The Poor Man's Morning and Evening Portions
Robert Hawker (1753-1827)
"Knowing that whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: we are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to he present with the Lord."—2 Cor. v. 6—8.
My soul, is this thy real language? Pause, while thou art at home in the body, how dark and dim, how few and short, are all the glimpses thou hast by faith of Jesus. What from the workings of corruption, the claims of the body, the concerns of the world, and the numberless, nameless, obstructions which surround thee, how little dost thou know of Jesus J And wouldest thou desire for ever to live at this distance? Think what the first view only of Jesus will be, when thou art once absent from the body, and present with the Lord!—What holy transports will break in upon the soul, when all the lines of love meet in one centre, to manifest the Lord Jesus to thy view in his redeeming fulness! If here below a single hour's enjoyment of thy Jesus, through the medium of his word or ordinances, be so precious that no felicity on earth are equal; what must a whole eternity be, in the full uninterrupted vision of God and the Lamb! If, through the influences of thy blessed Spirit, dearest Jesus, the tear of joy, and love, and praise, will fall in the contemplation of thy person and work; surely all the flood gates of the soul will open, when I see thee as thou art, and come to dwell with thee for ever. Oh! for grace, then, to long for that blessed hour, when, absent from the body, I shall be present with the Lord;—"when I shall be-hold thy face in righteousness, and shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness."
"Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, unto thee, O Baruch! Thou didst say, woe is me now! for the Lord hath added grief to my sorrow; I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest. Thus shalt thou say unto him: the Lord saith thus: behold, that which I have built, will I break down; and that which I have planted, I will pluck up, even this whole land. And seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not."—Jer, xlv. 2—5.
Here, my soul! take an instruction, and a blessed one it is, when applied by the Holy Ghost, suited for God's people in all ages of the church, and in all generations, At all seasons, it is unbecoming in a believer in Jesus to have a mind hankering after things of the world, which the carnal seek; but the evil is increased in times of general calamity. Baruch, though the Lord's servant, yet felt too much desire of the world's ease. My soul, learn to avoid every thing which may lead to an attachment to things below; that when thou art called upon to leave them, their hold may be too little to be felt. And in a day like the present, doth not thy Lord speak to thee, in the same language as to the prophet:" Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not. If I have been with Jesus, and given in my name to him, "what have! to do any more with idols?" It is remarkable, that after the Lord Jesus had instituted his holy supper, and put the cup into his disciples' hands, he observed, "I will not drink henceforth of the fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom;" hereby teaching us, that in the dedication of the soul to him, an exchange is then made of earth for heaven. And as from that hour, Jesus's cup was the cup of trembling, and of wormwood and the gall; so the disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. And they that are Christ's, are said to have "crucified the flesh, with its affections and lusts."