Category Archives: The Poor Man’s Portion

February 28 The Poor Man’s Morning Portion

28.—Leaning on Jesus’ bosom.—John 13:23.

Methinks I would contemplate for a while the privilege of this highly-favoured disciple John! Surely to sit at the feet of Jesus, to look up at his face, to behold the Lamb of God, and to hear the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth, what should I have thought of this but a happiness unspeakable and full of glory? But the beloved Apostle leaned on Jesus’ bosom! Oh! thou condescending Saviour! Didst thou mean to manifest, by this endearing token, how dear and precious all thy redeemed ones are in thy esteem? But stop, my soul! If John lay on Jesus’ breast, where was it Jesus himself lay, when he left all for thy salvation? The disciple whom Jesus loved lay upon Jesus’ bosom; but He whom the Father loved, lay in the bosom of the Father—nay, was embosomed there; was wrapt up in the very soul of the Father from eternity. Who shall undertake to speak of the most glorious state of the Son of God, before he condescended to come forth from the bosom of God for the salvation of his people? Who shall describe the blessedness of the Father and the Son in their mutual enjoyment of each other? Jesus, when he was in the bosom of the Father, had not emptied himself of his glory. Jesus had not been made in the likeness of sinful flesh. Jesus had not put himself under the law. He was not then a man of sorrows. He was not then acquainted with grief. He had not then exposed his face to shame and spitting; neither to poverty, temptation, the bloody sweat, and the cross. And did Jesus go through all these and more? Did Jesus leave the Father’s bosom; and did the Father take this only begotten, only beloved son from his bosom, that John might lean on Jesus’ bosom; and all the redeemed, like him, one day dwell with Jesus, and lean and rest in his embraces for ever? Oh! for hearts to love both the Father and the Son, who have so loved us; that we may be ready to part with all, and forsake all, and die to all, that we may live in Jesus and to Jesus, and rest in his bosom for ever.[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Morning Portion (p. 45). New York; Pittsburg: Robert Carter.

February—27 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

But none saith, Where is God, my maker, who giveth songs in the night?—Job 35:10.

Ah, Lord! is it so, that among men of the world, though oppressed by the world, and the evils of it, and some are compelled to cry out under the bitterness of their sorrows, yet are there no hearts, no voices, directed to thee? When death entereth into their window, and taketh away the desire of their eyes with a stroke; or when pains, and chastenings of the body chain them to their beds: do they lament the earthly bereavements, and groan under the consequences of sin, by which death and sickness came; and yet in all these things, will nothing lead their unthinking minds “to hear the rod, and who hath appointed it?” Will they turn from one creature-comfort to another, and strive to fill up the vacancies made by distressing providences in their fancied happiness with any thing, or even nothing, rather than look to thee for comfort and support under their trouble? Oh! how great are my privileges, if this be the case, compared to the carnal! And oh! how distinguishing thy grace to my poor soul, that when sleepless on the bed, or when pains keep me awake, I can, and do look to Jesus, and say, “Thou art God my maker, who giveth songs in the night!” Yea, Lord! thou hast refreshed my soul with many a sweet song, when all the world was to me asleep, and could not interrupt my happiness. Oh! how often have I been blessed with the harmony of the songs of redemption, and run over in some of the blessed verses of it, how Jesus hath loved me, and given himself for me. Yea, Lord! may I not say, as the prophet, “Thou hast wakened me morning by morning; thou hast wakened mine ear, to hear as the learned.” For methinks I have been often wakened in the night by thee, and I have found my soul instantly led out by thy grace to a sense of thy presence, and to a desire after thee: and was not this, my Lord, calling, as upon the Church of old, “Let us get up early to the vineyards, for there will I give thee my loves!” O precious Redeemer! grant me such frequent visits, and such sweet communications of thy grace; and if in thy wise and kind providences, sickness, or pain, or afflictions, be at any time appointed me, do thou sit up by me, Lord, and keep my heart in sweet recollection of thee, that in the multitude of the sorrows of my heart, thy comforts may refresh my soul, and frequently may the earnest petition for thy presence and thy love go forth in the inquiry, “Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night?”[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 62–63). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

February 27 The Poor Man’s Morning Portion

27.—He will be very gracious unto thee, at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee.—Isaiah 30:19.

