The Poor Man's Morning and Evening Portions
Robert Hawker (1753-1827)
"It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief."—Isa. liii. 10.
The depths of wisdom were explored to furnish redemption, and to find a person competent to accomplish it; and when found, the depths of love were broken up, to make it complete. My soul, read over the mysterious volume which the Lord hath in part opened before thee. It cost the Father his thoughts from all eternity, to appoint a plan, by which, consistently with leis holiness and his justice, thou mightest be saved. It cost the Father his Son, his dear Son, his only Son, before that thou couldest be redeemed. Jesus must die ere thou canst live. Pause over the subject as it is here expressed. "It pleased the Father to bruise him." Jesus, who was in himself holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; he, who knew no sin, must be made sin; he who never merited wrath, must be made a curse. Read on; Jesus must die! and by whom? Not by Jews, nor Gentiles only; not simply by high priests and governors among men; but by God the Father. He must bruise him, and put hint to grief; for though Jesus was taken, and by wicked hands crucified and stain, yet all this, we are told, was "by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God." And is there yet another chapter of wonders in this mysterious volume? Yes; what can it be? Namely, that all this was for sinners, for rebels, for enemies; nay, my soul, for thee. Wonder, O heavens, and be astonished, O earth! Had our whole nature been bruised to all eternity in the mortar of divine wrath, for the sin of our nature; what would all this have been to the sufferings, agonies, and death of the Lamb of God? And didst thou die for me, O thou unequalled pattern of love and mercy, and by try stripes is my soul healed? Precious Jesus!
"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."—Ps. xxx. 5.
It is most profitable, yea, blessed, to have right conceptions of the Lord's dealings with his people. Jesus' is everlastingly pursuing one plan of love; and never, in a single instance, departs from it. But as we see only part of his ways, until the result come, exercises by the way much perplex our poor short-sighted view of things. Jesus, for the most part, brings his people into the wilderness, in order to speak comfortably to them there. But while in the wilderness, we are at a loss to trace the footsteps of his love. And when, after some sweet love-tokens of his favour, new trials arise, though Jesus, it should seem, designed by the mercy to prepare for trouble, yet, by our false interpretation of it, we aggravate the trouble, and make it greater. My soul, do learn from the precious thoughts suggested by the scripture of the evening, to form a right estimate of the Lord's dealings with thee. "Weeping may endure for a night." It may appear a long night, a wearisome night: but, remember, it is but a night. Every hour, yea, every moment is shortening it, and when the morning comes, joy will come with it. And in proportion to the darkness or the sorrow of the night, the daylight will be more delightful. The most blessed discoveries Jesus makes of himself, are generally those after a sorrowful night. Precious Lord! be thou thyself the "day-dawn, and the day-star" to my soul, after a night of painful exercise; yea, be thou "the Bun of righteousness" with baling in try wings! And then neither the night of sleep, nor the night of death will be more than the passing hour. And, Lord, "When I awake up from both; I shall be still with thee!"