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Dr. Robert Hawker
(1753-1827)

Union and Communion with Christ


SACRAMENTAL MEDITATIONS.

VI. CHRIST CALLING TO THE SPIRIT TO BREATHE ON HIS GAR­DEN, THE CHURCH, HIS SWEET INFLUENCES, AND THE CHURCH, IN CONSEQUENCE THEREOF, INVITING CHRIST TO COME INTO HIS GARDEN, AND EAT HIS PLEASANT FRUITS.

“Awake, 0 north wind, and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof
may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and cat his pleasant fruits.” Song 4:16


SACRAMENTAL MEDITATIONS.


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Providence Baptist Ministries

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Dr. Robert Hawker
(1753-1827)

Union and Communion with Christ


SACRAMENTAL MEDITATIONS.

VI. CHRIST CALLING TO THE SPIRIT TO BREATHE ON HIS GAR­DEN, THE CHURCH, HIS SWEET INFLUENCES, AND THE CHURCH, IN CONSEQUENCE THEREOF, INVITING CHRIST TO COME INTO HIS GARDEN, AND EAT HIS PLEASANT FRUITS.

“Awake, 0 north wind, and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof
may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and cat his pleasant fruits.” Song 4:16


The Lord’s table is again spread for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper; and all the Lord’s family are invited to the spiritual feast. In this instance, it is with the Lord’s household as it is with ours; none should be away, and especially of the little ones before night, everyone should be home at supper time.

But in order to have a real spiritual enjoyment of this divine banquet, it is most essentially necessary that each and every guest must have a spiritual appe­tite and relish for this spiritual food. The Lord first comes to his people in a way of grace, before that they can go to him in a way of faith and love. I can have no desire after Christ, until Christ, by his Spirit, kindles that desire in my affections. And hence the same Almighty God, who by regeneration quickens the sinner, which before was dead in trespasses and sins, into a new and spiritual life, excites the life he Math given into spiritual action; and this in scripture, by way of distinction, is called “the renewing of the Holy Ghost shed upon us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour,” (Titus 3:5 & 6). And when the Lord is renewing the regenerated spirit by his divine power, then all the faculties of the soul are going forth in desires after Christ, and longing for com­munion with Christ. One of the Psalms hath ex­pressed this, in very sweet and strong terms, of the vehement burnings of the soul, when feeling the excitings of the Spirit: “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, 0 God. My soul thirsteth for God, yea, for the living God! When shall I come and appear before God?” (Ps. 42:1 & 2).

I pause to remark, before we go further, that these sensibilities of the soul are not only the truest marks of the redeemed and regenerated child of God; but also that that child of God is then in a state of spiritual health in Christ, in hungering and thirsting for his spiritual food, which is Christ himself: as the man in the natural health of the body, craves for the bread which satisfies the hungering, for his daily sustenance. The whole process of divine teaching is to this tendency. It is the spiritual consciousness which I have, since the Lord first wrought a work of grace in my heart, of my original distance by nature from the Lord that now so earnestly prompts me to draw nigh to him. It is the conviction which I have of my utter inability to come to God of myself; which makes me prize his grace, in leading and drawing me. His light it is which makes me sensible of my dark­ness. His life, giving me life, shows me the state in which I was before, of deadness and death. So that the very best and most infallible standard of ascer­taining the real health of the soul, before God in Christ, is, when all the spiritual faculties are awakened and called forth in desires after Christ. The eye supernaturally opened by the Lord, beholds “the king in his beauty.” The ear, unstopped by sovereign power, hears and knows “the joyful sound.” The feet will then run the ways of God’s commandments when “the heart is set at liberty.” In short, all the spiritual affections are excited towards him, who is discovered by this divine teaching, to be the all in all to his people, and nothing can, or will, satisfy the regenerated child of God, short of Christ “in them the hope of glory.”

