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knowledge of God. But it was God himself who alone could thus bless the prudence and piety of Naomi to the softening of the youthful mind of Ruth, the removing of her prejudices, and implanting in it something of the fear of the Lord; and consequently the resolution which this young person expressed, must be considered as the result of this previous divine and efficacious teaching.

There was also apparent in her determination A COMPASSION FOR NAOMI in her destitute circumstances. Ruth's affectionate mind could not endure a final separation. She could not leave her mother-in-law to return to Judah alone, stripped of her husband and sons, and without any earthly solace in her bitterness. Religion is a distinct thing, indeed, from natural affection, but is often, by divine mercy, observed to spring from it. Many a child has been led to Christ and heaven by the united emotions of natural feeling and supernatural grace. Naomi's generous wish that Ruth would stay in Moab and consult her temporal peace and settlement, would increase her desire to compassionate and comfort her. Nothing is lost even in this world by a disinterested ingenuous spirit. We must not make religion a pretext for gaining our own ends, but fairly state the inconveniences which may attend it, and leave others to judge what they should do. Filial

love and a secret principle of piety will decide in the right manner. The loss also of her own husband, would conspire to soften Ruth's mind, and dispose her to leave the land which would remind her of her affliction.

Her KNOWLEDGE, however, AND LOVE OF THE TRUE God was, most probably, her chief motive in resolving to follow Naomi. This might indeed be inferred from the whole of her history, but it is especially evident from the expressions, Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. She had doubtless heard from her hus. band and from her mother-in-law of the Lord God of Israel, of his promise to Abraham and his seed, of the redemption of the people by the hand of Moses, of the deeds and conquests of Joshua, of the miracles performed by the divine power, and the worship ordained by the divine mercy. She probably bad not much distinct acquaintance, when she made this pious resolution, with the promise of the future Messiah, or with the designs of the instituted sacrifices. She might not have heard much of that seed of the woman, whose day Abraham saw and was glad, or have a high degree of that faith by which the same patriarch believed God, so that it was counted to him for righteousness. Bat, like Ram hab, she knew enough even then to lead her to renounce her idols, to choose the service of the true God, and to take her portion with the

chosen people of Jehovah. Whatever might be the degree of her faith, it was doubtless the same in kind as that by which the elders obtained a good report, by which Abel presented his offering, and Enoch pleased God, and Noah became an heir of the righteousness which is by fuith. Doubtless she knew that she was a sinner, that as such she must be saved by the mercy of God; and that this mercy was revealed to the nation of Israel through a future Saviour. It was this knowledge which inspired her resolution, and gave that resolution its chief excellence. Had her conduct been the effect of mere natural affection, it would of course have been no proof of piety towards God; but now she speaks and acts as one who saw the promises afar off, and was persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed she was a stranger and a pilgrim upon earth, and declared plainly that she sought a country.

The effect of divine grace is also apparent in her EFFECTUALLY RESISTING THE INFLUENCE OF HER SISTER'S EXAMPLE. Orpah set out to accompany Naomi, as well as Ruth, and both went on their journey for a time. Both also heard the friendly and candid statements of their mother, and both wept and said, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people. Both listened again to the longer remonstrance of Naomi, who, like Joshua, would inform them of

the worst; and both again lifted up their voice and wept. Then it was that Ruth's piety as well as affection, was put to the trial, and then it was that the difference between the power of natural affection and of the true grace of God in enabling us to forsake the world, most forcibly appeared. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clave unto her. The one is easily entreated to stay in Moab; for the heart, if not constrained by a new and heavenly principle, soon reverts to the world and ease; but the other, touched by a divine power, can withstand every opposition. Accordingly, the resolution of Ruth is only strengthened by the additional entreaty, Behold, thy sister-in-law is gone back unto her people and unto her gods ; return thou after thy sister-in-law.

How many persons, young persons especially, are seduced from the way of truth by similar arguments! They go a certain length in religion ; but a sister, a brother, a friend, turns them back again. Nothing is more dangerous than implicitly to listen, in matters of conscience and salvation, to those whom we love and wish to please ; but whose kindness, and entreaties, and tears, are employed to seduce our hearts from the service of God. This one thing does more to cool and damp pious resolutions, than all the reasonings in the world. But if we are really determined for the Lord, let us, likę Ruth,

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be only the more fixed in our resolution by the desertion of others! Let us ask ourselves, What shall a man give in exchange for his soul ? Let us listen to our Lord's solemn declaration, He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than' me is not worthy of me. He that saveth his life shall lose it ; "and he that loseth his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

Mark then the ENERGY AND WARMTH OF RUTH'S RESOLUTION, when thus assailed by the example of Orpah on the one hand, and the arguments of Naomi on the other. There is scarcely an instance in the whole Scripture of firmness and decision on a trying occasion more triumphant than this. And when we consider the age and sex of Ruth, her birth and early habits, her tenderness of character, the modesty and diffidence which appeared in all her future history, and the small advantages of a religious nature which she had enjoyed, we must stand surprised at the power of divine grace in her. Her language denotes the most fixed determination united with the deepest feeling. Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee; for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God; where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and

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