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by Robert Hawker
OR, THE PREACHER.
WE have here another of the Books of Solomon, and written, as the one that precedes it, and as the one that follows, under the Spirit of inspiration.
The title of the book, Ecclesiastes, implies a Preachment. And, indeed, the whole scope of it, is to this end. And Solomon the Preacher of it (which is the title he hath assumed upon the occasion) carries with it the idea of gathering together, confirms the same. I hesitate not to ascribe this little volume to Solomon, because the first verse proves as much. For though he doth not call himself by name; yet as no son of David was king of Jerusalem but Solomon, it follows by undeniable consequence, that it could be no other than he.
The great design which the Holy Ghost seems to have intended from the use of it in the church, was, to teach the emptiness and vanity of all things here below, to satisfy the desires of immortal souls. And nothing could have been more happily chosen, than in the example of the wisest and greatest of all the kings of the earth, to set forth this leading, and important truth. And, as the conviction of this doctrine must, under the blessed Spirit's teaching, be made instrumental to lead the heart to Christ, here we discover in this book of God, one gracious method more, to make men wise unto salvation through the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
In respect to the time, in which Solomon committed these golden sayings to paper, writers are rather divided in opinion concerning it. But the most part have concluded, that it was towards the close of his life; inasmuch as the whole seems to be practical and experimental conclusions, which a soul taught by grace, would make from serious reflections on human life. Everything void of Jesus, being, as this Preacher's constant text expresses it, Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.
I shall not think it necessary to detain the Reader any longer with General Observations, from immediately entering on the perusal of this book of God. But while I look up for grace, and the teachings of the Spirit, to guide me through it, I pray the Reader to have his eyes directed to the same Almighty Guide; that either by immediate declaration, or by direct allusion, we may both be led to see, that to Christ and his one-finished salvation, the whole refers; in Him the whole is beautifully explained; and He, and He alone, is the Centre to which Jehovah all along intended everything should he gathered, in the dispensation of time, when Christ should be presented as the Head of the Church, which is his body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.
the Second Week of Advent