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but she returned empty. She could hold up to the view of Ruth no flattering prospects for those she left. Poverty, with deep affliction, seemed to be her lot. And, in all this, still the language of Ruth is: "Entreat me not to leave thee." The reading in the margin gives her feeling more strongly: "Be not against me;" i. e. in entreating me to leave. It is with her, "Naomi, in poverty and affliction, dearer than all the world beside." And she is resolved that nothing shall separate them.

Another circumstance still further shows the strength of her affection; it is the fact that, in accompanying Naomi, she threw herself upon utter strangers. There was a great barrier between the two nations: one was the people of God: the other, idolaters. And the prejudices were very strong towards all beyond the precincts of their national peculiarity. There was, in the knowledge of this, much to intimidate and dishearten in ordinary cases. So many fears of an utter rejection or a strongly marked contempt when reaching the place of Naomi's former residence would arise, as to divert many from linking in their interests with hers. But whatever there was of this kind to be feared, Ruth rises above all. It is, to her, matter of little moment what may be her circumstances, provided she may be allowed to cling to her beloved mother-in-law.

Here is true affection-a model to be embalmed in every heart. Affection, pure and disinterested, that calculates not sacrificesthat brooks discouragements, that triumphs over most forbidding circumstances-the tie that death only can sever. If we dare picture a scene so beyond description we would hold her up falling on the neck of Naomi, profusely weeping, and only through intervals of sobbing and overwhelming emotion, able to say, "Entreat me not to leave thee: where thou diest, I will die, and there will I be buried."

The poet has beautifully said—

"There is a flower that loves to curl
Its tendrils round the blasted tree,
And all its brightest gems unfurl
Where winter frowns most drearily.
There is a flower that loves to bind
The limb that bowed beneath the blast,
And kindly round its fragments wind,
Till all the tempest's rage is passed.

"And O, when like the blasted tree,
My father's verdure fades away;
My greenness shall his verdure be,
My love shall be his prop and stay."


And such was Ruth to her desolate mother-in-law-" affection's flower-sweet evergreen."

Behold here, in the

IId place-An illustration of the character and feelings of a true convert-of a truly pious person.

To be pious is, beyond all question, the most important attainment we can make; and while we hope we have passed from death unto life, to know that we are not deceiving ourselves, and not cherishing a vain hope, cannot fail to minister largely to our comfort. And how often is this question, Am I a Christian? the cause of distressing apprehensions, and what important duties and steps in life are dependent on it. Now, we have in this sacred volume all the means or light necessary for its proper solution -here in the form of direct and strong declarations on the subject of piety, and then in the exhibitions of pious character in the biographies in the Scriptures. The one before us is very much in point, and meets the circumstances of those who trust they had recently found an interest in the Saviour. Let us note some particulars here, in order to our obtaining definite and distinct views.

1. In the abandonment of former objects of trust and adoration we have one decided trait of her piety. It is often remarked, Man will have some object of trust, whether it be an idol of wood, or stone, or wealth, or honor, or pleasure. Ruth was brought up an idolator; although a descendant of Lot, she, with her countrymen, served Chemosh. But here we see she is led to adopt the sentiment of reclaimed Ephraim, "What have I any more to do with idols." She had evidently seen their vanity; and strong as the yoke had been, it was now broken from her neck her heart was released from its bondage, and like a captive set free, she turns away with a bounding heart from all that before held her in thraldom to folly. And such will be the case with all who have felt the influence of the Spirit of God. We are not to confine the idea of idolatry to the worship of stocks and stones : whatever occupies God's place is an idol. And the truly pious person abandons all. While the best gifts of the Creator may be abused by an improper regard for and use of them, and the change made by the grace of God restores them to their proper place those decidedly wrong are abandoned. The idolatry of fashion has lost its power to charm and control the heart-the mazes of the giddy dance no longer fascinate-the pages of the sickly novel have ceased to interest the representations of the drama pall the mind-another feeling has possession of the soul, which requires other and holier aliment than all these, and they are all utterly abandoned as folly, and corruptors of the heart, and inimical to its best interests--and the devotee at their shrine, when the grace of God is experienced, says concerning one and all, “ What have I any more to do with idols." This is piety in every age, and we may safely try ourselves by this test.

2. Another evidence of her piety is, her choice of the true God as her portion, and this we must take in close connection with the former.

We know a man may change his objects of regard and worship and be no better. An illustration is afforded in the propagation of Popery in the East, and among the aborigines of our own country. Their system of operation proceeded on the principle of accommodation; and while nominally their increase was great, the change was only from one form of idolatry to another, and for one idol abandoned a hundred were substituted under consecrated names.

While Ruth gave up her Chemosh, she chose Jehovah, the true God, as hers. She cast herself unreservedly on him, as her guide, her stay, and her portion. And this was her consolation-clouds hung over her prospects, the trials that awaited her she knew not, nor where her lot might be cast; this, however, covers all-"Thy God shall be my God." What a choice was this: the God of mercy, of faithfulness, of all sufficient grace, as her rock, her hope, her salvation. Not a fear then arises-all is calm, satisfied, happy. Thus is the true convert exercised. His feeling is described by the prophet, when speaking of the Church: "Other lords have had dominion over us, but now we will make mention of thy righteousness, and of thine only." There is a peculiar delight to such in saying unto God, “ Ó, Lord, thou art my Lord, early will I seek thee. "The Lord is the portion of my inheritance," &c.

