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The Reverent Dutch

One little circumstance I observed, which I suppose is peculiar to Holland: to most chamber windows a looking-glass is placed on the outside of the sash, so as to show the whole street, with all the passengers. There is something very pleasing in these moving pictures. Are they found in no other country?

Sunday, 15.--The Episcopal Church is not quite so large as the chapel in West Street. It is very elegant both without and within. The service began at half-past nine. Such a congregation had not often been there before. I preached on "God created man in his own image" [Gen. 1:27]. The people seemed, "all but their attention, dead." In the afternoon the church was so filled as (they informed me) it had not been for these fifty years. I preached on "God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son" [I John 5:11]. I believe God applied it to many hearts. Were it only for this hour, I am glad I came to Holland.

One thing which I peculiarly observed was this, and the same in all the churches in Holland: at coming in, no one looks on the right or the left hand, or bows or courtesies to anyone; but all go straight forward to their seats, as if no other person were in the place. During the service, none turns his head on either side, or looks at anything but his book or the minister; and in going out none take notice of anyone, but all go straight forward till they are in the open air.

After church an English gentleman invited me to his country house, not half a mile from the town. I scarcely ever saw so pretty a place. The garden before the house was in three partitions, each quite different from the others. The house lay between this and another garden (nothing like any of the others), from which you looked through a beautiful summerhouse, washed by a small stream, into rich pastures filled with cattle. We sat under an arbor of stately trees, between the front and the back gardens. Here were four such children (I suppose seven, six, five, and three years old) as I never saw before in one family; such inexpressible beauty and innocence shone together!

In the evening I attended the service of the great Dutch church, as large as most of our cathedrals. The organ (like those in all the Dutch churches) was elegantly painted and gilded; and the tunes that were sung were very lively and yet solemn.

Monday, 16.--We set out in a track-skuit [river boat] for the Hague. By the way we saw a curiosity: the gallows near the canal, surrounded with a knot of beautiful trees, so the dying man will have one pleasant prospect here, whatever befalls him hereafter! At eleven we came to Delft, a large, handsome town. Here we spent an hour at a merchant's house, who, as well as his wife, a very agreeable woman, seemed both to fear and to love God. Afterward we saw the great church, I think nearly, if not quite, as long as York Minster. It is exceedingly light and elegant within, and every part is kept exquisitely clean. The tomb of William I is much admired; particularly his statue, which has more life than one would think could be expressed in brass.

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