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Robert Hawker, The Poor Man’s Morning Portions

“And there was a rainbow round about the throne.”—Revelation 4:3

Mark this, my soul, and connect with it what God said after the destruction of the old world by water: “I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh.” And was not this rainbow round the throne which John saw, to tell the church of Jesus, on whom the Father is always looking, to remember his everlasting covenant of grace? And what doth it say but this, there shall be no more a deluge, nor floods of vengeance poured out upon the sinner that believes in Jesus. He looks to Christ, while the Father beholds Christ: he trusts in Jesus, whom the Father hath trusted with his honour: he accepts Jesus as the whole of the covenant, in whom the Father beholds the whole of the covenant fulfilled. Help me, Lord, in the view of every renewed token of the rainbow in the heavens, to connect with it the promise of Jehovah to his poor redeemed upon earth. Yes, blessed Lord, there is a rainbow round about the throne; and Christ is the bow which Jehovah hath set in the cloud. On him, my soul, gaze and feast thy ravished eyes. On him thy God and Father looks, and is well pleased.

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“He hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted: neither hath he hid his face from him: but when he cried unto him he heard him.”—Psalm 22:24

My soul, behold Jesus, the Lamb of God, in this sweet scripture. Is it not said of him, that in the days of his flesh “he offered up strong crying and tears, and was heard in that he feared? Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.” And was Jesus the Holy One, the afflicted One, also? Was he truly so, when he bore thy sins? And was this the time to which the scripture refers, when God the Father had respect to the sufferings of Jesus, and neither despised nor abhorred them? Did the Father behold him then through the whole as the sinner’s Surety, and graciously accept Jesus and the church in him? Oh then, my soul, think of this in all thy trials and afflictions. Carry all thy sins and sorrows to the throne. Jesus knows them all, sees them all, nay, appoints them all. He is always looking upon thee, and presenting thee in himself to the Father. And depend upon it, as thy afflictions are not only known by him, but appointed by him, he will measure out no more to thee than he will sanctify. And so far from abhorring or despising thy affliction, he will with every sorrow grant support, and with every temptation make a way to escape. Go then, my soul, cast all thy care upon him; for he careth for thee.

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“And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father’s house.”—Isaiah 22:4

And who is this but Jesus, the true Eliakim and Governor of heaven and earth? Jesus sweetly explained it himself, when declaring himself possessing the key of David. Rev. 3:7. And hath not God the Father literally given all things into his hands? Is there any thing which Jehovah hath kept back? Hath it not pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell? Is not Jesus the head over all things to the church, which is his body? Is he not the Almighty Lord and Treasurer of all things—grace here, glory hereafter? And is not our Jesus the administrator of all things in the world, both of providence and grace? My soul, is there aught remaining to hang upon Jesus? Pause, hast thou hung upon him all the glory of thy salvation? Pause again, my soul. Is all and every title given? Is there aught kept back? Is there any Achan in the camp of thine heart? Forbid it, Lord. See to it, my soul, (for it is thy life,) that thou art “hanging all the glory of the Father’s house upon Jesus?” Make him not only the Alpha, but the Omega also of thy salvation. And as the Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hands; so do thou come to him for all things, receive from him all things, and ascribe to him all things, in the receipt of grace here, and glory hereafter—that Christ may be all, and in all, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

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“Thou shalt prepare thee a way, and divide the coasts of thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee to inherit, into three parts, that every slayer may flee thither.”—Deuteronomy 19:3

