Psalms 51

roberthawkerREFLECTIONS on Psalm 51 from Hawker’s Poor Man’s Commentary:

READER! let you and I look at this man after God’s own heart, and tremble in the recollection of what man is in his highest attainments, if left for one moment void of grace. Oh! what an important truth it is, and must be, to be impressed upon the mind, that our poor fallen nature is the same in all men: there is, there can be no difference: a corrupt stock must produce a corrupt generation; and this in an endless succession from father to son. And that the seeds of sin do not produce an equal degree of blossom and fruit in all men, doth not arise from any difference in our nature, but from the preventing and restraining grace of God. Oh! how blessed is it to see this and to be convinced of it, that we may not only ascribe all the praise where that praise is alone due, but also may walk with such holy fear and caution, amidst the numberless temptations arising both from our own nature and the dangers everywhere around, as to be always on the watch-tower, and while we think we stand, to take heed lest we fall. And above all, to be forever looking up for grace from above, knowing that they that are kept are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

Reader, let us not dismiss the contemplation of a subject in which we are so highly interested, without gathering from the review, under divine teaching, another improvement, namely, that as the best of men are but men, and cannot keep themselves from falling; so when, from the strength of temptation without, and the weakness of our own powers within, we are at any time overtaken in a fault, it is well to be convinced that no exertions of our own can restore us to the divine favour. David knew this and therefore, in another of his Psalms, gives the glory to God for his recovery by grace. “Thou restorest my soul (saith he) thou leadest me in the paths of righteousness, for thy name’s sake.” Hence, therefore, from the Lord let us seek grace, and the renewings of the Holy Ghost, to raise us up when fallen, and to restore to our souls the light of his countenance.

And lastly, and above all, let us remember, and everlastingly keep in view, that all our pardons, all our recoveries after backslidings, our perseverance in grace, our final preservation to God’s kingdom, as well as our first awakenings from sin; all and everyone is the sole result of God’s covenant love in Christ, and the merits of his blood and righteousness. Yes! thou precious, blessed Jesus, thou who art the Lord our righteousness! it is thy Father’s merciful engagement to thee, and the efficacy of thy obedience and death, which become the everlasting cause and security of all our mercies. God is a pardoning God to all thy redeemed, because there is an everlasting acceptableness in thy Person and thy work, notwithstanding our manifold departures, backslidings, and sins. And though those departures wound our souls, though those backslidings daily testify our poor corrupt nature, though those sins plead against us, and Satan is ready to accuse; yet, precious Jesus, thy blood is a speaking blood, and speaketh more for us than all that are against us.

Oh! grant our souls the daily, hourly benefit of thy great salvation! Lord, let this be the continued joy of all thy redeemed, that we have redemption through thy blood, the forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of thy grace.

Amen.

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The vast difference between Mount Sinai and Mount Zion!

Robert Hawker on Hebrews 12:18-24:trinitarian bible003

Within the compass of these verses, we have the most striking description drawn, and by the pencil of the Holy Ghost himself, of the vast difference between Mount Sinai, and Mount Zion; that is, the law, and the Gospel; a Covenant of Works, and a Covenant of Grace. And it is such a description, as is enough under divine teaching, to arrest the heart, with the most sensible apprehension, of the awfulness of the one, and the blessedness of the other; the soul’s approaches unto God.

The first account is of Mount Sinai. And the very solemn and awful demonstrations, of the Lord’s presence, in giving the law; are described in characters so terrible, as even in the recital, makes the flesh to tremble. Moses himself was so overwhelmed, that he said, I exceedingly fear and quake. And all Israel cried out, and said unto Moses, speak thou with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die, Exo_20:18-19. Nothing can be more plain, than that the leading design of the Lord, in those manifestations, of thunderings, and lightnings, and the like, were to impress the Church of God, with an holy awe and reverence, in the consciousness of the divine presence. And also to shew them, the blackness, darkness, dread, and horror, which every soul must feel, through divine teaching, when brought under the conviction of having broken the Lord’s precepts.

