“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”—Titus 2:13
Pause, my soul, over these sweet and solemn words. Is Jesus my hope? Surely then it is a blessed hope; for all blessings are in him. Art thou looking for his appearing? Pause, for the thought is solemn. How shall I know? Suppose this moment the trumpet of the archangel was to sound, “Arise, ye dead, and come to judgment;” my soul, art thou ready? Pause once more. Do I long for Jesus’s appearing now, in the conversion of every poor sinner? Do I rejoice to hear, at any time; that a soul is born to God? If so, is not this looking for his appearing? Again—Do I long for Jesus appearing in the after- manifestations of his grace to the souls of the people?—for this is to rejoice with them that do rejoice, and to prove a family interest. Again-Is Jesus precious to me, and do I long for the renewal of his visits, as the earth longeth for the rising sun? When I read his word, sing his praise, call upon his name, mingle in the congregation, go to his table; is his appearing upon all these occasions precious now, and are his love-tokens sweeter to my soul than honey, and the honey-comb? If, my soul, thou canst bear a cheerful testimony to these things, and, canst truly call them blessed now; surely the hope of Jesus’s second coming is blessed also, and thou canst well subscribe to the apostle’s words; for his appearing being now gracious, will then be glorious, in the appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ.
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."