My text is a beautiful illustration of this leading truth of our most holy faith. The words are the close of one of the love-songs of Christ, in which the gra­cious condescending Lord had been dwelling very largely upon the beauties of his church, as she ap­peared in his eyes, made comely “by the comeliness which be had put upon her;” and now desiring to bring her forth into communion with himself, he calls to the Holy Ghost to shed his influences upon her, that the graces the Lord the Spirit had wrought in her by regeneration, might be brought forth into the lively exercises of love and faith, upon the person and righteousness of her Lord. “Awake, O north wind, and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out:* And it ap­pears, by the close of my text, that the effect in­stantly followed the call; for she said, “Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.”

Every part and portion of this scripture is big with importance, and, under divine teaching, cannot fail to give instruction and comfort to the whole redeemed and regenerated church of Christ. Let us go over the several branches of it, one by one.

That it is the Lord Jesus which is the speaker, in calling to the north and south wind, is evident, be­cause he names the church as his garden, upon who he desires the sweet gales of the Spirit to blow. And through grace, we can perfectly apprehend how the church is the garden of Christ; for she was, from everlasting, given to him by the Father in the cove­nant of grace. And moreover, Christ had a double personal right in her beside, in betrothing her to him­self before all worlds; and during the time-state .redeeming her by his blood. And no less hath God the Holy Ghost testified to this right, when anointing the church in Christ, in the ancient settlements of eternity, and by regeneration in the fullness of time, raising her from the ruins of the fall, and making her willing, by a voluntary surrender of herself, to be the Lord’s, “in the day of his power.” I only detain you for the moment on this part of the subject, to observe, that so very precious is the church in Jesus’ sight, as the Father’s gift, that he calls her his gar­den, with special reference on this account. For elsewhere, speaking to the Father in relation to the church, Jesus saith: “Thou hast given me power over all flesh, that I should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given me. I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gayest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gayest them me, and they have kept thy word,” (John 17:2-6). Hence it is plain, that the church was dear to the Lord Jesus, because she was, and is, the Father’s, and given to him by the Father. And if Jesus loved her on this account, shall not you and I love the Father for the same? Is the church more precious in Jesus’ sight, from having received her of the Father? And shall not the knowledge of this endear to us both the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for such an act of grace, in the covenant love of Jehovah towards the church, in his trinity of persons.

But we must not stop here. In the call of the Lord Jesus to the Holy Ghost, to blow upon his garden, we have a beautiful illustration by the way, of the several acts of the Holy Three in One, in the economy of grace, to the church in Christ. As the church originated in the gift of the Father to the Son, and the Son guaranteed both to marry the church by union with our nature, and to redeem her from the Adam-fall transgression by his blood; so the Holy Ghost engaged his personal grace, in anointing, quickening, regenerating, renewing, and all those outpourings of his favor, whereby his equal love should be manifested towards the church in Christ, in common with the Father and the Son. This call of Christ to the Holy Ghost, to visit his church with his influences, is not dissimilar to what the Lord Jesus said in the days of his flesh to his Father. It is to one and the same amount; and as much a prayer in the one instance as it is in the other. We have several expressions of the kind in the same chapter, (John 17:11 & 15; 17-24). Neither is this address to the Holy Ghost, in his own personal power and Godhead, singular, for we find the like in the prophet Ezekiel, in which the Lord God calls to the four winds, saying, “O breath! breathe upon these slain, that they may live!” (Ezek. 37:9). It is most blessed, therefore, when, by the Lord shining on his word, we can and do behold all the persons in the Godhead alike engaged in the great work of salvation; and we are enabled, in our own case and circumstances, to trace the several acts of each, manifested in love and favor to ourselves as we are in Christ.