And, on the other band, in the most blessed and gracious description, given of Mount Zion, the Church is taught the high privilege of the Lord’s redeemed ones, who now may come, and who indeed do come, to the assembly of the first-born; yea, to God himself the Judge of all, when coming in the name of Jesus., the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling. And here is implied, in being come, that there is an holy familiarity, and acquaintance, in this approach; a birth-right, by the new-birth; a redemption, an adopted-character, by Jesus’s blood, and righteousness; and the Covenant faithfulness of God the Judge of all. So that this is the Gospel privilege of God’s redeemed ones: their stated daily, hourly, minutely mercy; to which they are supposed to come boldly, and find mercy, and grace to help in all time of need, Heb_4:16.

One point I would beg however to remark, on this different description of those Mounts, in the dispensation of the Law and the Gospel. The Holy Ghost hath most graciously and blessedly taught the Church, in this divine scripture, from the different manifestations in which the Lord was pleased to make himself known to Old Testament saints, and New Testament believers; how blessed an alteration is made, in the mode of worship, by the open revelation of Christ; but it must not be understood from thence, that the way of acceptance with God in Christ, differed in the Old Testament Church from the New. Both were one, and the same. The former, was a shadow of good things to come; but then, as now, the body was Christ. And blessed be God, our fathers, both under the Law, and before the Law, as well as their children under the Gospel, in every ministration, and in every service, had an eye to the Lamb slain from the foundation of the World.

Their services, and all the vessels of the sanctuary, yea, the Book of the Law, and all the people, were sprinkled with blood, Exo_24:6-8; Heb_9:19-22. And hence we find Old Testament saints chanting their hymns of salvation to God, and the Lamb. Job knew, that his kinsman Redeemer lived, Job_19:25. David sung his dying love song, in the believing views he had of a Covenant ordered in all things and sure; and which was all his salvation, and all his desire, 2Sa_23:5. And indeed, all the faithful, in every age of the Church, from the first dawn of revelation, in Abel’s faith offering, down to Zachariah’s day at the Altar of Incense, in the moment of Christ’s coming, blessed God, in the soul-living expectation of the mercy promised, Luk_1:72.

Reader! learn to estimate, the high privileges of redemption in Jesus; and be it your daily song of thanksgiving, and praise, that you are not come to the Mount that might be touched, (that is on which the Lord by his descent might be said to touch, though not touched by man,) and that burned with fire; but you are come to Jesus the Mediator; and to the blood of sprinkling!

Oh! the blessedness, the preciousness, the unspeakable greatness of the mercy! Jesus, your Jesus, if so be you have tasted that the Lord is gracious; to whom coming, 1Pe_2:3-4. And in, And through, and by Jesus, to God the Judge of all.

On Experimental Knowledge

Robert Hawker:roberthawker

“…the natural consequences of our fallen state, that everything connected with it is unclean. The very desires of nature are corrupt, and the multiplying of our species is in sin. Psa 51:5. If we spiritualize this scripture and consider it as emblematical of the state of the soul; the running issues of evil from thence are innumerable. (See those scriptures. Isa 1:4-6; Hos 4:1-2; Mat 15:19-20.) But what a precious relief to the soul, that is conscious of this, is that gracious scripture, in which GOD promiseth to cleanse the soul from all its filthiness. Eze 36:25-27. And what a happy state is that soul arrived at, in whom those promises have been fulfilled, and who hath an experimental knowledge of that grand truth, 1 Jn 1:7.” commenting on Leviticus 15:1-18

“Reader! how very awful is it to behold men who have their understanding enlightened, but their minds unrenewed. We are taught to believe that devils excel men in the knowledge of the doctrine of JESUS and his righteousness, but they are eternal strangers to the love or desire of JESUS, in practical, experimental feeling. For while many to whom the SON of GOD came in the days of his flesh, knew him not; the devils cried out, we know thee who thou art, the Holy One of GOD. Luk 4:33-34. Reader! think only what an aggravated state of misery in the other world must it be, both in men and devils, whose darkness becomes more horrible in proportion to the greater light they posses, of knowing without feeling what divine love is. This is what may be supposed intimated in our LORD’S expression: if the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness: Mat 6:23.” commenting on Numbers 24:3-4

