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binding upon us if we see any one in trouble whom we view in the light of a parent: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” is a Divine command ; and if we were to bear this in mind, how gentle, forgiving, and obliging, should we become; how careful to promote the good of those around us; we should watch every opportunity of adding to their comfort, and of doing what we could to lessen their sorrow.
You may not, like Ruth, be called upon to shew your love for your parents by giving up every thing for their sakes; and surrounded, as you are, with all that you love, and with many blessings, you can have no idea of the extent of the sacrifice which was made by this dutiful daughter; though she was of a strange country, and had been taught to worship strange gods, yet she turned to the Leader of Israel, the one true God: and most fully did she follow the command given by Him at Mount Sinai, “Honour thy father and mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” This commandment you should never forget, and its effects would soon be seen in your daily conduct; you would remember the many
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things your parents have done for you. Their care and love provides you with all you want, they teach you to know good from evil, they store your little minds with what may, one day, make you good and useful characters: if you thought of all for which you were indebted to them, and considered how miserable and helpless you would have been had they left you to yourselves, surely you would think they deserved all the love and obedience of your hearts, and you would find a rich reward for your filial love(') in the peace and satisfaction of your consciences.
Ruth doubtless enjoyed the thought that she had done her duty, and in addi. tion to the happiness she must have felt from this idea, she was enabled to provide for, and cheer the latter days of her for whom she had given up the friends of her youth; for, after a short time, Boaz, the rich man, in whose field she had gleaned, took her for his wife,
THERE are few of you who have not heard of the prophet Samuel, and of his early obedience to his God, and many of you are willing, I should hope, to follow his example, and, like this good man of old, spend your lives in the service of your Maker; always bearing in mind that your health and strength should be devoted to that God whose care is over you every moment of your lives.
When Samuel was a little boy, he was taken by his mother to the high priest, to serve in the temple; where he was not forgotten by his parents, for his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year. How glad she must have been to see this child she so much loved, growing in favor with God and man: we may suppose that his actions were pleasing in the Divine sight, for we find that, while he was yet a child, one night, when he was laid down to rest, the Lord made himself known unto him, and
talked with him, giving him a message to Eli, the high priest: and as he grew to be a man, the Almighty was pleased to make known his will to all his people Israel by means of Samuel, who was made judge in the land, and all Israel knew that he was a prophet of the Lord.
About this time the Israelites went to battle against the Philistines, but they were defeated, and fled: when they found this was the case, they sent for the ark which was kept in the temple, and contained the law given to Moses; for they thought, when it came, it should save them out of the hands of their enemies: but this was a vain hope, while they were living in neglect of that law, and worshipping strange gods. Many of them were slain, and the ark, in which they trusted, was taken by their enemies: but it did not prosper with them, for, wherever they took it, God caused the people to be smitten; and once, when they placed it by one of their false gods, when they arose next morning, Dagon (2) was fallen down before the ark of the Lord, and his head and hands were cut off.
The Philistines kept it about seven months, and then they began to think what was best to be done, for, wherever it went, many people lost their lives. They agreed to build a new cart, to be drawn by two cows, which were often used instead of horses: they shut up their calves at home, and, without any guiding, these animals took the road to Bethshemesh, leaving their calves behind them; which proved that it was the will of the God of Israel that his ark should return to his own people. The men of Bethshemesh were reaping in their fields, when they heard the lowing of the cattle, and, looking up, beheld the ark, which greatly rejoiced them. The cart went into the field of Joshua, a Bethshemite, and stood there: then the people took the wood of which it was made, kindled a fire, and offered the cattle a burnt offering to the Lord. While it remained here, the Lord punished them very severely for looking into the ark; upon which they sent word to the men of Kirjath-jearim, saying, « The Philistines have brought again the ark of the Lord; come ye down, and fetch it up to you." We read that they did so, and "brought it into the house of Aminadab on the hill, and set apart Eleazar his son to keep it.”