“By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth”—Song of Solomon 3:1
Pause, my soul, over this account which the church gives of herself, and see whether such be thine exercises. It is night indeed in the soul whenever Christ is absent, or his presence not enjoyed. And though, blessed be God, the believer’s interest in Christ varies riot, yet his joy in the sense of safety is not always the same. Though it be the bed of affliction, or the bed of sickness, it is not the bed of carnal security, when the soul seeks Jesus. We cannot be said to be in a cold, lifeless, and indifferent state, while Jesus is sought for. It may be night indeed, it may be a dark season; yet, nevertheless, when we can say, “With my soul have I sought thee in the night, yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early:” surely, this earnestness implies grace, and love, and desire, in lively exercise. However dull, stupid, and unprofitable, at times, ordinances and means of grace may seem; still grace, like the live coal under the embers, is not gone out nor extinguished. Him whom my soul loveth frequently breaks out, and plainly shews that Jesus still lives and reigns within. Oh precious Lord, thou art still the lovely one, the chief one, and the fairest among ten thousand. Be thou all in. all, the hope of glory.
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."