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by Robert Hawker
THE title of this book is rather gathered from the general contents of it, than from any other reason; for there is in fact no title given to it by the Author. The Old Church was accustomed to call it The Book of Lamentations: and under the New Dispensation we have adopted the same. There can be no question, but that the Prophet Jeremiah was the penman; and on which account indeed, it invariably follows in the order of the books of scripture, his prophecies. And the occasion upon which the Prophet gave vent to the sorrows of his heart, in the desolations of Judah and Jerusalem, is but too palpable an evidence upon what account they were written.
The Lamentations are for the most part written in the style of the Hebrew poetry, and agreeable to that style of writing, are alphabetically arranged; that is, each verse beginning with the letter as standing in the order of the alphabet. They are very beautiful in point of poetry, but much more so in respect to piety; and no doubt have in many parts strong allusions to Christ; as the Reader, taught by the Holy Ghost, will soon discover. With respect to their date, it must be left to conjecture to determine. It is more than probable that they were written at different periods, as the calamities of the nation gave scope to the sorrowful exercises of the Prophet. I only detain the Reader, to add a prayer to the Holy Ghost, that his grace may accompany our perusal of them, and make them profitable in a gracious manner, to lead unto Christ: that in tracing the lamentations of God's people, we may always keep in remembrance, that in all their affliction he was afflicted, and the Angel of his presence saved them; in his love, and in his pity, he redeemed them, and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.
the Fifth Week after Epiphany