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take place, and which the others were obliged to | It is very properly introduced with, KNOW YOU exert themselves to prevent, as much as if they nor? for every citizen of Corinth was acquainted had been really intended ; and, by these means, with the most minute circumstance of this most some dexterous pugilists vanquished their adversa- splendid and pompous solemnity. ries by mere fatigue, without giving them a single
(5) What has been observed concerning the spirit blow.
and ardour with which the competitors engaged (3) A pugilist was said to beat the air, when in the race, and concerning the prize they had in he contended with a nimble adversary, who, by view to reward their arduous contention, will illusrunning from side to side, stooping, and various trate the following sublime passage of the same contortions of the body, eluded his blows; and writer, in his Epistle to the Philippians, iii. 12– thus, by causing him to miss his aim, and fre- 14:“Not as though I had already attained, either quently, perhaps, to overturn himself in attempts were already perfect; but I follow after, if that I to strike, made him emphatically spend his may apprehend that for which also I am apprestrength on the wind. We have an example of hended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not this in Virgil's account of the boxing-match be- myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I tween Entellus and Dares, before cited, and which do; forgetting those things which are behind, and will give us a proper view of the subject to which reaching forth unto those things which are before, the apostle alludes. Homer has the same image I press towards the mark, for the prize of the high of missing the foe and beating the air, when calling of God in Christ Jesus.”—Not that already describing Achilles attempting to kill Hector; I have acquired this palm; not that I have already who, by his agility and skill (poctice, by Apollo), attained perfection : but I pursue my course, that eluded the blow. Hom., l. xx., ver. 445 :
I may seize that croren of immortality, to the hope
of which I was raised by the gracious appointThrice struck Pelides with indignant heart; ment of Jesus Christ. My Christian brethren, I Thrice, in impassive air, he plunged the dart.
do not esteem myself to have obtained this glorious Pope.
prize: but one thing occupies my whole attention; “But I bruise my body, and lead it captive, * lest, forgetting what I left behind, I stretch every nerve perhaps, having proclaimed to others, I myself towards the prize before me, pressing with auger should be one not approved.”—I inure my body to and rapid steps towards the goal, to seize the the severest discipline, and bring all its appetites immortal palm # which God, by Jesus Christ, into subjection ; lest when I have proclaimed + to bestores. others, I should at last be rejected as unworthy to (6) That affecting passage, also, of the same obtain it.
apostle, in the second epistle to Timothy, written s (4) This representation of the Christian race little before his martyrdom, is beautifully allusive must have made a strong impression upon the to the above-mentioned race, to the crown that minds of the Corinthians, as they were so often awaited the victory, and to the Hellanodies or spectators of those games, which were celebrated on judges who bestowed it. “I have fought a good the Isthmus upon which their city was situated. 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 right* The word dovaalwyw is applied to the leading an enemy eous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to away captive from the field of battle. It denotes, therefore, an absolute victory. This and the former word are very emphatical, me only, but to all them also that love his appearconveying a lively idea of the apostle's activity in the battle ing,” 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8. against the animal part of his nature, and of the obstinacy of his (7) In the Epistle to the Hebrews also an epistle enemy, and so heightening the victory.
+ We have already noticed that it was the office of the herald, at these festivals, to proclaim the conditions of the
Every term here employed is agonistical. The wbole pasgames, display the prizes, exhort the combatants, excite the sage beautifully represents that ardoor which fired the com emulation of those who were to contend, declare the terms of batants when engiged in the race. Their spirit and contention each contest, pronounce the names of the victors, and put the are in a very striking manner described in the following traly crown on their heads. In allusion to that office, the apostle poetical lines of Appian (Pisc., lib. iv., ver. 101), which happily calls himself inpuš, the herald, in the combat for immortality; illustrate this passage. We give Jones's translation :because he was one of the chief of those who were employed by As when the thirst of praise and conscioas force Christ to introduce into the stadinm such as contended for the Invite the labours of the panting COURSE, incorruptible crown. He called them to the combat ; he declared Prone from the lists the blooming rivals strain, the kind of combat in which they were to engage ; he proclaimed And spring exulting to the distant plain ; the qualifications necessary in the combatants, and the laws of Alteruate feet with nimble measure bound, the battle ; withal, he encouraged the combatants, by placing Impetuous trip along the refluent ground; the crowns and palms full in their view. See Drs, Adam Clarke In every breast ambitions passions rise, and Macknight, in loco,
To seize the goal, and snatch th' immortal prize.
