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Grace Fellowship

The Poor Man's Morning and Evening Portions

Robert Hawker (1753-1827)

May 22

Morning

"Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master."—Luke viii. 49.

Mark, my soul, in the exercises of the father of this child, and in the happy issue of his application to Jesus how very precious it is, to wait the Lord's time for deliverance, and always to keep in view that delays are not denials. The poor man's child was nearly dead when he first came to Christ. And had the greatest dispatch been used, there would have been still much occasion for the exercise of faith and patience. But as if this was not enough, another poor sufferer comes in the way to stop the progress of Jesus in the cure of his daughter, and during this loss of time his child dies. My soul, here is a sweet subject for thee. Do thy fears, and unbelief, and doubts, and misgivings, aided by the suggestions of the enemy, too often prompt thee to think thy case hopeless; and every thing joins the cry, "thy daughter is dead, trouble not the Master?" Oh think what a precious opportunity all these afford thee to follow up the patriarch's faith, and against hope to believe in hope. What cannot Jesus accomplish? Though the daughter be dead; though Lazarus be four days in the grave; yet Jesus, who is the resurrection and the life, need only speak the word, and both live. In like manner, when exercises arise to the greatest height, until unbelief suggests all is over; dead frames, a dead heart, deadness to all; then is the very time to believe, in order to see the glory of God. Strickly and properly speaking, Jesus cannot be glorified until the stream of all other resources is dried up. Mark it then, my soul, thy time to trust Jesus is, when nothing in nature, but wholly grace, must trust him. And depend upon it, the greater the difficulty for the keeping faith alive, the greater glory will you give to Jesus in the exercise of it, and the greater glory that blessed Saviour will receive from you in supplying that faith during the dead hour, until the deliverance comes. Hear Jesus's voice in thy instance, be it what it may, as in the case of this distressed father, for the issue will be the same. "Fear not; believe only, and thou shalt live."

Evening

"And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them."—Isa. xlii. 16.

Never, surely, was there a promise of a covenant God in Christ more strikingly fulfilled as to what is said in the former port of this verse, than in thine instance, my soul. By nature and by practice, thou wert so totally blind to any apprehension of divine things, that not a right thought hadst thou ever conceived of God and Christ, when the Lord first manifested his grace to thy heart! No being in the universe was so near to me as God, but none so little known or understood. No heart was nearer to me than my own, but to all its errors and deceitfulness I remained the most perfect stranger! In the works of providence, as well as of grace, I had no consciousness whatever of any guide, nor even of needing a guide. Self-willed, wayward, and full of confidence, I was hastening on with the multitude, intent but upon one thing, "in making provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof." Pause, my soul, and look back! When I take a review of what is past, and trace' the hand of the Lord, all the way leading me as have come on! am lost in astonishment in the contemplation of his mercies, and my undeservings. What a huge volume might be written of both, and in the margin to note down how they have kept pace together. My soul! If thou wert to read them by chapters only, what endless ones would they form under the several sections of the Lord's love, his care, his wisdom, his methods, and his grace, in the freeness and distinguishing nature of that grace; and as I read the Lord's mercies, to note, at the same time, my rebellions! Oh! what a subject would the whole form, in proof of this gracious promise, in facing the wisdom, power, and love of God, in awakening, regenerating, converting, and confirming grace! Surely, Lord, thou hast indeed brought a poor blind creature, such as I am, in a way that I knew not, and led me in paths that! never should have known; and still, Lord, thou art graciously performing the same, in making darkness light, and crooked things straight. And shall I not, from the latter part of this sweet promise, derive a strength of faith, from all that is past, to trust thee for all that is to come? Hath the Lord been gracious when in a state of total blindness, to bring me by a way I knew not; and now, when he hath mercifully opened mine eyes to see his glory, and to love his name, will he not lead me still? Had he mercy upon me, when I asked it not, neither knew that I needed it: and will he refuse me that mercy now, when I so earnestly seek it, and know that without his grace and mercy in Jesus, I shall perish for ever? Precious Lord! give me faith to believe, to trust, and to depend! Thou, who hast done such great things for me already, whereof I rejoice, wilt never leave me, nor forsake me, O Lord God of my salvation!