“To him whom man despiseth; to him whom the nation abhorreth.”—Isaiah 49:7
My soul, let thy longing eyes be directed to him this day whom man despiseth, and whom God honoureth, and to whom he hath given a name above every name. Pause, in the contemplation of the wonderful mystery. Was Jesus indeed despised, and by the very creature he came to redeem? Did angels hail his wonderful incarnation, and man despise, hate, and abhor him? “Be astonished, O ye heavens; and wonder, O earth!” But, my soul, go further in the contemplation of this mysterious subject. What man, what individual man, was it that could thus requite the unparalleled love of Jesus? Alas, not an individual only, but a whole nation; nay, the whole nature, both Jew and Gentile abhorred him; for while in a state of unrenewed nature, to the one he is a stumbling-block, and to the other his cross is foolishness. Ah, is it so, my soul? Why then it follows, that thou, even thou, my soul, wert once in the same state of hatred, and wert by nature, as well as others, a child of wrath, despising this wisdom of God in Christ for the salvation of sinners. And art thou then, my soul, recovered by almighty sovereign grace from this deadly hatred of nature, and dost thou look this day with love, with joy, with rapture, and unspeakable delight to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth? Is Jesus indeed lovely, the altogether lovely to thy view? Is he precious, nay, infinitely more precious than the golden wedge of Ophir? Yes, thou Holy One of God, thou art the all in all to my soul. Witness for me, O ye saints that are now around his throne, that I have none in heaven or in earth that I desire besides him. My whole soul desires to know him, to follow hard after him, to trust in him, to cleave to him, to hang upon him, and to accept and receive him, and to make use of him as the wisdom of God, and the power of God, for salvation to my soul, as he is to every one that believeth. Oh ye sons of men, who are still in the unrenewed hatred of your heart, in your hatred against the precious Christ of God, what will ye do when he whom ye now despise shall come to your everlasting shame? Well might the apostle echo the words of the prophet, for from age to age the astonishing truth remaineth! “Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish; for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.”
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."