The Poor Man's Morning and Evening Portions
Robert Hawker (1753-1827)
"For lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations; like as corn is sifted in a sieve; yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth."—Amos ix. 9.
Blessed promise to my poor soul; sifted, blown about by temptation. Look then to Jesus with it, and plead it under every new sifting time. Corn must be sifted, for it is much covered at times with tares and chaff. And so must the seed—of Jesus, that the precious may be known and separated; "for what is the chaff to the wheat?" saith the Lord. Oh Lord, if it please thee, for thou knowest the necessity of it, sift me, try me, separate me, not only from the ungodly, with whom I am constrained to dwell, but from myself, from my own trifling, vain conversation, from the corruption of indwelling sin in my fallen nature, from the vain thoughts which lodge within me. Yes, precious Jesus; sift all, and every thing which is unsuitable to thee, and let the whole fall through the sieve, that thou alone mayest remain with me, for sure I know my God hath said, though his Israel be sifted, yet not the least grain of the true wheat shall be lost.
"For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue."—Luke vii. 5.
What a very interesting character is given, though but in few words, of this honest centurion. Though unconnected with Israel, and a Gentile, yet he loved the Jews. Was he, like another Rahab, partaker of the faith, and though unconscious of it, had a part in Jesus? It is most blessed to behold such rich provisions in grace, making way for the calling of the people, both Jew and Gentile, in that plan of redemption, "given in Christ Jesus before the world began!" But we must not stop here, in our view of the centurion. He not only loved the Jewish nation, but gave proofs of that love in building them a synagogue. Surely nothing short of grace in the heart could have wrought such acts of love and affection to Israel, and to Israel's God, in a Gentile mind! But, while admiring this gracious conduct in the centurion, and admiring still more the blessed author and giver of that grace which wrought it in his mind; is it possible not to have the affections instantly and irresistibly directed to thee, thou blessed Lord Jesus, who, as far as light transcends darkness, or the heaven is higher than the earth, surpassest every other pattern of excelling charity? Of thee, thou dear Redeemer, it must be truly said, "thou lovest our nation," and hast built us indeed, not a synagogue only, but art thyself our dwelling-place for ever! For thy love brought thee from heaven, prompted thee to live for us, to die for us, to rise again for us, and to take possession for us of the glorious tabernacle, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Yea, Lord Jesus, thou so lovedst us, as to accomplish this vast, this wonderful, this never before heard of undertaking, and never more to be undertaken, of laying the foundation in thy blood!. My soul, what wilt thou render to the Lord for all his benefits? Oh take the cup of salvation, and call upon his name. Tell the whole world how he hath loved, and how he hath founded Zion, and is and will be her King for ever!