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PASTOR OF WELLBOURN
ACQUAINT THYSELF WITH GOD, IF THOU WOULDST TASTE
THE PASTOR OF WELLBOURN.
In the little village of Wellbourn, situated in one of the midland counties of England, lived Mr. Hope. He had been the vicar of the place for many years, and was a person who really loved a rural life, and who with the poet Cowper could well have said,
“The country wins me still.
Mr. Hope took great pains to make himself acquainted with all subjects connected with agricultural employment and pursuits, (for Wellbourn was wholly an agricultural place,) and he made great use of such knowledge in teaching his parishioners their duty. An old writer has said, that “people by what they understand are best led to what they understand not.” So thought Mr. Hope, and in consequence, his aim was to fit himself for the work committed to his charge. He sought for information chiefly from his parishioners as regarded things relating to husbandry, and, as I have before said, he repaid them by making such the ground-work of his teaching. Thus a bond of sympathy was formed between the pastor and his flock, which at all times rivetted the attention of the latter to the conversations and discourses of the former.
There is scarcely any earthly tie stronger and more enduring than the tie of love which binds a Christian flock to a good pastor. And of all the blessings which the Almighty vouchsafes to give us, none should be more highly valued than that of having placed over us, by His divine appointment, a shepherd who for Christ's sake loves well the charge entrusted to his keeping.
It was pleasant to hear the respectful and affectionate terms in which the inhabitants of Wellbourn spoke of their minister. With all due reverence, on account of the holy office which he filled, did they bow to him as to one who was their superior. And he, as an ambassador from the
Most High, received their homage, not taking it as due to himself as a man, but by virtue of his calling he esteemed it, and admitted it to be right, inasmuch as God thereby had glory.
Mr. Hope was a very considerate man, even in matters which by some persons, perhaps, may be thought of small importance. He studied the general habits of his people, and endeavoured as much as possible that his visits to them should be so timely paid, that his presence would not interfere with their daily routine of work.
Neither did he intrude himself unseasonably upon the cottagers at the time of their meals. He understood too well the native shyness of the English peasant to be the cause of raising a blush upon his weather-beaten face, by being a looker-on while he was eating his frugal fare.
Mr. Hope was also well aware that much inust be done at the cottage-hearth, which may not at all times be fit to meet the eye of an unexpected visitor, and therefore he was very careful not to enter the cottage door if for a moment there seemed any
hesitation about receiving him. At such times he would kindly take his leave, with a promise to call again when his presence would be more wel
The parishioners duly appreciated these polite attentions on the part of their minister, and