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No. 570.-JAMES i. 14.
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
THE original words have a singular beauty and eloquence, containing an allusion to the method of drawing fishes out of the water with a hook concealed under the bait, which they greedily devour.
DODDRIDGE, in loc.
No. 571.-i. 27. Pure and undefiled religion.] Archbishop TILLOTSON (Works, vol. ii. p. 581.) has justly observed, that there seems here to be an allusion to the excellence of a precious stone, which consists much in its being καθαρα και αμιαντος, clear and without Paw or cloud: and surely no gem is so precious or ornamental as the lovely temper here described.
No. 572.-ii. 2. If there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring.] By the assembly here mentioned we are not to understand a congregation convened for public worship, as is commonly represented, but a court of judicature, in which men are too apt to favour the cause of the rich against the poor. The phrase, sit thou under my footstool, naturally refers to courts of justice, where the judge is commonly exalted upon a higher seat than the rest of the people. The apostle also says, that such a respect of persons as he here speaks of is contrary to the law, and that those who are guilty of it, are convinced of the law as transgressors. Now there was no divine law against distinction of places in wor
shipping assemblies, into those which were more or less honourable; this must therefore refer to the law of partiality in judgment. Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment; thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty. (Levit. xix. 15.) The Talmudists say it was a rule, that when a poor man and a rich man pleaded together in judgment, the rich should not be bid to sit down, and the poor to stand; but either both shall sit, or both shall stand. To this rule or custom the apostle seems to refer, when he insinuates a charge against them of saying to the rich man, sit thou here in a good place, and to the poor, stand thou there. JENNINGS's Jewish Ant. vol. ii. p. 66.
No. 573. v. 5. Ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.] Mr. BLACKWALL (Sacred Classics, vol. ii. p. 183.) in speaking of this passage says, "The ordinary reader cannot see the relation between a day of slaughter and such high indulgence and merriment. The ideas seem to be oddly put together; the pertinence of the passage may at least be doubted, and the grace of the metaphor is intirely lost. Εν ημερα σφαγης might not improperly be rendered, in a day, or time of public feasting, or feasting upon sacrifice. It was the custom of all nations, in times of joy or happy success, first to offer some peculiar parts of the sacrifice by way of burnt-offering, in gratitude and acknowledgment to their gods, and then to entertain and feast themselves upon all the rest, prepared and dressed for them, with great freedom and gaiety of heart; and upon these occasions the people often ran into great disorders and indecencies, to which the apostle here alludes."
No. 574.-v. 14. Anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.]" In Yemen, the anointing of the body is
believed to strengthen and protect it from the heat of the sun, by which the inhabitants of this province, as they wear so little clothing, are very liable to suffer. Oil, by closing up the pores of the skin, is supposed to prevent that too copious transpiration which enfeebles the frame; perhaps too, these Arabians think a glistering skin a beauty. When the intense heat comes in, they always anoint their bodies with oil. At Sana, all the Jews, and many of the Mahometans, have their bodies anointed whenever they find themselves indisposed." (NIEBUHR, vol. ii. p. 274.) This in some degree explains the direction of the apostle James, the meaning of which will be, to do that solemnly for the purpose of healing, which was often done medicinally; and accordingly we find Solomon, in many places of his Proverbs, speaking of administering ointment, which rejoices the heart, which may be a healing medicine to the navel, &c.
No. 575.-1 PETER i. 5.
Kept by the power of God.
THE original word, Opapaueves, is very emphatical, and properly signifies being kept as in an impregnable garrison, secure from harm, under the observation of an all-seeing eye, and protection of an almighty hand.
No. 576.-ii. 4. A living stone.] By a metaphor taken from plants, which stick fast to their roots, and are nourished by juice ascending from them, stones which remain still in the quarry are said to be living. By this epithet here is meant the firmness of that thing which is signified by the name of a stone, for nothing is firmer than stones growing in a quarry, or cleaving fast to a rock by their roots. For this reason a steady and inflexible purpose of mind is compared by Ovid to such a stone, where he speaks of Anaxaretes:
Durior et ferro, quod Noricus excoquit ignis,
No. 577. v. 4. Chief shepherd.] In ancient times, when flocks and herds of cattle were very numerous, the care of them required the attention of many shepherds; and that every thing might be conducted with regularity, it was necessary that one should preside over the rest. This we find was customary; and hence, in 1 Sam. xxi. 7. we read that Doeg was the chief of the herdsmen that belonged to Saul; and in some curious remarks on the sheep-walks of Spain, published in the Gentle
man's Magazine for May, 1764, we are informed, that in this country (where it is not at all surprising to meet with eastern customs still preserved from the Moors) they have to this day, over each flock of sheep, a chief shepherd. "Ten thousand compose a flock, which is divided into ten tribes. One man has the conduct of all. He must be the owner of four or five hundred sheep, strong, active, vigilant, intelligent in pasture, in the weather, and in the diseases of sheep. He has absolute dominion over fifty shepherds and fifty dogs, five of each to a tribe. He chooses them, he chastises them, or discharges them at will. He is the præpositus or the chief shepherd of the whole flock."
No. 578. v. 8. As a roaring lion.] For the illus578.-v. tration of this passage it may be observed, that the roaring of the lion is in itself one of the most terrible sounds in nature; but it becomes still more dreadful, when it is known to be a sure prelude of destruction to whatever living creature comes in his way. Hence that question in Amos iii. 8. the lion hath roared, who will not fear? The lion does not usually set up his horrid roar till he beholds his prey, and is just going to seize it. (See Bochart, vol. ii. p. 729.)