The Poor Man's Morning and Evening Portions
Robert Hawker (1753-1827)
"Such an one as Paul the aged."—Philemon i. 9.
And what was Paul in the moment here represented? Verily an aged servant of his Master, but not retired from the scene of action. Paul, though grown old in the Lord's service, was still as hotly engaged as ever in the Lord's battle. Art thou such an one, my soul, as Paul was! Then learn from hence, that however many, or however heavy, former campaigns have been, there is no rest for thee this side Jordan, no more than for Paul: no winter quarters for the true soldiers of Jesus Christ. Until thy captain undress thee for the grave, the holy armour in which he hath clad thee is not to be taken off. Art thou "such an one as Paul the aged?" Then, like Paul, see that thou art strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. And how sweet the thought! Thy Jesus, who hath borne thee from the womb, and carried thee from the belly, knows well the burden of thy increasing years, and all the infirmities belonging to them, and will carry both thee and them. Yes, my soul, those very infirmities which the tenderest hearted friend sometimes feels impatient at, and even thyself, thou knowest not how to bear, Jesus feels, Jesus commiserates, Jesus will soften! He that hath carried all thy sins, carrieth also all thy sorrows. Doth he not say so? "even to your old age I am he; and even to hoary hairs I will carry you!" I have made, and I will bear: even I will carry and will deliver you. Isa. xlvi. 3, 4. Precious Lamb of God! henceforth I cast all my burdens upon thee. Thou hast never called thyself I Am, for nothing. Thou hast indeed made me, and new made me. Thou hast borne all my sins in thine own body on the tree. Art thou not both the Alpha and the Omega, both the author and finisher of my salvation! Oh yes, thou hast been every thing to me, and for me, from the womb of creation: borne me on eagle's wings; made me, and new made me; redeemed me in a thousand redemptions, and been better to me than all my fears! What, indeed, hast thou not done for me? And now then, being "such an one as Paul the aged," shall I now doubt, or now fear, when every pain, and every cross, and every new assault from sin and Satan, bids me go to Jesus. Oh for grace, ever to keep in view what thou hast said and done, and what thou hast promised. Yes, yes, it is enough; Jesus hath said, "Even to your old age I am he." The same I have been, the same I will ever be. "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Shout, my soul, and cry out, hallelujah. He that hath been my first will be my last; my strength, my song, my salvation for ever.
"There was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour."—Rev. viii. 1.
This is a very striking scripture, and records as striking an event, when took place on the opening of the seventh seal—silence in heaven; not a suspension or interruption to the happiness of the place, but the silent adoration of God and the Lamb. This must be the sense of the passage, if by heaven we are to understand the place where dwell "the spirits of just men made perfect." But as it is more than probable that it refers to the events of the kingdom of Christ upon earth, which are here spoken of under prophetical representations, the silence may rather be supposed to mean, that the church of God, both in heaven and on earth, are waiting in solemn expectation of what events the sounding of the seventh trumpet will bring forth. But there are some sweet instructions to be taken from what is here said, of silence in heaven by the space of half an hour, which in the silence of an evening meditation, it may be highly profitable to attend to. If in heaven such solemn pauses are made, doth it not strike the mind, how very becoming such must be upon earth? Surely it is a sweet frame of the spirit, to ponder in silence over the many solemn things which connect themselves with the very existence of man, in a dying state, and in dying circumstances like the present; more especially, in the solemn seasons of devotion, when we draw nigh to a throne of grace, in and through the ever blessed Jesus, a holy silence in the first approaches, seems highly suitable to await divine visitations. What a lovely view doth the Holy Ghost give of David, 2 Sam. vii. 18. "Then went king David in, and sat before the Lord!" And elsewhere he saith, "truly my soul waiteth upon God :" in the margin of the bible it is, "Truly, my soul is silent before God," Ps. lxii. 1. The prophets were commissioned to enforce this by way of command: "The Lord (saith one of whom) is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him," Habak. ii. 20. And another saith," Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord, for he is raised up out of his holy habitation," Zech. ii. 13. And the Lord himself, having pointed out the blessedness of waiting upon him, accompanied with a promise that his people who did so, should renew their strength, immediately' sends forth this precept: "Keep silence before me, O islands, and let the people renew their strength; let them come near; then let them speak," Isa. xli. 1. My soul! learn hence, the beauty of holiness, and the blessedness of waiting in silence before the Lord. For then, when the Holy Ghost comes in the refreshing influences of his grace, and commands the north wind and the south wind to blow, sweet will be the manifestations of the Lord Jesus by the Spirit, until," while the heart is musing, the holy fire from off the altar will be kindled," and the soul will go forth in all the exercises of faith, love, joy, humility, and desire upon the person, work, and offices of Jesus!