” Is this thy kindness to thy friend?”—2 Samuel 6:17
My soul, borrow the words of Absalom to Hushai, and make application of them this morning to thyself, as if Jesus, the best of all friends, were thus reasoning with thee. In how many ways hath Jesus manifested his love to thee. Think of his unparalleled love in the various ways by which he hath shewn it. He engaged as thy Surety before that thou knewest any need of one. He took thy nature to fulfil all those engagements. He loved thee so as to die for thee. He loved thee so as to shed his blood for thee. He loved thee so as to wash thee from thy sins in his blood. He loveth thee now, so as to appear in the presence of God for thee. He loveth thee so as to be continually supplying thee with all grace, to visit thee, to smile upon thee, to sanctify to thee all his appointments for thy good; and will never give over until he hath brought thee where he is, to behold his glory, and to partake of it. And hast thou not recompensed this love, this mercy, in a thousand, and ten thousand instances, with ingratitude, with indifference, with forgetfulness, with disobedience? “Is this thy kindness to thy friend?” Precious Jesus! I do remember my faults this day. Oh gracious Lord! grant me from henceforth to live wholly to thee; to be continually eyeing thee, walking with thee, cleaving to thee, hanging upon thee, and to remember thee and thy love more than wine. Yes, thou dearest Redeemer! I would pray for grace to set thee always before me, to record in my heart thy mercies, and to set up in my heart thy person, to follow thee whithersoever thou goest, to watch the steps of Jesus, to pursue thee in all the haunts of thy paths, at thy table, at thine ordinances, in thy words in thine house of prayer, in thy providences, in thy promises: every where, and in all things, where Jesus is, there may my soul be; that, having nothing to give my Lord to recompense his bounty, I may at least by his grace follow him, to bless him, and to manifest that all I am, and all I have, is his. My soul, see to it, that this is at least thy kindness to thy friend.
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."