Neither is this all. By the call to the north wind and the south wind-to blow upon Christ’s garden, for the express purpose that the spices may flow out,-we learn both the freedom in those acts of grace, and the necessity there is, that they must be dispensed before that such effects as the Lord Jesus waited for could follow. Here again, as before, we discover the equal grace manifested by the Holy Three in One, toward the church in Christ, by those merciful and sovereign acts of each, while they all co-operate and concur in the personal salvation of every indi­vidual of Christ’s mystical body. There is not one of the church of Christ but what was given by the Father to the Son; for it is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, “of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,” (Eph. 3:14). There is not one, in the whole election of grace, but what is mar­ried to the Son. For he it is that hath said, “I will betroth thee unto me for ever,” (Hosea 2:19). And amidst the diversities of gifts bestowed upon the church from God the Holy Ghost, we are expressly taught, that “all these worketh that one and the self­same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will,” (1 Cor. 12:11). I stay not to enter into an enquiry concerning the different properties of the north and south wind. I rather consider, that the Holy Ghost himself is understood under both; and that it is a comprehensive expression of our most glorious Christ, to desire for his church everything that she then stood in need of, for causing grace to be in lively exercise. And if, as the north wind breathed a pleasant gale, and the south melted the finer affections of the soul, the effect might be, as we not infrequently find it is, in the gardens of nature; the oily particles of the plants being dissolved, and the air blowing upon them, causes their fragrant odor to regale our senses: so in the garden of grace, the church, under the Spirit’s influence, feel­ing those divine operations from the Lord, might be wrought upon, in the power of the Lord, to come forth into action; and the spices of love, and joy, and faith, and delight, in the Lord Jesus Christ, might flow out; and Jesus take delight in the perfume of his own gifts to his church.

And do not fail to observe how immediate the effect which followed, from the Spirit’s influence on the church; for no sooner had she felt the outpouring of his gracious operations on her soul, than she invites her Lord to come to her, for his personal enjoyment of the same: “Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.” It is very blessed to trace the gracious work of the Holy Ghost, in those sudden enlargements of spirit, when calling forth the graces he hath planted in his church and people into lively exercise. This the spouse expressed upon another occasion, when she said: “Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib,” (Song 6:12). And it is recorded of Heze­kiah and the children of Israel upon the occasion of the consecration of the house of the Lord: “and Hezekiah rejoiced, and all the people, that God had prepared the people; for the thing was done sud­denly,” (2 Chron. 29:36). I believe that I may venture to appeal to the minds and experiences of many of the Lord’s people which hear me, in confir­mation of the same. There is, and there necessarily must be at times, from the workings of the old nature we carry about with us, great coldness and deadness, to divine things. Every redeemed and regenerated child of God, when brought acquainted with the ana­tomy of his own heart, knows this but too often to his own cost. And indeed the chief sorrows of the soul, originate from those workings of corruption in their opposition to grace. It was this discovery of the inherency of sin, which made the apostle groan. And it is the same, which in all ages of the church, have induced similar effects among all the Lord’s people. How very gracious then must it be in our most glorious Lord, when as in the instance of the spouse here described, Jesus calls upon the Spirit to pour upon his people the renewings of his grace, and the blessed consequences immediately follow in the outgoings of the soul’s desire for communion with the Lord: “let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.”

In the further prosecution of this subject as the Lord shall be pleased to favor: and with an eye to the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, the prepara­tion for which can only be from the Lord; I purpose in the first place, to consider a little somewhat more particularly this call of our most glorious Christ to the Holy Ghost for the shedding his gracious influ­ences on his church. “Awake, O north wind, and come thou south, and blow upon my garden that the spices thereof may flow.” I shall then proceed in the second branch of the discourse, to show according to the statement of scripture, how blessedly those operations of the Holy Ghost, upon the regenerated nature of the Lord’s people, lead to those spiritual desires of the soul, as expressed in the invitation in the text “let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.”

