“Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them.”—Song of Solomon 4:2
See, my soul, how Jesus sets off the beauties of his church, when made comely in his comeliness, which he hath put upon it. Jesus’s whole church forms but one flock; for there shall be one fold and one shepherd. And though it is called a little flock, and a flock of slaughter, yet it is a beautiful flock in the Lord’s hand. But wherefore are the teeth of the church said to be like a flock shorn? Probably, from their never being exercised but upon divine things: shorn to all desires in which unshorn and carnal persons delight. The believer feeds on Jesus: his flesh he finds to be meat indeed, his blood drink indeed: To the roof of his mouth this becomes, like the best wine,” which goeth down sweetly, causing even the lips of those that sleep to speak. “And how do believers, like sheep, come up from the washing, but when from the washing of regeneration, and a renewing of the Holy Ghost shed upon them abundantly, through Jesus Christ, they come up clean and washed in Jesus’s blood, and adorned in the robe of Jesus’s righteousness, and are presented before God and the Father, and accepted in the Beloved? And Oh how fruitful are they, like sheep which bear twins! None are barren or unfruitful among them, because they shew forth the praises of him who hath called them out of darkness into his marvellous light. The twin graces, if they may be so called, of faith and love, of prayer and praise, mark whose they are, and to whom they belong. The old fleece of nature being taken from them, they are shorn to the world, and the former filthiness and uncleanness of mind, they are washed from to themselves: and hence they come up to mention the loving-kindness of the Lord, and to prove that they are neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord, and in the power of his might. My soul, is this thy state? Are thy teeth like this flock; and thy knowledge and enjoyment of Jesus a real heartfelt enjoyment of him? Canst thou truly relish nothing of food but what hath Jesus in it? nothing pleasant to thy taste but this bread of God, which came down from heaven? Comfort thyself then, my soul, that by and by the teeth of death will separate, like the sheep that is shorn, the body of corruption under which thou still groanest, being burdened; and thou shalt come up from the washing in the fountain of Jesus’s blood, clothed in his garment of salvation, and made a meet partaker of an inheritance with the saints in light!
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."