Page images
PDF
EPUB

in-law, and the blessing of God 'which rested

upon her.

FIELD OF

Notice again the providence of God which LED HER WHILE GLEANING TO THE Boaz, her near kinsman. It was possibly her amiable modesty which first attracted his notice; and, when he had informed binself of her history, he directed his reapers to let fall some handfulls on purpose for her. His address to her was very affecting: It hath been fully showed me all that thou hast done unto thy motherin-law since the death of thy husband, and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother and the land of thy '

nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore. The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given to thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wing thou art come to trust.

The further mercy of God which led to HER MARRIAGE WITH Boaz is also observable. God dwells with the humble. Ruth, who renounced the prospects of settlement in her own land, in order to choose the service of the God of Israel, is now united happily with a kinsman, who appears from his whole conduct to have been a man of distinguished piety; and who was capable by his wealth of rescuing her and Naomi from the poverty which they had long patiently endured. Nor are we to forget the joy which filled

the pious and tender breast of her mother-inlaw when Ruth BARE A SON. A more lovely family scene can scarcely be imagined than that which the mercy of God permitted the pious Ruth to behold, when the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the Lord, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age; for thy daughter-in-law, whic loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath borne him.. And Naomi took the child and laid it in her bosom and became nurse unto it. What a recompense even in this life did godliness bring along with it!

There is still, however, another mark of the mercy of God exemplified in this narrative; for from Ruth, according to the flesh, Christ CAME, who is over all God blessed for ever. Surely when we consider this, we must stand astonished at the divine benignity and grace.

Review then for an instant the whole-interesting case. A Moabitish idolater is first brought to the knowledge of a family of Bethlehem Judah, is then gradually formed by almighty grace to resolve firmly, under the most trying circumstances, to choose the people and service of the true God, is united in marriage with a sincerely religious kinsman, and is lastly honoured with a place in the genealogy

of the Lord of life and glory—this presents a picture of the faithfulness, as well as of the grace of God, which surely cannot fail of being encouraging to those who are seeking him. All Ruth's expectations were surpassed. The truth of the promises on which she ventured, never failed her. She is brought into the most unexpected and happy circumstances in this world ; she has also a hope of eternal salvation in another; and all generations call her blessed as giving birth to the near ancestor of David, and through him to the Messiah himself. In the mean time, of Orpah we know nothing, except that she returned to her people and to her gods. Her name occurs not afterwards in the Sacred Volume. She enjoyed, perhaps, the pleasures of sin for a season; but, so far as we can know, she lived and died in alienation from that God, with whom she must have had, from the family of Elimelech, some favourable opportunities of becoming truly acquainted.

In conclusion, then, I would,

I. ADDRESS THE YOUNG WHO ARE AS YET UNDECIDED IN RELIGION. Let me simply ask them if they would not prefer the character and end of Ruth to that of her sister-in-law? If they would not choose the holy determination, the firm attachment to God, the enlightened zeal and decision of the one, before the hesitat

ing, partial, and worldly conduct of the other? And yet how many,

with far greater advantages than Ruth, follow the conduct of Orpah! They may have some esteem for pious relatives, but they have no marked and firm piety themselves; they may have tender feelings as to natural things, but they have no resolution as to heavenly ones; they may set out, as it were, towards the land of Israel, and endure some difficulties, and weep at some affecting cireumstances, and seem to promise well for a time; but they at last return again to their people and to their gods. Some great obstacle arises, some persecution because of the word, some persuasion on the part of affectionate friends; and then they doubt, they hesitate, they trifle, they yield-they perish.

What, then, is wanting in such characters? They want that secret but most important difference which distinguished Ruth from Orpah; they want a heavenly taste, a deep conviction of sin, a thorough sense of their need of a Redeemer, and a new birth by the grace of the Holy Spirit. They want DECISION IN RELIGION. This, this is the great defect. Irresolute persons, as an old writer expresses it, are as a door half opened, which invites the tempter; whilst those who have a firm resolution shut and bolt the door, and force him to flee. O that young persons would consider this! How lamentable is it

for us to part from sisters and friends, because we will not accompany them to heaven! How distressing that, when those who live with us and love us are seeking a better country, we should be left behind! Unstable, hesitating young people! too long have you halted between two opinions. Stop now and determine for God. Come at length to a decision. Choose

ye

this day whom ye will serve, Be on the Lord's side, Come out at once from the world. Resolve to take your lot with the church. Go with the people of God; follow them, love them, associate with them, live with them, die with them. Let nothing part you from them. Especially engage yourselves by the vows of the holy Sacrament to be the servants of Christ. Receive his atonement; adore his love ; glory in his cross; implore the sanctifying grace of his Holy Spirit. Never be satisfied till you have Ruth's persevering piety, that you may have Ruth's God and Ruth's salvation,

II. LET ME ENCOURAGE THOSE WHO WISH TO BE DECIDED IN RELIGION TO TAKE THE RESOLU, TION RECORDED IN THE TEXT, You cannot be under greater difficulties than Ruth was; you cannot have more seducing entreaties to withstand ; you cannot have less distinct knowledge of religion to guide you. And yet Ruth, a Gentile, under an obscure economy, and at one of the most gloomy periods of that dispen,

« EelmineJätka »