Sweet thought to my soul, that He who is the refuge is also the way to every poor soul-slayer, who hath murdered his own soul by sin. And who, my soul, could prepare thee this way, but God thy Father, who gave both Jesus for the way, and Jesus for the refuge? And how hath God the Spirit pointed to the way, cast up and prepared it, by taking up the stumbling-blocks out of the way, as God saith of his people? Isa. lvii. 14. Is it not God the Holy Ghost that sets Jesus up, as Moses did the serpent; points to his person, to his blood, to his righteousness, as the sanctuary and the city of refuge to every poor sinner that is the manslayer of his own soul? And if what the Jews have said be true, that magistrates once a year made it their duty to have the roads examined, lest any obstructions should arise to block the path of the poor fugitive; and that they were obliged to set up a post at every turning and avenue, with the word miklat—refuge, upon it, to direct the murderer in his flight; well may ministers, every day, and all the day, stand in the gates of the city, and in the high places of concourse, pointing to Jesus, and crying out, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!” Precious Lord Jesus! lo, I come to thee; thou art my city of refuge—thou art the miklat of my soul! Under thee, and in thee, I shall be safe. Cease, ye avengers of blood, your vain pursuit; Christ hath taken me in. Thou shalt answer for me, Oh Lord my God.

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“How much owest thou unto my lord?”—Luke 16:5

My soul, if this question, which the unjust steward put to his lord’s debtors, was put to thee concerning that immense debt which hath made thee insolvent for ever, what wouldest thou answer? Never couldest thou conceive the extent of it, much less think of paying the vast amount. A debtor to free grace for thy very being; a debtor to free grace for thy well-being; ten thousand talents, which the man in the parable owed his master, would not be sufficient to reckon up what thou in reality owest thy Lord, for even the common gifts of nature and of providence. But when the calculation goeth on in grace, what archangel shall write down the sum total? To the broken law of God, a bankrupt exposed to the justice of God; to the dreadful penalty of everlasting death; to the fears and alarms of a guilty conscience; to the worm that dieth not; to the accusations of Satan, unable to answer one in a thousand! My soul, how much owest thou unto thy Lord? Are there yet any other outstanding debts? Oh yes, infinitely and beyond all these! What thinkest thou, my soul, of Jesus? How much owest thou to the Father’s love in giving; to the Redeemer’s love in coming; and to the Holy Ghost in making the whole effectual to thy soul’s joy; by which Jesus hath paid all thy debts, cancelled all the demands of God’s righteous law, silenced Satan, answered justice; and not only redeemed thee out of the hands of everlasting bondage, misery, and eternal death, but brought thee into his everlasting kingdom of freedom, joy, and glory! Say, say, my soul, how much owest thou unto thy Lord? Oh precious debt! ever increasing, and yet everlastingly making happy in owing. Lord Jesus! I am thine, and thy servant for ever; thou hast loosed my bonds.

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“Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?”—Jeremiah 8:226

Yes, there is both balm in Gilead, and a physician there. For the blood and righteousness of Jesus is the truest balm; and Jesus himself a Sovereign and an Almighty Physician. But if that blood be not applied, if Jesus be not known nor consulted, how shall health be obtained? My soul, hast thou known thy disease, felt thy disorder? Art thou convinced that it is incurable by all human means—no medicine, no earthly physician, can administer relief? Hast thou known these things? And convinced of the infinite importance of seeking elsewhere, art thou come to Jesus? What sayest thou, my soul, to the enquiry? Art thou acquainted with Jesus? Hast thou made known thy case to him? And hath he told thee all that is in thine heart? Hath he taken thee under his care? Is he administering to thee the balm of Gilead? Oh my soul, see to it that nothing satisfieth thy mind, until that thou hast heard his soul-reviving voice, saying, “I am the Lord that healeth thee,” Exod. xv. 26. Seek it for thy life. Say unto the Son of God, “Speak but the word, Lord, and my soul shall be healed.”

