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God that he calls some, and qualifies them for difficult and arduous and elevated duties ; but be content with your own. You have little reason to envy those above you. We are sometimes tempted to look up to the great and learned and powerful with too much admiration. But 0, who can estimate their danger! Who can anticipate the account they must render at last! Who can tell how tremendous their responsibility! God, indeed, can give his faithful servants grace to use even five talents so as to gain five talents more; and this is an encouragement to those who are placed in such elevated, and therefore perilous, circumstances; but let each of us be satisfied with our own measure of gifts, and occupy with them till our Lord comes.
Again, be DILIGENT AND ZEALOUS IN THIS DUTY. Let not the prevalence of bad and indolent examples repress your ardour. Men of this world never condemn a steward for being too faithful and industrious ; and yet if any of the servants of our heavenly Lord labour to improve their talents, they begin to exclaim against them às extravagant. But it is a small matter to be judged of man's judgment. Let the slothful represent you as hypocrites or enthusiasts, it is enough for you if the Judge of all esteem you good and faithful. His plaudit will outweigh a thousand obloquies. Stir up, then, the gifts of
God which are in you. Be steadfast, unmoveables always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know that your labour shall not be in vain in the Lord.
Lastly, let the ACCOUNT YOU WILL HAVE TO RENDER TO YOUR LORD BE EVER PRESENT TO YOUR MIND. Nothing will more tend to preserve your fidelity than the constant impression of the nearness and solemnity of your final reckoning. The responsibility of man lies at the foundation of all religion. Whatever difficulties may at times arise in your minds in reconciling this with some parts of the doctrine of the divine grace in the Gospel, let not this circumstance disturb your belief of it. If you can remove such difficulties by other considerations, well; if not, they must be over-ruled. If any thing is clear in the Bible, it is that every one of us must give an account of himself to God. Be not then deceived by apparent, and only apparent, contradictions. There is no practical difficulty to a humble Christian ; whilst the slothful and wicked man will turn the plainest truths to his own destruction. God will reward every one according to his works. They that have done good shall rise to the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil to the resurrection of damnation. Let this profoundly solemn reflection temper your joy and hope in believing. Especially, if you are a steward of the myste
ries of God, rejoice with trembling. Glory only in the cross of Christ on the one hand, and occupy with your talents in preaching and living according to the doctrine of that cross, on the other. Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning. And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord, when he will return from the wedding. Blessed are those servants whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. But if that servant say in his heart, My Lord delayeth his coming, and shall begin to beat the men-servants and maidens, and to eat and drink and be drunken ; the Lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and
at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut · him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
SERMON XII. YOUNG PERSONS ENCOURAGED TO DECISION
os la IN RELIGION. and not
d. RUTH, 1. 15–17. s ro And she said, Behold, thy sister-in-law is gone
back unto her people and unto her gods; return thou after thy sister-in-law. And Ruth said, 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, 5 and thy God my God; where thou diest, will I
die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me and more also, if aught but death part thee and me.
THERE is scarcely any narrative in the Holy Scriptures more interesting than that of Ruth. It is like a piece of fine painting, abounding in the most natural and exquisite touches. It affords a specimen of the gracious dealings of God with his church; and especially tends to encourage young persons in resolutely choosing the ways of piety. The character of Ruth, the
circumstances of her conversion to the faith of Israel, and the subsequent events of her life, are all full of instruction. The whole exhibits the loveliness of true religion, and is calculated to inspire us with a holy courage in following it. With this impression I shall endeavour to offer some remarks on her history, in the hope that, under the blessing of God, it may animate young persons especially to take a decided part “in professing the faith of Christ crucified, and manfully fighting under his banners against the world, the flesh, and the devil *.” • In considering, then, the holy resolution recorded in the text, let us notice,
I. Those steps of the providence of God which led Ruth to the knowledge of religion. :: II. The effects of his grace apparent in her pious determination to follow Naomi to the land of Israel. . III. The evidences of his faithfulness which appeared in her subsequent history. .. 1
- Thus the providence of God, the grace of God, and the faithfulness of God, as exemplified in this affecting narrative, will be the chief objects of our contemplation in this discourse.
· I. Ruth was by birth a Gentile, a Moabitess; an alien from the commonwealth of Israel,
* Baptismal Service.