“I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.”—Isaiah 41:9
Is this thy portion, my soul? Hath the Lord thy God indeed chosen thee? Hath he manifested his love to thee in so distinguishing a way? Take comfort, then, in all thine exercises, when seasons of darkness .and discouragement are around; think of God’s choice, and venture on God’s love. Art thou distressed, exercised, afflicted? Dost thou call on God, and find no answer? Doth the enemy tempt thee to doubt? Doth thine own unbelieving heart misgive thee? Still recollect, Jesus knows all. He chose thee—and he that chose thee knows all thine exercises; nay, he himself hath appointed them. And remember, thou wast not forced upon him. It was his own free choice first made thee his; and his own love will be the security of thy present dependence. Jesus resteth in his love; he hateth putting away. Cast down as thou art, thou art not cast off. Though fallen, he can raise. Though dejected, he can and will comfort. Sweet thought! He will turn. again; he will have compassion upon us, and he will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. Hallelujah.
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."