And the soul takes him for everything. It is God in Christ for its righteousness, its wisdom, its strength, its salvation-its all for time and for eternity. Thus heart responds to heart in whatever age or period of the Church piety is seen.

3. Another evidence of her piety is seen in her choosing the people of God as her people.

The testimony of David in looking to the ground of his hope, was this, "I am a companion of all that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts." And so the apostle John, many hundred years after him, has very emphatically said, "Hereby we know we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren."

The natural tendency of common sympathy is to draw those together who have views and feelings in common; and invariably religious feelings will lead the heart to seek those who have joys and sorrows and duties in common. Assimilation begets thus communion, and on this depends much of the enjoyment of true piety. It is with the Christian as with a foreigner in the midst of a people who do not understand his language, he has no rest until he can find some one to whom to embosom himself, and when . such an one is found, he will cling to him. So the Christian must have some one who speaks the language of his Canaan, and then he is happy.

The apostle John has given us the key to all this affection for the saints. "Every one that loveth him that begat, loveth him

that is begotten of him." The Christian bears the image of his Saviour, and the principle is this: if we love the original, we will love the likeness, and our love for the latter will be evidence of our love for the former.

Ruth's affection sought its objects among God's people-"Thy people shall be my people ;" and with her the true convert will say, in the beautiful hymn of Montgomery

"People of the living God,

I have sought the world around,
Paths of sin and sorrow trod,

Peace and comfort nowhere found.

"Now to you my spirit turns,
Turns-a fugitive unblest;
Brethren, where your altar burns,
Oh receive me into rest.

"Lonely I no longer roam,

Like the cloud, the wind, the wave,
Where you dwell shall be my home,
Where you die shall be my grave.

"Mine the God whom you adore,

Your Redeemer shall be mine;
Earth can fill my soul no more,
Every idol I resign."

4. The irrevocable nature of Ruth's purpose is another evidence of piety. All this was not intended as a matter of present convenience and accommodation; her all was embarked in the step she took, and embarked beyond recall.

So with every Christian, his covenant with God is one not to be forgotten. The thought of limit to his love and his service has no place in his mind. He realizes that God has done for him. what he can never repay, and it is a source of satisfaction that he may give himself to God for time and eternity. He could not be happy without making an eternal consecration-without recallwithout recall is the tenure he chooses.

Do not these thoughts meet the circumstances of a number of my hearers? You have been cherishing the hope that the Saviour had become precious to you. Try yourselves, my dear friends, by Ruth's standard-in her abandonment of former objects of love and confidence-in choosing the God of grace as her God and portion-in casting in her lot with God's people-in giving herself away irrevocably-she shows the feelings of true piety.

Behold here again :

III. One of the richest sources of parental joy.

How near are children to a parent-how indescribable the yearnings of the soul of a parent for them! They are his second self, so to speak. But what is it that causes the greatest concern? Not their health-this is important-not their condition in the

world, whether rich or poor, though this is regarded; but it is their eternal state-the condition of their souls-before this all other things dwindle into insignificance. It is this that causes throes of soul before the mercy-seat unutterable to man-that awakens agonizing prayer. Little do thoughtless, careless children think how, when they have gone in pursuit of pleasure and folly, a pious father or mother has gone to God to pray; little have such thought, that when in their high career, a pious parent has at that moment been on his knees in their behalf.

In proportion to the importance of the object of solicitude is the happiness when a gracious answer is given in prayer. O the bliss of that moment when a pious parent can say, This, my son, my daughter was lost, but is found; was dead, but is alive." I cannot describe it; it is enough to say it compensates all the toil and anxieties which have been experienced-it makes such child doubly dear-it points to bliss ineffable in the world to come. Happy, thrice happy father or mother, who can sit down at the communion table of our Blessed Redeemer, with sons and daughters on every side, eating and drinking of the same gracious bounty.

It would seem that all Naomi's troubles were lost, in having Ruth thus choose the true God as hers-what a balm to her widowed, desolate heart, the decided words of our text. What happy moments had these lonely travellers as they pursued their way together, reclining on the same arm, and seeking the same consolations-methinks I can picture them on the way and enter into their joy.

Now, my dear young friends, if we could bring all this homeif we could hear you thus say to pious parents-"Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God," how would our grateful tears flow, and our sanctuary be made a house of joy. Why must we witness periodically the separation of parents and children, when the memorials of our common Lord and Redeemer are distributed among us; why sons here and daughters there, having no other interest than that of looking down upon their parents while in the act of consecration to God? Must we be separated for ever-must we be separated for ever? "O God, forbid it: Gracious Saviour, forbid it: Holy Spirit, forbid it."

Are there none of you now ready to fall on the neck of a dear father and mother and sob out-if you cannot utter Ruth's purpose-some ready to say-"My dear father, my dear mother, I cannot, will not, tear myself away from you: we will love the same Saviour, we will serve the same God." Blessed home it

will be.

In the case of Ruth, behold:

IV. An encouragement to pious example and effort.

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