“And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the, covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations.”—Isaiah 25:7
What a precious promise was this with which the Lord comforted the church under the old testament dispensation, that the faithful might look forward to the new testament dispensation, when Jesus, in the holy mountain, where he finished transgression by his triumphant death, would effectually remove the covering which had blackened all faces, and had separated between God and guilty sinners. And, that the gracious promise might be had in everlasting remembrance by thy people, the evangelists were commissioned to tell the church, that in the moment Christ died, the vail of the temple was rent in twain, by an invisible hand, from the top to the bottom. My soul, see how Jesus, thy Jesus, hath most effectually fulfilled this precious promise. There was a vail of covering spread to separate thee for ever from God, had not Jesus taken it away, even the covenant of perfect obedience. God’s injured perfections formed also a total separation. And as if these were not sufficient, the vail of sin would have for ever kept up this distance: “Your iniquities have separated between God and you,” saith the prophet. But now by this precious undertaking in fulfilling the whole covenant of works, restoring the honour to God the Father’s injured perfections, and opening a new and living way by his blood, which he hath consecrated through the vail of his flesh, he hath opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. Precious Jesus, how endeared to my heart is this view of thee and of thy great salvation! Yes, thou Lamb of God! I have seen by thy Spirit’s teaching, this deadly face of covering, which by sin hath been cast over all people; and I have seen, by the same almighty grace, that vail removed by thee. Now, Lord, in thee, and through thee, and by thee, I am led to behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. And having fled for refuge to the hope that is set before me, this hope I have in thee, as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and have cast it within the vail, whither thou, our forerunner, hast for us entered, even our glorious High Priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedec.
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."