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Few of us, my dear brethren, are deficient in opportunities for making fimilar experiences and enjoying fimilar fatisfactions. Many are fo circumstanced as to be able to pass a longer or a shorter period of the fummer in the enjoyment of their gardens or the pleasures of the country. But whether we turn these excurfions to fuch account as becomes rational and wife perfons; whether we extract as much utility and inftruction from them as they are capable of yielding; is what I fhall now ftrive to render eafy for you to anfwer. To that end, I shall point out to you in a few fhort obfervations, how instructive a stay in the country is and may be to the man of reflection, the christian.

The time we spend in the country is, in the first place, inftructive in regard to God and our beha'viour towards him; inftructive in regard to the dignity and destination of man; and instructive in regard to our notions of happiness.

It is inftructive, I fay, first, in regard to God and our behaviour towards him. In the tumult of towns, in the hurry of a bufy life, in the giddy circles of amusement, meditations on God and the fentiment of his prefence are but too eafily prevented or effaced; there the knowledge we have of him is too frequently but a dead letter, and the use we make of it only a mechanical operation of the mind. But in the midst of the great theatre of his works, furrounded by the striking effects of his wisdom and

bounty,

bounty, in the enjoyment of rural tranquility; in the open and free view of his heaven and his earth, there a man's feelings are quite altered, there he intimately feels that in him he lives and moves and has his being; that he inhales his air, is enlightened and warmed and cheared by his fun, that he is invigorated by his power and elevated to him, and is encompaffed on all fides with the bounties and bleffings he has prepared for us. There the deity is in a manner clofe to us, though he be no where far from any one of us. His existence is there more certain to us; it is demonftratively apparent; and all doubts, that may poffibly arife in us at other times, here lose their force. God is, and he is the Creator and Father of thee, and of all beings; this every thing around us declares in a language that cannot be mistaken. We there fee him, in a manner, acting, working, imparting of himself, and diffusing benefits about him with a liberal hand, and employed in the prefervation and welfare of every thing that exifts and lives. The lefs we behold of human art, the more we fee of nature, and the more beautiful fhe prefents herself to us, the more does the lead us up to God; the more do all objects animate and exalt our ideas and fentiments of him. Every blade of grafs, every flower of the field, every plant, every tree, every infect, every beaft, the rifing and the fetting fun, the mild refreshing breath of evening gales, and the majestic

"

violence

violence of the ftorm, the ferenely smiling fky, and the dark tempeftuous night, all, all announce to us the presence of the Almighty, the fupremely wife, the fupremely good; all render him, as it were, fenfible and apparent; all call us to bow down before him, to adore his fovereignty, and to rejoice in his existence. There every thought on God will, with the good and fenfible man, be accompanied by correfpondent feelings; and every fentiment on fupreme wisdom and goodness must be attended by reverence, by love, by gratitude, by joy, by hope and confidence,

And here interrogate thyfelf, o man, o christian, how near or how remote, how natural, or how foreign to thee is the sentiment of God, what impreffion it makes upon thee, what other reflections and fentiments it excites within thee. Afk thyfelf: how wert thou difpofed, what didft thou think, how didft thou feel, as thou walkedst alone across the smiling fields, or through the flowery mead, or down the verdant lawn, or along the fhady grove, or by the ferene and placid luftre of the moon. Did not a gentle reverential tremor, did not the facred sentiment of the proximity of thy God, affect thee? Did it never happen to thee as if thou fawest the Lord, as formerly he was feen in paradife, walking amongst his creatures, as if thou heardest him talking to thee, and explaining to thee his will and his defigns? And if this holy fentiment have

fallen

fallen to thy fhare, if it have ever penetrated thy heart; what love to thy Creator and Father, what truft in his benignity and providence, what zeal to do his will and to promote his views, what benevolent difpofitions towards all thy fellow-creatures, what aspirations after fuperior perfection and blifs, muft it not have excited in thee! Happy they, who are able to recollect many fuch blessed moments! To them the thought of God is not a foreign thought. It lives and governs in their foul, and fecures them a fucceffion. of complete fatisfactions and of unfullied pleasures.

Rural life is, fecondly, very inftructive in regard to the real worth and deftination of man. Here, my chriftian brother, here man appears to thee more in the character of man, ftripped of all outward and dazzling distinctions; here mayft thou better learn to esteem him for what he is; learn what is properly his own as a human creature, what gives him real worth. A robust and healthy body; a found and vigorous mind; a chearful tem per; an honeft heart, glowing with love towards God and man; a prudent and active industry in his profeffion; wisdom, founded on years and experience; virtue that confifts more in actions than in words; piety, not indeed making us more learned, but better and more tranquil: these are of greater account than birth and rank and station, fuperior to all the borrowed splendour, with which the rich and

great

great make fuch parade; and these alone, both here and every where, compofe the true worth of man. Learn then to estimate thyfelf and the inhabitants of towns by this standard; so wilt thou judge differently and far more juftly both of thyfelf and others. No empty pride in things that are not of thyfelf will inflate thy mind; no exceffive admiration of merely outward diftinctions will degrade thee into a flatterer and a flave. Thou wilt efteem and love every one as thy brother who acts and thinks like a man, and acknowledge only intrinfic and fubstantial excellence as honourable in thyself and others.

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But there mayft thou likewife learn more juftly to judge of the deftination of man. When thou there confidereft how many and how various the toilfome and continued labours, how many the hands and faculties that are requifite for fertilizing the earth, for procuring food and cloathing for its inhabitants, and for fupplying their primary most preffing wants; canft thou then poffibly doubt that man was defigned for an active and bufy life, for a juft and due application and exertion of his powers! Canft thou then poffibly think, that he fufficiently fulfills the intention of his being, when he feduloufly fhuns whatever bears the name of labour; accounts all ftated and renewed work for violence and trouble; paffes his days in flothful eafe, in a delicate refervation of his faculties; or employs

himself

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