“Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.”—Proverbs 31:6, 7
What is the strong drink of the gospel but the covenant love, faithfulness, and grace of Jehovah? And what is the wine of the gospel but the love of Jesus, which the church saith is better than wine? Tell a poor sinner that is ready to perish, of God the Father’s everlasting love towards his people, who were all by nature sinners ready to perish, when God passed by and bid them live; tell them that such was God’s love that he gave his only begotten Son, to the end that all that believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life; tell them of Jesus, his Godhead, his Manhood—both natures united in one person, forming one Christ; tell them, that faith in his blood will save the soul; that God the Father hath respect only to the person and worth of his dear Son; and that for his sake, and his sake alone, the greatest saint, and the greatest sinner, if believers, are alike saved. This is strong drink; and a poor perishing sinner needs the cordial. Neither will the heavy in heart be any more sad, that thus is made to drink of the wine of the gospel. My soul, hast thou tasted of this strong drink? Oh then, take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord! Drink of this cup which Jesus puts into thine hand, and in his riches forget thy poverty, and in his free, and full, and finished redemption remember thine own misery no more. Live only to Jesus, and let him be thy strong drink, thy wine, and thy cordial for ever.
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."