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    DESCRIPTION OF A DESERT.   Table of Contents     LIFE IS SHORT.

Plato, Ann
Essays

- RESIDENCE IN THE COUNTRY.

RESIDENCE IN THE COUNTRY.


No situation in life is so favorable to established habits of virtue, and to powerful sentiments of devotion, as a residence in the country, and rural occupations."

The great pursuit of man is after happiness; it is the first and strongest desire of his nature;--in every stage of his life he searchers for it as for hid treasures; courts it under a thousand different shapes; and, though perpetually disappointed--still persists--runs after and inquires for it afresh--asks every passenger who comes in his way, "Who will show him any good;"--who will assist him in the attainment of it, or direct him to the discovery of this great end of all his wishes?

"No man, one would think; would feel so sensible his immediate dependence upon God, as the farmer. For all his peculiar blessings he is invited to look immediately to the bounty of heaven. No secondary cause stands between him and his Maker. To him are essential the regular succession of the seasons, and the timely fall of the rains,

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the genial warmth of the sun, the sure productiveness of the soil, and the certain operations of those laws of nature, which must appear to him nothing less than the varied exertions of Omnipresent energy."

I once passed several weeks in the family of a farmer. It was one of the most pleasant, and useful visits I ever had made. I ever saw, that industry, contentment, and economy which constitutes every happy household.

The whole family rose before the sun. Before eating breakfast, the farmer commended himself, and his family to the care of God through the day. When breakfast was over, every one proceeded to the regular business of the day. The farmer with his sons, and workmen went to the field. The mother and daughters took their stand to superintend the household affairs.

When I looked about the house, and saw the many comforts of the family, and that most were wrought by the labor of their hands, I said what industry and economy prevails here.

Masses of yarn were assorted to prepare stockings for the father and brothers, and the fleece of the lamb was sheared, and prepared for clothing, in which they fearlessly braved the cold of winter.

The family were taught not to be ashamed of honest industry, and it was a rule whatever was done, to be done well. All seemed to obey, and knew not how to forget this rule. There were sent to market, in the best order, the surplus of the dairy, and poultry yard, and loom. The mother taught her daughters to consider the interest of their father as their own, and instructed them by

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her own example how to lessen his expenses. This seemed to me the kind of industry, which more than any other promoted cheerfulness and health.

The mother had no inclination to teach her daughters to be fine ladies, or to have them make a great appearance in the world; her constant aim was, to make them useful, and to prepare them for a future sphere of action.

Their countenances were pleasant and peaceful, like those who do right. Their quietness of mind seemed to proceed from a sense of justice, or of doing their duty even to inanimate things; for we owe a duty to every article in our possession, and to every utensil with which we work; the duty of keeping them in order, and in a good condition.

In reading we find that some of the most illustrious men that ever filled our country, were the sons of farmers. There industry was great to elevate those means, by which to accomplish the object in view. A sense of their industry alarmed them not. They were willing to labor, on account of studying the best means of relieving the world.

"In the country, we seem to stand in the midst of the great theatre of God's power and we feel an unusual proximity to our Creator. His blue and tranquil sky spreads itself over our heads, and we acknowledge the intrusion of no secondary agent in unfolding its vast expanse. Nothing but Omnipotence can work up the dark horrors of the tempest, dart the flashes of the lightning, and roll the long resounding murmur of the thunder.

How auspicious such a life to the noble sentiments of devotion! Besides, the situation of the

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farmer is peculiarly favorable to purity and simplicity of moral sentiment. He is brought acquainted chiefly with the real and native wants of mankind: employed solely in bringing food out of the earth, he is not liable to be fascinated with the fictitious pleasures, the unnatural wants, the fashionable follies and tyrannical vices, of more busy and splendid life.

Still more favorable to the religious character of the farmer is the circumstance, that, from the nature of rural pursuits, they do not so completely engross the attention as other occupations. They leave much time for contemplation, for reading, and intellectual pleasures; and these are peculiarly grateful to the resident in the country.

Especially does the institution of the Sabbath discover all its value to the tiller of the earth, whose fatigue it solaces, whose hard labor it does not interrupt, and who feels, on that day, the worth of his moral nature, which cannot be understood by the busy man, who considers the repose of this day as interfering with his hopes of gain, or professional employments. If, then, this institution is of any moral and religious value, it is to the country we must look for the continuance of that respect and observance, which it merits."

I have often been led to contemplate the character of the farmers lot. He is the possessor of true independence. His children are a part of his wealth. If fortunate circumstances fail, they join and help him, instead of burdening, and sinking him into deeper waters.

"Did man control his passions, and form his conduct according to the dictates of wisdom, humanity

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and virtue, the earth would no longer be desolated by cruelty; and human societies would live in order, harmony and peace. In those scenes of mischief and violence which fill the world, let man behold with shame, the picture of his vices, his ignorance and folly. Let him be humble by the mortifying view of his own perverseness; but let not his heart fret against the Lord.'"
    DESCRIPTION OF A DESERT.   Table of Contents     LIFE IS SHORT.