But before I ‘enter upon it, I would detain you at the threshold to say, that the spiritual apprehension of this, like all other matters of a spiritual nature, can only be spiritually understood. Divine teaching can only be received from divine illumination. “A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven,” (John 3:27). But let it be also understood at the same time, that there is nothing of merit or demerit which has anything to do in the receiving of it. All receivers are identical receivers, and mere vessels to receive, and no more. And yet further, let it be observed, that how many soever are made the receivers of this unspeakable gift, are alike made the receivers of it. For as it-is said of justification, “by Him all that believe are justified from all things;” whether they be strong or weak, young or old; so by regeneration or the new birth, and the consequen­ces arising therefrom in Christ, all that are brought into the new and spiritual life, are alike brought into all the privileges of that life. The veriest babe in Christ, the newborn heir of the kingdom, is at once made as capable of enjoying communion with all the persons in the Godhead, as those that are advanced in years in the divine life. And I have often thought what an encouragement these considerations become to everyone who is made sensible “of the plague of his own heart.” For as all men by nature are alike undeserving, and all are alike passive when receiving the first manifestations of grace from the Lord; when­ever the Lord calls upon the Holy Ghost to blow upon his church, the effects cannot but follow, and the sinner is at once “made willing in the day of his power.”

I begin as I proposed, to consider somewhat more particularly the Lord’s call to the Holy Ghost, to breathe upon his church the blessed influences of his sovereign power that the spices might flow. And while this is the special act of God the Spirit, in the economy of salvation, so is it from the joint pleasure and absolute agreement of the Holy Three in One, in the covenant of grace. For, as hath been glanced at before, every event included in the administration of salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ, refers to each glorious person in the Godhead as equally taking part. The formation and gift of the church, as hath been already stated, carries with it a most palpable and decided testimony, that the whole persons. in the Godhead alike, have engaged from all eternity and are engaged to all eternity in the marvelous work. And we are told the cause, namely; “that in the ages to come, God might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness towards us through Christ Jesus,” (Eph. 2:7).

I have already shown you, though in a transient manner, some few of the more prominent features of the divine favor towards the church by each of the persons in the Godhead, which plainly testify the sovereign acts of each, in the Father’s love, the Son’s grace, and the Spirit’s fellowship. But it was among the blessed promises of our most glorious Christ, that the latter days of the gospel after his return to glory, and the Holy Ghost coming down in a more open display of his eternal power and Godhead, should be marked with clearer views of the divine manifestations. “These things (said Jesus) have I spoken unto you in proverbs; but the time cometh when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father,” (John 16:25). And blessed he our promising God, for he is a per­forming God. We have done with parables from any knowledge to be gathered from them of the spi­ritual manifestation of Jehovah in his Trinity of Per­sons. We can and do, whenever the north wind and the south wind from the Holy Ghost, blow a gracious gale upon our souls, receive the divine testimony to the persons in the Godhead, in their personal manifestations to us, and “set to our seal that God is true,” (John 3:33).

Thus in relation to the special, personal grace of God the Father; now discover through our Lord’s spewing us plainly of the Father, that as it was, from his first and original gift in eternity, the church was given to Christ; so is it in every instance his special, personal grace that we are drawn to Christ, (John 6:44); and that our coming to Christ is from the Fa­ther’s teaching, (John 6:45. with Isa. 54:13). The Lord Jesus did indeed very beautifully set forth the union of the Son of God with our nature, under the similitude of “a certain king making a marriage for his son,” (Matt. 22:2), but who would have entered into the spiritual apprehension of this parable; had not Jesus himself shown us “plainly of the Father?” Who would have been able to trace their mercies to the Father’s inclining our hearts to hive Christ, and to accept Christ; who are all by nature in a state of enmity to God; had it not been shown us, that all that wooing and winning we feel in drawing us to Christ is by the Father? He it is that is the Almighty speaker to the church, in that precious scripture, when he saith, “Hearken, O daughter, and con­sider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house: so shall the king greatly desire thy beauty, for he is thy Lord, and worship thou him,” (Ps. 45:10 & 11; Gen. 12:1-3). Secret indeed to our view, and for a long while unconscious from whence the direction came, while feeling the energy of divine disposings; yet from this intimation of Christ, we now clearly discover that the whole proceeded from the Father; and. his almighty power, acting like the hidden spring of a machine, wrought most effectually when most con­cealed. Even as in the new birth, so in all the after principles of spiritual life, all that believe in Christ’s name, “are born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God,” (John 113).