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“The justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”—Romans 3:26

And who is this, indeed who can it be, but Jehovah? “It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth?” But, my soul, mark how each person of the Godhead is revealed in scripture under this character; as if to convince every poor sinner that is looking for redemption in Israel only in Jesus, that God can be just, and yet the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. God the Father justifieth the poor believing sinner: for he manifests that he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, having found a ransom in the blood of his Son for sin, whereby he is faithful to all his covenant promises in pardoning us, having received at our Lord’s hand double for all our sins. God the Son justifieth also his redeemed: for it is expressly said by the prophet,” In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” And that God the Holy Ghost justifieth, is as evident also; because it was through the eternal Spirit the offering of the body of Jesus Christ was offered, by which Christ is said to have been justified in the Spirit; and believers are said to be justified by virtue of it in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. Hence all the persons of the Godhead concur in the act of justifying every believer in Jesus; by whom we have peace with God, fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. Here then is a portion to live upon through life, in death, and to all eternity.

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“Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.”—Acts 11:16

Blessed promise! realize it, Oh thou Holy Spirit, day by day, in and upon my soul. Bring me under the continued baptisms of thy sovereign influence, and cause me to feel all the sweet anointings of the Spirit sent down upon the hearts and minds of thy redeemed, as the fruits and effects of Jesus’s exaltation, and the promise of God the Father. Yes, blessed Spirit, cause me to know thee in thy person, work, and power; in all thy offices, characters, and relations. I need thee day by day, as my Comforter. I need thee, as the Spirit of truth, to guide me into all truth. I need thee, as the Remembrancer of the Lord Jesus, to bring to my forgetful heart all the blessed things he hath revealed to me. I need thee, as the witness of my Jesus, to testify of my wants, and his fulness to supply. I need thee, as my advocate and helper, in all my infirmities in prayer. I need thee, as the earnest of the promised inheritance, that I may not faint, nor want faith to hold on and hold out in all dark seasons. I need thee, Lord; nay, I cannot do a moment without thee, nor act faith, nor believe a promise, nor exercise a grace, without thy constant, thine unceasing agency upon my poor soul. Come then, Lord, I beseech thee, and let me be brought under thine unceasing baptisms. Shed abroad the love of God my Father in my heart, and direct me into the patient waiting for Jesus Christ.

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“Behold the man whose name is the Branch.”—Zechariah 6:12

My soul, listen to the call, and behold this wonderful Man, whose name is the Branch. Mark the wonderful features of his person. This is one of the prophetical names of Him, in the faith of whom, as the Redeemer of Israel, all the old testament saints died. The branch of the Lord—the branch of righteousness; or, as he is elsewhere called, the Nazarene. But observe how very descriptive of his nature is this title. He grows up out of his place. And where is that? rain the eternal counsel of Jehovah. Who shall declare his generation? He is indeed a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots. But all this as the root himself of David; planted in the eternal purpose of God’s own sovereign decree, and budding forth as a branch in all the periods of his incarnation, death, resurrection, ascension, glory. And what a branch of never-failing loveliness, and everlasting verdure and fruitfulness, in all the proclamations of his gospel, converting sinners, and comforting saints. And what an eternal perennial branch to all his redeemed in grace and glory. Hail, thou glorious, wonderful Man, whose name is the Branch! Thou art indeed, as the prophet described thee, beautiful and glorious in the eyes of all thy redeemed. On thee, Lord, would I hang all the glory of thy Father’s house, and all the glory of my salvation. May it be my portion to sit under thy shadow with great delight here, until thou bring me home to sit under thee, the tree of life, in the Paradise of God, in the fulness of enjoyment of thee for ever.

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“I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it.”—Revelation 3:8

