“For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.”—Isaiah 25:4
Who so poor as Jesus’s poor? Who so needy as the needy of the Redeemer? The world knoweth them not, because it knew him not. And as the master was, so are his servants in this world. But, my soul, observe how sweetly Jesus is all this. A strength to the poor in his distress, by taking all the storm himself. He is a shadow from the heat, the heat of the wrath of a broken law, which Jesus bore himself, when he died to expiate the breaches of it. His blood and righteousness cool the heat of sin, and quench all the fiery darts of the wicked: these terrible ones which beat upon a poor sinner like a storm against the wall. Moreover, when the showers of wrath shall fall at the last day on the wicked, when that horrible tempest of fire and brimstone, the Psalmist speaks’ of, shall come down on the ungodly, Jesus will be an hiding- place from the storm, and a covert from the tempest: not a drop can fall on those that are under him, and sheltered by his blood and righteousness. As the church is now said to sit under his shadow with great delight in this wilderness state, and his fruit is sweet to her taste; so when she is fairly come up out of it, having all along leaned upon her beloved, and having entered with him into his glory; there will be both security and delight, everlasting safety and joy. Precious Jesus, thou hast been a strength indeed to my poor soul, and thou wilt be my portion for ever. Oh give me to see my daily need of thee, to feel my poverty and weakness; the exercises of persecution, both without and within; that from all the terrors of the law, the alarms of guilt in the conscience, the remains of in-dwelling sin in a body of death, which is virtually all sin—the accusations of Satan, the just judgments of God; in thee, thou one glorious ordinance of heaven, precious Lord Jesus, I may behold myself secure in thee, and continually cry out, in the language of thy servant the prophet, “Surely shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength; even to thee do I come; and never shall I be ashamed or confounded, world without end.”
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."