The Poor Man's Morning and Evening Portions
Robert Hawker (1753-1827)
"One like unto the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle."—Rev. i. 13.
My soul, thou art going this morning to the throne of grace, art thou not? Pause then, and behold Jesus as John saw him, for the church's joy, in his priestly vestments; for remember he is still a priest upon his throne, and by the oath of Jehovah, abideth a priest for ever. Nay, my soul, be not afraid, draw nigh; hark, surely he calls. Methinks he speaks to thee' Behold me! behold me! See, I am thine intercessor. For this cause I wear these priestly garments; and as the high priest of old represented me, I appear in them down to the foot, and the golden girdle round and beneath the breast. What is thy cause? What blessings and praises hast thou to offer for past grace? And what supplications for present and future favours? Behold my vesture dipped in blood. Think of the everlasting efficacy of my righteousness: and for whom should I make intercession but for transgressors?' Fall down, my soul, with holy reverence and godly fear. Jesus will do by thee as he did by John. He will lay his right hand upon thee, and say, "Fear not." Oh precious, precious Lord, thou art, indeed, he that was dead, and now livest for evermore. Arid thou livest to see the fruits of thy great salvation faithfully and fully applied to every one of thy redeemed. Thy priesthood is for ever. Thy intercession unceasing. I do behold thee, Lord, by faith, even now standing with the blood of the covenant in thine hand, and presenting me, even me, poor, wretched, worthless me, as one of the purchase of this blood. Do I not hear thy voice in those soul-reviving words, "Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me? Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with where I am?" Oh glorious, gracious, Almighty High Priest! thou art, indeed, "a priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedec." Oh ye trembling souls! ye who have any cause this day to bring before the court of heaven, look unto Jesus, look within the veil, see Jesus there; look steadily, though humbly, and behold his hands, his side; Zion is still engraven on his palms. Nay, do we not see, may we not read our very names, as the high priest bore the names of Israel on his breast, while his hands are lifted up to bless! Yes, Jesus takes up our cause, bears our persons, and all our concerns. And how shall either fail, while he "is able to save to the uttermost, all that come to God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession."
"Perfect in Christ Jesus."—Coloss. i. 28.
Sweet thought! And where should perfection be found, but in Christ Jesus! My soul! turn the subject over and over again; look at it in every point of view; consider it as it relates to the life that now is, and that which is to come; and where wilt thou find any perfection for grace here, or glory hereafter, but in Christ Jesus? Oh! what heart-aches would it have saved me, had I but learned this sweet lesson when the Lord first took me into his school. Had I but thought aright when the Lord passed by, and saw me in my blood, and bid me live, that a creature so polluted, and so poor, could never recompense such fiches of grace, it would have tended to hide pride from mine eyes. But I was delighted with myself, and the supposed improvement I should make; all my views were directed how to requite the Lord's goodness, and how to shine above others in the attainments I should make in the divine life: and according to my views then, it would have been no difficult matter to have persuaded me (had the adulation been offered to the pride of my vanity in a guarded manner) that, what from labours and services, in attending ordinances, and prayers, and the like, I was hastening on to perfection, and possessed a good stock of inherent holiness.—Precious Jesus! I bless thee, in the moment of recollection, for thine unspeakable mercy in breaking this snare of the enemy, and bringing me humbly to thy feet! And now, Lord, I again and again, and for ever, desire to praise thee for keeping me still at thy feet, in the same humble frame, convinced "that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing!" Oh, Lord! how should a creature such as man, who would not for a moment, did his salvation depend upon it, form one good thought, or prevent a train of evil thoughts from rushing in upon his mind; how should such an one ever be led to the presumptuous hope of finding perfection in himself? Precious Jesus! be thou increasingly precious from the increasing wants of my soul for thee. Give me, Lord, yet more and more to see that every thing in me, and from me, must be, like myself, but dung and dross. Accept, Lord, I beseech thee, both my person and my poor offerings, and let both be sweetly sanctified and perfumed with the incense of thy blood and righteousness! Be thou, Lord, my whole and sole perfection for righteousness here below, and may I be found" perfect in Christ Jesus" in a life of grace, that I may everlastingly enjoy thee in a life of glory hereafter. Amen.