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inhabitants of Corinth ; the games to which the apostle alludes were celebrated near that city.
The same circumstances explain two other beautiful passages in the epistles ; one is Phil. iii. 13, 14. “ For. getting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those which are before, I press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” The other, 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8. “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith : hence. forth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but to all them also that love his appearing.” Let not our readers suppose that the apostle, by referring to the games and customs of those times, meant to encourage or approve of christians engaging therein. And let them not suppose that the games and races, &c. practised at wakes and fairs in the present day, are countenanced thereby. The ancient games were conducted with much order and solemnity by the heathens; the greatest and best characters among them engaged therein, and they were in their view reli. gious ceremonies,
But we live in a better day, and in the light of the gospel; we do not offer such worship, and no one can suppose that the riotous and wicked practices, so prevalent at our wakes and fairs, are pleasing to God, or approved by his word. They are “the revel. lings, and such like,” Gal. v. 21. of which the apostle expressly declares, that “they that do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” It is also to be re. marked, that most of our wakes are the continuance of heathen revellings, which were practised by our forefathers, when pagans, many centuries ago; for when the Romish missionaries were sent to England by pope Gregory, about the year 600, they allowed these revels to be continued, that they might the easier persuade the Saxons, who then ruled England, to profess themselves to be christians. Let us earnestly pray for grace, that we may be enabled to run the race which is set before us, and to wrestle with the corruptions of our hearts, seeking for strength from the Lord.
Ca. XXV.-SCHOOLS AND EDUCATION.
THE Jews do not appear to have had regular public schools, like ours, either boarding or day-schools, nor schools like those now established by our missionaries. The schools of the sons of the prophets, if they are to be called schools, were very different. The way of life of the ancient Jews was laborious, and that constantly, so that they needed the help of their children, and brought them up to work from their childhood. Thus we find Gideon, Saul, David, and his brothers, and Elisha, all engaged at an early age in the different labors of a coun. try life, and we may remark, that in the cases I have na. med, as well as those of Amos and others, God chose persons who were engaged in the duties of their callings, to perform services for him in various ways.
It was much the same in other nations; the word school is originally Greek, and signifies leisure, as de. noting the place where people met who had no particular business to do, so that they had time to amuse them. selves. This may surprise some of my younger readers, but I hope there are many amongst them who really prize the instructions they receive. We read, Prov. i. 7. that fools despise wisdom and instruction; and that a wise person “ will hear and increase learning,” ver. 5. and that “when wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; discretion shall preserve thee, and understanding shall keep thee: to deliver thee from the way of the evil,” Prov. ii. 10–12. And let it always be remembered, that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,” Prov. i. 7. No learning can be really good, if it be contrary to God's word,
The learning of the Jewish children, therefore, chiefly depended upon the instructions they received from their parents, whom they accompanied as they went about their employments.
Even king Solomon speaks of having been taught by his father, and tells us, in the book of Proverbs, what that instruction was; see ch. iv. If King David, amidst all his various wars and the cares of government, could instruct his children, it should remind parents amongst us of their duty, and encourage them to undertake it; and children should be more attentive than in general they are to the instructions of those parents who give up many pleasures and pursuits to teach them.
This method of instruction was plainly commanded in the law of Moses, Deut. vi. 6, 7. 66 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart : and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children,” &c. &c. We also learn that this instruction was given rather by conversation than by regular lessons.
" And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up," Deut. xi. 19. Instructions, so continually given, doubt. less produced considerable effect; but, alas! men forgot the words of the Lord in this as in other things. It is too much the same in our day, and we should be very thankful that there are good persons who come forward to give this instruction, for “ that the soul be without knowledge, is not good.” Prov. xix. 2.
Thus the greater part of the Israelites were made acquainted with whatever was necessary for them, both as to general knowledge and their own particular occupations. There were, however, some who applied them. selves more particularly to study ; we read of men of the tribe of Issachar who had understandings of the times, 1 Chron. xii. 32. and the priests and Levites, being in a great measure provided for, had more time for study, and it was required of them; see Mal. ii. The Jews relate that the men of the tribe of Simeon were generally em. ployed as schoolmasters. On this account they were dispersed among the other tribes, which was prophesied respecting them by Jacob, Gen. xlix. 7.
There were also schools of the prophets, such as those which Samuel taught at Naioth, 1 Sam. xix. 19, 20. and at Bethel, where Elijah, and afterwards Elisha, gave in. structions; but these were not so much for children, as for all persons, whatever their age might be, who desired
to know divine things more fully than they could learn them in a general way. From 2 Kings vi. we find that they labored and partly maintained themselves.
In later times the public teachers became more like our schoolmasters, though, even then, they rather resembled the professors and teachers in our universities. The scholars usually addressed their instructers by the title of Rabbi, which means great, or master. This was often applied to our Lord, and also the title of Rabboni, John xx. 16. which signifies My great master. We are told that in the Jewish schools this title was only bestowed upon seven persons. Teachers were also sometimes call. ed Fathers, and their disciples were called Sons, Matt. xxiii. 9. xii. 27. The apostle Paul speaks of having been brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, alluding to the man. ner in which scholars sat at their master's feet. The disciples of the Pharisees, Matt. xxii. 15. who were sent, hoping that they might “entangle Jesus in his talk,” or hear him say some words that they could misrepresent, were scholars of that sort, and evidently must have been young men, not children. O my readers, whether young or old, when you read the words of Christ, do it in a sim. ple spirit, and with earnest prayer, that you may understand and grow thereby, Psa. cxix. 27. 73. and sitting at his feet and learning as Mary did.
Ch. XXVI.-ADOPTED CHILDREN.
It was common among the ancients for persons to adopt children, either when they had none of their own, or when there was something particular to interest them for the children who were adopted. Eliezer, of Damascus, probably had been thus adopted by Abram before he had children of his own, Gen. xv. 3. This is common at the present time among the Indians, particularly in North America. Persons, both grown up and children, who have been taken prisoners in their wars with the white people, have been adopted by the Indian tribes, and have lived many years among them. Jacob's adoption of Ephraim and Manasseh, Gen. xlviii. 1. was something of this sort. It is still more fully shown in the case of Moses, who was adopted by Pharaoh's daughter, Exod. ii. 10. and of Esther, who was adopted by her uncle Mordecai. In these cases, the adopted children were considered as if they had been the real children of those who adopted them, and became subject to their authority.
The two instances just mentioned deserve notice : “ Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward,” Heb. xi. 24-26. Esther was strengthened and had courage given to her, so that she was enabled to declare that she belonged to the nation of the Jews, though they were ordered to be destroyed, and thus her people were deliverod. We also read, that even after she had become queen, she still “ did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him.”
Both these accounts show us the power of divine grace in the heart of young persons ; enabling the one de. cidedly to refuse honors, wealth, and the earthly advantages of being adopted by a king's daughter, perhaps even the succession to the throne itself, when these things could not be enjoyed without acting contrary to the will of