The Poor Man's Morning and Evening Portions
Robert Hawker (1753-1827)
"I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it."—Rev. iii. 8.
Blessed Jesus! thou hast indeed done all this, and more. Thou art thyself the door into thy fold here below, and to thy courts above; for thou hast said, by thee, "whosoever entereth in, shall go in, and find pasture:" and it is thou that hast opened a new and living way by thy blood. Thou art the only possible way of access to the Father. And because thou hast opened it, no man can shut it; for thou ever livest to keep the way, which thou hast once opened, still open, by thy all prevailing intercession. Yes, thou heavenly Lord, the gate is never shut, day nor night, in the preaching of thine everlasting gospel, all the ends of the earth shall see this salvation of our God. And, as thou hast graciously said, all that come to God by thee, shall never be shut out. The word, the authority, the warrant of Jehovah, is gone forth to this purpose. Thy blood and righteousness secure it. The Spirit sets his seal to it. Thou wilt receive, thou wilt bless, thou wilt cause all the Father hath given thee to come to thee; and thou wilt keep the door always open for all comers. Oh heavenly way! Oh precious, endless salvation! My soul, see to it that thou art entered in, and there abidest securely. Oh ye! my fellow sinners, yet without, rouse up from your carnal security and sloth, before the master of the house hath arisen and shut to the door; and ye then, too late, cry out, "Lord, Lord, open to us. Now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation."
"An hireling his day."—Job xiv. 6
The sufferings of Job are proverbial; but the sermons of this exercised believer, though delivered from a dunghill, were sweet sermons. The figure of an hireling' accomplishing his day (and that a day, both on account of original sin and actual transgression, fleeting and full of labour and sorrow) forms a just, though sad representation of human life. But this, like all the other circumstances of our fallen state, when read through the medium of the gospel, and softened and sweetened with the blood of Christ, puts on a different aspect. It is then found in its shortness to be the better, and in its crosses to be the more sanctified; and, like Samson's riddle, "out of the eater to come forth meat, and out of the strong to bring forth sweetness;" Judges xiv. 14. It is the blessed property of grace, to work by contraries; so that the cross of Jesus, like the tree cast into the waters of Marah, put into our hireling life, sweetens all. My soul, if thou art taken from the rubbish of nature, into the house and service of Jesus as an hireling, it is not until the day of the hireling he accomplished, that the Lord of the vineyard bids the steward to call the labourers, and give them their hire. It was only" in the end of the world," that Jesus himself appeared, "to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." Is the hireling's life to be regretted, because it is short, when every portion of it is marked with sin, and consequently is unsatisfying? Yea, is not rather its shortness rendered blessed? And if all the comforts and blessedness of God's house are treasured up for the labourers of his house, when the evening is come, and the steward is commanded to call them home to be paid; doth it not comfort thee, my soul, in the thought that thy life here is but as that of an hireling? Hath Jesus passed by, and employed thee, and sent thee into his vineyard, when thou wert standing idle at the market-place? Hast thou been doing the work of the day in the day, according to the Lord's appointment? Hath thy Lord's eye been upon thee, and, like another Boaz, come from Bethlehem, hath Jesus often visited thee, blessed thee, held up thine hands, refreshed thy soul, and made thee glad with the light of his countenance? Ruth ii. 4. Oh! then bless him, that thy continuance here is but as "an hireling in his day." The evening will come; the hour is at hand, when Jesus will call thee home to his "house, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens;" when all the blessings of the everlasting covenant will be given to Jesus's labourers, and the supper of the Lord will be spread; and all his redeemed shall sit down with him, to go out no more for ever! Amen.