The Poor Man's Morning and Evening Portions
Robert Hawker (1753-1827)
"And he is before all things, and by him all things consist."—Col. i. 17.
How doth the apostle mean that Jesus is before all things? Not as God only, for then the observation would have been needless; and not as man only, for then how could all things consist by him? What is it then, my soul? Is it not as Mediator, both God and man? And was not Christ thus set up from everlasting? Not openly revealed indeed, neither openly manifested in a body of flesh, until the fulness of time; but secretly, and in the divine counsels. What a blessed thought for the redeemed to exercise their rapturous meditations upon! And is it not this which the apostle hath said;" He is the image of the invisible God?" The image! Yes, that representation of what is in itself invisible; that identical image concerning which Jehovah when calling Adam into existence, said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." So then Adam was the first man indeed openly, but not so secretly; for it is plain that Adam was made after this likeness which was set up from everlasting. Hence this union of natures, subsisting in one person, formed the one glorious Mediator, who is, and was, before all things, and by whom all things consist. Here is the foundation then of the church, and that from everlasting: without this, the church, and indeed all things beside, had wanted foundation. For there is nothing created that can stand out of God; and there was nothing created that could stand in God, by a personal union, but him. What a glorious thought! Cherish it, my soul! Never lose sight of it. In Christ the Mediator, all things consist. The church is preserved, redeemed, sanctified, glorified: and how are all his redeemed ones personally and individually secured, but by the same? By him all things consist. Hence their consisting is in him; they are living in him, feeding on him, made righteous in his righteousness, and hereafter will be glorified in his glory. My soul, think what a world of mysteries thou art in; think what an unspeakable life, is a life of grace here; think what a world of glory in Jesus hereafter. Now see if thou canst better enter into an apprehension of those divine words of Jesus: "Because I live, ye shall live also." And again: "At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you."
"How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!"—Song vii. 6.
My soul! thou hast been refreshed, many an evening, through grace, in beholding thy Lord, both in his person, and in his comprehensive fulness for his redeemed; nor wilt thou be without refreshment this evening, if thy Lord, in his sweet influences, be with thee, to make what is said in this lovely scripture, life and spirit in thine heart. They are the words of Jesus; and they express the love and complacency of delight which Jesus takes in his church. Surely nothing can be more blessed, than to see the high value the Son of God puts upon the church, which the Father gave him, endeared as it is yet more in being the purchase of his blood! But what astonishment is it to the soul of a poor sinner, to be told, and by the lip of truth, that sinners are fair in Jesus's eyes! "Thou art fair, O love, yea, pleasant." Now remember, my soul, and in that remembrance let Jesus have all the glory, that this loveliness and beauty in the sinner, of every degree, that is regenerated, and made anew in Christ, is from Jesus. It is wholly from his righteousness, in which he beholds her clothed: "I washed thee with water, (saith the Lord) and I decked thee also with ornaments; and thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord God," Ezek. xvi. 5-14. My soul! bow down under the conviction of all that remains of indwelling inbred sin; and, in language like that of the astonished apostle, cry out, 'Lord! how is it that thou hast set thy love upon creatures so polluted and unworthy; and dost "manifest thyself to them otherwise than thou dost to the world?"'