Blessed Jesus! thou hast indeed done all this, and more. Thou art thyself the door into thy fold here below, and to thy courts above; for thou hast said, by thee, “whosoever entereth in, shall go in, and find pasture:” and it is thou that hast opened a new and living way by thy blood. Thou art the only possible way of access to the Father. And because thou hast opened it, no man can shut it; for thou ever livest to keep the way, which thou hast once opened, still open, by thy all prevailing intercession. Yes, thou heavenly Lord, the gate is never shut, day nor night, in the preaching of thine everlasting gospel, all the ends of the earth shall see this salvation of our God. And, as thou hast graciously said, all that come to God by thee, shall never be shut out. The word, the authority, the warrant of Jehovah, is gone forth to this purpose. Thy blood and righteousness secure it. The Spirit sets his seal to it. Thou wilt receive, thou wilt bless, thou wilt cause all the Father hath given thee to come to thee; and thou wilt keep the door always open for all comers. Oh heavenly way! Oh precious, endless salvation! My soul, see to it that thou art entered in, and there abidest securely. Oh ye! my fellow sinners, yet without, rouse up from your carnal security and sloth, before the master of the house hath arisen and shut to the door; and ye then, too late, cry out, “Lord, Lord, open to us. Now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation.”

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“The king is held in the galleries.”—Song of Solomon 7:5

And who but Jesus is King in Zion? As one with the Father over all, God blessed for ever, he is indeed the King eternal, immortal, invisible. And as Mediator God-man, he is my God and King, both by his conquest of my heart, and the voluntary surrender of my soul. Yes, blessed Jesus, I not only hail thee my God and King, but I would have every knee bow before thee, and every tongue confess that thou art Lord and King, to the glory of God the Father. But, my soul, what are those galleries where thy King is held? Are they the scriptures of truth, where Jesus is held and retained, adored and admired? Or are they the public ordinances of thine house, or the place where thine honour dwelleth; or the secret chamber, or the closet of retirement and meditation; when thou comest to visit thy people, and when thou knockest at the door of their hearts, when thou comest in to sup with them, and they with thee? Well, my gracious, condescending Lord, be they what they may, or where they may; methinks, like the patriarch, when thou comest to wrestle with my poor, heedless and sleepy heart, I will hold thee in the galleries, and say, as he did,” I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” I would say, as another famous patriarch did, “My Lord, if I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away from thy servant. Rest yourself under the tree; and I will fetch a morsel of thine own bread, and of thine own giving, and comfort ye your hearts: for therefore are ye come to your servant,” Gen. 18:3-5. I would entreat thee, Lord, not to be as the wayfaring man, that turneth in to tarry but for the night: but I would hold thee in the galleries of thine own graces, and thine own strength, imparted to my poor soul; and I would beg of thee, and entreat thee to tarry until the dawn of day, and make thyself fully known unto me, in breaking of bread, and in prayer. Yes, my adorable King, my Lord and my God! I would detain thee in the galleries, I would hold thee fast, I would not let thee go, until that I had brought thee into my mother’s house, the church— and until thou hadst brought me home to thine eternal habitation which is above; and there to sit down at thy feet to go out no more, but at the fountain head of joy to drink of the spiced wine of the juice of the pomegranate in everlasting felicity.

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“Brethren, pray for us.”—1 Thessalonians 5:25

My soul, mark how earnestly the apostle sought an interest in the prayers of the faithful. And if so eminent a servant in the church of Jesus thus entreated to be remembered by the brethren at the mercy-seat, how needful must it be that the brethren should remember one another; not only ministers to pray for the people, but the people for their ministers. “Brethren, pray for us,” should be the constant request of every lover of Jesus. Methinks I would ask every one that I knew to be a constant attendant at the heavenly court, to speak for me to the king when he was most near, and in the enjoyment of his presence. Tell the Lord, I would say, that his poor prisoner needs his alms, longs for his grace, and is waiting the anxious expectations of his visits. Beg for me, that I may live always under the blessed tokens of his love, that I may be ever living near the Lord, and strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus. And do tell his Sovereign Majesty that the one great object of my soul’s desire is, that I may have increasing views of the infinite dignity of his person, work, merit, offices, relations, characters, and in short, every thing that relates to one so dear, so lovely, so glorious, and so suited to a poor sinner, as the Lord Jesus Christ is in all things. And do add for me, that my humble suit is, that after he hath given me all in gifts and graces that he sees needful for me in my pilgrimage state, that Jesus will give me yet more than all, by giving me himself, and causing my heart to be dissatisfied with all but himself; for until Jesus himself be my portion, I still have not what I want. It is not enough to give me life; but he himself must be my life. It is not enough to give me rest, unless he himself is my rest, and I rest in him. Precious Jesus! I would say, in thyself is all I need: all to pardon, all to justify, all to sanctify, all to glorify, all to satisfy, all to make happy here and for ever. Brethren, let this be your prayer for me, and it shall be mine for you; that Jesus be the all in all of our souls, and our portion for ever.

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“I will strengthen them in the Lord, and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith the Lord.”—Zechariah 10:12

My soul, mark these words, how precious they are; and mark the Speaker and Promiser, and consider how sure they are. Is not this God the Father speaking of the church, and most graciously assuring the church that he will strengthen the church in Jesus, the church’s glorious Head? Is not this said with an eye to Christ, who is represented in another part of this blessed prophecy as calling upon the church to attend to him, who is come to build the temple of the Lord, and to bear all the glory, and who expressly saith that the church shall know that he, the Lord of Hosts, is sent by the Lord of Hosts unto his people? Who but the Lord of Hosts could build the temple of the Lord of Hosts; or who but him bear all the glory? Zech. 6:12. So then, my soul, observe that Christ is the strength, as well as the righteousness of his redeemed. And do observe further, that when at any time thou art strengthened in Jesus, it is the Father’s gracious hand and office which is manifested in this merciful act. If thou art drawn at any time to Jesus, it is the Father’s sweet constraining love that thus works upon the soul. John 6:44. If thou enjoyest at any time some new and delightful revelation of Jesus, which lifts thee up with a joy unspeakable, remember, my soul, from whom the blessing comes; and learn to ascribe the mercy, the distinguishing mercy, as the apostle did, to the Father’s grace, when it pleased him to separate thee from thy mother’s womb, and called thee by his grace to reveal his Son in thee, Gal. 1:15, 16. Yes, Almighty Father, it is thy special mercy, both to give thy Son, and with him all things, to the highly favoured objects of thine everlasting love. It was he who, from all eternity, didst contrive, order, will, appoint, and prepare the great salvation of the gospel, and choose Christ as the head, and the church as the body of this stupendous work of redemption. It is thou which hast carried on and executed all the great designs; and it is thou who dost strengthen and complete the whole in the final salvation of all the members of it, in grace here, and glory hereafter. Blessed, holy compassionate Lord God! for Jesus’s sake fulfil this promise daily in my soul; bear me up, carry me through, and strengthen me in the Lord my God, that I may indeed walk up and down in his name, until thou bring me in to see his face in thine eternal home, and dwell under the light of his countenance for ever.

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“As for me I am poor and needy, yet the Lord thinketh upon me.”—Psalm 40:17

My soul, sit down, and reckon up thy true riches. See what are thine outward circumstances, and take an inventory of all thine inward wealth. Thou art, by nature and by practice, one of the children of a bankrupt father, even Adam, who lived insolvent, and died wretchedly poor in himself, having entailed only an inheritance of sin, misery, and death, with the loss of divine favour, upon the whole race of his children. By nature and by practice thou art poor in the sight of God, despised by angels on account of thy loathsome disease of sin; thine understanding darkened; thy will corrupt; passions impetuous, proud, self-willed; all in opposition to the law of God; exposed to all present evil, everlasting evil; a slave to Satan, a willing captive in his drudgery; hastening daily to death, to the second death, and with an insensibility which is enough to make every heart mourn that beholds thee. Such, my soul, was thy state by nature; and such, and far worse, would have been thy state for ever, had not Jesus interposed, and looked upon thee, and loved thee, when thou wast cast out to perish, and no eye to pity thee, nor help thee from thy ruin. My soul, canst thou now say, though poor and needy, the Lord thinketh upon thee? Oh blessed Jesus! thou dost indeed think upon me, and provide for me, and hast given me to see, to feel, my poverty, need, and misery; and to live wholly upon thee and thy alms from day to day. Yes, Jesus! I would be poor, I would be needy; I would feel yet more and more my nothingness, worthlessness, poverty, wretchedness, that Jesus may be increasingly precious, and thy salvation increasingly dear. Oh for grace, as a poor needy debtor, daily to swell my debt account, that my consciousness of need may make thee and thy fulness increasingly blessed. Let it be my daily motto—” As for me, I am poor and needy; but the Lord thinketh upon me.”

