Exod. 23:9

Robert Hawker

"Ye know the heart of a stranger."–Exod. xxiii. 9.

True, Lord, I do indeed! for I was once a stranger in a strange land, even in the land of spiritual Egypt. My soul! wilt thou not find it profitable to look back, and call to remembrance thy o original nothingness; yea, worse than nothing, when Jesus passed by, and bade thee live? It is among the gracious precepts of the Lord, "to look to the rock whence thou wert hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence thou wert digged," Isaiah li. 1. And never surely was mercy more seasonable, more abundant, more unexpected, unlooked for, and unmerited, than when bestowed upon me! And doth my Lord say, "Ye know the heart of a stranger? Oh! for grace rightly to apprehend that state out of which the Lord brought me, when living as a stranger to the commonwealth of Israel, "without hope, and without God in the world!" Thou knowest the heart of a stranger, my soul; say then what it was. A stranger to any knowledge of God the Father; ignorant, blind, senseless, unconscious of sin, and unconscious of danger. And what a stranger to thee, thou blessed Lord Jesus! I knew thee not, I loved thee not, I desired thee not. Thy love, thy grace, thy pity, thy mercy, these were thoughts which never entered my breast. Neither thy person, nor thy salvation, the merits of thy blood, nor of thy righteousness, were ever in my view or regard; yea, contempt of thee, and of thy people, thy sabbaths, thy word and ordinances, would have been more the pursuit of my heart, than of thy love. And so total a stranger was I to the idea of any saving change to be wrought upon the heart by regeneration, that, concerning the Eternal Spirit, and his divine agency upon the soul, never had I so much as heard "whether there was any Holy Ghost!" My soul! was this indeed thy case, as thou once didst stand before God? "Dead in trespasses and sins;" and every moment exposed to the tremendous horrors of "the second death," where thou wouldest have been a stranger to any lovely view of God in Christ to all eternity. "Dost thou know the heart of a stranger?"–Pause, and describe, if it be possible, what must be such a state! And then look round, and behold the multitude of souls that are so now; and say, dost thou not feel for the stranger, since thou wert once a stranger in the land of Egypt? Oh! ye that are yet in nature's darkness, fast bound in misery and iron; strangers and aliens; afar off, and enemies to God by wicked works; "Oh! consider this, all ye that forget God, lest he pluck you away, and there be none to deliver you!" Lord! I desire to be humbled to the dust before thee, to ascribe all to distinguishing grace, and everlastingly to be crying out, with the astonishment of the apostle, "Lord, how is it that thou dost manifest thyself to me, and not unto the world?"



Robert Hawker

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