Jesus Day by Day

Selected comments from Robert Hawker on Revelation 2:1-7:roberthawker

“When God the Holy Ghost quickens a sinner, which before was dead in trespasses and sins, by that spiritual life imparted, the child of God is truly and everlastingly united to the Lord Jesus. The Holy Ghost bears this testimony himself, by his servant Peter. According (saith he) as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness through the knowledge of him, that hath called us unto glory and virtue, 2 Peter 1:3-4. Hence, there is now in this awakened and regenerated new creature; an union with Christ, and an interest in Christ. He is brought out of darkness and the shadow of death, and being justified freely through the grace that is in Christ Jesus, he is habitually in a state of favor, and acceptance with God. This is his high calling in Christ. And this is the general frame and state of his mind. But beside this habit of grace, in which the soul is formed by regeneration, there is an actual state, for the exercise of grace upon the Person of Christ, belonging to the believer, and this will be more or less lively, as the Lord the Holy Ghost calls forth into action, the graces by regeneration, which he hath planted in the soul.”

“The Lord’s children when called by grace, are savingly called, and their spirit being born of the Spirit, can die no more. But there may be a great leanness of soul, and there will be, where spiritual strength is not spiritually received, by a life of faith upon Jesus day by day. Hence Jesus, when describing his Church, as branches in himself, the Vine enjoins an abiding in him, that is, a lively acting of faith upon him, John 15:5. If the soul desires a perpetual spring and summer season, it must be induced from drawing all life, and nourishment, and fruitfulness from Christ. From me, saith the Lord, is thy fruit found, Hos 14:8. But it will be winter in that soul where, though there is no separation from the root, and therefore the tree still lives, the communication is just to keep alive, and that’s all. Oh! how needful to feel our daily want of Christ, and as constantly to be in the exercise of faith upon Christ.”

“The Candlestick, which is a moveable in God’s house, (as it is in a Man’s house,) may be removed out of its place; and as it was indeed in the instance of this Church at Ephesus, but the house itself is founded upon Christ, the rock of ages; against which the gates of hell can never prevail. God’s children may, and (without his grace keeping them alive, in active fruitfulness, upon Christ’s Person and righteousness) God’s children will, continually feel the workings of sin, in a body which is virtually all sin. But it is Christ’s special office, to keep all his redeemed from finally falling, and to present them faultless, before the presence of his glory, with exceeding joy.  Jud 1:24. Oh! then for grace, to hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches.” Poor Man’s Commentary

Psalm 121

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore. (Psa 121:1-8)

“How beautiful, how truly beautiful and soul-refreshing are these words, if considered, first, as spoken by God our Father to the person of his dear Son, as the Mediator and Head of the church; and then as spoken to all his people in him.

Reader! do let me entreat you to pause over this beautiful Psalm, and see whether, under the divine teaching of the Holy Ghost, it doth not correspond to the general analogy of faith, to read it with reference to the ever blessed Jesus. And if so, what a most delightful scripture is it, to behold the sacred persons of the Godhead (as in other scriptures) thus addressing each other: Isa_42:25; Isa_42:25, etc. Ps 89. Jesus having taken our nature into union with the Godhead for the purposes of redemption; now in that nature looks up for the promised help, to carry him safely and honorably through it. And God our Father, beholding with inexpressible complacency his dear Son as the sinner’s surety, thus speaking to him in such a divine way of blessing, keeping, preserving, and conducting him, amidst the sun’s heat, and the moon’s influences, from every danger safely through the whole.

Oh! for grace to look up and bless the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for this unequalled gift of his dear Son. Oh! for grace to adore the holy and eternal Spirit, both for having brought poor sinners acquainted with this love, and for giving us hearts to believe the record God hath given of his dear Son. And oh! for grace to be ever looking unto thee, thou dear Emmanuel, who though thou wast rich, yet for our sakes didst become poor, that we through thy poverty might be made rich. Reader! while thus making Jesus the sum and substance of this divine Psalm, forget not that it is as the head of his church and people, that he thus appears.

All the promises here made to him, are in him made to his people also. God in Christ is the keeper, the shade, the helper, the stay of all his redeemed. He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness before him, 1Sa_2:9. In all the exercises of his faithful, in going out or coming home, Jesus will go before them, and the God of Israel will be their reward.

Oh! the blessedness of the Israel of God; oh! the glory, grace, and love of the God of Israel.”

Robert Hawker, Poor Man’s Commentary

I hear the Father’s gracious voice

June 7 — Morning — Job 33:23, 24poorman

“If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness; then he is gracious unto him, and saith, deliver him from going down to the pit, I have found a ransom.”—Job xxxiii.23, 24.

