Imatges de pàgina

inure my body to the severest discipline, and bring all its appetites into subjection: lest, when I have proclaimed the glorious prize to others, I should, at last, be rejected as unworthy” to obtain it. This representation of the Christian race must make a strong impression upon the minds of the Corinthians, as they were so often spectators of those games, which were celebrated on the Isthmus, upon which their city was situated. It is very properly introduced with, KNow you Not : for every citizen in Corinth was acquainted with every minute circumstance of this most splendid and pompous solemnity. St. Paul, in like manner, in his second Epistle to Timothy (ii. 5.), observes, that if a man strive for mastery, yet is he not crowned, unless he strire lawfully: He who contends in the Grecian games, secures not the crown, unless he strictly conform to the rules prescribed “What has been observed concerning the spirit and ardour with which the competitors engaged in the race, and concerning the prize they had in view to reward their arduous contention, will illustrate the following sublime passage of the same sacred writer in his Epistle to the Philippians. (iii. 12–14.) Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one '. I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching fo unto those things which are before, I press towards the mark, for the so. of the high oft of God in Christ Jesus: Not that already have acquired this palm; not that I have already attained perfection: but I pursue my course, that I may seize that crown of immortality, to the hope of which I was raised by the gracious appointment of Christ Jesus. My Christian brethren, I do not esteem myself to have obtained this glorious prize: but one thing occupies my whole attention; forgetting what I left behind, I stretch every nerve towards the prize before me, pressing with eager and rapid steps, towards the goal to seize the immortal palm” which God, by Christ Jesus, bestows.

scribing the engagements of combatants; thus, Virgil has, Entellus vires in ven. tum effudit. Eneid. v. 443 vacuas agit inconsulta per auras Brachia. Valerius Flaccus, iv.302. spis 3' nepa rvos tastav. Iliad, r. 446. See also Oppian. Piscal. lib. ii. ver. 450. Rittershus. Lug. Bat. 1597. 1 AAAoi, know{a; ; proclaimed, as a herald, the prize to others. A herald, kopeč, made proclamation at the games what rewards would be bestowed on the conquerors. * Aéoxipo; yovopal. Be disapproved ; be rejected as unworthy; come off without honour and approbation. * Ta new orida triNavsavoutvos, rats & earpooseverexrtivoproos, or oxorov &ere rr. " Épatetov. Every term here employed by the apostle is agonistical. The whole passage beautifully represents that ardour which fired the combatants when engaged in the race. Their spirit and contention are in a very striking manner described in the following truly poetical lines of Oppian, which happily illustrate this passage: 'ds &t rodoxtons popcAnuevot avčpts aeSXww. ŻraSuns épunSevres, arodavrot wrea yovva IIporportraivopovot 30Åskov roos tyxovsovauv Ešavvaai radiv' & irovoa vugan ro rexagoas, Nisms royāvkvěwpov Ativ sparos, to re Supt.Spa Aikat, rat Kapros at 3Åtov apoptoaXto Sat.

Oppian Pisc. lib. iv. ver, 101. edit. Rittershus.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

This affecting passage, also, of the same apostle, in the second Epistle of Timothy, written a little before his martyrdom, is beautifully allusive to the above-mentioned race, to the crown that awaited the victory, and to the Hellanodics or judges who, bestowed it. ... I hope fought a good fight, I have finished my course,' I have kept the faith; Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall gire me at that day; and not to me only, but to all them also that love his appearing.” (2 Tim. iv. S.)

