Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][graphic][graphic][ocr errors][graphic][graphic][merged small]
[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]
[graphic]

The Candlestick, Trumpets, and Table for Shewbread, as rep

resented on the Arch of Titus,

[graphic][ocr errors]

A personification of the river Jordan, from the Arch of Titus,

sculptured thereon as a symbol of the conquest of Judea.

[merged small][graphic][merged small]

The ancients had many public amusements besides those already noticed. Many o them were of a barba. rous nature, and quite contrary to the spirit of christi. anity. The public combats with wild beasts were of this sort. In them, criminals condemned to death were exposed to fight with lions, bears, wild bulls, and other savage beasts, and the people took pleasure in seeing their fellow creatures torn to pieces by these fierce ani. mals! The apostle Paul compares his having to withstand his enemies at Ephesus, Acts xix. to a combat of this nature, 1 Cor. xv. 32. In many passages wicked men are spoken of as wild beasts. Herod is compared to a fox, Luke xiii. 32. Hypocrites are called wolves in sheep's clothing, Matt. vii. 15. See also Acts xx. 29. Phil. üïï. 2. &c.

We do not find any thing of the sort usually described as public amusements, mentioned among the Jews, Among the heathens there were many, and to them there are various references in scripture. The Olympic games were the most famous public amusements. On those oc. casions people came from all parts of the world to see the contests, which were principally racing or wrestling. Only persons of good character and of respectable families, were allowed to contend for the prizes, which were merely crowns of leaves and palm branches; but the honor of being a conqueror at these contests was very great ; even kings sometimes engaged in these games.

In the races the runners threw aside all their garments, and on an appointed signal rushed forward in the sight of many thousand spectators. The rewards were presented to their view at the end of the course, which was kept clear from every obstruction. This illus. trates that beautiful passage, Heb. xii. 1-3. 12, 13. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,” &c. &c. I would here remark that the word which is translated be. set,” means also entangle, as long garments, such as were then worn, might entangle and throw down the runner if he had not thrown them off. This is recorded to have happened once, and afterwards the racers threw aside all their garments. Oh! how desirable it is that a chris. tian should throw aside and be freed from the sins which beset or entangle him in his christian course.

St. Paul in another place alludes to these contests in a striking manner; “ Know ye not that they who run in a race, run all ; but one receiveth the prize ? So run, that

And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly ; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air : but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached (the gospel) to others, I myself should be a cast-away,” i Cor. ix. 24–27.

The racers and other candidates for the prizes fasted or lived upon a particular diet, for some time before the day of the contest; and the apostle strongly urges the followers of Christ to consider the pains and privations which the heathen endured for a poor, fading, worldly honor. He shows how much more in earnest they should be, since a reward infinitely greater was offered to them, This passage is in one of St. Paul's epistles to the

ye may obtain.

« PreviousContinue »