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and conducts the universe; and which is accustomed to refer the order and operations of nature to the agency of a supreme will. The influence also of religion is almost always in proportion to the degree and strength of this conviction. It is, moreover, a species of instruction of which our hearers are more capable than we may at first sight suppose. It is not necessary to be a philosopher, or to be skilled in the names and distinctions of natural history, in order to perceive marks of contrivance and design in the creation. It is only to turn our observation to them. Now, beside that this requires neither more ability nor leisure than every man can command, there are many things in the life of a country parishoner which will dispose his thoughts to the employment. In his fields, amidst his flocks, in the progress of vegetation, the structure, faculties, and manners of domestic ani. mals, he has constant occasion to remark proofs of intention and of consummate wisdom. The minister of a country parish is never, therefore, better engaged than when he is assisting this turn of contemplation. Nor will he ever do it with so much effect as when the appearance and face of external nature conspire with the sentiments which he wishes to excite.

Again : if we would enlarge upon the various bounty of Providence, in furnishing a regular supply for animal, and especially for human, subsistence, not by one, but by numerous and diversificd species of food and clothing, we shall be best heard in the time and amidst the occupations of harvest, when our hearers are reaping the effects of those contrivances for their support, and of that care for their preserva. tion, which their Father which is in heaven hath exercised for them. If the year has been favourable, we rejoice with them in the plenty which fills their granaries, covers their tables, and feeds their families. If otherwise, or less to, we have still so remark how, through all the husbandman's disappointments, through the dangers and inclemencies of precarious seasons, a competent proportion of the fruits of the earth is conducted to its destined



observe also to the repining farmer that the value, if not the existence, of his own occupation depends upon the very uncertainty of which he complains. It is found to be al most universally true, that the partition of the profits between the owner and occupier of the soil is in favour the latter, in proportion to the risk which he incurs by the disadvantage of the climate. This is a very just reflection, and particularly intelligible to a rural audience. We may add, when the occasion requires it, that scarcity itself hath its use.

By acting as a stimulus to new exertions and to farther improvements, it often produces, through a temporary distress, a permanent benefit.

Lastly ; sudden, violent, or untimely deaths, or death accompanied by any circumstances of surprise or singularity, usually leave an impression upon a whole neighbourhood. A Christian teacher is wanting in attention to opportunities who does not avail himself of this impression. The uncertainty of life requires no proof. But the power and influence which this consideration shall obtain over the decisions of the mind, will depend greatly upon the circumstances under which it is presented to the imagination. Discourses upon the subject come with tenfold force when they are directed to a heart already touched by some near, recent, and affecting example of human mortality. I do not lament that funeral sermons are discontinued amongst us. They generally contained so much of unseasonable, and oftentimes undeserved, panegyric, that the hearers came away from them, rather with remarks in their mouths

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upon what was said of the deceased, than with any internal reflections upon the solemnity which they had left, or how nearly it related to their own condition. But by decent allusions, in the stated course of our preaching, to events of this sort, or by, what is better, such a well-timed choice of our subject as may lead our audience to make the allusion for themselves, it is possible, I think, to retain much of the good effeet of funeral discourses, without their adulation, and without exciting vain curiosity.

If other occurrences have arisen within our neighbourhood, which serve to exemplify the progress and fate of vice, the solid advantages and ultimate success of virtue, the providential discovery of guilt or protection of innocence, the folly of avarice, the disappointments of ambition, the vanity of worldly schemes, the fallaciousness of human foresight; in a word, which may remind us “what shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue,” and thereby induce us to collect our views and endeavours to one point, the attainment of final salvation; such occurrences may be made to introduce topics of serious and useful meditation. I have heard popular preachers amongst the Methodists avail themselves of these occasions with

very powerful effect. It must be acknowledged that they frequently transgress the limits of decorum and propriety, and that these transgressions wound the modesty of a cultivated ear. But the method itself is not to be blamed. Under the correction of a sounder judgment it might be rendered very beneficial. Per. haps, as hath been already intimated, the safest way is, not to refer to those incidents by any direct allusion, but merely to discourse at the time upon subjects which are allied to and connected with them.

The sum of what I have been recommending amounts to this : that we consider diligently the pro.



bable effects of our discourses upon the particular characters and dispositions of those who are to hear them ; but that we apply this consideration solely to the choice of truths, by no means to the admission of falsehood or insincerity :* secondly, that we endeavour to profit by circumstances, that is, to assist not the reasoning, but the efficacy of our discourses, by an opportune and skilful use of the service of the church: the season of the year, and of all such occurrences and situations as are capable of receiving a religious turn, and such as, being yet recent in the memory of our hearers, may dispose their minds for the admission and influence of salutary reflections.

My Reverend Brethren, I am sensible that the discourse with which I have now detained you is not of that kind which is usually delivered at a chancellor's visitation. But since (by the favour of that excellent prelate, who by me must long be remembered with gratitude and affection) I hold another public station in the diocess, I embrace the only opportunity afforded me of submitting to you that species of counsel and exhortation which, with more propriety perhaps, you would have received from me in the character of

your archdeacon, if the functions of that office had remained entire.

This distinction fixes the limits of exoteric doctrine, as far as anything called by that name is allowable to a Christian teacher.

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