“That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.”—Romans 5:21
Pause, my soul, and put forth thy fullest thoughts in the contemplation of those two united sources of thy felicity, marked in this verse: the Father’s eternal purpose, in the reign of grace; and the everlasting efficacy and infinite value of thy Jesus’s righteousness, to eternal life. None but God himself can know the fulness and extent of either. I am persuaded, that angels of light can never entertain adequate conceptions of either. The eternal purpose of God hath bounded the reign of sin; it is but unto death. But those purposes give a further extent to the redemption from death and sin, by Jesus; for the glory of Christ’s person, and the worth of his salvation, possess in both a vast overplus, a redundancy of merit, which brings the redeemed into favour and acceptance in Jesus, and with such a title to everlasting felicity, as eternity itself can never exhaust- no, nor fully recompense nor pay. Oh for grace to contemplate the love of the Father, and of the Son, by this standard; and the love of God the Holy Ghost, through whose gracious influence we enjoy both. Lord, I would be lost, I would be swallowed up, day by day, in the unceasing meditation! Dearest, blessed, precious Jesus! give me to think of nothing else, to speak of nothing else; but by faith to possess in anticipation, the joys of thy redeemed, until I come, through thee, and in thee, to the everlasting enjoyment of them, in thy kingdom of glory.
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."