“Behold the man whose name is the Branch.”—Zechariah 6:12
My soul, listen to the call, and behold this wonderful Man, whose name is the Branch. Mark the wonderful features of his person. This is one of the prophetical names of Him, in the faith of whom, as the Redeemer of Israel, all the old testament saints died. The branch of the Lord—the branch of righteousness; or, as he is elsewhere called, the Nazarene. But observe how very descriptive of his nature is this title. He grows up out of his place. And where is that? rain the eternal counsel of Jehovah. Who shall declare his generation? He is indeed a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots. But all this as the root himself of David; planted in the eternal purpose of God’s own sovereign decree, and budding forth as a branch in all the periods of his incarnation, death, resurrection, ascension, glory. And what a branch of never-failing loveliness, and everlasting verdure and fruitfulness, in all the proclamations of his gospel, converting sinners, and comforting saints. And what an eternal perennial branch to all his redeemed in grace and glory. Hail, thou glorious, wonderful Man, whose name is the Branch! Thou art indeed, as the prophet described thee, beautiful and glorious in the eyes of all thy redeemed. On thee, Lord, would I hang all the glory of thy Father’s house, and all the glory of my salvation. May it be my portion to sit under thy shadow with great delight here, until thou bring me home to sit under thee, the tree of life, in the Paradise of God, in the fulness of enjoyment of thee 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."