“God is faithful by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”—1 Corinthians 1:9
Think, my soul, what a dignity believers in Jesus are called unto, when brought into a nearness of communion with their glorious head, in any exercise of trial or affliction for his sake. God is faithful in the appointment. How? In that it proves God’s fulfilment of his covenant promises, when Jesus and his members are considered by him as one. God is faithful in manifesting this oneness and fellowship, in making the members conformable to their glorious head, by trials or sufferings. God is faithful in sending the affliction. And God manifests his faithfulness in guiding through it, and supporting under it. The trial itself, be it what it may, is a discovery of the covenant love and faithfulness of Jehovah. Nay, God would not have manifested his faithfulness to a believer without it. What a sweet consoling thought this is to the afflicted exercised followers of the Lamb under their trials! My soul, do thou look at the subject, and learn from it to consider all tribulations in this view; and what a blessedness will pour in upon thee from so doing. Hath the Lord called thee to exercises? Hath the progress of them led thee more to Jesus? Hath the issue of them tended to endear Jesus?—Oh then, proclaim God’s faithfulness. I know, Lord, said one of old under trials, “that thy judgments are right, and that thou in very faithfulness hast afflicted me.” Precious Jesus, what a dignified path is tribulation, when we are enabled to see thy footsteps going before marked with blood.
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."