Israel, as she had none in the land of Moab; and she wisely and prudently left them their choice, either to remain in their native land, or to follow her to hers. And here, as often in the mysteries of Providence, we observe the different influence of the same religious instruction. Orphah, though she loved her mother-in-law, and wept as they separated, yet loved the land of Moab and her idolatrous relations better; while Ruth, deeply impressed as it would seem with the true religion, determines to forsake all, and to follow the fallen fortunes of her mother-in-law. The difference in the religious dispositions of the sisters-in-law, is clearly discovered in the speech of Naomi to Ruth, as well as in the fact of Orphah's return: 'Behold,' says Naomi to Ruth, 'thy sister-in-law is gone back unto her people and to her gods; return thou after thy sister-in-law.' The answer of Ruth exemplifies the difference I have stated: "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, 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 ought but death part thee and me.'

This short history is full of deep, and of touching, and of captivating interest. Few, if any, among the fictions of modern times can compare in any sense with the simple recital of this history of facts. But the circumstance which throws a charm over the whole, and spreads a lustre over the situation, fate and character of the parties principally concerned, is that Divine principle of piety, and affection, and devotedness to God, which presents Naomi and Ruth before us as worthy of especial admiration.

We use this history as affording an apt illustration of some principles intimately connected with the welfare of every reader-an illustration as interesting as it is important.

That religion is a matter of unbiassed choice, there can be no question in the mind of any individual, who is at all conversant with the sacred Scriptures. When Joshua, in his valedictory address, touched upon this subject, he uses this expressive language: Choose you this day whom ye will serve.'

His predecessor Moses had also

said, 'Behold I set before you blessing and cursing, life and death.' A compulsory service can in no possible sense be acceptable to God. He desires the sacrifice of the heart, with its passions and affections; and the heart must be given up to him, else there is no real religion. But though religion is essentially a matter of choice, yet that choice is not a matter of indifference. It is not equally well with us, whether we choose the right or the wrong. Though the choice was with the sisters, yet there was something essentially erroneous in the determination made by Orphah. A correct and safe choice implies, that we weigh the interposing claims, and only decide on that which deserves to be preferred. Though Moses, in his address to the Israelites, had said, 'Behold I place before you life and death, blessing and cursing,' yet he does not follow it with the advice, choose either of these at your discretion; but he adds, therefore choose life.' And it is in consequence of this that the choice made by Ruth was so much better than that determined on by Orphah. The choice between God and Mammon is with every reader; but let it be solemnly remembered, that the everlasting wel

fare of the soul depends upon the correctness of the decision. If the choice should fall upon the world, he who makes it, makes the world his God, his portion, and his reward; and when the 'world passeth away, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth,' he will share the lot of all earthly things; and having made a decision essentially erroneous, that decision will determine his fate through the ceaseless ages of eternity. We know that Orphah chose her country Moab, and the society of her ungodly and heathen associates. The history is silent as it regards her destiny; but had her views been subsequently altered, we should have heard of so important an occurrence. In all probability, for we well know the influence of evil society and example, she returned to her false Gods, and perished amongst those against whom the anger of God was terribly poured out. was an awful example of a defective choice. on the contrary, chose the God of Israel. providence of God she became distinguished as among the earthly ancestors of the great Messiah; and the blessings in life and in death which she enjoyed, and in eternity which she now enjoys,



In the

testifies to the truth of the proposition, that upon the choice, correctly made, depends the salvation of the soul.

It is unquestionably true that religion calls for extraordinary self-denial. What is meant on this subject, will be clearly seen by a very little examination of the circumstances of the history. Never was an individual placed in a situation of greater difficulty, or more trying to flesh and blood, than was the heroine of our story. In her determination to follow Naomi to the land of Israel, and to become a true servant of the living God, Ruth was compelled to burst asunder the most endearing natural ties which had been left her in her widowed condition. In the language of Scripture, she had to 'forget her own kindred and her father's house;' and, added to this, she was about to become a wanderer and a stranger, and upon her she knew would devolve the cares of an aged, feeble, sorrow-worn mother-in-law. And all this for the sake of religion. Here is the example of self-denial worthy of admiration. We are aware that in the judgment of the world, as society is at present constituted, Ruth would be considered by many as a most unjustifi

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