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by Robert Hawker
THE EPISTLE OF THE APOSTLE PAUL TO THE HEBREWS
I would seek grace from God the Holy Ghost, the Almighty Author of this blessed portion of his holy word, to enter upon the perusal of it, with the most earnest prayer, and praise; and with the most profound humility and joy. No part of the word of God hath in it more blessed views of the glory of Christ's Person, and Godhead, and Offices, and Character. And none, which more blessedly brings him home to the affections of his people, under all the endearments of union and interest, as the Lord our Righteousness. Oh! that God the Holy Ghost may glorify Him, to his Church's apprehension, under all and form him, in every heart of his redeemed, the hope of glory.
There have been doubts in the minds of some, whether the Apostle Paul was, or was not, the Pen-man God the Spirit made use of, for writing this Epistle. But none of the faithful taught of God, ever doubted that the Epistle itself, was the immediate work of divine inspiration. Indeed every age of the Church, hath furnished witnesses for God, in confirmation of its divine authority. The seal of the Spirit, in the heart, to the truths of God, written there, becomes an infallible testimony. Hence the royal Psalmist exclaimed: I shall never forget thy word, for by it thou hast quickened me, Psalms 119:93 . And whoever reads the book of the Hebrews, with an enlightened eye, under the leadings of God the Holy Ghost, the Almighty Author of it, will not fail to discover, that the Apostle Paul, is evidently the inspired Penman of it. What he saith of Timothy in the last Chapter, verse 23 (Hebrews 13:23 ), when it be considered, that Paul wrote it from Rome, and the probable date of it also, Anno 63 or 64; form a correspondence, to the Apostle's then imprisonment. And yet more decisive is Peter's testimony. For Peter's Epistle was written to the strangers, (that is, the ten tribes of the Jews or Hebrews,) scattered at that time, throughout the lower Asia. 1 Peter 1:1 . In this Epistle Peter refers to this book of the Hebrews, when he saith to them, our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given unto him, hath written unto you, 2 Peter 3:15 . Now no part of Paul's writings but this Epistle was written to the Jews. All his other Epistles were to the Gentile Churches, and to particular persons, as Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. And this also explains the cause wherefore the Apostle did not begin this Epistle to the Hebrews with his usual salutation.
I do not think it necessary in this place, to enter into a large and circumstantial account, of the Contents of this blessed Epistle. All the interesting particulars will meet us in their proper place. It will be sufficient here to observe, that the one, great, and leading design, of the whole is, to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ. Hence his Person, as God, and as God-Man; his offices, characters, relations; his royal, prophetical, and priestly offices; are most blessedly set forth. And what is worthy of most especial notice is, that the human nature of Christ is displayed in so dear, and interesting a light; and the precious consequences resulting from it to his people, so enlarged upon, and recommended to their tenderest regard as is not perhaps so fully inculcated in any other of the Apostle's writings. So that upon the whole, the Epistle to the Hebrews is a most blessed part of the divine Word: and for which the Church of the faithful, can never be sufficiently thankful to God the Holy Ghost. I will no longer detain the Reader from entering upon its perusal, than only first to look up with prayer, to the Almighty Author of it, that while passing over it, he will be pleased, mercifully to shine on the heart, of both the Writer, and the Reader, (if it be his holy will,) of this Poor Man's Commentary. And from hence, that the Lord Jesus, who is the whole sum and substance of its contents, may be made manifest in every part of it; so blessedly seen by faith, and enjoyed in hope, as to be glorified in the heart; and God the Father glorified in his dear Son. Amen.
the Second Week of Advent