“Good news from a far country.”—Proverbs 25:25
From a far country, indeed; for it is no less distance than from heaven to earth, and from beings as opposite as holiness and sin could make-even from God to man, from a rich Saviour to poor sinners! And so remote that had not this good news been sent, heaven must have remained at an eternal distance, as an inaccessible region! And what is the good news itself? The angels who were first sent to proclaim it, called it glad tidings of good things, of great joy to all people. And indeed, such glad tidings it contains, as language fails to describe. It is pardon, mercy, and peace to poor rebels. It holds forth joy, happiness, and everlasting felicity to poor sinners, enemies, and the fallen race of men. God revealed; sin atoned; Satan conquered; death destroyed; hell vanquished; heaven opened! And these not all. This good news informs also of the stupendous way by which the blessings are given, and everlasting happiness secured. Jesus, the Son of God, the author, the finisher, the source, cause, sum, substance, beginning, end, and portion of all his people. These, among an infinite and endless volume of mercies, are contained in the good news from a far country: but we must enter upon that country, to which indeed we are invited by the proclamation of the gospel, before that we shall fully know, or even conceive, the thousandth part of what God hath laid up for them that love him. My soul, hast thou heard this good news? Dost thou know the joyful sound? Art thou truly alive to the blessed things contained in it, and anxious to be interested therein? Oh then, meditate upon them; give thyself wholly to them. And while men of the world, from the world are seeking their chief good, and asking one another, what news? do thou turn a deaf ear to every other relation of a dying world, from which thou art dying daily, and let thy meditation be all the day, and let thine eyes prevent the night-watches to dwell upon this good news, and this only, which cometh from a far country.
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."