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The Poor Man's Morning and Evening Portions

Robert Hawker (1753-1827)

May 27


"Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, this is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left."—Isa. xxx. 21.

My soul, who is this Almighty Teacher, out of sight, but the Holy Ghost? And to what way doth he point but to Jesus, who is both the way, and the truth, and the life? Art thou ever at a stand? listen to this voice. Art thou about to turn to the right or left? See how seasonably he is promised to come to direct thee. Condescend, thou gracious, matchless Instructor, to guide me. I shall not fail then to know the wholesomeness of thy teaching, when thou hast opened mine eyes, to see the wondrous things of thy law. I shall indeed know that thou art my Director, because thou hast said, "I the Lord teacheth thee to profit." And when thy word comes not in word only, but in power, and in thee, the Holy Ghost, surely I shall know it, in that it not only reaches my ear, but will influence my heart: not only will instruct and teach me in the way wherein I should go, but will incline my feet to walk in it. Yes, thou infallible Teacher! I shall know thee to be the Spirit of truth, by guiding me into all truth. I shall know the voice of the Spirit of Jesus, because it will prompt me to follow Jesus. Did I hear a voice telling me of a way of salvation in a righteousness of my own: did I sit under a teaching, which sent me to my tears, and repentance, and alms-deeds, by way of recommending me to God: did I listen to the siren song, which told me of safety in myself, and my own best endeavours, and that Christ would do the rest: or did any teach me, that I must not come to Jesus, until that, by some previous acts of soul-cleansing in prayers and fastings, I had made myself fit: in all these cases, and the like, I should know that they could not be the voice behind me, promised to direct; because it is thy one glorious office, thou Holy and Eternal Spirit, to testify of Jesus, and to glorify him. When, therefore, I hear the voice behind me, saying, "This is the way, walk ye in it;" and when it directs me wholly to Jesus; when every thing in this divine teaching enlightens my mind in the knowledge of the person, relation, work, power, grace, righteousness, and love of the Lord Jesus Christ; and when that blessed voice bids me to come unto him, just as I am, a poor, vile, needy, perishing sinner, to venture upon him for life and salvation, and how to receive and improve the Lord Jesus, in his infinite suitableness to all my necessities: Oh how fully verified to my experience is this sweet promise of my God to my soul! Holy Father, cause me to hear this blessed voice, in the daily, hourly paths of my pilgrimage; and grant me the spirit of wisdom and revelation, in the knowledge of thy dear Son.


"For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shew-bread; which is called the sanctuary."—Heb. ix. 2.

It is blessed to see how Christ was set forth in every thing, and by every way in the ordinances of God, during the first ages of the church. Surely they had the gospel preached to them in type and shadow, as we have now in sum and substance. My soul, take thine evening meditation among the furniture of the outer sanctuary, and see what emblems they afford of Christ. The tabernacle, which Moses made in the wilderness, contained, in the first apartment, the things here spoken of. The candlestick, if without a light, strikingly set forth the darkness of that dispensation; and if with a light (which seems the most probable, for the lamps were to be always burning) it shewed that the Lord himself, who walketh in the midst of the golden candlesticks, is the light of his people, and the glory of the temple. The next article noticed is the table, which was probably placed in such a direction, that the light of the candlestick might shine upon it; by which we may learn, that in going to the table of the Lord, we must be directed by his light; for none cometh to the Father but by him, who is "the way, and the truth, and the life." The table itself, which was of pure gold, became a most lively type of the ever-blessed Jesus. The infinite worth and glory of his person, and the eternal merit and efficacy of his blood and righteousness, may be supposed to be set forth, by golden representations, as the richest and most valuable treasure we are acquainted with. And when we add to these, that Jesus feeds, entertains, supports, nourisheth, and preserves his church and people, what could so well set forth the royal bounties of his grace, and the fulness and richness of his house, as that of a golden table, around which the poor, and the needy, the hungry, and the faint, might be received and feasted? But the first sanctuary had not only the candlestick to guide to the Lord, and the golden table to receive the followers of the Lord, but the shew-bread also, to supply them. This shew-bread was a beautiful and striking representation of him who is the bread of life. Twelve loaves, in allusion to the twelve tribes of Israel, were to be always standing upon it, to intimate the perpetual appearing of Jesus in the presence of God for his people. They were of the finest flour, mixed with frankincense; thereby shadowing the purity of his nature, and the fragrancy of his sacrifice before God. They were to be renewed every sabbath, to shew that Christ is not only exhibited in the gospel every day, and all the day, but to be renewed every sabbath, when his ministers bring forth to the people, out of his treasury, "things new and old." Those taken away when the new loaves were brought, were to be eaten by the priests alone, under this Jewish dispensation; and the same is observed under the new: for the Lord Jesus hath made all his people "kings and priests to God and the Father;" and if any that are not his, by his Spirit given to them, eat at his table, they make the table of the Lord contemptible. Are these some of the delightful subjects, typified by the furniture of the tabernacle in the first court? Dost thou behold, my soul, these things, and through the veil and covering, discover Jesus? Oh! then consider the vast, the infinite importance of redemption by his blood, whom God the Spirit thus set forth to the church by types and shadows; and see thy privilege, and the happiness to which thou art called, when in reading the old testament, "the veil is done away in Christ."