“The people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.”—Numbers 23:9
Mark, my soul, the character of God’s Israel, and remember that they are the same in all ages. Distinguishing mercies are sweet mercies. God’s people dwell alone, in the everlasting appointment of the Father, by whom they were set apart, and formed for his glory, and given to his Son. They dwell alone, in being brought into the church of Jesus as the redeemed and purchased by his blood. They dwell alone, under the sweet influences of the Spirit, by whom they are known, distinguished, regenerated, and sealed unto the day of redemption. Thus set apart, thus formed, thus given, thus redeemed, thus purchased, thus sealed, surely they, are not reckoned among the nations, but are supposed to shew forth God’s praises, who hath called them out of darkness into his marvellous light. My soul, what sayeth thy experience to these things? Oh how different the state, the circumstances, the new birth, the fellowship, pursuits, way, life, and work of God’s people front the world! Blessed Jesus, cause me to dwell alone from the nations around; but let me not dwell a moment without thee; but do thou come with thy Father and the Holy Spirit, according to thy sweet promises, and make constant abode with me.
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."