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Grace Fellowship

The Poor Man's Morning and Evening Portions

Robert Hawker (1753-1827)

July 12

Morning

"And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts."—Mark v. 17.

And was this Jesus whom they desired to depart? Yes: and what had the Redeemer done to merit this treatment? He had dispossessed the evil spirit from the mind of a poor creature, and caused the whole country to be freed from the fury of one whom no chains could bind: was this the cause? Yes. And is it possible that so divine an act could have had such an effect upon the minds of a whole body of people? What, would these Gadarenes rather have the devil ranging among them, in the person of this poor creature, than the Son of God in the kindness of our nature? Pause, my soul: is it not the same now? Do not men still prefer the raging uncontrolled lusts of their own hearts, the dominion of Satan, and the customs, pursuits, and follies, of the world; to the grace, mercy, and sweet dominion of Jesus? Do they not indeed, if not in words, say, "Depart from us, we desire not the knowledge of thy ways?" Pause again, my soul. Was there not a time when the same was thy case? Indeed there was. And is not every one so by nature? And what but an act of grace, like the miracle Jesus wrought on this poor man, can bring any one out of it? Art thou, my soul, brought out of it? Yes, if so be, like him, thou art now sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in thy right mind. Surely, Lord, thou hast wrought this blessed change upon me! Could I desire thee to depart out of our coasts? Nay, is it not the daily, hourly desire of my heart, that thou wouldest be with me, dwell in me, reign and rule in me, and be my portion, my God, my Saviour, and make me thine for ever? Sweet testimony, in the midst of all my wanderings, coldness, undeservings! Cherish it, my soul! Jesus will not depart from thee. That love which brought him down from heaven to save a world, led him over the lake of Genesareth to save one poor sinner. And he who came in love unsent for, departed not until he was sent away. Oh ye poor blind, deluded, Gadarenes! Oh my poor, equally blind and deluded countrymen and fellow-sinners, who know not, nor desire to know Christ Jesus! Who are ye that thus reject the Lord of life and glory, and desire him to depart out of your coasts?

Evening

"And they called the name of that place Bochim."—Judges ii. 5.

Surely it was enough to induce such an effect, when the preaching of an angel informed the people, that the Lord, for their sins, would not drive out their enemies before them. The place might well be called Bochim, and they themselves might hear the name Bochim, weepers. But, my soul, thou hast lately been to a place which is yet more calculated to make it memorable, by weeping, when thou didst attend Jesus at the ordinance of his supper. For there Jesus himself was, and is, the everlasting preacher, who sheweth thee his hands and his side, pierced and streaming with blood, for thy sins. Didst thou not hear him speak to thee himself, in his own words, "They shall look upon me whom they have pierced: and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born?" Zech. xii. 10. Didst thou not weep in beholding such a sight, in hearing such words, and in meditating on such things? Alas! Lord, my heart is harder than the adamant. But if the eye wept not; say, was not my heart broken? Did I not desire to feel, to mourn, and, with the prophet, to cry out: "Oh! that mine head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night," in the recollection of my Redeemer's sufferings, and my sins, the dreadful cause of them? Did Jesus die for me! Did the Son of God offer up his precious soul and offering for me? Was his body broken, and his blood shed for me? For me! a poor, wretched, polluted, hell-deserving sinner? Oh! for grace to make every place a Bochim in the recollection; and especially at the table of Jesus, may my soul always find these ordinance-seasons heart-melting seasons. Here would I frequently attend, to have my soul thoroughly awakened, and my stony heart made flesh. Here would I go, to gather a holy hatred to my sins, which brought Jesus to the cross. Here would I be found waiting, that when any new temptation may arise, I may cry out, with a vehement indignation, "How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" How can I "crucify the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame?" Precious Lord Jesus! do thou help me to keep the eye of my soul stedfastly fixed on thee, and all the affections of my soul to be going out in desires after thee; to be "always bearing about in my body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of the Lord Jesus may he made manifest in my body!"