May—13 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.—Song 2:3.

My soul! hear what the Church saith concerning her Lord, in those early and distant ages, before thy Redeemer became incarnate, and mark the strength of her faith and love. Did Old Testament saints thus sit down with a recumbency on the person, work, and finished salvation of Jesus, as those determined to rise no more, when they beheld Christ only through “the shadow of good things to come;” and shall not thy rest in Christ, and thy enjoyment of Christ, be equal, and even greater than theirs? For shame, my soul! let it never be said, that their views of Jesus, who was then yet to come, and had all the vast work of redemption to perform, were as lively as thine, or their delight in those fruits of his salvation, which they partook of by anticipation, sweeter to the taste, than they are now enjoyed by thee. Thou hast lived to see the whole completed, and canst, and dost look up, and behold thy Jesus returned to glory, having “finished transgression, made an end of sin,” and now for ever seated at the right hand of God. Oh, thou dear Redeemer! give me to sit down under the sweet revelations of thy word, and in the gospel ordinances of thy Church, and here by faith realize and substantiate all the blessings contained in the glories of thy person, the infinite and eternal merit and worth of thy righteousness, blood, and salvation; and have my whole soul, and body, and spirit, continually feasted with the rich fellowship and communion which there is to be enjoyed with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And surely, Lord, thou art all, and infinitely more than is here said of thee by the Church. Thou art a shade for protection from every thing which can assault a poor weather-beaten soul harassed by sin, by sorrow, and temptation. Well might the prophet describe thee as “the man that is as an hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, and as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” (Isaiah 32:2.) I find thee necessary as an hiding-place to shelter me from the wrath to come. I have sinned, and am justly exposed to the wrath of God. I find the accusations of conscience, the arrests of God’s law, the temptations of Satan, the alarms of justice; and, under all these, what but thy blood and righteousness can screen my poor soul, or make me secure in an hour of visitation? But sheltered by thee, and justified by thy great salvation, I find everything I need to protect and secure me from the storm, “when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.” But, my soul, this sweet scripture doth not only set before thee thy God and Saviour as a shadow to sit under for protection, but as affording fruit also, to refresh thee in thy want of sustenance. Like some rich, luxuriant, and generous tree, which not only shelters the traveller from the scorching heat, but holds forth on its branches delicious fruit to regale and satisfy for food, so Jesus, by his person, work, and righteousness, protects his people from all evil; and, by the fruits of his blood and redemption, supplies them with all good. Yes! blessed, bountiful Lord, thou art here again all these, and infinitely more; for the fruits of thy life, death, resurrection, ascension, and glory, give to thy redeemed, mercy, pardon, and peace, with all the fulness of covenant-blessings in this life, and everlasting happiness in the life to come. O Lord! grant me, then, day by day, and from night to morn, to sit down under thy shadow, that I may “revive as the corn, and grow as the vine.” Yea, Lord, I would so sit down, as one that had determined to rise no more; and having found thee, and, in thee, all I need, to bid adieu to all the world holds dear; and, like Paul, “count all things else but dung and dross, that I might win Christ, and be found in thee, the Lord my righteousness.”[1]


[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 148–149). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

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