Mark, my soul, what is here said; for every word in this sweet Scripture tells. Thy God, thy Saviour, thy Jesus, knows thy voice, hears thy cry, and will assuredly answer. He will not only be gracious, but very gracious. He waits to be gracious: waits the most suited time, the best time, the praying time, the crying time; for he times his grace, his mercy, to thy need. And though thou knowest it not, yet so it is: when his time is near at hand, which is always the best time, he puts a cry in thine heart; so that the time of thy cry, and the time for the manifestation of his glory, shall come together. Is not this to be gracious—yea, very gracious. So that while thou art looking after him, he is looking upon thee. And before thou callest upon him, he is coming forth to bless thee. Is not this very gracious? Now then, my soul, make a memorandum of this for any occasions which may hereafter occur. Put it down as a sure unerring truth:—thy Jesus will be very gracious unto thee. Never allow this promise to be called in question any more. Next, bring it constantly into use. Faith, well-grounded faith in Jesus, should always bring down general rules to particular cases and circumstances, as the soul’s experience may require. Hence, when God saith he will be very gracious unto thee, it is the act of faith to answer—If God hath said it, so it shall certainly be. And therefore, as that gracious God, who giveth the promise, giveth also the grace of faith to depend upon the promise, the mercy is already done, and faith enters upon the enjoyment of it. God’s faithfulness and truth become the believer’s shield and buckler.[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Morning Portion (pp. 44–45). New York; Pittsburg: Robert Carter.

February—26 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

Who is she that looketh forth as the morning; fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?—Song 6:10.

By whomsoever this question is asked, there can be no question of whom it is said; for the Church of Jesus, made comely by the comeliness which her Lord hath put upon her, is all this, and more in every eye that can admire true loveliness; and will be a perfection of beauty, in the upper and brighter world, for ever, the first openings of grace upon the soul, after a dark night of the fall, may be compared to the beauty of the morning. But though fair as the moon, it is but a borrowed light, as the moon, and subject to changes in its increasings, and its wanings also. As long as the sun’s influences are upon this planet, its shinings will be fair. But when objects intervene from the earth, and the sun shines not, there will be an eclipse of all its borrowed lustre. Just so the Church; and oh! how often on my soul. While Jesus, the sun of righteousness, shines upon me, all is fair and lovely; but if he withdraws, the night immediately follows. But oh! my soul, when grace is perfected in glory; when as John in a vision saw that wonder of wonders in heaven, “a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet,” (Rev. 12:1.) then shall the whole Church of God shine forth “as the sun, in the kingdom of their Father.” Precious Jesus! give me to see my clear interest in thee, from my union with thee! And do thou, dear Lord, so make me strong in thy strength, that during the whole period of my present warfare, I may be “terrible as an army with banners,” to all that would oppose my way to thee, and in thee. Yea, Lord! let sin, and Satan, and the world, be ever so united against me, yet do thou put on me the whole armour of my God, that I may “fight the good fight of faith, lay hold of eternal life, and be made more than conqueror through Him that loveth me.”[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, p. 62). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

February 26 The Poor Man’s Morning Portion

26.—As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness. I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness.—Psalm. 17:15

Is it refreshing to thee now, my soul, the least glimpse of Jesus’ face; the smallest manifestation of the glories of his Person and of his work; and the very sound of his voice, in his word or ordinances? Think, then, what will be thy felicity in that morning of the eternal world, when, dropping thy veil of flesh, He, whom thou seest now by faith only, will then appear as open to thee as to the church above in glory! Pause, my soul, over the vast thought! What will be thy first sight of Jesus? What will be thy feelings, when, without any intervening medium, thou shalt see him face to face, and know even as thou art known? Precious Lamb of God! grant me grace to feel the blessedness of this first interview. Appearing, as I trust I shall, in thine own garments, and the robes of thy righteousness, and which thou hast not only provided for me, but put on, what will be the burstings forth of my heart, in the full view of the glories of thy Person, and the perfection of thy righteousness? Surely, Lord, when I thus behold thy face in righteousness, I shall be so fully satisfied, that the rest after which my poor soul, through a whole life of grace, since thou wert pleased to quicken me, hath been pursuing, will pursue no more. My immortal faculties will seek no more—will need no more. In thee, the whole is attained. In thee, I shall eternally rest. Thou art the everlasting centre of all happiness, glory, and joy. I shall be so fully satisfied when I awake to this view, that here, in thee, I shall be at home. And what is more, it will be an everlasting duration, not only in happiness, but in likeness. And as the coldest iron, put into the fire, partakes of the properties of the fire, until it becomes altogether heated and fiery like it, so in thee, and with thee, thou blessed Jesus! cold as my soul now is, I shall be warmed with thy love; and from thee, and thy likeness imparted, become lovely from thy loveliness, and glorious from thy glory! Precious, precious Jesus! is the hour near? Are thy chariot wheels approaching? Dost thou say, “Behold, I come quickly?” Oh! for grace to answer—Even so come, Lord Jesus.[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Morning Portion (pp. 43–44). New York; Pittsburg: Robert Carter.

