“The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”—John 5:25
What a promise is here, and what an encouragement for every dead sinner to hope, and for every living saint, who is interested for dead sinners, not to despair? Observe, my soul, the extensiveness of the mercy: it is the dead. Why, all are dead in trespasses and sins. Is there not hope then for all? “And they that hear shall live.” Why, then, every sinner should ask his heart-do I hear? But, my soul, mark how this is done. It is by the voice of the Son of God. Yes; there is salvation in no other. He saith himself, “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth, and believeth in me, shall never die.” But, my soul, while taking comfort from this blessed passage, as it concerns poor dead sinners, ask thine own heart whether thou hast been the happy partaker of it thyself. Hast thou heard the voice of the Son of God? Yes; if so be thou livest in him, and upon him, and walkest with him. Jesus’s voice is a quickening voice, a life-giving voice, a soul-feeding, soul-strengthening, heart-warming, heartbreaking, heart-melting voice. What sayest thou, my soul, to these examinations? Oh if Jesus’s voice hath been ever heard by thee, thou wilt be desiring the renewal of it from day to day, and thou wilt be saying, in the earnest language of the church: “let me hear thy voice, let me see thy countenance; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.”
Robert Hawker (1753-1827) was an Anglican (High-Calvinist) preacher who served as Vicar of Charles Church, Plymouth. John Hazelton wrote of him:
“The prominent features…in Robert Hawker's testimony…was the Person of Christ….Dr. Hawker delighted to speak of his Lord as "My most glorious Christ.” What anxious heart but finds at times in the perusal of the doctor's writings a measure of relief, a softening, and a mellowing? an almost imperceptible yet secret and constraining power in leading out of self and off from the misery and bondage of the flesh into a contemplation of the Person and preciousness of Christ as "the chiefest among ten thousand and the altogether lovely." Christ and Him crucified was emphatically the burden of his song and the keynote of his ministry. He preached his last sermon in Charles Church on March 18th, 1827, and on April 6th he died, after being six years curate and forty-three years vicar of the parish. On the last day of his life he repeated a part of Ephesians 1, from the 6th to the 12th verses, and as he proceeded he enlarged on the verses, but dwelt more fully on these words: "To the praise of His glory Who first trusted in Christ." He paused and asked, "Who first trusted in Christ?" And then made this answer: "It was God the Father Who first trusted in Christ."