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“And he must needs go through Samaria.”—John 4:4

And what was there, blessed Jesus, that constrained thee to this necessity? Was it because there was a poor adulterous woman there, that needed thy grace, and the hour was come for her conversion? Sweet thought! let me cherish it this morning. Was there not the same needs be for the Father setting thee up, from everlasting, for the head of thy church and people? Could there have been a church without thee? And when thy church had fallen by sin, what archangel could have recovered her but thee? Why then there was a needs be that thou shouldest take the nature of thy people upon thee, and come to seek and save that which was lost. And as it is said of thee concerning this poor woman, that “he must needs go through Samaria,” so must it be equally said, Jesus must needs go to Jerusalem, to save Jerusalem sinners by his blood. Oh yes, there was a blessed necessity upon thee, thou Lamb of God, that thou shouldest do all this. “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?” My soul, indulge this precious thought yet further, and see if there be not a needs be in thy Jesus for numberless other occasions. Is there not a blessed necessity that Jesus should give out of his fulness to his people? Is there not a needs be, when his blessed gospel is preached, that he should be present to give virtue and efficacy to the word delivered? Might not every poor, waiting, needy sinner say, there is a blessed necessity Christ should be here? Surely he is constrained by his promise, that where two or three are met in his name, he is in the midst of them; and therefore he will come, he will bless his word, he will give out of his fulness; for he knows my need, and the need of all his people present. Nay, is not the glory of our Jesus depending upon the receiving of his poor, and making them rich by his bounty? Go one step further, my soul, this morning, as it concerns thyself. Doth not Jesus know now thy state, thy want, thy circumstances, and that thou art waiting for thy morning alms before that thou canst leave his gate? Then is there not a needs be that he, who was constrained to pass through Samaria, should come to thee? Precious, precious Jesus! I wait thy coming; I long to hear thy voice. What I need thou knowest. And as thy glory and my salvation are both blended, do for me, Lord, as shall best conduce to this one end, and all will be well. Jesus will be glorified, and my soul made happy. Amen.

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“And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”—Deuteronomy 6:9

See, my soul, what a gracious provision the Lord made for the glory and honour of his Israel, that ever traveller passing by might say, ‘Here dwelleth an Israelite indeed; he hath the name of the Lord of Hosts upon his house.’ And did it please the Lord God of Israel so to have his people known, and shall it be not my desire to have thy name, Lord, upon the gates of my house. Shall any pass by my door, ignorant that a lover of the Lord Jesus dwelleth there? Nay, shall I not esteem it my highest honour to have it known whose I am, and whom I serve, in the gospel of’ his dear Son? Shall I be ashamed of that name before which every knee bows in heaven and in earth? Oh Lord Jesus, not only write thy name upon the gates of my house, but engrave it in the centre of my heart, my affections, my first, and last, and earliest, and latest thoughts! Let it be my rapture and my joy, to speak out of the abundance of my heart concerning thee and thy great salvation. In all I say, in all I do, let it be manifest that I am in pursuit of him whom my soul loveth. Let every action tend to recommend thy dear name; and whether at home or abroad, in my house or family, when lying down or when rising up, let all creation witness for me, that the love, the service, the interest, the glory, of my God in Christ, is the one only object of my soul’s desire; and let every thing speak this language; “Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth I desire but thee; and though my flesh and heart fail, yet thou art the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.”

