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Motive that should influence the act.
live over again, I would spend them all in his service, and seek to love him more and more ; for his goodness endureth for ever. • God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.' Oh, it is love that makes all the music of heaven, and tunes every seraph's golden lyre. All unworthy as I am, I trust I shall soon stand before the throne, and mingle my voice in that eternal chorus of love, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.'”
She spake no more. The unearthly brightness, that during this narration had irradiated her countenance, suddenly faded away, and the impress of death's cold signet was upon her brow.
The inquiry again returns, what are the motives that prompt you to desire make this solemn promise and vow unto God? You see that the only proper motive is, su
Oh God, thou art the object of my supreme regard. There is none that I desire in comparison with thee, and therefore 66 I delight to do thy will, O my God.” If this be not the motive that influences you, your vow will not be accepted, and you will find the duties of religion more irksome than the bond service of Egypt.
I entreat you, however, to reflect much upon the character of the Eternal One, and consider the illimitable extent of his goodness; and then see if you can lay your hand upon your heart, and looking up in the face of heaven say, “I do not, I will not love God!"
Conduct of Ruth.
“ Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live;
and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.”—From the 55th of Isaiah.
Truly commendable and praiseworthy, and evincive of more than filial piety, was the decision and vow of the amiable Moabitess, -" 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 aught but death part thee and me.”
We are told by the sacred historian, that in consequence of a famine in Palestine during the days of the judges, a certain man of Bethlehem-judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab. His family consisted of himself, his wife, and two sons. His name was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi. The two sons, from their residence in that country, took them wives of the women of Moab. The name of the one was Orpah, and that of the other Ruth. This family were destined to share the common lot of humanity, and experience a series of painful
Though they were united by the most sacred and interesting ties, and were happy in themselves, though they had before them the prospect of long and uninterrupted enjoyment, the dream of their felicity
vanished as suddenly as melts away the morning mist that wreathed around the mountain top. The afflicting hand of the Almighty fell heavily upon them. Death was in their dwelling. The father was borne to his grave, and the two sons lay stretched by his side. The afflicted Naomi resolved to return to the land of her fathers and the home of her childhood; and having come to this determination, she thus addressed herself to her bereaved daughters-in-law :“Go, return, each to your mother's house. The Lord
Ruth an example.
deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. Then she kissed them, and they lifted their voices and wept. And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people. And Naomi said, Turn again my daughters, why will ye go with me? go your way; for it grieveth me much for your sakes, that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me. And they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law and departed, but Ruth clave unto her : and Naomi said, Behold thy sister-in-law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods, return thou after thy sisterin-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, 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."
To all the youth in this assembly,—to all of every age, wao have not " subscribed with their hand unto the Lord. and sirnamed themselves by the name of Israel,” I propose the example of Ruth, the affectionate Moabitess, for their instruction and imitation. Will you not now decide, here in the presence of the Almighty, to bind yourself by a covenant engagement to the service of God?
Will any of you act the part of Orpah? She kissed her mother-in-law, and went back unto her people, and unto her gods. There are many who respect religion, who admire its purity and loveliness, but yet are not willing to sacrifice their darling sins in order to obtain this pearl of great price. There are many who at times feel deeply convinced of the importance of immediately securing the salvation of their souls; but when they come to learn, that to accomplish this, they must “renounce the devil and all his works, the vain pomp and glory of the world, with all covetous desires of the same, and the sinful desires of the flesh ;" when they come to learn, that to accomplish this, they must leave their people and their gods, their companions and the objects of their attachment, they often hesitate, and act the part of Orpah. And will any of the immortal and undying beings whom I am addressing resolve upon this course ? May I not hope that your determination is taken;
God's right to our services.
that you feel fully resolved to avail yourselves of the present opportunity to make a surrender of yourselves to the Lord, and that even now you have made a solemn vow in your heart, that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature,” shall ever part between you and Him.
In our last lecture we observed, that in the rite of confirmation there was a solemn engagement entered into, that this engagement was made to God; and that, in order that he might look upon us with approbation, in the act of our making it, it was necessary for us to cultivate and cherish feelings of love and affection to him. In the baptismal promise, which we renew at confirmation, there are three things which will constitute separate topics for consideration in our subsequent lectures :—what we renounce; what we believe ; what we engage to do.
We shall not enter upon either of these considerations at the present time, but direct your attention,
1. To some of the reasons which should prompt you to renew
your baptismal vow, if you are still undecided. 2. To the fact, that the covenant you enter into when renewing that vow is an everlasting covenant.
1. The truth once admitted, that we owe our being to God, and we cannot evade the conclusion that he has a right to our services. Natural religion forced this truth upon the understanding of those who were enveloped in heathen darkness; and hence says a writer, speaking upon this subject, “ In Persia their youths are required, when they come to man's estate, to take a solemn oath that they would despise all filthy lucre, bodily pleasure, and vain glory; that they would be emulous of virtue, worship God, and honour their parents ; that they would speak truth, do good, and never wilfully violate any of these things. Among the Athenians, when their young men were enrolled according to the usage of their nation, they bound themselves by a solemn obligation to observe the perpetual solemnities and received customs of their country, and to defend and reverence the religion in which they were born. Among the Jews--that people so highly favoured, and so fully instructed of God-we find a similar practice. When the Jewish children came to be thirteen years
Reasonableness of the service of God.
had learned the law and their prayers, they were presented by their father before a holy aşsembly, and there solemnly took upon themselves the observance of the law, and were from henceforth to answer for their own faults. And did the youthful Jew study assiduously the shadowy religion and voluminous law of his fathers, and rejoice publicly to take upon himself that which was so laborious and painful to bear? Yea, did the heathens, by a formal act, profess the dark unsatisfying religions of their country, and promise to reverence and defend them ? And shall Christian youth, they who are born and nurtured amid the splendours of gospel day, not openly avow their attachment to the religion which bringeth unto them salvation, and sheds a clear and benign light upon all the paths of life? Shall they to whom the Son of God has come to instruct them, who have been redeemed by his blood, who are taught the way to eternal life by the words of his mouth-shall they neglect to choose him for their Lord, and to devote themselves openly to his service ?"**
For your own safety and success in this world, it is of the highest consequence, my young friends, that you
should renew your baptismal promise; that you should bind yourselves to the service of God by covenant engagement. You pass the first years of your existence in a state in which there is every thing to mislead your opinions and endanger your virtae. Your glowing imagination, and ardent hopes, and warm desires, invest the prospect before you with all that is enchanting and delightful. And veterans in vice, leagued with the adversary of your souls, will avail themselves of your inexperience and this delusive view of things, to ensnare you in the strong toils of sin.
The success, usefulness, and reputation of every man depends upon the purity of his morals. But religion is the only sure prop to morality. Its principles can alone enable us to withstand the allurements of vice. If, then, you would carry a character immaculate through life; if you would not disappoint the hopes of parents ; if you would not blight your prospects for this world ; if you would not go down to an early grave with the curse of heaven resting upon your head, or drag out a miserable exist
* Dehone on Confirmation, pp. 41. 43.