May 25—Morning Devotion
“And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity.”—Isaiah 33:24
What is this? What happy climate is there where any of its inhabitants are exempt from sickness? Where is that salubrious air, that is not impregnated with disease? Surely, no where but in heaven. But if the cause of sickness be removed; if the envenomed dart of sin be taken out, and hath lost its poison, the inhabitant no longer complains, for both the evil and the pain are gone. My soul, hast thou found this happy spot? Hath Jesus manifested such views of his pardoning grace in the all-sufficiency of his blood and righteousness, that thou not only art fully convinced and satisfied that his blood cleanseth from all sin; but that thou as fully believest and resteth in it for thy salvation; and art of the happy number of those who believe to the salvation of the soul. Hath Jesus said to thee, as to the poor man in the gospel, “Son, be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee?” Surely, then, thou art the inhabitant the prophet pointed at, and art no longer, sick, but dwelling in the faith, and forgiven thine iniquity. Blessed Physician! I am no longer sick of that dreadful sickness which is unto death, in an unrenewed, unpardoned, unregenerated state. But I am sick indeed, and fainting for the fresh manifestations of thy grace. I am languishing, thou dearest Lord, for the renewed visits of thy love, the enjoyment of thy person, the larger, fuller, more constant discoveries of thyself and thy glory. When wilt thou come unto me? When will the day of everlasting light break in upon my soul? When shall I behold thee among the inhabitants of the upper, brighter world? Oh ye spirits of just men made perfect; ye who now dwell for ever under the perpetual smiles of Jesus’s face; ye who once knew what it was to live in the unceasing desire of his renewed visits, and how precious all his love tokens are—tell him what longings my soul now hath, and what faintings I feel for his manifestation. Tell him, I charge you, Oh ye daughters of the new Jerusalem, ye that everlastingly behold my beloved, tell him that I am sick of love.
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."