“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us.”—John 4:16
Who hath known, and believed, in terms equal to the greatness of the mercy itself, the love of God to the poor sinner! God’s love must be an infinite love, and consequently the display of it must be infinite also. God, we are told, ” Commendeth his love to us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Had God loved and delighted in saints that loved him, this would have been love. Had God taken the holy angels into a nearer acquaintance with him, this would have been love. But when he raised beggars from the dunghill, and took rebels from the prison to sit upon his throne, and at a time when his justice would have been magnified in their destruction; to prefer sinners, haters of God, and despisers of his grace; to bring them into the closest and nearest connection with him, in the person of his dear Son; and all this by such a wonderful plan of mercy, as the incarnation and death of Jesus; who hath ever calculated the extent of such grace? Who hath thoroughly known or considered, or believed, in any degree proportioned to the unspeakableness of the salvation, the love that God hath to us? Oh Lord, add one blessing more. Cause my cold heart to grow warm in the contemplation of it; and let it be my happiness to be daily studying the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of God, which passeth knowledge, that I may be filled with all the fulness of God.
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."