My soul, how precious are those views, in looking back upon where the first discoveries of grace were made. Moses never forgot the first visions of God at the bush; neither did Jacob outlive the remembrance of the first Bethel-visit of a God in Christ to his soul; and why should I? Hast thou not known this messenger, this interpreter, one among a ‘thousand to shew unto thee’ God’s uprightness? Oh yes, Jesus by his Spirit hath shewn to me that my “God is righteous in all his ways, and holy in his works.” When by the blessed discoveries which had been made to me in his word, by his ordinances, providences, judgments, mercies, like the poor creature described in this sweet scripture, when reduced to a mere skeleton, by reason of soul sickness, driven out of all resources in myself, and utterly despairing of ever seeing the face of God in glory, by any creature attempts, and by all creature righteousness, Oh then it was, thou blessed, glorious messenger of thine own covenant; thou faithful interpreter of the mind and will of Jehovah; then it was I was led to see the freeness, fulness, suitableness, and all-sufficiency of a Redeemer’s righteousness, and to cast my poor defenceless, naked, trembling soul upon the rich, powerful, and altogether-sufficient salvation, of thee, my God and Saviour! Oh how hast thou sweetly and mercifully explained to me the secrets of covenant mercies, the glories of thy person, and the greatness of thy finished work. And now at every step I take, at every portion of thy blessed word I read, when my mind feels the remains of indwelling corruption, and all the lurkings of the enemy’s suggestions ‘within; then, then it is I hear the Father’s gracious voice, “Deliver him from going down to the pit, I have found a ransom.” Yes, precious Jesus, thou art my ransom, and my righteousness for ever!”

Robert Hawker, Poor Man’s Morning and Evening Portions

His mercies are constant!

June 6 — Morning — Psalm 68:19

“Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits.”—Ps. lxviii. 19.

Behold, my soul, what a sweet portion for thy morning meditation is here. See what thou canst gather out of it to furnish new songs of praise to the bountiful Lord whose mercies it records. Blessed Spirit! I beseech thee open these precious words of thine to my view. Blessed be the Lord, it saith, yea, so say I; blessed be Jehovah; blessed be the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for they are the united source of all my blessings. And blessed be the majesty and glory of God for ever, who daily loadeth his people with benefits. Count over,my soul, each of these blessed expressions, for every word is weighty and ponderous. God not only gives blessings, but daily. His mercies are constant as the morning, unceasing, continual; strength suited to the day, and mercies adapted to every moment. Faith needs no hoards, no banking-houses: nay, it is faith’s precious property, and her blessedness, to be always empty, in order that the sweetness of being filled by Jesus may be the better known. But this is not all. God not only daily gives out blessings, but loadeth his people with benefits. He openeth the windows of heaven, and poureth out of his grace in such fulness, that there is not room to receive. He makes their souls like the heart of Elihu, as it is roberthawkersaid of him, for want of vent, like new bottles he was ready to burst.

So Jesus poureth out of his love into the souls of his redeemed, that they are overpowered with his goodness. Knowest thou not, my soul, somewhat of this! Oh yes, I trust I do. Why then, “blessed be God, who daily loadeth me with his benefits.” And what endears all this in a ten thousand times greater degree, is the assurance that the whole is in a way of salvation. So saith this sweet scripture. He that loadeth us with benefits, is the God of our salvation. He that is our God, even he is the God of our salvation. Oh precious, blessed consideration, then are these blessings everlastingly secured; for he that now daily loadeth us with benefits, will unweariedly do the same to all eternity. He is not only the portion of his people now, but will be so for ever. He not only gives strength equal to the day, but will himself be our strength to all eternity. And mark it down, my soul, as the most blessed part of those daily benefits; he that thus loadeth the soul with all the benefits of covenant blessings, in the grace, mercy, favour, love, blood, righteousness, and all the sweet tokens of redemption in Jesus, signs and seals every one of them in his dear name: and as he said to Abraham, so he saith to all Abraham’s seed, “Fear not, I am thy shield, and thine exceeding great reward.” Shout then, my soul, and henceforth let this be thy morning song: “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth thee with benefits.”

