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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 husband 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 had 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. But, like Rahab, 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 faith. 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 strunger and a pilgrim upon earth, and declared plainly that she sought a country.
The effect of diyine 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 thau 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,
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 mie 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 tiying 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
art go “I 286 YOUNG, PERSONS ENCOURAGBD TO more also, if aught but death part thee and me. She was prepared for all events and difficulties whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge. The import of her language seems to be, “I know not whither thou Judah and the way to it. I know not what provision thou mayst have even for thy lodging during the journey ;but still I am resolved to follow thee through all. I know the true God is revealed in the nation of Israel. I know the people to which thou belongest are the real servants of the one Jehovah. I know I can be happy only as I obtain his pardon for my sins, and his favour and mercy in my future life. I accordingly cheerfully quit my native home and people and gods, to choose the people and worship of the Lord God of Israel. And, therefore, entreat me not to leave thee or to return from following after thee.--Be not against me*; act not so unkind and unfriendly a part. Spare me the pain of the conflict. Whatever may unhappily be the conduct of my sister, I am resolved never to quit thee. And if death meet me on the journey, I am prepared to undergo it; where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried. I desire not to lie even in the grave with my native people. I am prepared to renounce them, both in life and in death, and to
* This is the marginal reading.