The Poor Man's Morning and Evening Portions
Robert Hawker (1753-1827)
"And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood."—Rev. xix. 13.
Oh thou bleeding Lamb of God! didst thou thus appear to thy servant John, to tell him, and the church through him, that thy priesthood and thy sacrifice are of the same everlasting nature and efficacy as thy person and thy finished work—"the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever?" And didst thou thus manifest thyself by way of assuring thy poor needy followers that thou delightest in thine office, and lovest to be employed? Was it not, dearest Jesus, to this end, and as much in effect, as if thou hadst said, see, I wear these priestly garments: behold my vesture still fresh with the blood which I offered in the day of my sacrifice on the cross, for my redeemed, and for whom I still appear in the bloody robe, as a proof of the everlasting efficacy. For whom, but for my people, do I wear this vesture? "My soul, art thou looking now, with an eye of faith, within the veil? Hast thou a blessing to ask at the court of heaven, this day? Fly then to Jesus. Behold him still, as John beheld him, and hear what he saith. Remember, his blood speaks; for so the Holy Ghost declares"—it speaks better things than that of Abel;" for Abel's blood cried for vengeance. Jesus pleads for mercy. And doth it not speak to God for pardon, and from God in covenant promises of pardon? Oh the blessedness to behold Jesus clothed with a vesture dipped in blood, in confirmation that "we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace."
"The night-watches."—Psalm lxiii. 6.
The night-watches afford blessed seasons to the soul, when those who know Jesus, and can and do enjoy him, wait more for his coming than they that wait for the dawn of the morning. My soul, what saith thine experience to the visits of Jesus in the night-watches? Hast thou ever known any thing like the Bethel visit of Jacob, in those silent hours of the night? When no eye hath seen thee but his, that seeth in secret, and no ear heard but his, that wakeneth thee morning by morning; canst thou say what hath passed between thy Lord and thee, giving refreshments of soul, infinitely more satisfying than all the sleep of the body? Hast thou known somewhat of these inexpressibly sweet visits of thy Lord? Hath Jesus at times manifested himself in those hallowed hours, otherwise than he doth to the world? Yea, hath he not sometimes awakened thee to the call of his visit, and graciously prepared thee to the enjoyment; and hath he not come in the communication by his word and grace in such a way and manner, that, like the patriarch, thou hast been constrained to consider it as the very gate of heaven? These visits of Jesus are blessed visits. Many a child of God is so straitened in the necessary and unavoidable labours of the day, that the cares and concerns of himself, and perhaps of a family, or of service, too much interrupt the life of communion with God in the soul but the night-watches afford many an hour, when no interruption can arise, for the enjoyment of fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. My soul, be always on the look-out for a visit from thy Lord in the night-watches. If thou art listening, thou wilt hear his voice, as the church of old did, saying, "Open to me! for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night;" Song v. 2. And Oh! with what refreshing dews of grace, and love, and favour doth—he come! All the drops of the night, and the dew of the morning, are not so grateful to the thirsty earth, as the visits of Jesus, when coming as rain upon the mown grass, to the languishing souls of his people. Come, Lord! and visit my soul in the night-watches; and do thou tarry with me until the break of day, and make thyself known unto me, as thou didst to thy disciples, while talking of thyself, and opening to me thy scriptures!