which, in point of composition, may vie with the were to receive the envied palm, and who were most pure and elaborate of the Greek classics immediate witnesses of their respective conduct the apostle says : “Wherefore, seeing we also are and merit; in imitation of them, let us Christians compassed about with so great a cloud of wit- keep our eyes stedfastly fixed upon Jesus, the nesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin original introducer and perfecter of our religion, which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with who, if victorious, will rejoice to adorn our tempatience the race that is set before us, looking unto ples with a crown of glory that will never fade; Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith ; who, who, for the joy set before him, endured the for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is now set down cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the at the right hand of God.”—Jesus himself, that he right hand of the throne of God. For consider might seize the glorious palm which his God and him that endured such contradiction of sinners Father placed full in his view, in order to inspirit against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in him with that ardour and alacrity in the race your minds. Wherefore lift up the hands that he had set before him, cheerfully submitted hang down, and the feeble knees; and make to sorrows and sufferings, endured the cross, straight paths for your feet, lest that which is contemning the infamy of such a death, and, in lame be turned out of the way,” Heb. xii. 1–3, consequence of perseverance and victory, is now 12, 13.
exalted to the highest honours, and placed on the (8) In allusion to that prodigious assembly, from right hand of the Supreme Majesty. “For, conall parts of the world, * which was convened at sider him that endured such contradiction of Olympia, to be spectators of those celebrated games, sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and the apostle places the Christian combatant in the faint in your minds.”—Consider him who contended midst of a most august and magnificent theatre, with such opposition ; wicked men all confedecomposed of all those great and illustrious characters rated against him; and let reflections on his fortiwhom in the preceding chapter he had enume- tude prevent your being languid and dispirited. rated, the fancied presence of whom should fire “ Wherefore, lift up the hands which hang down, him with a virtuous ambition, and animate him and the feeble knees; and make straight paths with unconquered ardour to run the race that was for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned set before him.—“Wherefore, seeing we are com- out of the way.” Exert in the Christian race those passed about with so great a cloud of witnesses,” nerves that have been relaxed, and collect those whose
eyes are upon us, who expect every thing spirits which have been sunk in dejection ; make from the preparatory discipline we have received, a smooth and even path for your steps, and reand who long to applaud and congratulate us upon move every thing that would obstruct and retard our victory; “let us lay aside every weight, and your velocity. I the sin that doth so easily beset us.”*—Let us throw off every impediment, as the competitors for the
SECTION III. Olympic crown did, and that sin that would entangle and impede our steps, and prove the fatal cause of our losing the victory; and “ let us run with patience the race set before us.”—Like those
The Stoics and the Epicureans. who ran in the Grecian stadium, let us, inflamed with the idea of glory, honour, and immortality,
In treating of the several books of the New urge our course with unremitting ardour toward Testament, we have had occasion to notice some the destined happy goal, for the prize of our high of those pernicious misnained philosophical notions
Jewish and calling in God our Saviour ;“looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”—As the can
were early infected. There are two sects, howdidates for the Olympic honours, during the ar
ever, which demand a more specific consideration, duous contention, had in view those illustrious and of which we proceed to give sovie account ;
viz., the Stoies and the Epicurcans. and venerable personages from whose hands they
]. The Srocs, mentioned in Acts xvii. 18, were
a sect of heathen philosophers, of which Zeno, * Not merely the inhabitants of Athens, of Lacedæmon, and who flourished about 350 B. C., was the original of Nicopolis, but the inhabitants of the whole world, are con
founder. Their distinguishing tenets were-- - the Vened to be spectators of the Olympic exercises. Arrianis eternity of matter, the corporeity of God, and the Epictetus, lib. iii., p. 456. Upton.
| Entangle hy wrapping round. An allusion to the garments of the Greeks, which were long, and would entangle and impede See the authorities before referred to, and Critica Biblica, their steps, if not thrown off in the race. See Hallet, in loco. vol. i., pp. 97-115.
