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§. 1. I have formerly observed the Hebrews to fignify Hebrew: the Native Inhabitants of the Jewish Land, as distinguished who? from the Foreign Jews dispers'd in other countries, who went under the Name of Hellenists, or Greeks ; though, most properly, the Converts or Proselytes to the Jewish Religion were called by this Name. (See Aets x. 2. and vi. 1.) With thèse Believing Jews of Palestine, St. Paul held a constant Intimacy and Correspondence, had a free Access to them in his Writings and Arguments, from the Obligations he had laid them under, by the Charitable Collections he had made, and the constant Care he took for their Poor, Aets xxiv. 17, 1 Cor. xvi. 2 Cor. viii. and ix. So that though it be no Question but that this Epistle was intended for the Conviction of the Jews of All Nations, and the Confirmation of the Jewis Converts, wherever dispersed; yet it was thus prudently directed to them of the Holy Land : to Them first who were the immediate and constant Attandants on those Religious Ordinances and Ceremonies, the Insufficiency and Abolishment whereof was the chief Argument of this Letter, and to that place that was the Centre of the Circumcision, from whence his Epistle might, the sooner and better, be communicated to the whole Circumference of their Dispersion. (See Sir Isaac Newton's Observations on the Apocalypse, Cap. 1.)

§. 2. St. Paulin his second Epistle to the * Thessalonians had foretold a great Apostacy, which, so far as is related to cafion of it, the Jewish People, may be Interpreted, either of the

Cap. ii. 3.

general Revolt of their Nation from the Roman Government, or of their Christian Converts from the Religion of Christ, agreeably to our Saviour's Prediction, Matth. xxiv. 12. In the Latter of these Senses, it began now to be fulfilled by a too general Desertion of the Jewish Christians, frighted from their Profession by the furious Persecution of the Infidel Jews. To arm some, and to recover others from this Apostacy, was the Purpose of this Epistle : The Substance whereof may, I think, be reduced to the following Arguments.

First, The Superlative Excellency of Christ's Person, not only above that of Moses, but above the very Angels too, by the Ministration of whom the Jewish Law was deliver’d. This is the Argument of the Two First Chapters.

Secondly,

* The Ocom 220

The Preface to the Epistle to the HEBREWS.

Secondly, The Dignity and perfect Efficacy of Christ's Priesthood, and the Insufficiency of the Levitical one, together with the Wisdom and Advantage of his being not a Temporal Monarch, but a Suffering Messiah, make up the Discourse from the Third to the Ninth Chapter.

Thirdly, The mere figurative Nature, and utter Insufficiency of the Legal Ceremonies and Sacrifices, and the perfect Sufficiency of Christ's Death, for the Redemption and Pardon of Mankind, is the Purpose of the Ninth and Tenth Chapters.

And Fourthly, To obviate that Prejudice and bold Alsertion of the Jews, That to forsake the Mofaical Religion was to Apoftatize from God, the Eleventh Chapter is spent in showing, the Faith of Christians to be the Exercise of the same virtuous Principle, whereby all Holy Men of old rendered themselves acceptable to God, and stand upon Record as his true and eminent Servants.

These are severally intermixed with their proper Inferences and Exhortations, all tending to show the Jewish Christians the Unreasonableness, Folly and Danger of falling off again from the Christian Faith to the Jewish Religion ; and to support and spirit them under the Persecution that tended to draw them from it.

§. 3. It is of no great moment to know the true Rea. fon, why the Apostle thought not fit to prefix his Name 10 this Epistle : The most probable one seems to be, That he might give the less Offence to the Infidel Jews of that Country, who were enraged at him as a Preacher to the Gentiles; or that, having owned himself the Apostle of the Circumcision, he concealed his Name, to give the less Disgust to such Jewish Christians as were not fully weaned from their Prejudices in that Matter. (See Dr. Mill's Prolegom. $. 99, 100.)

§. 4. I say nothing concerning the original Language in which this Epistle was written by St. Paui. I rest myself contented in the Opinion of thofe who, upon the Support of the best of ancient Tradition, conclude it to have been written in the Syriac{commonly, at that time, called the Hebrew) Language ; and translated into Greek by St. Luke. In confirmation of which Sentiment, I cannot do better than refer my Reader to the ingenious and learned Mr. Hallet's Introduction to his Supplement to Mr. Pierce on the Hebrews,

CHAP CH A P. I.

1

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The CONTENT S.
The Apostle's first Argument for diswading the Jewish

Christians from Apostizing from Christianity to the Jew-
ish Religion ; viz. The Truth and Certainty of Christ's
Religion, and the Superlative Dignity of his Person, not
only above Moses, but even those very Angels by whom the
Jewish Law was delivered.