February 25 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

February—25

And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.—Acts 27:44.

This is a beautiful conclusion of a history, which, during the providence wherein Paul the apostle and his companions were in shipwreck, afforded a large opportunity for the exercise of faith. The issue, it appears, was not doubtful from the first: for an angel of God had assured Paul, that God had given unto him the lives of all that sailed with him. And so it proved; yea, the very wreck of the ship furnished out means for the people’s safety. Now, my soul, here is a very precious instruction for thee. In the exercises of thy life, learn from hence to abide firmly by the promise, when every thing leading to its accomplishment seems to fail. God hath said, that eternal life with all its preliminaries, is in his Son; and that he that hath the Son, hath life, and shall not come into condemnation. Now let what will arise, after this declaration of God, like the storm and shipwreck of the apostle, these are intervening circumstances with which thou hast nothing to do. Do thou take hold of the promise; for the promise hath its claim upon God. This cannot fail, whatever else may fail. And, though, like Paul in this voyage, “neither sun nor stars in many days may appear,” and no small tempest be upon thee, Jesus is still at the helm, and thou shalt assuredly escape to land. Yea, the very wreck of all things around thee, shall but the better minister to this great end. And thou shalt at length write down the same conclusion to thy history, which Joshua, the man of God, made of the whole history of Israel: “Not one thing hath failed, of all the good things which the Lord your good spake concerning you: all are come to pass, unto this very day.”[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, p. 61). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

February—24 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither. They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born.—Jeremiah 31:8, 9.

It is blessed at all times to be refreshed with God’s promises concerning the latter-day glory, but more especially at a time when things are most unpromising. The present hour is eminently so. Therefore, see what a cluster of mercies are folded up on this one branch of them: and let thine evening meditations be sweet of Jesus and his sure work, in whom “all the promises are Yea and Amen, to the glory of God the Father, by us.” Observe, in this blessed scripture, the certainty of the divine promises being all fulfilled, from the foundation on which they rest. If God be the God of all the families of Israel, and if Israel be his son, and Ephraim his first-born, how can the right of inheritance fail? Surely God is engaged by this covenant and relationship; and he will fulfil his promises. And what are they? Why, that he will bring them not only from Babylon, but from all their places of captivity. Jesus, the Son of his love, is commissioned, as the covenant of Jehovah, “to bring the prisoners out of the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house.” There shall be a day when a nation shall be born at once. They shall be gathered to Shiloh, and shall come from the East, and from the West, and from the North, and from the South. Pause, my soul, over these blessed promises. Thou art frequently put to it for thyself: and art frequently exercised with fears and apprehensions for the welfare of Zion. But what saith the blessed scripture? “Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth.” Do not overlook that it is God who undertakes for them, and not themselves: and what God undertakes, he will surely perform. Well, but they are much scattered. Yes! but God will gather them. But they are diminished. No! a great company shall return. But they are blind, and do not know the way: they are lame, and when they know, have no power to walk in it. Yes, but saith he that made the eye, and he that giveth strength to the lame, both the “blind and the lame,” yea, even the woman in pregnancy and her that is in travail, all shall come. I will be eyes, saith God, to the blind, and feet to the lame: I will lead them in a way they know not: I will undertake for them. And the sole reason is, God’s free grace and covenant mercy in Christ. God is a father, in this relationship, to all the families in Israel: and in him all the families of the earth are blessed. Pause, my soul, again and again, over this sweet and precious scripture; and see that these covenant marks and impressions be upon thee, as a sure, unerring token of thy being in Christ, and gathered from the coasts of the earth; that thou art following Jesus, as Mary Magdalene did, with tears and supplications. Prayers are quickened by tears; and tears flowing from the view of a crucified Saviour, must give energy to prayers. The eye that is looking unto Jesus, will affect the heart; and the heart that is wounded with the view of Jesus dying for our sins, will cause tears to fall from the eye: and both will follow Christ by the waters of ordinances, under the Spirit’s teaching and gracious influences. Lord! give to my soul these tokens for good; and lead me in the way of salvation for thy Name’s sake.[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 60–61). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

February 24 The Poor Man’s Morning Portion

24.—He that had gathered much, had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.—2 Cor. 8:15.

My soul! here is a delightful morsel for thee to feed upon this morning. Thou art come out to gather thy daily food as Israel did in the wilderness. Faith had no hoards. Thou wantest Jesus now as much as thou didst yesterday. Well then, look at what is here said of Israel. They went out to gather—what? Why the morning bread: God’s gift. Such is Jesus, the bread of God, the bread of life. And as Israel would have been satisfied with nothing short of this, so neither be thou. And as Israel was never disappointed, so neither wilt thou, if thou seek it in faith as Israel did. And observe, they that gathered most had nothing over; so he that gathered least had no lack. Yes, my soul! no follower of Jesus can have too much of Jesus: nothing more than he wants—nothing to spare. So the poorest child of God, that hath the least of Jesus, can never want. The very touch of his garment, the very crumb from his table, is his, and is precious. Dearest Lord! give me a large portion, even a Benjamin’s portion. But even a look of thy love is heaven to my soul.[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Morning Portion (p. 42). New York; Pittsburg: Robert Carter.

February—23 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

The hidden manna.—Rev. 2:17.

We have an authority from Jesus himself, to say, that he, and he alone, is the manna of the gospel: for in his discourse with the Jews, he called himself, in allusion to the manna of the wilderness, “the living bread,” and “the bread of God, which came from heaven;” of which, he said, whosoever should eat, should live for ever. But when Jesus imparts this blessed food to his people, it is hidden. And, indeed, many of the properties of it are made more blessed, from the very nature of its secrecy. My soul, ponder over the subject a few moments this evening, and behold in it, how truly gracious it is in the Lord, to hand to his people in secret those enjoyments of himself, of which the world is altogether unconscious. Mark the outlines of it, and trace it in its effects in thine own experience. As Jesus was preached to the world, both by the law and the prophets, and when appearing in substance of our flesh manifested forth his glory, yet was he known only to his disciples: the great mass of men neither knew him, nor regarded him. If he was preached in types and sacrifices, under the Old Testament dispensation, or in open gospel under the New, few believed the report: the cry still went forth, “Is not this the Carpenter’s son?” Say, my soul, is not Jesus still “the hidden manna?” Dost thou discover him in his holy word? still is his word hidden: for though it is read openly by all, yet the mystery of it is known but to few. Doth the Holy Ghost testify to thee of Jesus, in thy desires after him; in thy communions with him; in the actings of thy faith upon him; and in thy enjoyments from him? Nevertheless in all these, however certain and refreshing to thee, thy pleasures are hidden from the world. This is mercy, personal and peculiar: strangers do not, cannot intermeddle with this joy. Precious Lord Jesus! give me larger and fuller enjoyments of thee day by day; and night by night let my secret and retired meditations of thee be sweet! Oh! for grace to live more and more upon those hidden privileges, and more and more to prize them. Come to me, dear Lord! and give me such rich participations of thyself, in the fulness of thy person, blood, and righteousness, that receiving from thee the hidden manna, I may say in thine own precious words, “I have meat to eat which the world knows not of.”[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, p. 59). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

February 23 The Poor Man’s Morning Portion

23.—Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit. Jeremiah 2:11.

Pause, my soul, over these words! Was it ever known that any nation changed their dunghill gods for others? Such regard had they for whatever ignorance had set up, that the veneration never after ceased. But Israel, above every other nation of the earth, manifested folly, and even exceeded the most senseless and stupid of men. My soul! dost thou not in Israel’s folly behold thy own? Was there ever one, when the Lord first called thee, less deserving! A transgressor, as the Lord knew thee, from the womb! and yet this did not prevent the Lord from calling thee. He loved thee because he would love thee: gave thee his Christ; gave thee his Holy Spirit; gave thee the name, the privilege, the adoption, of a son. What returns hast thou made? How often since hath thy backslidings, thy coldness, thy departures, been like Israel? What vanity, what pursuit, what unprofitable employment, hath not at times been preferred to thy God? Oh! how do I see my daily, hourly, continual need of thee! thou art the hope of Israel and the Saviour thereof. Keep me, Lord, near thyself; for without thee I am nothing![1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Morning Portion (pp. 41–42). New York; Pittsburg: Robert Carter.

February—22 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

And he said unto him, Say now unto her, Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care; what is to be done for thee? wouldst thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host? And she answered, I dwell among mine own people.—2 Kings 4:13.

