“Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, this is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.”—Isaiah 30:21
My soul, who is this Almighty Teacher, out of sight, but the Holy Ghost? And to what way doth he point but to Jesus, who is both the way, and the truth, and the life? Art thou ever at a stand? listen to this voice. Art thou about to turn to the right or left? See how seasonably he is promised to come to direct thee. Condescend, thou gracious, matchless Instructor, to guide me. I shall not fail then to know the wholesomeness of thy teaching, when thou hast opened mine eyes, to see the wondrous things of thy law. I shall indeed know that thou art my Director, because thou hast said, “I the Lord teacheth thee to profit.” And when thy word comes not in word only, but in power, and in thee, the Holy Ghost, surely I shall know it, in that it not only reaches my ear, but will influence my heart: not only will instruct and teach me in the way wherein I should go, but will incline my feet to walk in it. Yes, thou infallible Teacher! I shall know thee to be the Spirit of truth, by guiding me into all truth. I shall know the voice of the Spirit of Jesus, because it will prompt me to follow Jesus. Did I hear a voice telling me of a way of salvation in a righteousness of my own: did I sit under a teaching, which sent me to my tears, and repentance, and alms-deeds, by way of recommending me to God: did I listen to the siren song, which told me of safety in myself, and my own best endeavours, and that Christ would do the rest: or did any teach me, that I must not come to Jesus, until that, by some previous acts of soul-cleansing in prayers and fastings, I had made myself fit: in all these cases, and the like, I should know that they could not be the voice behind me. promised to direct; because it is thy one glorious office, thou Holy and Eternal Spirit, to testify of Jesus, and to glorify him. When, therefore, I hear the voice behind me, saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it;” and when it directs me wholly to Jesus; when every thing in this divine teaching enlightens my mind in the knowledge of the person, relation, work, power, grace, righteousness, and love of the Lord Jesus Christ; and when that blessed voice bids me to come unto him, just as I am, a poor, vile, needy, perishing sinner, to venture upon him for life and salvation, and how to receive and improve the Lord Jesus, in his infinite suitableness to all my necessities: Oh how fully verified to my experience is this sweet promise of my God to my soul! Holy Father, cause me to hear this blessed voice, in the daily, hourly paths of my pilgrimage; and grant me the spirit of wisdom and revelation, in the knowledge of thy dear Son.
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."