And no less in relation to the special, personal acts. of grace, from, our most glorious Christ; every love token which can he shown carries with it, in all its bearings, the same testimonies of his unceasing attention; yea, that his whole heart is ours. The spouse, in those very Canticles, expressed as much when she said, “I am my beloved’s, and his desire is towards me!” (Song 7:10). And as this desire in our Almighty lover towards his church began before all worlds; so doth it run, like a golden chain, link by link, through all the time-state of the church, and will continue when there are no worlds. I need not particularize. Every act of the Lord Jesus becomes a confirmation; yea, every design and purpose of his mind declares it. “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord; thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end,” (Jer. 29:11). So that, when set up from everlasting, as “his delights were then with the sons of men;” such have they always been; such are they now; and such will they be to all eternity. Neither his person nor his affection towards his church can alter; for he is “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever,” (Heb. 13:8).

And in relation to the love and operations of God ilk: Holy Ghost, which are specially and personally referred to in the text; from the first moment in eter­nity, (call that moment by what name soever it may be termed,) to every part, and portion, of the grace manifested to the church here below, the Lord the Spirit hath borne, and doth bear equal regard, in all the covenant transactions of Jehovah. His almighty ministry hath been shown when from everlasting he anointed the glorious Head of the church, and the church in him. And no less, in all those sovereign acts, which have followed in time; and which will continue in, and through all time, until grace is con­summated in glory. His is to regenerate, to teach, to lead into all truth, to glorify the person of Christ, and the work of Christ; to take of Christ and show unto his people; to incite prayers in their hearts, according to the will of God; to awaken sinners; to comfort saints; to confirm, to establish, to strengthen; “to direct the heart into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ!” In short, to speak in the words of the text; as the “north wind, and the south wind to blow upon Christ’s garden the church, that the spices thereof may flow out!” All which are so many concurring and decided testimonies to the comfort and joy of the church, that the whole Three Persons in the Godhead are alike engaged in those sovereign acts of divine favor towards her; and in the unity of the essence of Jehovah, become the one glorious object of adoration, love, and praise, now, and to all eternity.

In proceeding now, as I proposed, to the second branch of my discourse, namely, of the effects wrought upon the heart of the regenerated people of the Lord; it will be your province while I go over the outward ministry of the word, to enquire for the inward operation of the same in your spiritual minds and understandings, as testified by the church of old, when she said, “Let my beloved come into his gar­den, and eat his pleasant fruits!”

If the Lord the Spirit hath been with you, and is with you, his divine breathings will be visible by the effects. As in the first act of regeneration, it is his almighty work to give spiritual life to our spiritual faculties, which were before dead in trespasses and sins; so in every subsequent operation, his almighty agency is manifested in every going forth of the re­newed soul, upon the person and salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Creating work, and renewing work, are alike his. Are we convinced of sin? It is by his divine discoveries to us of our apostate nature in Adam, that we have this conviction; and his pleadings in our own hearts, against our manifold transgressions to the holy law of God, become the sole cause of unfolding to our view the dreadful deformity of our fallen state. Are we enlightened in our spiritual understanding, to the scriptural appre­hension of the glorious person, and the glorious sal­vation of our Lord Jesus Christ; so as to behold his infinite suitableness and all sufficiency, to our circum­stances? This also is from the same Almighty Teacher, (John 16:14). Are we at any time, when depressed with a sense of sin from renewed infir­mities, cast down, and afflicted, in the sad prospect of human depravity? Here again it is that the Lord the Spirit comes in his most precious and endearing character, as the “Holy Ghost the comforter; “and the soul encouraged by his divine consolations, is led not infrequently to cry out, “When my heart is over­whelmed, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I!” (Ps. 61:2). In a word, when amidst the number­less and various ways by which, according to the statement of holy Scripture, gracious impressions are wrought upon. the mind, and the souls of the regene­rate are gladdened and made joyful in the house of prayer; when a divine power is felt in the word, and the cold heart is warmed, the depressed heart raised, the fettered heart set free, and the heart of stone becomes an heart of flesh; all, and every one of these divine operations, are the immediate work of God the Spirit, “dividing to every man severally as he will,” (1 Cor. 12:l1).

