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unsocial or uncomply ing, when the sun of prosperity shineth upon thy tabernacle; or of being discontented, dejected, careless, or mean, when the common ills of humanity overtake thee. That poor inflated creature, who like another Nebuchadnezzar, talks in loud swelling words of vanity, of the great Babylon which he has built, I once knew a cringing minion, ready to lick the dust from the feet of the man whom he now struts by as if he were a stranger. That poor boy, whom he disdains to set with the dogs of his flock, is evidently rising into consequence, which is one day to eclipse all the tawdry honours of upstart gentility, and self-assumed importance. My son, derive thy greatness from thyself, from wisdom, from virtue. Take care to adorn thy station, thy possessions, by native goodness. Pitiable indeed is thy condition, if rank or affluence, or even talents, serve only to render thy folly or profligacy more conspicuous."

IV. Once more, let me suppose a man of genuine piety contemplating the interesting scene before us, and entering with wonder and delight into the plans of the Eternal Mind. His meditations will flow in still a different channel, he will view the same object through still a different medium. "Behold," will he say, "how sweet is the smell of a field which Jehovah hath blessed! Happy Boaz, rich in lands and in corn, rich in manservants and maid-servants, rich in the dutiful and affectionate attachment of thy people, rich in thine own integrity and composure of spirit; but richer far in the favour and approbation of the Almighty: the blessing of the Lord it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow therewith. Happy family, thus dwelling together in unity; where love is the governing principle, where the fear of God sweetly expresses itself in unfeigned benevolence to man! How can that house but prosper, where religion has established her throne? Look at that happy plain over which the bountiful hand of nature has spread her rich exuberance. The Lord maketh that wealth. Behold the patriarchal mas

ter: the meanest slave he treats like a child: hearken, the voice of peace and benediction dwells on his lips, distils like the dew. Behold the way to be loved and respected by inferiors. Be to them an ensample of piety, of purity, of charity; bind them to you with cords of love; sweet and faithful, cheerful and efficient is the service of affection. These men will yield obedience not for wrath only, but for conscience sake; their heart is in their work: they need no overseer; they will neither be negligent nor dishonest: they know that the eye of God is continually upon them; they know that the interest of the master is their own.

"How happily religion adapts its influence to every relation and condition of life! How it guards the heart alike from foolish pride and impious discontent at what bounty has bestowed, or wisdom denied! How it humanizes, dignifies, exalts the soul! How it enforces, extends, and refines the maxims of worldly prudence! How it illustrates, binds, and enlivens the precepts of morality! How it amplifies, expands, regulates, brightens the views of philosophy; referring every thing to God, deriving all from him, carrying all back to him again! O man, till thou hast founded thy domestic economy in religion, thou hast not begun to keep house. Let thy possessions be ever so fair, ever so extensive, they want their principal charm, their highest excellence, till the blessing of Heaven be asked and obtained.

"Mark yet again, how a good man's footsteps are all ordered of the Lord. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Boaz came forth with no farther view than to see the progress of his harvest, to salute his servants, and to cheer their labour by his presence and approving smiles; but lo, Providence has been preparing for him a more enlarged view, has enriched his field with a nobler portion than he had any apprehension of. Thy ways. my King and my God, thy ways are in the sea and thy path in the deep waters, and thy judgments are unsearchable. The great God is working unseen, unnoticed. He is preparing his in

struments at a distance, arranging his agents in the dark. Unseen to, unknown by one another, without concert or design, they come forth at the moment, they perform the part assigned them; they speak and act in perfect unison, they accomplish the purpose of the Eternal. Boaz and Ruth, behold them together in the field, remote as penury and fulness, as obscurity and celebrity, as dependence and being depended upon. Nevertheless they meet, and Heaven from above crowns the hallowed union with her olive."

But might not the pious spirit annex a caution to his exhortation on this subject? "Beware of taking the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who taketh his name in vain. Holy and reverend is his name. Even in blessing, it is to be used solemnly, piously, sparingly: who then shall dare to employ it wantonly, needlessly, profanely, impiously, blasphemously? Who shall presume to abuse it, in swearing falsely by it, or in imprecating a curse under that dreadful sanction upon the head of his brother? Avert, merciful Heaven, avert from my guilty, heavy-laden country, the heavy, the bitter curse which this sin deserves! O, let not profane swearing, let not wilful, deliberate perjury, prove its ruin!"

-Thus have I endeavoured, by assuming several supposed characters, to give life and energy to the simple, rural scene under consideration. It furnishes copious matter of instruction to every teacher, and to every class of mankind. The careful, prudent man of the world; the moralist; the calm observe the pious instructor, are all here provided with useful topics of address to their several pupils, according to their several views. The master and the servant, the hireling and his employer, the rich and the poor, here meet together, and are together informed, by more than a code of laws, by plain but striking example, of their mutual relation and dependence, and of the duties which arise out of them, and of the comforts which

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VOL. III.

flow from them. Happiness is here represented as built on the sure foundation of kind affections, of useful industry, of reciprocal good offices, and of the fear of the Lord. Where all these unite, that house must stand, that family must prosper. In proportion as all or any of them are wanting, a partial or total ruin must ensue. Let the apostolic injunctions serve practically to enforce the subject. "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him," Ephes. vi. 5-9. "Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life," 1 Tim. vi. 17-19. "Harken, my beloved brethren, hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?" James ii. 5. "Ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have showed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive," Acts xx. 34-35. "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth," Ephes. iv. 28.

HISTORY OF RUTH.

LECTURE XII.

Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel is this? And the servant that was set over the reapers answered and said, It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab: and she said, I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house. Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens. Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? And when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn. Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stran. ger? And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been showed me all that thou hast done unto thy mother-in-law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore. The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust. Then she said, Let me find favour

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