Robert Hawker, Poor Man’s Morning and Evening Portions

My soul! will you not learn, this evening…

EVENING.poorman

“You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together… And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.”-Dan. 2:34, 35.

Ponder well, my soul, this wonderful vision of the heathen king, and mark its several features. If the Lord is about to bless and comfort his people, how often is it done by ways most opposite and unlikely, according to our perception of things! It shall be accomplished, even by their enemies, and they who wish most to afflict them, shall not infrequently be made the unconscious instruments of doing the very reverse of what they intend; as in the instance before us, to which these words in the writings of the prophet Daniel refer.

The church was now in captivity; oppressed, and brought very low. The king, in whose dominions they were but vassals, was a despotic tyrant whose word became the chief law. The Lord visits this monarch’s mind with a vision of the night: he is troubled with what he had seen in his vision; but when he awakes, the remembrance of what he had seen vanished. Daniel is blessed of the Lord, both to bring to his recollection his thoughts in the night, and to give the interpretation of them. The king’s heart is for the time subdued, and Daniel honoured with favour. But the most eminent point of this vision was for the church’s comfort, and the Lord caused his people to rejoice in the revealing of it.

The image to be destroyed represented the several kingdoms of the world, before the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the order in which they should succeed each other. The Babylonians took the lead, and the Persians followed. After them came the Greeks; and during the fourth, which was the Roman power, the Lord Jesus Christ, “the stone cut out without hands,” was to arise, which should destroy the image and become “a mountain, and fill the earth.”

What a wonderful harmony of circumstances must it have been, that made every minute point in this representation to correspond so exactly to Jesus, and to him only! The birth of Christ, produced without the intervention of a human father; nothing could more strikingly set forth, than the figure of “a stone cut out without hands.” And the triumph of his spiritual kingdom was equally beautiful, in the image of breaking in pieces “the image which stood on his feet.” And when what is said of Christ is considered, which must finally be fulfilled in him, that “the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever;” who does not, or will not, see the striking representation of a mountain springing up from slender beginnings, “and filling the whole earth?”

My soul! will you not learn, this evening, from this very precious scripture, to appreciate your Jesus, and to see how sweetly scripture testimony confirms everything concerning him? Teach me, dear Lord, to see you under those delightful images; and while I trace back the history of your incarnation, low, humble, and despised, as “a stone cut without hands;” Oh! allow me to contemplate your glory in what most assuredly shall be accomplished, when “like a mountain established on the tops of a mountain, all nations shall flow to you, and you will fill the earth.” Divine Master! fill my whole soul with yourself; and let this our land, and our people, be filled with the knowledge of Jesus and his great salvation, “as the waters cover the sea!”

Pause over these words…

poorman

Morning – Hebrews 6:19, 20
“Within the vail, whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus.”

 

Pause over these words, my soul, this morning. Is the vail removed? Was the vail rent in twain, from the top to the bottom, in the hour that Christ died? And did Jesus, as thy High Priest, with all his blood, then enter into ‘the place not made with hands, having obtained eternal redemption for us? Did he enter too as thy forerunner? Pause over this thought—it is a sweet one. Is Jesus still there? Nay, my soul, look in and see.

He calls thee to look unto him—nay, to follow him, “having boldness to enter into the holiest by his blood, in the new and living way which he hath consecrated for us through the vail, that is to say, his flesh.” And what canst thou see there? Within the vail of the Jewish temple there was the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant, and the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; and over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercy-seat.

But within that vail, whither our forerunner is entered, look up, my soul, and see Jesus with the golden censer of his own merits and blood; and not the symbols of the covenant only, but he himself, the whole of the covenant, God the Father hath given him for the people; not merely manna, but himself the living bread, the bread of God, of which whosoever eateth shall live for ever; not the rod of Aaron, but the rod of his power, to make poor sinners willing in the day of his power; not the cherubims of glory, but himself the mercy-seat, the propitiatory, the sacrifice, high priest, and ail in all.

Look up, my soul; look in, my soul; go in, my soul, after him, by faith, and contemplate him as thy forerunner; and while all thy faculties, in grace and faith, are going forth in the most lively exercise, hear him say, and let his words sink deeper and deeper in thine unceasing remembrance: “I only go to prepare for you a place: I will Come again, and receive you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” Hail thou glorious Forerunner, who art made an high priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedec. – Robert Hawker