OD who at sun- 1 & 2. O preserve you, dear Written
dry * times,and

Brethren, from that A.D. 63. in divers manners, general Apostacy from the Christian spake in time past unto Faith, to which the false Doctrines, the fathers by the Pro- and furious Persecutions of the Jews phets,

2 Hath in these are now so prevalent to draw the last days spoken unto Believers of that Nation : Let me us by his Son, whom request you seriously to consider, he has appointed heir that your Christian Religion is a Reof all things, by whom velation from the same God, who also he made the in several Times, Manners and Deworlds.

grees, revealed his Will to your Forefathers, down from Adam, Abraham, Mofes, ard all the Jewis Prophets, to this Day ; wherein he has made the Last and Compleat Discovery of his Divine Will to us and all Mankind, by Jesus Chrift, the promised Mefiah : A Person of most Superlative Dignity and Excellence, being that Word † and Son of God, by whom the Father † John i. Created the whole World, I and governs all the Dispen-1, GS

Ιτ8 αιώνας. sations of it, and has Constituted him the Lord and Go- The Ages or vernour over all Created Beings.

Dispenjaticns. 3. Who being the 3. Whose Origination is not like brightness of his glo- that of other Prophets and Lawgivers, ry, and the express of mere Human and Mortal Eximage of his person, traction, nor produced into Being by and upholding all the Agency of any Subordinate Power,

things

as

* Ver. 1. At fundry Times. Tovu epois, or in fundry Paris, or Parcels.

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A.D. 63. things by the word of as instrumental in his Production ;

his power, when he He being an inimediate Ray | of the Il áreúzco had by himself purged Divine Majesty it self; the perfect

our fins, fate down on Image and Resemblance of God the
the right hand of the Father, by whom the Father made
majesty on high :

and preserves all Things. Nor did
He, after the great Sacrifice of himself in the Flesh, for
the perfect Redemption of Mankind, die and leave us,
like other Priests; but was exalted to the highest Degree
of Heavenly Glory and Majesty, to become a most power-
ful and constant Intercesor with the Father for all true
Believers.
4. Being made fo

4. Thus is Christ, in Dignity of
much better than the Nature and Character, far Superior,
Angels, as he hath by not only to all Mankind, but even
inheritance obtained a

to the very Angels, by whose Mini-
more excellent name
than they.

stry the Mofai al Law was delivered

to your Nation. As may moft clear-
ly be seen from all those Scripture Passages that describe
the Person, Office, and Authority of the Mefiah.
5

For unto which 5. Thus (in Psal. ii.) He is stiled, 1 Aas xüi. of the Angels said he the | Son, the peculiarly Begotten Sor 33: at any time, Thou art of God. And in 2 Sam. vii. 14. my son, this day have

1 Chron. xxii. 10.) God declares Him-
I begotten thee ? And
again, I will be to him self his Father, by way of special

I
a Father, and he shall Eminence. Which Expressions, as
be to me a Son ? they could no way be applicable † to

the Persons of David or Solomon
(though the most famous Princes) so neither were such
diftinguishing Characters ever given to the highest Angel or
Archangel whatever ; but must be meant of Christ, of
whom David was a Type and Figure.

6+ Andagain, when 6. Again, The Scripture, in other he bringeth in the first- Passages, speaking + of the Triumbegotten

phant * See the learned Mr. Pierce's Note upon this Verse.

And again, when he bringeth in-irayyy may refer either to the Scripture, or to God the Father. The bringing Him again into the World, may fignify either the Scriptures speaking again of Christ's coming into the World, or the Father's bringing Christ into the World again at his Refurrection, say some, or at the last Day of Judgment, as others. I have expressed it as agreeably as I could to each of these Acceptations,

begotteninto the world, phant Resurrection of Christ, and his A. D. 63. he faith, And let all being made the Saviour, Lord, and the Angels of God Judge of the whole World, repreworship him.

sents God the Father as Commanding All Angels to Reverence Him, (Psal. xcvii. 7. *)

7 And of the Angels 7. Whereas, the loftiest Titles the he faith, who maketh Scriptures ever give to the Angels, his Angels fpirits, and

are no higher than those of Mellenhis ministers a flame of fire.

gers and Ministers of God; com

paring them, for their Swiftness and Efficacy in their Office, to Winds and Flames (Pfal. 16 cxxi: 20, 21.) 8 But unto the Son

8,9,10, 11 & 12. But, in a quite be faith, Thy throne, different Strain, does David repreo God, is for ever fent the Melich; viz. As the Only and ever, a scepter of Son of God, the Creator, Lord and righteousness is the scepter of thy king

Governour of the whole World; as

a perfectly Wife, Juft, and Righte9 Thou hast loved

ous Governour over all Created Berighteousness, and ha- ings; and not, like them of a Creted iniquity; therefore ated, Finite and Temporary Existence, God, even thy God, at least of a Finite and Temporary hath anointed thee Authority, but of a Nature and Dowith the oil of glad. minion truly Divine, Eternal and nefs above thy fellows.

Immutable. 10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning haft laid the foundation of the earth : and the heavens are the works of thine hands.

11 They shall perish, but thou remainest : and they all shall wax old as doth a garment.

12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed, but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. 13 But to which of

13. So also, when the Pfalmist the Angels said he at (Pfal.cx. 1.) introduceth God the any

Father

dom :

* Deut. xxxii. 43. according to the LXX; and to that Passage, in all Probability (as some think) the Apostle refers ; that of Psal. xcvii. 7. being, not as 'tis here, All the Angels of God, but All ye Gods. But as Angels are often tiled Gods in Scripture, there is no Weight in that Argument. See Mr. Pierce upon this Place.

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