“He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness.”—Deuteronomy 32:10
My soul, behold in this view of Israel thy case and circumstances. Where did Jesus find thee, when he passed by and bade thee live, but cast out, loathsome in thy person, and perishing in nature? Remember then, it was Jesus found thee, and not thou him. And where wast thou born, and new-born, and nursed, and educated, and trained? Was it not in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness? Can any thing be better suited to represent thy state by nature? is not the heart of man like the heath upon the desert, that knoweth not when good cometh? Is it not like the ground, dry, parched, and barren? And as a wilderness is a land not inhabited, full of perplexed paths and intricate ways, without food, without sustenance, and no springs of water; can any thing more strikingly resemble’ the whole of thy spiritual circumstances, when Jesus called thee from darkness to light, and from the power of sin and Satan, to himself, the living God? And as a wilderness is a barren state, so is it dangerous also, by reason of the prowling beasts of prey which inhabit it. And hath Jesus called thee out of it, brought thee to a city of habitation, and made himself known unto thee as thy Redeemer? Oh how sweet is it to trace all our spiritual circumstances, in the mercy, grace, and favour Jesus manifested to Israel, thus beautifully illustrated and explained, and to see, and know, and truly rejoice in our unspeakable mercies in Jesus. My soul, never forget then that it was in the wilderness of nature Jesus found thee. And hath he indeed brought thee out of it? See then that thou art now coming up from it, leaning upon thy beloved; hanging wholly upon him, cleaving wholly to him, and determining for thyself, in every remaining period of time, and to all eternity, to make Jesus thy all, thy life, thy portion, thy shield, and thine exceeding great reward!”
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."