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Grace Fellowship

The Poor Man's Morning and Evening Portions

Robert Hawker (1753-1827)

August 19

Morning

"My beloved is white and ruddy."—Song v. 10.

Pause, my soul, and contemplate thy Redeemer this morning under this engaging description of his person. It opens a delightful subject for meditation, in several points of view. Jesus is white and ruddy, if considered in his human nature only, He might be said to be white, in reference to the immaculate holiness of his body, underived as it was from a sinful stock like ours. He was born of the Virgin Mary by the miraculous conception of the Holy Ghost, and therefore emphatically called, that HOLY THING: agreeably to all which, his whole life was without sin or shadow of imperfection. "Such an High Priest become us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens." Hence Jesus was truly white, as the Lamb of God, without blemish, and without spot. And was he not ruddy also, in his bloody sufferings, when his head was crowned with thorns, and his side pierced on the cross? Was he not ruddy in the garden, when his agony was so great as to force blood through all the pores of his sacred body, which fell in great drops on the ground. Behold, my soul, thy beloved in both these views, and say,—Is he not white and ruddy? But do not stop here. Look at him again, and contemplate the Lord Jesus as the Christ of God, in his two natures, divine and human, and say in the union of both—Is he not white and ruddy? What can set forth the glories of the Godhead to our apprehension more lovely than the purity of whiteness, which, as in the mount of transfiguration, became a brightness too dazzling for mortal sight to behold? And what can represent the human nature more strikingly than the ruddiness of the countenance? Adam, the first man, takes his very name from hence; for Adam, or Adamah, signifies red earth. And such, then, was Jesus. And is he then, my soul, white and ruddy to thy view? And is he also thy beloved? Oh then, let him be thy morning, noon-day, evening, midnight meditation; and let him be sweet to thee, as he is to his church and people—the beloved who is white and ruddy?

Evening

"And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Lord, wherefore hast thou so evil intreated this people? Why is it that thou hast sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all."—Exod. v. 22, 23.

My soul! ponder over this scripture, and the history connected with it, and behold what a blessed volume of instruction it affords. The Lord sent Moses to deliver his people out of Egypt. He had heard their groanings, and graciously promised to redress them. The people believed the Lord, and bowed their heads, in token of their view of his love, and their own happiness, which was now to follow. But behold, the oppression under which they had groaned, instead of lessening, began to increase. In this state they grow desperate, and charge God foolishly. Yea, Moses himself, who had talked with God at the bush, and seen the miracles in confirmation of his commission there shewn, becomes tainted with the same spirit of unbelief, and returned to expostulate with Jehovah on the occasion.—Pause over this view of the human heart, even in God's own people. The sequel of Israel's history sheweth, that the Lord was pursuing one invariable plan for the deliverance of his people, as he had promised; and that there was no alteration in him. He was only laying his glorious scheme the deeper by seeming opposition, to make his people's emancipation more blessed, and his love of them more striking. But yet, while things appeared thus dark and unpromising, Israel forgot all that the Lord had promised.—And how is it, my soul, with thyself? When the promises of God seem to clash with his providences, and according to thy narrow views, seem impossible to be brought into agreement with each other, how dost thou act? Art thou not like Israel, much disposed to reason with flesh and blood? When the enemies of thy peace triumph, and carry things, as Pharaoh did in this instance with Israel, with a high hand, saying, "Aha! so would we have it;" when unbelief creeps in, or a lust, which thou hadst hoped was subdued, breaks out afresh, like some peccant humour of the body; when no answers are heard to thy prayers; and though thou art falling under some renewed temptation, yet there appears no hand of Jesus stretched forth to bring thee off, and raise thee up: say, my soul! under such dark providences, how dost thou conduct thyself towards the Lord? Oh for grace to trace Jesus, more especially in trying seasons than even in prosperous moments; and to hear his voice in the whirlwind and the storm! It is blessed to wait, blessed to depend upon Jesus, blessed to believe in his promise, when all the ways to the fulfilment of that promise seem to be wholly shut. This is the crowning grace of faith, "against hope to believe in hope;" and amidst the most desperate circumstances, to cleave to Jesus as a sure friend, when, in his providences, he appears coming forth as a determined enemy, and to say, with the same well-grounded confidence as Job," Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him."