The Poor Man's Morning and Evening Portions
Robert Hawker (1753-1827)
"And they said one to another, did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?"—Luke xxiv. 32.
Ought not the disciples of Jesus to do now, as the disciples of Jesus did then? What but of Jesus should we speak of by the way? Methinks the Lord's people, and especially when coming from the Lord's house, should be distinguished from the frothy conversation of mere carnal worshippers. I would, by talking of Jesus, invite him to mingle with us, and open to our understandings the scriptures. I would therefore sometimes ask one and another, when returning from the house or the table of the Lord, how went the matter with your soul to-day? I pray you tell me; was the King at court? Did he receive petitions? Did he answer prayers? Were you refreshed? were any healed? any comforted? any made joyful in his house of prayer? Surely we might hope, by such edifying inquiries, each would help his fellow. And he of whom it is said the Lord hearkened and heard, when of old the people of God were often talking one to another, would again draw nigh, and make the heart burn with the sweet manifestations of his love. But chiefly, blessed master! if I meet with none to ask whether they have seen the King in his beauty, give me to taste of the sweet savour of thy grace myself. Come to me, Lord, in the refreshing, strengthening, heartwarming, soul-rejoicing manifestations of thy presence; for thy love is better than wine, and the very crumb from under thy table is more delicious than the honey and the honeycomb.
"And they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus."—Acts iv. 13.
Oh! for the same grace to rest upon me, as upon those faithful servants of my Lord; that, like them, I may manifest the sweet savour of Jesus's name in every place; wherever I am, with whomsoever I converse, in every state, and upon every occasion, that all may witness for me, and every thing bear witness to me, that I have been with Jesus! I would entreat thee, my honoured Lord, that I may honour thee so before men, that after my morning visits to thy throne of grace, my mid-day communion, my evening and nightly fellowship, my return to the society of men might so be distinguished as one that had just been with Jesus. And as it might be supposed, if an angel was to come from heaven that had seen thy face, and heard thy voice, and been an eye witness of thy glory; so, Lord, having by faith enjoyed such views, I might delight to tell, as He would relate to the inhabitants of the earth, the grace, and beauty; and love of Jesus. And surely, Lord, if I have been with thee, and thou with me; if I know any thing of thy grace and salvation; will not, out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speak? Shall I not delight to tell every one I meet what my Lord is in himself, and what he is to his people? Shall I not speak with rapture of the glories of thy Person, and the infinite value and worth of thy blood and righteousness? Surely in the circle of my acquaintance, I shall be daily speaking of thy grace and salvation, for I know no end thereof. And especially in a day like the present, where the name of my Lord and his cross are banished from all conversation. Oh! that it may be shewn that I have been with Jesus, in speaking for Jesus. Yes! thou dear Lord! thy truths I would espouse, thy doctrines profess, salvation alone by thy righteousness and cross would I bear before a whole world, with earnestness and with zeal; and if this brought upon me the laugh and derision, yea, the persecution of the proud; like thy servants of old, "I would rejoice in being counted worthy to suffer shame for thy name." And chiefly, and above all, let it not only be noticed that I have been with Jesus, in speaking of Christ and for Christ; but let the sweet unction of thy Holy Spirit be so abiding upon me, from continual intercourse and communion with thee, that my whole life and conversation may be such as becometh the gospel of Christ. Oh! for the same blessed effect as Moses, whose face shone when he came down from the holy mount, that every one with whom I have to do may see the light of thy grace, in all my transactions with the world, so shine before men, that they may glorify my Father which is in heaven. Precious Lord! grant me these unanswerable testimonies of vital godliness; then will it be proved indeed and in truth, that, like thy servants of old, I have been with Jesus.