PHILOSOPHICAL SECTS MENTIONED IN THE NEW
conflagration and renovation of the world. They, harmony. The Stoic idea of Providence is not were most rigid necessarians, and believed that all that of an infinitely wise and good Being, wholly things were subjected to an irresistible and irre- independent of matter, freely directing and governversible fatality. They strenuously asserted, that ing all things; but that of a necessary chain of man was self-sufficient to his own virtue and hap- causes and effects, arising from the action of a piness, and stood in no need of divine assistance; power which is itself a part of the machine it reguthat virtue was its own sufficient reward, and vice lates, and which, equally with that machine, is subits own sufficient punishment. The grand end ject to the immutable law of necessity. Providence, and aim of their severe philosophy was, to divest in the Stoic creed, is only another name for absolute human nature of all passions and affections; and necessity or fate, to which God and matter, or the they made the highest attainment and perfection universe, which consists of both, is immutably of virtue consist in a total apathy and insensibility subject. In like manner we must be careful what to buman evils. They affected great austerity in ideas we attach to the language which some of their manners, a proud singularity of dress and their writers have employed in treating of the habit, and were distinguished above all the other resurrection from the dead. Seneca, who has sects of philosophy for their superior haughtiness written on this subject with much elegance and and supercilious arrogance. Concerning the whole effect, says, “Death, of which we are so much moral system of the Stoics, it must be remarked, afraid, and which we are so desirous to avoid, is that, although in many select passages of their only the interruption, not the destruction, of our writings it appears exceedingly brilliant, it is existence; the day will come, which will restore nevertheless founded in false notions of nature us to life.”* But that this doctrine of the Stoics and of man, and is raised to a degree of refine- is not to be confounded with the Christian docment which is extravagant and impracticable. trine, is evident both from the passage in the Acts The piety which it teaches is nothing more than of the Apostles to which we have before referred, a quiet submission to irresistible fate. The self- and from a comparison of other parts of their command which it enjoins annihilates the best system. According to them, men return to life
, affections of the human heart. The indulgence not by the voluntary appointment of a wise and which it grants to suicide is inconsistent, not only merciful God, but by the law of fate; and are not with the genuine principles of piety, but even renewed for the enjoyment of a better and hapwith that constancy which was the height of Stoic pier condition, but draw back into their former perfection. Even its moral doctrine of benevo- state of imperfection and misery. Accordingls, lence is tinctured with the fanciful principle which Seneca says, “This restoration many would relay at the foundation of the whole Stoic system, ject, were it not that their renovated life is accomthat every being is a portion of one great whole, panied with a total oblivion of past events." + from which it would be unnatural and impious to 2. THE EPICUREANS, mentioned in connexion attempt a separation. On the doctrine of Divine with the Stoics, in Acts xvii., were the followers Providence, which was one of the chief points upon of Epicurus, who flourished about 300 B.C. The which the Stoics disputed with the Epicureans, principal tenets of his philosophy were, that the much is written, and with great strength and ele- world was formed by a fortuitous concourse of gance, by Seneca, Epictetus, and other later Stoics. atoms ; that the government of the world was But we are not to judge of the genuine and original unworthy the majesty of the gods, who lived in doctrine of this sect, from the discourses of writers indolence and pleasure, but who were, neverthewho had probably improved their notions, or at least less, the proper objects of reverence and worship. corrected their language, on this subject by visiting They derided the doctrine of Providence, and dethe Christian school. The only way to form an nied the doctrine of future rewards and punaccurate judgment of their opinions concerning ishments. The doctrine of Epicurus concerning Providence, is to compare their popular language nature differs from that of the Stoics chiefly in upon this head with their general system, and these particulars : that, while the latter held God explain the former consistently with the funda- to be the soul of the world, diffused through mental principles of the latter. If this be fairly universal nature, the former admitted no primary done, it will appear that the agency of the Deity intelligent nature into the system, but held atoms is, according to the Stoics, nothing more than the and space to be the first principles of all things; active motion of a celestial ether or fire, possessed of intelligence, which at first gave form to the shapeless mass of gross matter, and, being always
* Epist. 36. essentially united to the visible world, by the
+ See an able and interesting account of this sed, in Enfield's same necessary agency preserves its order and Hist. of Philosophy, vol. i., pp. 315–361.
and that, whilst the Stoics conceived the active system, only another term for happiness. Of the and passive principles of nature to be connected by Epicureans, then, there were two sorts: the one the chain of fate, Epicurus ascribed every ap-called the strict or rigid Epicureans, who placed pearance in nature to a fortuitous collision and all pleasure in the happiness of the mind, arising combination of atoms. Death he considered as from the practice of moral virtue ; the other called the privation of sensation, in consequence of the loose or remiss Epicureans, who understood their separation of the soul from the body. He held master in the gross sense, and placed all their hapthat, when a man dies, the soul is dispersed into piness in the pleasure of the body, in brutal and the corpuscules or atoms of which it was com- sensual pleasure, in living voluptuously, and inposed, and therefore can no longer be capable of dulging every desire. * It was with some of this thought or perception. The moral philosophy of latter description that the apostle came in contact Epicurus, which is undoubtedly the least ob- at Athens; and of whom Seneca says, they were jectionable part of his system, made the ultimate profligates, not led into their irregularities by good of man to consist in pleasure, of which there the doctrines of Epicurus; but, being themselves are two kinds : one consisting in a state of rest, strongly addicted to vice, sought to hide their in which buth body and mind are undisturbed by crimes in the bosom of philosophy, and had reany kind of pain ; the other arising from an agree course to a master who encouraged the pursuit able agitation of the senses, producing a cor- of pleasure, not because they set any value upon respondent emotion in the soul. Upon the former that sober and abstemious kind of pleasure which of these, Epicurus considered the enjoyment of life the doctrine of Epicurus allowed, but because they to depend. From this statement it is evident that hoped in the mere name to find some pretext or this philosopher was not the preceptor of luxurious apology for their debaucheries.t and licentious pleasures which he has been represented to be. It is true, he describes pleasure as *See Enfield's Hist. of Philosophy, vol. i., pp. 444–481. the ultimate end of living ; but pleasure is, in his
+ De Vit. Beat., c. 12.