Have I said enough, in the statement of the doc­trines in the text, to render them intelligible to the spiritual understanding of my hearers? The imme­diate result then will be, to enquire who among you is brought under the gracious influences which the Lord Jesus here desired for his church, from God the Holy Ghost, so as to invite Christ, as the spouse did, when she felt the divine awakenings, and said, “Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits!” If the Lord the Spirit hath been present with us, as we are taught both to hope and believe; the testimonies of his unction will be more or less enjoyed in every regenerated heart. Added to the habitual state, in which every child of God once called by sovereign grace is, in the knowledge of the Lord; there will be the actual enjoyment of it in the goings forth of the soul, by these renewing in sweet communion with him. And when I call to mind that all, and every one of the manifestations of divine love are free and unmerited, “the dew of heaven, which tarried’ not for man, neither waiteth for the sons of men;” I am on the daily look out for him, and his gracious love visits to his church, “who cometh down like rain upon the mown grass, as showers that water the earth!” And while I think of these things, and look round upon the congrega­tion of the Lord’s people, as the prophet surveyed the dry bones in the valley; I realize to my spiritual apprehension the same question as the Lord put to him; and catch a glimpse by faith of what followed in answer to the prophet’s vision. When, our God calls to the four winds, saying, “O breath! breathe upon these slain that they may live! “I behold them spiritually as he did, when “from the breath coming into them they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army!” (Ezek. 37:1-10).

Though the limits of my text do not allow me to step into the next chapter, and dwell at large on the immediate effect which is there recorded, of the Lord’s gracious acceptation of the invitation of his church; yet it will not be trespassing too much on your time to observe, that his promptness to accept, was as instant as her desire: yea, as her invitation was the result of the Spirit’s influence, it was in the intention of Christ to come to her, prior to her ask­ing him, in agreement with that blessed promise; “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear,” (Isa. 65:24). And if you will only read the first verse in that chapter, you will see with what a world of tenderness the Lord Jesus expresses him­self on the occasion. “I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse; I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved!” (Song 5:1). Numberless are the precious intima­tions of our adorable Lord in this scripture. “I am come (said Jesus): I am always with you, even to the end of the world,” (Matt. 28:20; Isa. 27:3). I pray the soul that is tempted at times to think as if the Lord had forsaken him, to keep this in remem­brance: Jesus is never absent from his people. Though you do not see him, yet the Lord never ceases to see you, (Isa. 40:27-31). And do not fail to observe also, by what endearing names Jesus calls his church. She is his sister as well as his spouse. For by taking our nature into union with himself, this brings his church into every relation to him. And we are told that “he is not ashamed to call us brethren,” (Heb. 2:11). And I do admire his matchless grace, when coming into his garden and eating his pleasant fruits, that he calls them his: for surely such they are. It is his grace, and not our merits; the fruits of his blood and righteousness in which we appear before God and not in any offer­ing of our own; which makes us “accepted in the beloved.” And what a generous Lord is our Lord, thus to feast his redeemed with himself, when giving such a hearty welcome; “Eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved!”

I only add a prayer, that the same gracious Lord, which calls to the Holy Spirit, to come with his divine influences on his garden the church; may put the earnest cry in the hearts of his people, under those influences, to invite Jesus to come to his table on the present occasion. And that every regenerated soul may be made joyful in the Lord’s assurance that he is come, and that “to eat of his pleasant fruits.” The Lord knows all the wants of his people. He knows the special, personal need of every one. And it is the Lord that hath appointed the sweet ordinance of the Supper, on purpose for coming in the midst of them, in a way of communion, for the supply of each want, and to answer every necessity. “Let us there­fore, (as we are commanded) come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

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