The Poor Man's Morning and Evening Portions
Robert Hawker (1753-1827)
"If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."—Gal. v. 25.
My soul, take this sweet scripture for thy motto, not only this day, but every day; for every day's walk should be the same with Jesus, by the Spirit. And surely, my soul, if Jesus really, truly, dwells in thee, he will manifest that he is at home, by ruling in thee. It is blessed, and gracious, and edifying, when out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh, and like the spouse, the lips drop as the honey-comb, sweetly of Jesus. But the life of Jesus in the soul, consisteth not in talking only of Jesus, but walking in him, and walking with him. But, my soul, how wilt thou accomplish these things, carrying about with thee as thou dost daily, a body of sin and death? There is but one plan, and that a simple plan, mortifying, indeed, to the pride of human nature, but giving glory to Jesus. Art thou truly content to be mortified, so that Jesus be glorified? If so, this is the only way the apostle hath marked. They, and they only that live in the Spirit, will walk in the Spirit. The same grace which teacheth thee of Jesus, must give to thee power in Jesus. As long as Jesus is in view, looked to, and lived upon, all the blessed effects of the grace from Jesus will follow, as sure as the rays of light diffuse their brightness when the sun is risen. If, my soul, thou goest forth in a firm dependance upon Jesus's strength, that strength will be assuredly perfected in thy weakness; but if Jesus be lost sight of, and a fancied strength in thyself supply the place, this defect in faith will bring forth a defect in practice. My soul, learn to exercise an holy jealousy over thyself; for after Jesus is once truly known, all thy danger begins at this place; so that the great secret is, to live out of self, upon his fulness; to do nothing but in his strength; to propose nothing but for his glory; and in every step you take in the whole walk of life, to make Jesus every thing, and depend upon him in every thing; and this is the way to find both security and comfort. Dear Lord, do thou enable a poor worm thus to live, by living in thee; and then, sure I am I shall be happy, by walking in thee.
"He turned their heart to hate his people."—Psalm cv. 25.
Oh! precious scripture! what a blessed discovery is here made! Never should I have known, never thought that the hand of my God was in a dispensation like this. Henceforth, my soul, remember, when at any time the world is oppressing thee, and opposing thee, yea, when even "thy mother's children are angry with thee;" look deeper than the surface, and behold both the Lord's wisdom, and the Lord's appointment in the exercise. And dost thou ask wherefore the Lord should dispose the heart of the believer's foes to hate his people? the answer is at hand: it is to keep his people from "mingling with the heathen, and learning their works." Nature cleaves to nature; and the dispositions of flesh and blood are in all the same. If God, therefore, turn the hearts of those we are too fond of, to treat us with unkindness, and reward our love with hatred, this process will do more to separate the precious from the vile, than all the Lord's precepts; yea, even more than a sense of our own danger. How much disposed art thou, my soul, to seek the favour of the world! how frequently dost thou study to conciliate the affections of those who differ from thee in the great truths of God. Jesus, who knows this, beholds it, and will not suffer it to be. He graciously causeth some secret sorrow to spring out of this root. The heart we wish to be particularly friendly, is led to manifest provoked unkindness; and where we are looking for most pleasure, there we find most pain. And in all this, Jesus's love and wisdom are at the foundation. No dispensation would answer the purpose to correct our wayward choice but this; and it is blessed to see how the Lord accomplisheth the secret purposes of his will, by means so opposite to our calculation. Mark down this sweet scripture for the special purpose of improvement, under exercises like these. And when at any time the false reproaches of one, or the unprovoked anger of another, in the carnal world, make thee sad, recognize the hand of Jesus in the dispensation, and read this blessed passage in proof; "He turned their heart to hate his people."