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Doddridge says, that though such inferior prizes were common in funeral games, secondary prizes were not bestowed on the Olympic foot-race. (See West's Dissert. on the Olympic Games, p. 63.)
No. 551.-iii. 14. The prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.] L'Enfant thinks the apostle compares our Lord to those who stood at the elevated place at the end of the course, calling the racers by their names, and encouraging them by holding out the crown to exert themselves with vigour.
No. 552.-iv. 3. The book of life.] This expression refers to the custom of those cities which had registers containing the names of all the citizens, from which the names of infamous persons were erased. Agreeable to this we'read of names being blotted out of God's book. (Rev. iii. 5.) Those citizens who were orderly and obedient were continued on the roll, from whence they could easily obtain their title to all the immunities and privileges common to all the members of the city; and to be excluded from these was both disgraceful and injurious
No. 353.-COLOSSIANS ii. 14.
Blotting out the hand writing.
The hand writing, Xeipórypepov, signifies a bill or bond, whereby a person binds himself to some payment or duty, and which stands in force against him till the obligation is discharged. In these words the apostle alludes to the different methods by which bonds formerly were cancelled : one was by blotting or crossing them out with a pen, and another was by striking a nail through them. In either of these cases the bond was rendered useless, and ceased to be valid. These circumstances the apostle applies to the death of Christ.
No. 554.--2 THESSALONIANS üi. 1.
That the word of the Lord may have free course and
SOME think that these words allude to the applauses given to those who made a speedy progress in the races, which constituted so important a part of the Grecian games.
No. 555.-2 TIMOTHY ii. 15.
Rightly dividing the word of truth.
It is possible that this is an allusion to what the Jew. ish high-priest or Levite did in dissecting the victim and separating the parts in a proper manner, as some were to be laid on God's altar, and others to be given to those who were to share in the sacrifice ; others think it refers to guiding a plough aright, in order to divide the clods in the most proper and effectual manner, and make strait furrows. But perhaps the metaphor may be taken from the distribution made by a steward, in delivering out to each person under his care, such things as his office and their necessities required.
DODDRIDGE in loc.
No. 556.- i. 19. The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal.] Many critics have justly observed, that the word oppayis often signifies an inscription, or the mark made by a seal, as well as the seal itself; and the expression is here used with peculiar propriety, in allusion to the custom of engraving upon some stones, laid in the foundation of buildings, the name of the person by whom, and the purposes for which the structure is raised ; and nothing can have a greater tendency to encourage the hope, and at the same time to engage the obedience of christians, than this double inscription.
No. 557.-ji. 26. That they may recover themsekes out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.] lo order to understand this beautiful
image it is proper to observe that the word aromf worn signifies to awake from a deep sleep, or from a fit of in. toxication, (Elsner in loc.) and refers to an 'artifice of fowlers, to scatter seeds impregnated with some drugs, intended to lay birds asleep, that they may draw the net over them with the greater security. Dr. Shaw (Travels, p. 236.) mentions a method practised by the modern eastern fowlers of carrying before them a piece of painted canvas of the size of a door, by means of which they stupify or astonish their game, and thus casily destroy them.
No. 558.-TITUS ii. 5.
Keepers at home.
JEALOUSY is so common and powerful among the people of the East, that their wives are very much confined to their houses. Russell informs us (Hist. of Aleppo. p. 113.) that “ the Turks of Aleppo being very jealous, keep their women as much at home as they can, so that it is but seldom that they are allowed to visit each other. Necessity, however, obliges the husbands to suffer them to go often to the bagnio, and Mondays and Thursdays are a sort of licensed days for them to visit the tombs of their deceased relations, which furnishing them with an opportunity of walking abroad in the gardens or fields, they have so contrived that almost every Thursday in the spring bears the name of some particular sheik (or saint) whose tomb they must visit on that day. (Their cemeteries and gardens are out of their cities in common.) By this means the greatest part of the Turkish women of the city get abroad to breathe the fresh air at such seasons, unless confined, (as is not uncommon) to their houses, by order of the bashaw, and so deprived even of that little freedom which custom had procured them from their husbands." The prohibitions of the bashaws are designed, or pretended to be designed at least, to prevent the breach of chastity, for which these liberties of going abroad might be supposed to afford an opportunity. For the same reason it may be apprehended that St. Paul joins the being chaste and keepers at home together.
HARMER, vol. ii. p. 403.
No. 559.-iii. 5. The washing of regeneration.] As washing is an act whereby purification is effected and defilement is removed, it is a very proper word to express that divine change, which is produced by regeneration, and when connected with the ancient and universal practice of washing new-born infants, gives peculiar energy to the conversation of Christ with Nicodemus on the subject of the new birth, as also to the phrase used by the apostle in this passage the washing of regeneration.
Much attention was bestowed on the washing of infants. The Lacedæmonians, says Plutarch, in his Life of Lycurgus, washed the new-born infant in wine, meaning thereby to strengthen the infant. Generally, however, they washed the children in water, warmed perhaps in Greece, cold in Egypt. Plautus, in his Am. phytrion, speaks of such a washing : Postquam peperit pueros, lavare jussit, nos occepimus : Sed puer ille quem ego lavi, ut magnus est, et multum valet !