As when the thirst of praise and conscious force Invite the labours of the panting course, Prome from the lists the blooming rivals strain, And spring exulting to the distant plain, Alternate feet with nimble-measured bound Impetuous trip along the refluent ground, In every breast ambitious passions rise, To seize the goal, and snatch th' immortal prize. Jones's Translation Instat equis auriga suos vincentibus, illum Praeteritum temnens, extremos inter euntem. Horat. Satyr. lib. i. Sat. i. 115, 116. 1 Tov ApomoN rerotra. I have finished my Race. The whole passage is beautifully allusive to the celebrated games and exercises of those times. Agopos properly signifies a race. Theocritus, idyl. iii. ver, 41. Sophoclis Electra, ver. 693. See also ver. 686–688. Euripidis Andromache, ver. 599. Euripidis Iphi§. in Aulide, ver. 212. Strabo, lib. iii. p. 155 edit. Paris, 1620, Xenophontis Memorab. pp. 210, 211. Oxon. 1741. So this word ought to be rendered. (Acts xx. 24.) But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself; so that I might finish my co URsr with joy; rostwaal row APOMON pov: finish the short race of human life with honour and applause. It is a beautiful and striking allusion to the race in these celebrated games.—In the fifth volume of Bishop Horne's Works, there is an animated discourse on the Christian race; the materials of which are partly derived from Dr. Harwood's Introduction to the New Testament, vol. ii. sect. 4.




1. Mosaic Law relating to the Dead.—II. Treatment of the Deceased.—III. Lamentations for them.—IV. Rites of Sepulture.— V. Notice of the Tombs of the Jews.-VI. Funeral Feasts.Duration of Mourning.

I. By the law of Moses a dead body conveyed a legal pollution to every thing that touched it, even to the very house and furniture, which continued seven days. (Numb. xix. 14, 15, 16.) And this was the reason why the priests, because of their daily ministrations in holy things, were forbidden to assist at any funerals, but those of their nearest relatives; nay, the very dead bones, though they had lain ever so long in the grave, if digged up, conveyed a pollution to any who touched them; and this was the reason why Josiah caused the bones of the false priests to be burnt upon the altar at Bethel (2 Chron. xxxiv. 5.), to the intent that these altars being thus polluted, might be had in the greater detestation. II. When the principle of life was extinguished, the first funeral office among the Jews was to close the eyes of the deceased. This was done by the nearest of kin. Thus, it was promised to Jacob, when he took his journey into Egypt, that Joseph should put his hands upon his eyes. (Gen. xlvi. 4.) The next office was the ablution of the corpse. Thus, when Tabitha died, it is said, that they washed her body and laid it in an upper chamber. (Acts iz. 37.) This rite was common both to the Greeks and Romans," in whose writings it is frequently mentioned. In Egypt, it is still the custom to wash the dead body several times with rain water. III. From the earliest antiquity it was also usual with this people to make very great and public lamentations for their departed friends. What a deep general mourning did Abraham and his family make for Sarah, and with what public solemnity was her funeral conducted! What lamentations did Joseph and his brethren the children of Israel, and the land of Egypt make, upon the decease of the good old patriarch Jacob | What a procession was formed, and with what august pomp were his remains carried out of the land of Egypt, to be deposited in the sepulchre of his ancestors' All the servants of PhaTaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt,

