“And thou shalt not be for another man; so will I also be for thee.”—Hosea 3:3
My soul, was not God the Holy Ghost representing, by the similitude of his servant the prophet’s marriage with an adulteress, the astonishing marriage of Jesus with our nature, and his personal-union with every individual of his church and people? Look at this scripture, and see how sweetly it points to Jesus. The prophet was commanded to love this woman beloved of her friend, and yet an adulteress. He was to buy her also to himself: and he was to charge her to abide with him, and not to play the harlot any more, saying unto her: “And thou shalt not be for another man, so will I also be for thee.” Precious Jesus, do I not behold thee in all this? Can any thing more strikingly shadow forth thy grace, thy mercy, thy love, to thy people? Was not our whole nature estranged from thee, when thou camest down from heaven to seek and save that which was lost? Were not all in a state of daring adultery, when thou hadst from everlasting betrothed thyself to us, in standing up our glorious Husband and Surety? And how striking the expression: “Then said the Lord unto me, go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend!” Surely at the command of God thy Father, and not uncalled, unsent, unauthorized, didst thou come. Our nature was indeed yet beloved of thee, our best and dearest friend, though in a state of spiritual adultery, and wholly gone away from thee. Yes, blessed Jesus! in defiance of all our multiplied transgressions, it might be truly said, we were yet beloved adversity: for thou went then, as now, unchangeable in thy love, the same Jesus yesterday, to-day, and for ever. And surely, Lord, in another feature the prophet shadowed thee forth; for as he purchased the harlot, so thou, Lord, before we became thine, didst purchase us by thy blood. And dost thou now say to me this day: “Abide with me, and thou shalt not be for another man, so will I also be for thee?” Oh condescending God! Oh precious, lovely, all loving Saviour! Lord, make me thine; yea, altogether thine! Let my whole soul, and body, and spirit be all thine, both by the conquests of thy grace, as they are justly thine, and by the purchase of thy blood, that never, never more, I may depart from thee, but with the same full consent as the church of old, I may exult in this blessed assurance, “My beloved is mine, and I am his.”
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."