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“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have eternal life.”—John 3:14, 15

Pause, my soul, over these words, and remember that they are the words of Jesus. Call to mind the wonderful event to which Christ refers, in the church’s history in the wilderness, as related, Numb. 21:5—9. Israel had sinned; and the Lord sent fiery flying serpents among the people, which bit them, and they died. In their distress they cried unto the Lord, and the Lord appointed this method of cure. A figure of a serpent was made in brass, to which Israel was commanded to look only, and be healed. They who did so, lived. If any refused, he died. This was the ordinance of God. “Now,” saith Jesus, “as Moses, at the command of God, lifted up the serpent, so must I be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in me shall never perish, but have eternal life.” Now, my soul, mark what the Saviour saith, and see the blessedness contained in his precious assurance. It was a serpent, that stung the Israelites. It was the old serpent, the devil, which poisoned our nature at the fall. All his temptations, assaults, and poisons, are fiery. And when the dreadful effects of sin are felt in the awakened conscience, how do they burn with terrors in the soul! What could the dying Israelite do to heal those venomous bites? Nothing. Would medicine cure? No. Was there no remedy within the power of man? No; it baffled all art, it resisted all attempts to heal. Such is sin. No prayers, no tears, no endeavours, no repentance can wash away sin. If the sinner be restored, it must be by the interposition and mercy of God alone. Now observe the method God took with Israel—a figure of brass. And if, as some men tell us, any thing shining like brass, to look upon, when the head and brain is diseased, would make the person mad; so far was this serpent of brass likely to cure, that it was the most unpromising thing in the world to accomplish it. But yet it was God’s command; and that was enough. It infallibly cured. Look now to Christ. Here also is God’s appointment, God’s command, God’s authority. Christ was made in the likeness of sinful flesh: and though holy in himself, yet becoming sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. The single precept is, “Look unto me, and be ye saved.” What, must I do nothing, bring nothing, take nothing? No. The answer is, “look unto me.” This is the appointed way. Christ is the One only ordinance; Christ is the Altar, Offering, High Priest. “If thou liftest up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.” Christ is the Father’s gift for healing. In Jesus there is a fulness to heal. Faith then hath a double plea—the authority of God the Father, and the fulness of salvation in God the Son. Lord, I take this for my warrant. Help me, thou blessed Spirit, so to look, so to depend, so to fix my whole soul on this complete remedy for all my need, that heaven and earth may witness for me, I seek salvation in no other, being most fully convinced that there is salvation in no other; “neither is there any other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

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“For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.”—Isaiah 25:4

Who so poor as Jesus’s poor? Who so needy as the needy of the Redeemer? The world knoweth them not, because it knew him not. And as the master was, so are his servants in this world. But, my soul, observe how sweetly Jesus is all this. A strength to the poor in his distress, by taking all the storm himself. He is a shadow from the heat, the heat of the wrath of a broken law, which Jesus bore himself, when he died to expiate the breaches of it. His blood and righteousness cool the heat of sin, and quench all the fiery darts of the wicked: these terrible ones which beat upon a poor sinner like a storm against the wall. Moreover, when the showers of wrath shall fall at the last day on the wicked, when that horrible tempest of fire and brimstone, the Psalmist speaks’ of, shall come down on the ungodly, Jesus will be an hiding- place from the storm, and a covert from the tempest: not a drop can fall on those that are under him, and sheltered by his blood and righteousness. As the church is now said to sit under his shadow with great delight in this wilderness state, and his fruit is sweet to her taste; so when she is fairly come up out of it, having all along leaned upon her beloved, and having entered with him into his glory; there will be both security and delight, everlasting safety and joy. Precious Jesus, thou hast been a strength indeed to my poor soul, and thou wilt be my portion for ever. Oh give me to see my daily need of thee, to feel my poverty and weakness; the exercises of persecution, both without and within; that from all the terrors of the law, the alarms of guilt in the conscience, the remains of in-dwelling sin in a body of death, which is virtually all sin—the accusations of Satan, the just judgments of God; in thee, thou one glorious ordinance of heaven, precious Lord Jesus, I may behold myself secure in thee, and continually cry out, in the language of thy servant the prophet, “Surely shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength; even to thee do I come; and never shall I be ashamed or confounded, world without end.”