What an interesting account, though short, is here given of the Shunammite. The sacred historian calls her a great woman; and she here manifests that she had a great mind. What she had done for the prophet, she sought no recompense for. Neither the favours of the king, nor the captain of his host, were of any value to her and her husband. Dwelling with content in what she had, and “among her own people,” was in her view enough of earthly enjoyment. But is there not a spiritual improvement to be made of this passage? Do not the people of our God dwell alone? And have they not been from everlasting so appointed, in the purposes of God their Father, and chosen in Christ, and called? They may, and indeed they ought, to desire to be spoken for to the King, the captain of the Lord’s host, as a people near to himself. Yes! I would say, let me be spoken for, that I may always live under an abiding sense of my Lord’s presence, and his love; and that my constant views of him, and his gracious tokens of kindness to me, may be my daily enjoyment. Methinks I would always be spoken for to him, in this point of view, and always myself be speaking to him; and tell my Lord that one smile of his, one whisper to assure me of my interest in him, and my love for him, and his love for me, will be more grateful than all the revenues of the earth. Here, like the Shunammite, would I centre all my desires. And while living upon Jesus, it will be my happiness also to “dwell among mine own people,” who, like myself, keep aloof from all unnecessary acquaintance and connection with the world, to “enjoy fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ!”[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 58–59). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

February 22 The Poor Man’s Morning Portion

22.—Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.—2 Cor. 3:17.

What liberty, my soul, art thou brought into by thine adoption into the family of God in Christ? Not from the assaults of sin; for thou still carriest about with thee a body of sin under which thou groanest. Not from the temptations of Satan; for he is still levelling at thee many a fiery dart. Not from outward troubles; for the world thou art still in, and findest it a wilderness state. Not from inward fears; for thine unbelief begets many. Not from the chastisement of thy wise and kind Father; for then many a sweet visit of his love, under the rod, would be unknown. Not from death; for the stroke of it thou must one day feel; though, blessed be Jesus, he hath taken out the sting in his blood and righteousness. What liberty then is it, my soul, thou enjoyest? What hath the Spirit of the Lord, as a spirit of revelation discovering to thee the glory of Jesus, and thy interest in him, brought thee into? Oh! who shall write down the vast, the extensive account of thy freedom? Say, my soul, hath not the sight of God’s glory in Christ freed thee from the curse of the law, from the guilt of the law, from the dominion of sin, from the power of Satan, from the evil of unbelief in thine own heart, from the terrors of justice, from the alarms of conscience, from the second death? Say, my soul, doth not the sight of Jesus dying for thee, rising for thee, pleading for thee, enlarge thy heart and loose thy bonds, and shake off all thy fetters and all thy fears? Doth not Jesus in the throne give thee liberty to come to him, to call upon him, to unbosom thyself unto him, to tell him all thy wants, all thy necessities, and to lean upon his kind arm in every hour of need? Shout, my soul! and echo to the Apostle’s words, “Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty:” liberty to approach, liberty to plead, liberty to pray, liberty to praise and to adore the whole Persons of the Godhead, for having opened the prison-doors, and given thee freedom in Christ Jesus.[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Morning Portion (pp. 40–41). New York; Pittsburg: Robert Carter.

February 21 The Poor Man’s Morning Portion

21.—Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?—Song 3:3.

Is Jesus still the object of my soul’s warmest affection; the subject of all my thoughts, all my discourse, all my inquiry? Oh! yes, my soul; whom else, in heaven or in earth, wilt thou seek after but him! Tell me, ye ministers of Jesus, ye watchmen upon the walls of Zion, “saw ye him whom my soul loveth?” Ye followers of the Lamb, can ye show me where Jesus feedeth his flock at noon? Or rather, ye in the upper regions, where the Son of God manifesteth himself in the full glories of his Person; ye spirits of just men made perfect, ye who have known, while sojourning here below, what feeling of the soul that is, which, in the absence of Jesus, is longing for his appearance; ye angels of light also, ye who see him without an intervening medium—tell him, I beseech you, how my soul panteth for his visits: tell him that a poor pensioner, well known to my Lord, is waiting his morning alms: nay, tell him that I am sick of love, longing for a renewed view of his Person, his pardoning love, the renewals of his grace. Jesus knoweth it all before you tell him, and he will send his gifts and mercies—nay, he will come himself; for he hath assured me of this: he hath said, “If a man love me, my Father will love him, and we will come and make our abode with him.” Behold, my soul, thy Jesus is come! I hear his well-known voice: he saith, “I am come into my garden. Now will I hold him and not let him go, and pray him not to be as a wayfaring man that turneth in to tarry for a night, but abide with me until the breaking of the everlasting day.”[1]

 

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Morning Portion (p. 40). New York; Pittsburg: Robert Carter.

