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felt too much honest pride to throw herself on their charity. She, no doubt, often opened her heart to Ruth on this subject. It must have been a matter of no small anxiety to them both, how they might maintain themselves; and her daughter-in-law was as anxious as she was to use every exertion for their support.
You remember that when they first arrived in the land of Judæa, it was “the beginning of barley harvest.' and now all hands were busy in gathering it in.
Now, there was a wealthy man living in the town of Bethlehem, who farmed a tract of land in the neighbourhood. His name was Boaz; and he seems to have been a man of a kind heart, and of a religious spirit. It was
probably his daily custom to go into his fields, and encourage his labourers, by speaking kindly to them, and showing that he took an interest in their work.
On one of these harvest mornings, Boaz comes into the field as usual. There is something in his words, which at once stamps him as a man of God. And there is something too in the manner of his men, which shows that they loved and respected him. He goes up to the reapers, and greets them with these goodly words, “The Lord be with you;” and they answered him, “The Lord bless thee.”
This was just as it should be. And would it not be well, if this pious and kindly feeling existed more among us? Would it not be well, if employers felt
towards their servants, and servants towards their employers, just as Boaz and his men felt towards each other? Here was nothing of that free and easy manner, which seems to forget that God would have us honour our superiors; but there was a respectful courtesy and affection, which ought to exist between us. Boaz did not forget that his harvesters were men like himself, depending upon God's blessing: neither did they forget that he was their superior and their master.
True religion moulds a man's whole character and manner. It leads him to behave rightly in every condition of life. It makes kind masters and faithful servants. It produces love and harmony among persons of all ranks. And whilst it teaches the rich to be humble,
it teaches also the poor to be gentle and respectful. Its motto is, “Honour all men, love the brotherhood.”
There must have been some cheerful hearts in that harvest field, where all felt that they had to do with so kind a master. The work was not done grudgingly by them; “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
There was no working hard just when the master's eye was upon them, and then idling when his back was turned.
No, they felt their labour was a pleasure ; and when their employer came among them, they were glad to see him, and his presence cheered them in their toil.
“The Lord be with you,” “ The Lord bless thee;" these were the words that passed. Ah, how often are those words uttered, when we mean but little by them! When we part with a friend we love, what can we wish him better, than that the Lord should be with him in all his ways, and bless him in all his undertakings? How much is contained in these few short words ! Here is a wish for his body, and for his soul ; a wish that reaches through his present life into that which is eternal. Let us never utter this wish lightly; but let it come from our hearts, and spring from a warm religious feeling within us.
Boaz was well acquainted with his poorer neighbours; and as his eye rested
upon them in the field, he had