The Poor Man's Morning and Evening Portions
Robert Hawker (1753-1827)
"And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, there is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed."—2 Kings iv. 6.
Do I not see Jesus and his fulness here? His giving out never ceaseth, until we have no more empty vessels to receive. And surely it is but proper the oil of grace should stay, when there are no more souls to be supplied. Pity indeed would it be, that any thing so precious should be spilt on the ground. My soul, art thou not poor as this poor woman? Is the creditor come to take thee for bondage? Cry mightily to Jesus, the Lord God of the prophets. And wilt thou borrow vessels to receive his bounty? Borrow not a few; for every vessel must fail before that Jesus fails. Hast thou filled all? See then that thy Almighty Creditor is paid from Jesus's bounty; for he hath paid all thy debt: and see that thou live henceforth on Jesus's fulness. Oh bountiful Lord, let me learn from hence sweet lessons of faith. There is no narrowness in thee, but all fulness. All thou hast, moreover, is for sinners. And, precious Lord, art thou not glorified in giving out to sinners? Is it not thy glory, thy delight so to do? Art thou not pleased when sinners come to thee? Oh for grace to come to thee, and to know and believe that it is thy glory and thy pleasure to receive them. Indeed, indeed thou keepest open house, an open hand, an open heart. Lord, give me daily, hourly, to come empty to thee to be filled; with grace here, and glory hereafter.
"Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God."—Isaiah lviii. 2.
My soul, when thou readest a scripture like this, which, as far as the outward observance of religion goes, seems to carry a fair face, it may be well to consider the wretched delusion under which such men labour. The world, indeed, calls them very good sort of people; but the Lord speaks most awfully concerning them. Persons of this complexion do not venture to say, that they hope to be found before God without sin: for they will tell you, that they know" we have all sinned and come short of God's glory:" but their faith is, that for their sins they have endeavoured to repent, and made amends; and they hope Christ will make up the deficiency. They have not been so bad as many others; and in point of doing, they have done a great deal more: so that if they do not go to heaven, they know not who will. As to ordinances, as this scripture represents, they profess to seek the Lord daily, as a nation that does righteousness, and that takes delight in approaching to God. "Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? Wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge?" Mark, my soul, the awful feature of such characters, and behold what is the leading principle in the religion of many who are not openly profane. Here are no cries for sin, no concern for the sufferings of Jesus; no inquiries for redemption in his blood; neither any heartfelt acquaintance with the teachings and humblings of the soul by the Holy Ghost. Doth God bid his sent servants to cry aloud, and spare not, in shewing his people their transgressions, and "the house of Jacob" their sins? And can such as these be found righteous in his sight? Oh! for the warning voice, to bid them flee from the wrath to come! Had! the power of persuasion, I should say, 'My poor deluded, self-righteous brother! rouse from this carnal security and vain confidence. If salvation be of works, then is it no more of faith. And if any thing but the blood of Christ can cleanse from sin, or any thing but file righteousness of Christ justify the sinner, then must all the threatenings of the gospel be void, and all the promises be altered.' Blessed be the Lord that teacheth thee, my soul, to profit, and hath fully, finally, and completely established thee in this decisive truth, that" there is salvation in no other but in Jesus only: neither is there any other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved."