Imatges de pÓgina
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duft; all that the eyes defired is taken away with ftroke upon ftroke; and, to fill up the measure of a mother's wretchednefs, both her fons die childless, and hope expires with them. Now he is a widow indeed, and exhaufted nature finks under the preffure. It is the opinion of many interpreters, that the premature death of the young men was a judgment from heaven to punish their illegal intermarriage with ftrange and idolatrous women. It becomes not man to judge; and we know that God executeth only righteous judgment; and in wrath ftill remembers

mercy.

Thus in three fhort lines the facred hiftorian has delivered a tragic tale that comes home to the bofom of every one that poffeffes a fpark of fenfibility. It is a domestic story; it reprefents fcenes which may, which do happen every day. It admonishes every one in how many points he is vulnerable, how defenceless he is against the thunderbolts of Heaven. It awfully difplays the evil of fin, and the wrath of God against all ungodlinefs and unrighteoufnefs of man. If fuch be the temporal effects of his vengeance, how bitter must be the cup which his juft difpleafure mingles for incorrigible offenders, in a state of final retribution ! How pleafing to reflect that trials of this fort do not always flow from anger, that they are the wholesome feverity of a father, that they aim at producing real good, that they in the iffue really "yield the peaceable fruits of righteoufnefs." The darknefs of night at length yields to the glorious orb of day, the fhadow of death is turned into the morning, and the defolate is as fhe who hath an husband.

This makes way for the introduction of the heroine of this eventful history; and we become interested in her from the very firft moment. The Jewish writers, to heighten our refpect for Ruth, perhaps from a pitiful defire to exalt their own ancestry, make her the daughter of a king of Moab, and as they are never timorous in making affertions, or forming conjectures

on

on fuch occafions, they tell you her father was Eglon whom Ehud flew. It is hardly probable that a prince of that country would have given his daughter in marriage to a needy adventurer who had banished himself from his country through neceffity. But of little importance is it, whether the were born a princefs or no. Nature has adorned her with qualities fuch as are not always to be found in the courts of kings; qualities which beft adorn high birth, and which ennoble obfcurity and indigence; fidelity and attachment; a foul capable of fond refpect for departed worth, and living virtue: magnanimity to facrifice every thing the heart holds dear, to decency, friendship, and religion; magnanimity to encounter, without repining, painful toil and humiliating dependence, in fulfilling the duties of gratitude, humanity, and piety. How eloquent is the when the fpeaks, how great when the fays nothing, how tranfcendently exalted in all fhe thinks, fpeaks and acts! With what divine art, fhall I fay, is fhe introduced in the facred drama? After we have been melted into pity by the calamities of Naomi's family, and feen the widowed mourner finking under wave upon wave; and the profpect of progeny, the last darling hope of an Ifraelitish matron, rudely torn from her, lo an angel in the form of a damfel of Moab, a mourner and a widow like herself, appears to comfort her, and makes her to know by sweet experience that he, that she, has not loft all, who has found a kind and faithful friend. What is the found of the trumpet, and a long train of mute and splendid harbingers, compared to the fimple preparation of unaffected nature! Let us wait her approach in filent expectation; and muse on what is past.

-Behold one generation of men goeth and another cometh; one planet arifing as another fets, every human advantage balanced by its correfponding inconveniency, every lofs compenfated by a comfort that grows out of it.

VOL. VI.

G

-Behold

-Behold the purpose of the Eternal Mind maintaining its ground amidst all the toffings and tempefts of this troubled ocean, triumphing over oppofition, ferving and promoting itself by the wrath of man and the malice of hell, out of darkness rifing into luftre, "out of weakness made ftrong," by the energy of the great firft caufe, acquiring life, vigour and profperity from the extinction of means, from the deftruction and death of fecondary causes.

Attend to the great leading object of divine revelation, to which all refer, to which all are fubfervient, in which all are abforbed and loft. I will make mention of Abraham, Ifaac, and Jacob; of Mofes and the prophets; of Boaz and Ruth. "I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me; behold Philiftia and Tyre with Ethiopia: this man was born there; and of Zion it fhall be faid, This man was born in her and the Higheft himself fhall establish her. The Lord fhall count, when he writeth up the people, That this man was born there." May our names be written in the Lamb's book of life, among the living in Jerufalem!

The introduction of thefe perfonages and events, one after another, were remote fteps of the preparation of the gofpel of peace. And every person now born into the church of Chrift, and every event now taking place in the adminiftration of human affairs, is a little space in the great scale of eternal Providence, and a gradual preparation for the final confummation of all things. Let "thy kingdom come," O God! Let Satan's kingdom be deftroyed; let the kingdom of grace be advanced, ourselves and others brought into, and preferved in it, and let the kingdom of glory be haftened! Amen!

History

History of Ruth.

LECTURE VIII.

RUTH i. 14-18.

And they lift up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kiffed her mother-in-law; but Ruth clave unto her. And fhe faid, Behold, thy fifter-in-law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy Sifter-in-law. And Ruth faid, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goeft, I will go; and where thou lodgeft, I will lodge: thy people fhall be my people, and thy God my God: where thou dieft, will I die, and there will I be buried the Lord do fo to me, and more alfo, if ought but death part thee and me. When fhe faw that she was ftedfastly minded to go with her, then he left fpeaking

unto her.

THE calm, untumultuous, unglaring fcenes of private life, afford less abundant matter for the pen of the historian, than intrigues of state, fenatorial contention, or the tremendous operations of the tented field, but they fupply the moralift and the teacher of religion with more pleafing, more ample, and more generally interesting topics of ufeful information, and falutary instruction. What princes are, what statesmen meditate, what heroes achieve, is rather an object of curiofi

ty than of utility. They never can become examples to the bulk of mankind. It is when they have defcended from their public eminence, when they have retired to their private and domeftic ftation, when the potentate is loft in the man, that they become objects of attention, patterns for imitation, or beacons fet up for admonition and caution.

For the fame reafon, the meek, the modeft, the noifeless exhibition and exercise of female excellence, occupy a smaller space in the annals of human nature than the noify, bustling, forenfic pursuits and employments of the other fex. But when feminine worth is gently drawn out of the obfcurity which it loves, and advantageoufly placed in the light which it naturally fhuns, O how amiable, how irresistible, how attractive it is! A wife and good woman fhines, by not feeking to fhine; is moft cloquent when she is filent, and obtains all her will, by yielding, by fubmiffion, by patience, by félf-denial.

Scripture, as it excels in every thing, fo it peculiarly excels in delineating and unfolding the female character, both in refpect of the quantity exhibited, and of the delicacy, force and effect of the defign. We have already feen this exemplified, in a variety of inftances in the dignified conjugal attachment and refpect, in the matron-like, confcious, impatient fuperiority of Sarah-in the maternal partiality, eagernefs and addrefs of Rebekah-in the jealous difcontent and impatience of Rachel-in the winning condefcenfion, and the melting, commiferation of Pharaoh's daughter-in the patriotic ardour, the prophetic elevation, the magifterial dignity of Deborah, the wife of Lapidoth in the unrelenting firmnefs, and the daring, enterprifing spirit of Jael, the wife of Heber.

Female vice and worthlefsnefs are delineated on the facred page with equal.fkill, truth and juftice, from the infolence of Hagar, and the treachery of Deliah, down to the implacable vengeance of Herodias, and the infatiate cruelty of her accurfed daughter..

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