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a man of great and extraordinary abilities, which mightily increased the provocation. This being the state of things in reference to St. Paul, and not of any other, the defect of inscription, as Beza well observes, proves the epistle to be his, rather than any other per
$7. But if we would know the true and just cause of the omissions in question, we must consider what were the just reasons of prefixing them to his other .epistles. The real cause, then, of prefixing the names of any of the apostles to their writings, was merely for the introduction of their titles, as the apostles of Jesus Christ, and therein an intimation of that authority by which they wrote. This was the true and only reason, why the apostle Paul in particular prefixed his name to his epistles. And hence it was, that, when something he had taught was called in question and opposed, and he wrote in vindication of it, for establishing in the truth those whom before he had instructed, he, at the entrance of his writings, singularly and emphatically mentions his apostolical authority, Gal. i, 1, "Paul, an "apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus "Christ, and God, the Father, who raised him from the "dead;" tus intimating the absolute obedience that was due to the doctrine by him revealed.
In this dealing with the Hebrews, the case was far otherwise; they who believed amongst them, never changed the old foundation, or church state, grounded on the scriptures, though they had a new addition of privileges by their faith in Christ Jesus, as the Messiah now exhibited; and, therefore, he deals not with them as with those whose faith was built absolutely on apostolical authority and revelation, but upon the common principles of the Old Testament, on which they still stood, and out of which evangelical faith was educed.
Hence the beginning of the epistle, wherein he appeals to the scripture, as the foundation he intended to build upon, and the authority with which he would press them, supplies the room of the usual intimation of his apostolical authority, and serves to the very same purpose, viz. as the immediate reason of their assent and obedience. This is the true and proper cause, that renders the prefixing his apostolical authority
§8. III. 1. Amongst the arguments usually insisted on, to prove this epistle to have been written by St. Paul, the testimony given to it by St. Peter deserves consideration in the first place, and is indeed itself sufficient to determine the inquiry about it. His words are, 2 Pet. iii, 15, 16; “And account that the long"suffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved "brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given unto "him, hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles "speaking in them of these things, in which are some "things hard to be understood, which they that are un"learned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other "scriptures, unto their own destruction." To clear this testimony, some few things must be observed.
(1.) That Peter wrote his second epistle to the same churches and people to whom he wrote his first, chapter iii, 1.
(2.) That his first epistle was written to the Jeres, or Hebrews in the Asian dispersion. Now it is plainly asserted in this testimony, that Paul wrote a peculiar epistle to them, to whom he wrote this; that is, to the Hebrews; he hath written to you, as also in all his 'epistles.' Besides his other epistles to other churches and persons, he hath also written to you. St. Peter's testimony may be received, St. doubtedly wrote an epistle to the Hebrews.
So, that if
may be, say some, another epistle, and not this. And they may as well say, it is true, Moses wrote five books but they are lost, and those we have under his name were written by another!
St. Peter declares, that St. Paul, in that epistle which he wrote to the Hebrews, had declared the long suffering of God (whereof he had minded them) to be salvation. There was no reason why Peter should direct the Jews to the epistles of Paul in particular, to learn the long-suffering of God in general,' which is so plentifully revealed in the whole scriptures of the Old and New Testament, and which is only occasionally at any time mentioned by him. There was,therefore, an especial long-suffering of God, which at that time, he exercised towards the Jews, and by which he waited for the conversion and gathering of his elect before that total and final destruction, which they had deserved, should come upon them. This he compares to the "long-suffering of God in the days of Noah" whilst he preached repentance to the world, 1 Pet. iii, 20. For as those that were obedient to his preaching, his own family, were saved in the ark, from the general destruction that came upon the world by water; so, they that became obedient upon the preaching of the gospel, during this new season of God's especial long-suffering, were to be saved by baptism, or professional separation from the unbelieving Jews, from that destruction which was to come upon them by fire. This longsuffering of God, the unbelieving Jews, not understanding to be particular, scoffed at, 2 Pet. iii, 4, which caused the apostle to declare the nature and end of this long-suffering, which they were ignorant of, ver. 9.
And thus was this particular long-suffering of God towards the Jews, whilst the gospel was preached to them before their final desolation, "salvation," in that
God spared them, and allowed them to abide for a while in the observance of their old worship and ceremonies, granting them in the mean time blessed means of light and instruction, to bring them to salvation. "Even as our beloved brother Paul also," ver. 15. Not that this is formally, and in terms, the main doctrine of our epistle; but that he effectually acquaints them with the intention of the Lord, in his long-suffering towards them, and peculiarly subserves that intention of Christ, in his instruction of them. And, therefore, after he hath taught them the true nature, use, and end of all the Mosaical institutions, which they were, as yet, permitted to use by the special patience of God, intimated by St. Peter; and convinced them of the necessity of faith in Christ, and the profession of his gospel, he winds up all his reasonings, in minding them of the end which was to be put shortly to that long-suffering, Heb. xii, 25—28, so, that this note also is eminently characteristical of this epistle.
§9. Peter seems to ascribe to Paul an eminency of wisdom, in the epistolary writing he refers to, 2 Pet. iii, 15, "according to the wisdom given unto him." As Paul, in all his other epistles, exercised great wisdom; so also in that which he wrote to the Hebrews. It is not Paul's spiritual wisdom in general, in the knowledge of the will of God and mysteries of the gospel, which Peter here refers to; but that special holy prudence which he exercised in composing this epistle, and maintaining the truth, about which he dealt with the Hebrews. And what an eminent character this also is of the epistle, we shall endeavor, God assisting, to evince in our exposition of it. His special understanding in all the mysteries of the Old Testament, unfolding things hidden, from the foundation of the world; his application of them to the mystery of "God mani
"fest in the flesh;" his various beautiful intermixtures of reasonings and exhortations; his adapting himself to their capacity, prejudices, and affections, urging them constantly with their own principles and concessions; these, I say, among many other things, manifest the singular wisdom which Peter signifies to have been used. It may also be observed, that, whereas Peter affirms, that among the things about which Paul wrote, there were (Tiva Suovoyla) some things hard to be understood; Paul, in a special manner, confesseth, that some of the things which he was to treat of in that epistle, were (duoɛgμnvula) hard to be declared, uttered, or unfolded; and, therefore, certainly hard to be understood, Heb. v, 11; which, in our progress, we shall manifest to be spoken, not without great and urgent cause, in many instances, especially that directed to by himself concerning Melchisedec. So, that this also gives another characteristical note of the epistle testified to by Peter.
I have insisted the longer upon this testimony, because, in my judgment, it is sufficient of itself to determine the controversy; nothing, of any importance, that I can meet with, being excepted to it. But because we want not other confirmations of our assertion, and those also, every one of them singly, overbalancing the conjectures that are advanced against it, we shall subjoin them also in their order.
$10. 2. The comparing of this epistle with the others of the same apostle, gives farther evidence to our assertion. I suppose it will be confessed, that they only are competent judges of the argument, who are well exercised in his writings. To their judgment, therefore, alone we appeal. Now the similitude between this and other epistles of St. Paul is threefold; in words, phrases, and manner of expression; in the matter or doctrines delivered; and particularly in the spirit, gen