The Poor Man's Morning and Evening Portions
Robert Hawker (1753-1827)
"It is high time to awake out of sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed."—Rom. xiii. 11.
Solemn consideration! What time is it with thee, my soul? Let me ask, with the prophet, "Watchman, what of the night? The morning cometh, and also the night." Perhaps there may be but a step between me and death. Am I really awakened from the sleep of carnal security? Am I alive from spiritual death? Am I dead to the world, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord? Oh Lord Jesus, impress these solemn enquiries upon my soul yet more and more, since everlasting happiness, or everlasting misery hangs upon the decision. My beating pulse is hastening to fulfil the appointed number. Even while I think of these things the account is increased. Every fleeting breath is one the less to take. Lord, make me wise to remember my latter end!
"Clouds and darkness are round about him; righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne."—Psalm xcvii. 2.
What a blessed scripture is here! And what a satisfying answer is given in it to the endless questions which are for ever arising in the human mind, for explaining the ways and works of God towards his creatures! The words are as if the sacred writer had been answering such inquiries, and had therefore made this conclusion; there must be much darkness, which the dim view of short-sighted creatures cannot see through, in carrying on the purposes of Jehovah: but here is an everlasting rule to go by; righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne, who is "wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working." Oh, my soul! couldest thou call to remembrance this blessed scripture every day, and all the day, in the several exercises of thy warfare, how many anxieties would it save thee? I know as well as can be, in the perfect and clear conviction of my heart, the blessed truth; but when it comes to be put into practice, I am for ever calling it in question. I know that Jesus is pleased very frequently to work by contrary means; it is his province and his prerogative to quicken the dead, and to call "things that are not, as though they were:" his strength is perfected in weakness; and he sometimes kills to make alive, and wounds in order to heal. But in a killing time, I am so apt to reason with flesh and blood, that I forget the quickening time; and when the wounds are bleeding, so that life seems running out of them, I judge it impossible that they ever can again be healed; and hastily conclude, with the church, "My strength and my hope is perished from the Lord;" Lament. iii. 18. Oh! for grace to view the righteousness and judgment of my God and Saviour as the habitation of his throne, and to rest for ever unshaken and fixed in this most perfect assurance! Jesus cannot mistake in ordering what shall be for my welfare; neither can he appoint any thing but what carries the mark of his love upon it. Let me, thou dear Lord! let me hear thy sweet voice through all the clouds and darkness which are round about thy dispensations, and whisper to me, as thou didst to thine astonished apostle, and then in every one, how mysterious soever it may be, it will silence my fears: "What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter."