“He shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom.”—Isaiah 40:11
My soul, mark in this sweet scripture how Jesus is described, in not only attending to all the various wants of his fold, but to the very method of imparting to their several wants in a way corresponding to his own character and their state. In the fold of Jesus, like the sheepfold among men, some are sheep and some are lambs: some of advanced age, and some of younger standing. Well, where will Jesus put the lambs and the weaklings of his fold? Certainly, if there be one place in the heart of Jesus softer and more tender than another, there the lambs shall lay. And as Jesus himself lay in the bosom of his Father, so the lambs of his flock shall lay in his bosom. Sweet thought to encourage thee, my soul, and all the followers of Christ! Jesus will not thrust out the lambs into the dangers of the wilderness, where the prowling beasts of prey are, nor expose them to over-driving, or the speed with which the more mature sheep can travel. But he will proportion their burden to their back, and their day to their strength. And besides this, he will keep them nearer to himself; his arms shall clasp them; the warmth of his bosom shall nourish them; if they cannot walk they shall be carried; and when they cannot find their way, they shall be led. Oh thou great Shepherd of thy sheep, is it thus thou sweetly dealest with thy little ones? Hence I see then explained why it is that young believers, in the first seasons of their knowledge of thee, find so many blessed refreshings, which they afterwards do not so sensibly enjoy. Yes, Lord, it is thus thou gatherest the lambs and carriest them in thy bosom. And sweetly and seasonably dost thou do all this, and in a way which fully proves thy love and compassion to the necessities of thy flock.
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."