“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”—2 Corinthians 3:17
What liberty, my soul! art thou brought into by thine adoption into the family of God in Christ? Not from the assaults of sin; for thou still carriest about with thee a body of sin, under which thou groanest. Not from the temptations of Satan; for he is still levelling at thee many a fiery dart. Not from outward troubles; for the world thou art still in, thou findest it a wilderness state. Not from inward fears; for thine unbelief begets many. Not from the chastisement of thy wise and kind Father: for then many a sweet visit of his love, under the rod, would be unknown. Not from death; for the stroke of it thou must one day feel—though, blessed be Jesus, he hath taken out the sting in his blood and righteousness. What liberty then is it, my soul, thou enjoyest? What hath the Spirit of the Lord, as a spirit of revelation, discovering to thee the glory of Jesus, and thy interest in him, brought thee into? Oh, who shall write down the vast, the extensive account of thy freedom? Say, my soul, hath not the sight of God’s glory in Christ freed thee from the curse of the law,—from the guilt of the law,—from the dominion of sin,—from the power of Satan,—from the evil of unbelief in thine own heart, —from the terrors of justice,—from the alarms of conscience, from the second death? Say, my soul, doth not the sight of Jesus dying for thee, rising for thee, pleading for thee, enlarge thine heart, and lose thy bonds, and shake off all thy fetters and all thy fears? Doth not Jesus in the throne give thee liberty to come to him, to call upon him, to unbosom thyself unto him, to tell him all thy wants, all thy necessities, and to lean upon his kind arm in every hour of need? Shout, my soul! and echo to the apostle’s words,—”Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty:” liberty to approach, liberty to plead, liberty to pray, liberty to praise and to adore the whole persons of the Godhead, for having opened the prison-doors, and given thee freedom in Christ Jesus!
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."