February 20 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

February—20

Now thou art commanded, this do ye: take you wagons out of the land of Egypt, for your little ones, and for your wives, and bring your father, and come. Also regard not your stuff; for the good of all the land of Egypt is yours.—Gen. 45:19, 20.

What effect must the first news of Joseph’s being alive, and his exaltation at the right hand of Pharaoh, have had upon the mind of the patriarch Jacob! And what a flood of overwhelming joy must have broke in upon the poor old man, when convinced of the certainty of the account! But what are all these feelings of nature, compared to the triumphs of grace when the poor sinner is first made acquainted with the wonders of redemption, wrought out and accomplished by one that is his brother, even our spiritual Joseph, the Lord Jesus Christ! Yes! thou risen and exalted Saviour! by faith I behold thee on the right hand of the Majesty on high; and all power thine in heaven and on earth. I hear thee giving commandments to thy servants, to take the ordinances, and the several means of grace, in thy sacred word, and like the conveyances of the wagons of Egypt, to bring all thy kindred, thy redeemed ones, to thee. Yea, Lord! I would do as thou hast said, regard not the stuff, for gladly would I leave it all behind; for it hath already too long and too powerfully occupied my poor heart, and robbed my soul of thee. I would hasten to thy presence; for sure I am, the good of all the land of heaven itself is thy brethren’s, and what is infinitely more than even heaven, thou, even thou, thyself, blessed Jesus, art thy people’s. But, Lord! how shall I look thee in the face? How shall I dare to draw nigh, conscious of my having, like the sons of Jacob, sold thee, parted with thee, denied thee, left thee, and as the Jews of old, preferred every Barabbas, every robber before thee? And wilt thou, dearest Lord, still own me, still love me, and still speak kindly to me? Oh! what praises will the realms of heaven resound with, when Jesus shall have brought home all his brethren into his Father’s house, around himself, in glory! How will then every knee (and my poor soul among the glorious number) bow before thee, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Amen and Amen![1]

 

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 56–57). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

February 20 The Poor Man’s Morning Portion

20.—I will say unto God, do not condemn me; show me wherefore thou contendest with me.—Job 10:2.

My soul! art thou at any time exercised with any trying dispensations? Doth thy God, thy Jesus, seem to hide his face from thee? Are his providences afflicting? Art thou brought under bereaving visitations? Is thy earthly tabernacle shaken by sickness? Are the pins of it loosening? Are thy worldly circumstances pinching? Is prayer restrained? Oh! refer thy state, my soul, be it what it may, to Jesus. Tell thy Lord, that, of all things, thy greatest dread and fear is, lest thou shouldest be mistaken concerning his love to thee. Say, as Job did, “Show me wherefore thou contendest with me.” There is an Achan in the heart. Thy Jesus doth not withdraw for nothing. Love is in his lips. Salvation fills the whole soul of Jesus. Fly to him, then, my soul! Say to him, Lord, make me what thou wouldest have me to be. Oh! for a word, a whisper, of Jesus. I cannot live without it. I dare not let thee go, except thou bless me. Not all the past enjoyments, experiences, manifestations, will do me good, until thou again shine in upon my soul. Oh! come then, Lord, Jesus! I fly to thee as my God, my Saviour, my portion, my all. Never, surely, wilt thou say to the praying seed of Jacob, Seek ye my face in vain.[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Morning Portion (pp. 39–40). New York; Pittsburg: Robert Carter.

February—19 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.—Isaiah 53:4.

