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I HAVE repeatedly said from this place, that if there be any principal objections to the difesoflq elergyman, in regard to the sources of personalesatis faction, it is this—that it does not supply sufficient engagements to the time and thoughts of an active mind. I am ready to allow, that it is in the power only of a few to fill up every day with study withi studies solely of a theological kind, its is still less So Indo not, however, by granting this, mean to admit that it is not necessary to employ a solid poro tion of our time in the proper studies of our calling, On the contrary, I contend, and ever shall contendy thats without a due mixture of religious reading and researches with our other employments of mindji be they what they will, and of professional studies strictly and properly so called, the character of a clergyman can neither be respectable nor sufficiently usefuh When I state the want, or rather defect, of engagement, as forming the principal inconvenience in the life of a clergyman, I must be understood to speak of our profession in its general nature; under which view it may be said, that if this difficulty were re
moved from it, we should not have much to repine at in other lines of life; for the safety which it affords, compared with the great risk and frequent miscarriages of secular employments, and of almost all attempts to raise fortunes, compensates in a great measure for the mediocrity, or perhaps something less than mediocrity, with which most of us, both in our views and possessions, must be content. What clergyman recollects the disappointments and distresses, the changes and failures, which the disturbed state of commerce hath lately brought upon those who are engaged in it, without seeing reason to be satisfied with-might I not say thankful for-the security and repose, the exemption from dread and anxiety, if not from actual losses and privations, by which so many have suffered?
In a clergyman's, however, in common with all other situations, a succession of agreeable engagements is necessary to the passing of life with satisfaction; and since the profession does not of its own accord supply these, or supply them to all, with sufcient copiousness and variety, and since it is of great consequence to the character of a clergyman, not only that his duties be properly performed, but that his occupations be innocent and liberal, I think it may be useful to suggest to him some pursuits and employments which will fill up his leisure with credit and advantage.
Amongst the principal of these, I should recommend, in the first place, each and every branch of
natural history. The cultivation of this study has not only all the advantage of inviting to exercise and action; of carrying us abroad into the fields and into the country; of always finding something for us to do, and something to observe; of ministering objects of notice and attention to our walks and to our rides, to the most solitary retirement, or the most sequestered situation,-it has not only this advantage, but it has a much greater; it is connected with the most immediate object of our profession. Natural history is the basis of natural religion; and to learn the principles of natural religion is to prepare the understanding for the reception of that which is revealed. In every view, therefore, it is a subject of commendation. As a mere amusement, it is of all others the most ingenuous; the best suited, and the most relative, to the profession of a clergyman. As a study, it is capable of producing the most beneficial effects upon the frame and disposition of the mind which entertains it.
Of the several branches of natural history I can only so far take notice as they are adapted to our particular situation or local opportunities. Botany is an extremely important and entertaining part of the science of nature; and there is no situation in the world more favourable to the prosecution of this study than those which many clergymen enjoy in this diocese. All mountainous regions, and none more so than ours, supply a variety of plants which are little known where the face of the country is
less broken and diversified. Botanists come from a great distance to visit our mountains, and think themselves repaid for the expense and trouble of a long journey, by the opportunity of climbing amongst them for a week or a few days: yet for obtaining a knowledge of the vegetable productions of a country, for the searching out of rare plants, for the acquainting ourselves with their seasons, growth, their appearance in different states, the soil, aspect and climate which they delight in, together with their other properties or singularities, what are the few weeks, or perhaps few days of a stranger's visit, to the opportunities of a clergyman residing the year round upon the spot, and exercising his observation in every season? A wise man, in any situation into which he may be thrown, tries to compensate the inconveniences with the advantages, and to draw from it what peculiar materials of satisfaction it may happen to afford. In the present instance, the deepest and most secluded recesses of our mountains are the best fitted for the researches I am recommending; and he who does not turn his mind to the subject when he finds himself placed in the midst of a magnificent museum, not only neglects an opportunity of rational recreation, but neglects the best thing, in some cases perhaps the only good thing, which his situation affords. 1
Natural history easily ascends from vegetable to animal life. No one who is a botanist, is a botanist' alone. The turn of thought which directs a man
to remark the structure of plants, will of course carry! him to the economy of animals; and here, no doubt, is the widest space for observation, and for observa tion immediately tending to establish the most important truth which a human being can learn the wisdom of God in the work of the creation. Instead of expatiating, however, upon the general utility of natural history-of which no person can think more highly than I do it will be more to our present purpose to point out how applicable it is, and how properly it may be made to mix with those occupations into which we usually fall. We most of us? become gardeners or farmers. It is not for me to censure these employments indiscriminately, but they may be carried on (the latter especially) to such an i extent as to be exceedingly degrading; as so to en gross our time, our thoughts and our cares, as to extinguish almost entirely the clerical character. Now, what I am recommending, namely, the scientific [ cultivation of botany and natural history, that is, the collecting and reading at least the elementary books upon the subject, and afterwards forming for our selves a course and habit of observation, and whiche will greatly assist and improve us, a habit also of committing our observations to writing, is the precise thing which will dignify our employments int the field and the garden; and will give to both the appearance, and not only the appearance, but the real character, of an intellectual and contemplatives AA la