life everlasting in thee: and thy left-hand mercies, which include all temporal good, may well merit the name of riches and honour, for thou givest to all that love thee to inherit substance, and thou fillest all their treasures. There is no substance in any, nothing satisfying, nothing substantial, where thou art not. Why then, blessed Jesus, if these things be so, I would say to thee, as the church of old did, “Put thy left hand under my head, and let thy right hand embrace me.” This will make every thing sweet, and every thing precious. Even thy left-hand blessings, in the sanctified use of afflictions, sorrow, bereaving providences, sickness, and the like, even these, being Jesus’s appointments, will bring with them Jesus’s blessing; and while thine hand is under my head, how shall these, or aught else, separate me from thee? And concerning thy right-hand blessings, in the pardon of my sins, washing me in thy blood, clothing me with thy righteousness, justifying me with thy salvation, feeding me, sustaining me, leading me, comforting me, bringing me on, and bringing me through, and by and by bringing me home to glory; that, where thou art, there I shall be also. Oh, precious Jesus, grant me in this sweet sense to know thee, and to enjoy thee, in every thing; for sure I am, that “riches and honour are with thee, yea, durable riches and righteousness.”
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."