My soul! call up, this evening, all thy most earnest and most solemn thoughts, to the meditation of a subject, which the Holy Ghost opens to thy view in these words. And if the Lord the Spirit, that proposeth to thy soul the solemn consideration, will graciously instruct thee through it, perhaps it will lead to such views of Jesus as may not before so fully have struck thine attention. O Lord! guide thy servant in it! Now here it is said, “He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.” By which, it may be supposed, is meant, both the curse and the punishment. And certain it is, that unless Christ bore both, the sinner is not freed. From the sinner, or his surety, God’s justice must exact full payment. But if it be found that in the surety that exaction hath been made, and fully paid, then is the sinner free; for from both it would be unjust to exact.—Now behold, my soul, in the person of thy surety, how, in the most minute points, even as the sinner himself, thy Jesus stood for thee. And then see, from beholding thy Redeemer in this most endearing point of view, whether thou art not constrained to cry out, with the prophet, “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows!”—A few of the most prominent features in the griefs and sorrows of Jesus will be sufficient in point, by way of illustration. And first, every sinner, by virtue of being a transgressor, is exposed to the curse of God; and that curse is upon every thing belonging to him, as Moses told Israel, “Thou art cursed in thy basket, and in thy store; in lying down and rising up; in going out and coming home.” (Deut. 28:16, &c.) Now Jesus, as the sinner’s surety, is, by way of peculiar emphasis, called “the Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” He endured, in his person, the very curse denounced upon the sinner. All was poured upon Jesus, through every part of his life: and as the curse, but for Jesus’s interposition, would follow the sinner in death, so Christ was followed by it to the cross. The sinner’s dying chamber would open to him the horrors of divine wrath on sin; such as Jesus, for the sinner, sustained in the garden of Gethsemane. And as no by-standers, no earthly friends, could mitigate the horrors of the sinner’s soul in such a season, so we find Christ, when going through these conflicts for the sinner, could gain no help from any of his disciples—“They all forsook him and fled.” And doth the sinner’s conscience then betray and aggravate the load of wo? And did not Judas, Christ’s bosom friend, come boldly forward to aggravate the Redeemer’s sorrow? And as every sinner, out of Christ, for whom he, as the surety, hath paid no ransom, would in the moment of death be seized bound hand and foot, and carried away by an armed band to utter darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth; so Christ was taken as the sinner’s surety, by an armed band, from the high-priest to the judgment-hall, where he lay all night, suffering the punishment of stripes and mocking. And as, in the morning of the resurrection, sinners out of Christ must arise to all the horrors of judgment, and the irreversible sentence be pronounced in the presence of all beholders, which consigns them to everlasting punishment, so Christ, the surety for his sinful people, in the morning was brought from the hall of Pilate to the hill of Calvary, and there received the sentence of death executed upon his sacred person, in the view of all that passed by. Pause, my soul, over the representation of truths so awful! Surely thou mayest say, If Jesus had not sustained the curse and punishment, then must I have borne it for ever. But if, as the prophet hath marked it in this most blessed scripture, “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows,” then is the principal debtor free, when the surety hath paid the debt! Oh! the preciousness, the suitableness, the completeness of Jesus in the whole purpose of his redemption. Blessed, blessed, blessed, for ever, be Jehovah, for Jesus Christ![1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 55–56). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

February 19 The Poor Man’s Morning Portion

19.—The prisoner of Jesus Christ.—Ephes. 3:1.

My soul! art thou a prisoner of Jesus Christ? See to it, if so, that, like the Apostle, thou art bound with Jesus’ chains for the hope of Israel. They are golden chains. When Paul and Silas were fast bound in the prison, the consciousness of this made them sing for joy. Men have their prisons, and God hath his. But here lies the vast difference: no bars or gates, among the closest prisons of men, can shut God out from comforting his prisoners; and, on the contrary, nothing can come in to afflict Jesus’ prisoners, when he keeps them by the sovereignty of his grace, and love, and power. Blessed Lord! look upon thy poor prisoner; and come in, dear Lord: with thy wonderful condescension, and do as thou hast said: sup with him, and cause him to sup with thee.[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Morning Portion (p. 39). New York; Pittsburg: Robert Carter.

February—18 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

A citizen of no mean city.—Acts 21:39.