* Sophoclis Electra, verse 1143. Virgil. Æneid. lib. vi. 353,

and all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father's house, went up : only their little ones, and their flocks, and their herds, they left in the land of Goshen. And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen ; and it was a very great company. And they came to the threshing-floor of .1tad, which is beyond Jordan, and there they mourned with a GREAT and very sore L.A.MEvratrox; and he made a mourning for his father screw days. ..]nd when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of .1tad, they said, This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians ! wherefore the name of it was called .1belmizraim, which is beyond Jordan. And his sons did unto him according as he commanded them. For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the care of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a burying-place of Ephron the Hittite before Mamre. And Joseph returned into Egypt, he and his brethren, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father. (Gen. l. 7–13.) On the loss of dear and near relatives, and of aniable and affectionate friends, the grief of this people was violent and frantic. Tearing their hair, rending their clothes (which was prohibited to the high priest), and uttering doleful shrieks and piercing cries, were some of the expressions of it. Suetonius remarks this distinguished vehemence of the Jews in the expressions of their grief. In that great and public mourning, at the funeral of Julius Caesar, a multitude of foreign nations, says the historian, expressed their sorrow according to their respective customs: but the mourning and lamentation made by the Jewish people exceeded all the rest— they continued about the funeral pile whole nights together." The assembling together of multitudes to the place where persons have lately expired, and bewailing them in a noisy manner, is still retained in the East, and seems to be considered as an honour done to the deceased.” t It appears, also, from the Scriptures, that upon the demise of their friends the Jews hired persons, whose profession it was to superintend and conduct their public and private sorrows, who, in funeral odes, mournful songs, and doleful ejaculations, deplored the instability of human condition, celebrated the virtues of the deceased, and excited the grief and lamentation of the survivors. This we learn from the following passages of the prophets: Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, consider ye and call for the MoURNING woMEN, that they may come, and send for gunning women, that they may come; and let them make haste, and take up a wailing for us, that our eyes may run down with tears, and our eye-lids gush out with waters. (Jer: ix. 17, 18.) Both the great and the small shall die in this land; they shall not be buried, neither shall men lament for them, nor cut themselves, nor make themselves bald for them. Neither shall men tear themselves for them in mourning to comfort them for the dead, neither shall men give them the cup of consolation to drink for their father or for their mother. (Jer. xvi. 6, 7.) Therefore mine heart shall sound for MoAB like PIPEs, and mine heart shall sound like pipes for the men of KIR-HEREs: because the riches he hath gotten are perished; for every HEAD shall be BALD, and every BEARD clipped ; upon all the HANds shall be cuttings, and upon the Loins sack-cloth. (Jer. xlviii. 36, 37.) So also the prophet Ezekiel: Son of man, behold I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with a stroke : yet neither shalt thou mourn nor weep, neither shall thy tears run down. Forbear to cry, make no MoURNING for the dead, bind the tire of thine head upon thee, and put on thy shoes upon thy feet, and corer not thy lips, and eat not the bread of men. So I spoke unto the people in the morning, and at even my wife died. (Ezek. xxiv. 16, 17, 18.) In the time of Christ and his apostles these mournful songs had musical accompaniments. The soft and plaintive melody of the flute was employed to heighten these doleful lamentations and dirges. Thus we read that on the death of the daughter of Jairus a company of mourners, with players on the flute, according to the Jewish custom, attended upon this sorrowful occasion. When Jesus entered the governor's house, he saw the minstrels and the people wailing greatly. (Matt. ix. 23.) So Josephus informs us, that when it was reported in the city that he was involved in the general destruction of Jotapata, the intelligence immediately filled Jerusalem with the deepest sorrow. The particular families and relations of the deceased bewailed the death of their respective friends, but the death of the general (meaning himself) caused universal mourning. Some deplored the loss of their acquaintance, some of their relations, some of their friends, some of their brethren, but all men lamented the loss of Josephus' so that for thirty days together there was a public mourning in the city, and considerable numbers of people hired musicians to regulate and conduct their lamentations." This custom still obtains among the Moors. “At all their principal entertainments,” says Dr. Shaw, “and to show mirth and gladness upon other occasions, the women welcome the arrival of each guest, by squalling out for several times together, Loo! Loo! Loo! a corruption, as it seems to be, of Hallelujah. AXax", a word of the like sound, was used by an army, either before they gave the onset, or when they had obtained the victory. The Turks to this day call out, Allah! Allah! Allah! upon the like occasion. At their funerals also, and upon other melancholy occasions, they repeat the same noise (Loo), only they make it more deep and hollow, and end each period with some ventriloquous sighs. The oxaxagovrag roa, or wailing greatly, (as our version expresses it, Mark v. 38.) upon the death of Jairus's daughter, was probably performed in this manner. For there are several women, hired to act upon these lugubrious occasions, who, like the praficae, or mourning women of old, are skilful in lamentation (Amos

1 Suetonius in vit. J. Caesaris. c. lxxxiv. p. 135, edit. variorum. Lug. Bat. 1662 2 Harmer's Observations, vol. iii. pp. 16–18


* Josephus, De Bel. Jud, lib. iii. cap. x. p. 252. Havercamp.

« AnteriorContinua »