“The righteous shall flourish like the palm-tree.”—Psalm 92:12
It forms a beautiful illustration, which the Holy Ghost condescends to give of a true believer’s state, as it stands before God, in the allusion not unfrequently made in scripture to that of the palm-tree. The direct tendency of the palm-tree is upward: it lifts its head, in defiance of all impediments, towards the clouds. Now a true believer in Jesus is always looking upward, and directing all his pursuits after Jesus. His person, blood and righteousness are the objects of his desire. And as the palm-tree is said to flourish the more when trodden upon and attempted to be crushed; so the believer most oppressed for Jesus’s sake, will flourish in the graces of the Spirit more abundantly. How fruitful also is the palm-tree: and how much the people of God bring forth fruit in their old age, when, after long experience, they have found that in Jesus alone their fruit is found. How much the palm-tree likes sunny places! How precious the Sun of Righteousness is to his people! And as the branches of palm-trees are worn in tokens of victory, so the church above are beheld with palms in their hands: and the church below carry the palm of rejoicing, when, from the atoning blood and righteousness of Jesus, they are made more than conquerors through him that loved them. My soul, art thou flourishing like the palm-tree? Yes; if so be thou art planted in Jesus, and watered from the streams of that river which maketh glad the city of God. Yes, if directing all thy views, all thy hopes, all thy desires to Jesus, thou art living in him, acting faith upon him, making him the alpha and omega of hope here, and happiness hereafter. Blessed Sun of Righteousness, shine with such warm, life-giving, fruit-imparting beams of thy rich grace upon my soul, that I may flourish indeed under thy divine influence, and shew that” the Lord, who is my rock, is upright, and that there is no unrighteousness in him.”
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."