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“While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof.”—Song of Solomon 1:12

That was a precious testimony Mary gave of her love to Jesus; and Jesus himself hath given his approbation of it, when she anointed Jesus’s feet with the spikenard. God our Father hath anointed his dear Son; and so ought we. Surely God’s anointed should be our anointed; and if Mary poured forth the best of her offerings, my soul, do thou the same. Indeed, while the king sitteth at his table, and reigneth in thine heart, the graces will flow. Yes, thou heavenly King! when thou spreadest thy table, and callest thy redeemed as thy guests, while thou suppest with them, and they with thee, the humble spikenard, in the heart of a sinner, awakened by thy grace, and brought forth into exercise, will send forth all that shall testify love, and praise, and affection, and duty, and regard. Do thou then, dearest Lord, sit as a king frequently at thy table. Let me hear thy gracious invitation: “Eat, O friends; yea, drink abundantly, O beloved!” And, O thou heavenly Master! as all at the table is thine; the bread of life, the water of life, the wine of thy banquet—and all is thine own, and of thine own do thy redeemed give thee; “let me hear thy voice, let me see thy countenance.” And while thou givest forth thyself with all thy fulness, O let my poor spikenard send forth faith and grace in lively exercise, that I may eat of thy flesh, and drink of thy blood, and have eternal life abiding in me.

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“In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found; for I will pardon them whom I reserve.”—Jeremiah 1:20

What those days and that time refer to is very plain; namely, the day when the great trumpet shall be blown, and when they shall come which were ready to perish; the glorious day of gospel grace by Jesus. For God the Father, having appointed and accepted a Surety for poor sinners, in the blood and righteousness of his dear Son, beholds no iniquity in Jacob, nor perverseness in Israel. Blessed thought to comfort a poor soul—that, seen in Christ, and accepted in the beloved, “there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit!” Pause, my soul, over this precious scripture, and take to thyself the comfort of it. If thou art in Christ, thou art beheld righteous in his righteousness; and, as thy Surety, what he wrought, and what he suffered, was for thee. So that, in this sense, thou art, as Christ tells the church, all fair, and there is no spot in thee. So that, amidst all thy groans for the remains of indwelling sin, (and groan thou dost daily,) and as thou sometimes art prompted to think, there is growing imperfection in thee; yet, in Jesus, as thou art found and beheld in him, sin is pardoned, and thy person accepted, and thou art in a state of justification before God in the righteousness of God thy Saviour. And, as this is so essential to be known and enjoyed, see to it, my soul, that thou livest upon it. Go in the strength of Christ’s righteousness every day to the throne, pleading that righteousness, and that only. And, under a perfect conviction that not a single sin of thine was left out when Jesus bore the sins of his people on the tree, beg for grace to exercise faith, and to know that in Jesus thou art justified before God, and that God hath cast all thy sins into the depths of the sea. “Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and goodness of God!” What shall separate from the love of Christ?—surely not sin. For Jesus hath put away sin by the sacrifice of himself! The law of God cannot: for that law, Jesus, as the sinner’s Surety, hath satisfied. And justice, so far from condemning, now approves. God is just to his dear Son, as our Surety, who hath answered all the demands of sin, and therefore hath forgiven sin, and cleansed from all unrighteousness. Blessed thought! in this day sin is pardoned in Christ: and in that day, when God shall arise to judgment, the sin of Judah, and the iniquity of Israel cannot be found.

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