[quoted from "The Gospel Standard" Vol. 21 1855]
A LETTER BY DR. HAWKER TO A CLERGYMAN.
My very dear Sir,—If I were to attempt the description of the effect which the perusal of your letter produced on my mind, I should fall miserably short and defective in the account, and leave you still uninformed of what hath been the real state of the case. I do assure you, my dear Sir, that before I had read five lines, in that part of it which speaks of the change wrought in your soul, it occasioned a sensation which thrilled through all my frame; and while I uttered an involuntary exclamation, in which gratitude, holy joy, and, I trust, an humbleness of devout feeling, accompanied with tears, were all blended, I could not but look round the place where I was with an awakened imagination, as if to realize, in a more immediate manner, the presence of that wonder-working God, who doeth all things according to the purposes of his own Divine will. Oh ! my dear Sir, and is it really so, that he who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in your heart, to give you the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ ? What an endless subject of gratitude have we both to pay, and how may we exclaim, in the language of Scripture, " What hath God imovxjhif You know but in part, as yet, the infinite goodness and condescension of God in the appointment and accomplishment of so much mercy. You are looking only, I know, to yourself in the event, and naturally enough are lost in the contemplation of such undeserved favor. But I am compelled to take in another consideration, to me much more astonishing, and sufficient to fill any heart but mine with neverceasing gratitude. That God should call his people to his love, and by instruments of feebleness, to whom he gives strength, is indeed a subject of holy admiration and joy, and only ascribable to the effect of his distinguishing grace. But when he condescends to go lower even than this, and instead of faithful servants in his ministry, to make use of the vilest and most unworthy, and single them out, to accomplish the purposes of his will: what a contemplation opens here, to call up the most animated thanksgiving ! May the bountiful Giver of such blessings still impart this grace, that neither you nor I may ever cease to improve them. I am now doubly interested, more than ever, in your furtherance in the gospel, and cannot but feel an awakened concern for your highest attainments m it. You have afforded me more real happiness in the communication of this gracious event, than though you had the power, and were disposed to exercise it, of conferring upon me an empire. It will, I trust in God, be my encouragement in the darkest hour, and animate me in the glorious service of Jesus, when the season seems to be most unpromising. Let it have the same effect, I pray, on you. Consider who it is that sends; who gives the power; and who hath promised that his strength is perfected in weakness. The difference of human talents is therefore wholly lost in this charming consideration. For it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God, who showeth mercy. You request information what books I would recommend you to use. In answer, I would say that the book of books is the Word of God. And if (as I am persuaded you now will, my dear brother) you look up to him, who is the Spirit of truth, and implore his grace to guide and instruct you, he alone will be sufficient to make you wise unto salvation, and to make you that you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, as collateral helps have been sometimes blessed to the promotion of godliness, I would subjoin all tracts which are perfectly orthodox, and treat of vital experimental piety. I have found the writings of Dr. Watts, Doddridge, and Gill, to be eminently useful. I confess they are all dissenters, but I bless God I have long learned not to be prejudiced against them. Tt has been a maxim with me, which I see no reason to alter, never to refuse instruction wherever I can conscientiously obtain it. A pearl is a pearl still, though found in a iEthiop's ear. I hope frequently to hear from you, my dear Sir, and more frequently to meet in prayer at the throne of grace. We need, I am sure, each other's prayers; and let us see which can be most bountiful in this invaluable friendship. Remember we have both the same Almighty Saviour and Intercessor to look up to, whom the Father heareth alway; and since we need the aid of his grace so constantly, let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith. My mind will be very frequently with you, particularly on the Lord's day. I already begin to frame to myself seals to your ministry. Oh ! what a joy will it be to my heart (should the Lord once more permit me to see you at Falmouth), to find many souls begotten to God through your instrumentality ! That the Lord may bless you abundantly in the service of his dear Son, is the very earnest prayer of your affectionate, but most unworthy brother in Christ,
Looe, Sept. 9, 1795. ROBERT HAWKER.