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Smooth language prevents, and soft answers turni away wrath. Love is the happiness of domestick connexions. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.
The different effects of a similar Education illus
trated in Herod and Manaen.
ACTS, xiii. s.
Now there were, in the church that was at Antioch, certain prophets
and teachers ; as Barnabas, und Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, who bad been brought up with Herod the tetrarch.
WE here see two men educated in the same family, and probably in much the same manner, and yet pursuing a very different course of life.—" Manaen was brought up with Herod the tetrarch."
It would be natural to expect, that children, who grew up together under similar examples and instructions, should appear in the same moral and religious character, when they came forward into publick life. But in the instance before us, the event was otherwise. We find one among the min. isters, and the other among the persecutors of the church of Christ.
The whole family of the Herods are stigmatised in history for their lust and ambition, and especially
for their cruelty. Herod the great slew the infants in Bethlehem ; his son imprisoned and murdered John the Baptist ; and his grandson killed James the apostle.
Manaen is no where mentioned in the sacred his. tory, but in this place. All that we read of him is, that he was brought up with Herod, as a brother, but was afterward among the prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch, and was one of those who ministered to the Lord, and who, by the direction of the Holy Ghost, separated Barnabas and Paul to the work of preaching the gospel among the Gentiles. His name as well as the place of his early ed. ucation, shews that he was a Jew by descent.
The church in Antioch was one of the most famous christian churches. It was here that the disciples of Christ first assumed the name of christians. From Manaen's being found ministering to the Lord among the prophets in this church, we may conclude, that he early professed his belief of the gospel. And the superior learning which he had acquired in his education with a young prince, together with his distinguished piety, zeal and fortitude, recommend. ed him to the apostles as a man well qualified to take part with them in their ministry. He was certainly a man eminent for his faith and virtue, as well as for his learning and abilities; else he would not so soon have been admitted to a place among the prophets and teachers in this celebrated church.
The character of Herod was just the reverse of Manaen's. He was vicious and debauched in his private life, haughty, cruel and tyrannical in nis government and a murderer of Christ's fore. runner.
So diverse were the characters of these two men, who were brought up together under similar instructions and examples.
What kind of education they had in their youth, we may form some probable conjecture from Herod's high descent. He was of princely blood, and, doubtless, had a princely education: And as he was probably to be a chief ruler in Judea, we must suppose, that he was instructed in the Jewish religion: For this was justly esteemed a necessary branch of education in one, who was to preside over that people. Paul says to Herod Agrippa, “ I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions, which are among the Jews ;” and he appeals to him, as one, who, “ believed the prophets.” Thus Agrippa was educated ; and probably his predecessors were educated in the same manner.
As Manaen was brought up with Herod, we may conclude, that he also, as well as Herod, was carefully instructed in the writings of Moses and the prophets, and in the rites and forms of the Jewish religion, with those other branches of learning, which are judged necessary to qualify men for high and important stations.
But amidst these superior advantages, there were undoubtedly many dangerous temptations. The pomp and pleasure of princely courts, and the corrupt examples that are often seen there, are by no means favourable to youthful piety. Herod made no virtuous improvement of the advantages which attended his early life. On the contrary, he was led away by the corrupt manners of an impious court. Manaen, in the same situation, early became religious, escaped the corruptions of the world, and made such advancement in knowledge and piety, that we find him ranked among some of the first preachers of the gospel.
We here see, that youths, brought up in the same family, and in the same manner, may take to very different courses, and make a very different end.
Men's lives are not always answerable to the advantages which they enjoy. “Many are called but few are chosen.” That same gospel, which is a savour of life unto life to some, is to others a savour of death unto death. The preaching of the cross of Christ, which was to some a rock of salvation, was to others a stone of stumbling. These observations of scripture we see verified in fact. Among the multitudes, which enjoy the same gospel; yea, and who profess to believe it too, there are different characters. While some, by a patient continuance in welldoing, seek for glory, there are others who obey not the truth, but hold it in unrighteousness.
Nor is this diversity of character to be seen only in larger societies; it may be found in particular families.
Education doubtless has great influence in forming the temper and manners. It is reasonable to expect, that men will ordinarily be virtuous or vicious, according to the turn which is given to their minds in the discipline of youth. If you train up a child in the way in which he should go, you may hope, that, when he is old, he will not depart from it; but if you leave him to himself, to the impulse of his own giddy inclinations, and to the corrupt influence of vicious examples; and besure, if to them you add your own corrupt example and counsel, you may reasonably expect, he will bring his friends to shame, and himself to ruin.
There are, however, exceptions from this observation. There are some who under great disadvantages early enter upon a virtuous course, and steadily pursue it through life ; and there are those, who, in contempt of the best instructions and examples, make themselves vile and will not be restrained. In the family of David, who resolved to walk within his house in a perfect way, there was