“If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness; then he is gracious unto him, and saith, deliver him from going down to the pit, I have found a ransom.”—Job 33:23, 24
My soul, how precious are those views, in looking back upon where the first discoveries of grace were made. Moses never forgot the first visions of God at the bush; neither did Jacob outlive the remembrance of the first Bethel-visit of a God in Christ to his soul; and why should I? Hast thou not known this messenger, this interpreter, one among a ‘thousand to shew unto thee’ God’s uprightness? Oh yes, Jesus by his Spirit hath shewn to me that my “God is righteous in all his ways, and holy in his works.” When by the blessed discoveries which had been made to me in his word, by his ordinances, providences, judgments, mercies, like the poor creature described in this sweet scripture, when reduced to a mere skeleton, by reason of soul sickness, driven out of all resources in myself, and utterly despairing of ever seeing the face of God in glory, by any creature attempts, and by all creature righteousness, Oh then it was, thou blessed, glorious messenger of thine own covenant; thou faithful interpreter of the mind and will of Jehovah; then it was I was led to see the freeness, fulness, suitableness, and all-sufficiency of a Redeemer’s righteousness, and to cast my poor defenceless, naked, trembling soul upon the rich, powerful, and altogether-sufficient salvation, of thee, my God and Saviour! Oh how hast thou sweetly and mercifully explained to me the secrets of covenant mercies, the glories of thy person, and the greatness of thy finished work. And now at every step I take, at every portion of thy blessed word I read, when my mind feels the remains of indwelling corruption, and all the lurkings of the enemy’s suggestions ‘within; then, then it is I hear the Father’s gracious voice, “Deliver him from going down to the pit, I have found a ransom.” Yes, precious Jesus, thou art my ransom, and my righteousness for ever!”
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."