It certainly was very laudable in Paul, in a moment of danger, to avail himself of the common privileges of his freedom, in the common rights of men. But it would have been a sad things for the apostle, had he not, at the same time, been also “a fellow-citizen with the saints, and of the household of God.” He, like the patriarchs, knew his right in that city “which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” My soul, see to it this evening, that thy name is enrolled among the citizens of those who are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone. And if thou canst find evidences of this high calling, thou wilt know also, as well as Paul, that thou art “a citizen of no mean city.” Now, a city that hath foundations, and whose builder and maker is God, differs totally from all the cities founded among men. All these have their rise, their increase, and fall. Where are the vast monarchies of past generations? Alas! time hath passed over them as a flood, and swept them all away. And what the sacred writer hath said of one, may be equally applied to all: “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen; in one hour is thy judgment come!” But the citizenship of a believer is firm, eternal, and secure. God the Father is the founder of it: he hath laid the foundation-stone in Zion. God the Son is the Rock on which it is built. And God the Holy Ghost is the eternal source of life and strength, and all the immutable privileges of it. This city is everlastingly and eternally secure, for “salvation hath the Lord appointed for walls and bulwarks.” And the peace and happiness of its inhabitants must ever remain the same; for the citizens are of one body, and one spirit, even as they are called, in one hope of their calling. For the Son of God hath made them free by his blood and righteousness, and they are free indeed. Such, my soul, among numberless other distinguishing characters, are the outlines of the history of that city which hath foundations, and of which we may say with the Psalmist, “Glorious things are spoken of thee, O City of God!” If thou art a citizen of it, the enrolment of thy name among the freemen may be easily seen, for Jesus, the King of Zion, must have signed it with his blood. And then art thou come, as the apostle describes, not to the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire; not unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest; but unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels; to the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven; and to God the Judge of all; and to the spirits of just men made perfect; and to Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling.—Then, hast thou found also the blessedness of the place, and the immense privileges of its inhabitants? In the freedom of this city is found peace with God, through the blood of the cross; and access at all times, through him, by one Spirit, unto the Father. And as among other citizens there are certain marks and characters by which the privileges of one city are distinguished from another, so, in this, the language, the dress, the manners, and customs, are wholly foreign to all the rest of the world. A citizen of God’s house talks the language of God; he is dressed in the garment of salvation, and the robes of Jesus’s righteousness. His manners and customs are altogether peculiar to a child of God and an heir of heaven; for all is in conformity to the gospel of Christ. My soul! what sayest thou to these characters? Are they thine? If so, thou mayest assume Paul’s account of himself; for, like him, thou art “a citizen of no mean city!”[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 54–55). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

February 18 The Poor Man’s Morning Portion

18.—And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.—Jeremiah 32:40.

Precious consideration to a poor exercised soul, that a Covenant God in Christ, hath not only engaged for himself, but undertaken for his people also. God will not; and his people shall not. My soul! take a short view of the foundation of this precious, precious promise. It is God’s everlasting love, everlasting grace, everlasting covenant. And remember, the Author of it is not changeable as thou art. With Him is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Moreover, it is purchased by the blood, sealed in the blood, and made eternally firm and sure in the blood and righteousness of Christ; the everlasting efficacy of which is as eternal as the Author of it. Neither is this all. There is an union with the Person of thy Jesus. The head without a body would be incomplete; and, united to his Person, the believer is interested in all his graces, fulness, suitableness, all-sufficiency: so that this preserves grace from perishing, because it is an everlasting spring. And Jesus lives to see it all complete. His intercession answers every want, and supplies every necessity. Neither is this all; for God the Holy Ghost sets to his seal in the heart, that God is true. His quickening, convincing, converting, manifesting grace, in the soul, in taking of the things of Jesus, and showing to the heart, becomes an earnest and pledge in assurance; and all tending to confirm, that God will not, and his redeemed ones shall not, turn away, but his covenant remain everlasting.[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Morning Portion (pp. 38–39). New York; Pittsburg: Robert Carter.

February 17 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

February—17

Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, unto thee, O Baruch; Thou didst say, Woe is me now! for the Lord hath added grief to my sorrow; I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest. Thus shalt thou say unto him, The Lord saith thus; Behold, that which I have built will I break down, and that which I have planted I will pluck up, even this whole land. And seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not.—Jeremiah 45:2–5.

Here, my soul! take an instruction, and a blessed one it is, when applied by the Holy Ghost, suited for God’s people in all ages of the Church, and in all generations. At all seasons, it is unbecoming in a believer in Jesus to have a mind hankering after things of the world, which the carnal seek; but the evil is increased in times of general calamity. Baruch, though the Lord’s servant, yet felt too much desire of the world’s ease. My soul, learn to avoid every thing which may lead to an attachment to things below; that when called upon to leave them, their hold may be too little to be felt. And in a day like the present, doth not thy Lord speak to thee in the same language as to the prophet: “Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not.” If I have been with Jesus, and given in my name to him, “what have I to do any more with idols?” It is remarkable, that after the Lord Jesus had instituted his holy supper, and put the cup into his disciples’ hands, he observed, “I will not drink henceforth of the fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom;” hereby teaching us, that in the dedication of the soul to him, an exchange is then made of earth for heaven. And as from that hour Jesus’s cup was the cup of trembling, and of wormwood and the gall, so the disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. And they that are Christ’s are said to have crucified the flesh, with its affections and lusts.[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 53–54). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.