The Poor Man's Morning and Evening Portions
Robert Hawker (1753-1827)
"Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life that I might take it again."—John x. 17.
Mark, my soul, the precious cause which thy Jesus here assigns for the love of his Father. God the Father not only loves God the Son, as God, one with him in nature and in all divine perfections; but he loves him peculiarly because he voluntarily undertook and accomplished by his death the salvation of his people. Now then, my soul, make these two sweet improvements from what Jesus hath here said. First, think what must have been, and now is, the love of thy God and Father to thee and every poor sinner, when he truly love, his dear Son because he became the Saviour of poor sinners. And, secondly, think what love Jesus hath shewn to poor sinners in thus manifesting his mercy in such a way, and how dear they must be to the heart of Jesus, which have made him dear in the sight of God. My soul, never lose sight of this argument, when thou goest to the mercy-seat. Tell thy God and Father thou art come to ask mercies in his name, and for his righteousness' sake, whom the Father loveth on this very account. And Oh, how very dear should Jesus be to thee for his blood and righteousness, who is dear to the Father for the same cause!
"And thou shalt say unto them, this is the offering made by fire, which ye shall offer unto the Lord; two lambs of the first year, without spot, day by day, for a continual burnt-offering. The one lamb shalt thou offer in the morning, and the other lamb shalt thou offer at even."—Numb. xxviii. 3, 4.
Pause, my soul, over the scriptural account of this solemn transaction! Think how infinitely important in the sight of Jehovah, was, and is, that vast sacrifice of the Lamb of God "slain from the foundation of the world," which every day, morning and evening, the Lord commanded to be set forth in an offering made by fire. With what exactness did the church observe this daily rite of oblation! How scrupulous were all true Israelites in this service! and how fully did it proclaim to them the doctrine that "without shedding of blood there was no remission!" Who that reads the solemn precept, and remarks the strictness of Israel in their obedience to it, but must be struck with this conviction? And who can for a moment doubt but that the whole was performed by faith in the Lamb of God, who, in after ages, did away all the penal effects of sin by the sacrifice of himself? Pause again, my soul. Hath this daily sacrifice ceased, as the prophet Daniel declared it should? (Dan. ix. 27.) Are the lamb of the morning and the lamb of the evening now no more? And wherefore? Because the thing signified being accomplished, the sign is needed to minister no longer; the substance being come, the shadow is for ever done away. And shall not thy morning and thine evening act of faith be expressly exercised upon this one Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world? Did the faithful Israelite at nine in the morning, and three in the evening, (the hours of those daily sacrifices) offer the lamb by faith in the promised Redeemer; and shall not the believing followers of the blessed Jesus have their hours of commemoration in spiritual acts of praise and faith upon the bleeding body of him, who by the one offering of himself, once offered, hath for ever perfected them that are sanctified? Yes, thou precious Lamb of God! I would pray for grace to behold thee in every act of faith, in every offering of prayer, every ordinance, every means of grace, and all the rites of religious worship. I would see thee through the whole of the bible as the one thing, the only thing signified. I would trace the sweet, the blessed, the soul-comforting, soul-strengthening, soul-transforming subject, until, from the Lamb Slain from the foundation of the world, I followed the Lamb whithersoever he went; until I beheld thee, as the beloved apostle saw thee, "the Lamb as it had been slain, in the midst of the throne," still wearing on thy glorified body the marks of our redemption. And there, precious Jesus, should my eyes fix, and my heart centre all her joys, because also in this exalted state thou art still the Lamb. Thy glory and thy power have made no change of nature, though of place. Thou art the Lamb of God, and the brother of thy people still. The eternal efficacy of thy blood and righteousness, and the everlasting love in thine heart towards thy redeemed are the same. As in person, so in office, thou art "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.." Amen.