« PreviousContinue »
Wondrous in length and corpulence, involv'd
Their misery originated with man; and it is quite unfeeling to deny them a place equal, if not superior to that from which they fell by man's transgression.—They were man's companions in paradise in the days of his primitive innocence:—they have shared with him the bread of bitterness, and they have drunk with him of that cup of woe that springs dailyfrom the curse pronounced upon the earth for his sake: why not allow them a portion of that happiness which he anticipates from immortality? By allowing them this, it does not rob him of any share of his meditated pleasure, nor derogate the smallest iota from the honour nor glory of God, the father of all, and wise parent of the universe. Should they utterly perish, or be annihilated, as, is the too prevalent and uncharitable belief of many, what gainers are such believers thereby ? It may be argued by some that, such a belief will neither add to, nor diminish their comforts; nor such an unbelief tend in the smallesi to lessen the perpetual miseries to which the brute creation are daily made subject by merciless and cruel tyrants: but man being solely the cause of all the hardships which they presently undergo, a beliet' in their immortality would go a great length with some to ward off an impending cruelty. It is,however, our duty to mitigate their harsh treatment as much as lies in our power,and not to add affliction to the afflicted, but rid them of as much of their trouble as circumstances will permit, whether they shall rise again, or whether they shall not:—we must, and give an account of our conduct while on earth, whether good or bad. He who was considered to be the wisest of men says, Prov. xii. 10, A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. And, to use the language of the erudite Addison, when speaking of the Immortality of the Soul, he says, “ If I am wrong, in believing that the souls are immortal; I please myself in ту mistake; nor while I live, will I ever chuse, that this opinion, wherewith I am so much delighied, should be wrested from me: but if, at death, I am to be annihilated, as some minute phi
losophers imagine, I am not afraid lest those wise men, when extinct too should laugh at my errors.
We may also add, without presumption that, by believing this doctrine we will be none the worse; whereas, vice versa, we may be gainers, particularly the peace
in our own consciences, and the brutes may
bé doubly so, by our being taught to respect them as they deserve, and to show that kindness which every christian and philanthropic person must unavoidably commend.
That there shall be an universal restitution of all that fell by Adam's transgression; when all that was lost in the first Adam shall be renewell in the second. That there shall be a new heaven and a new earth, which shall be the habitation of righteousness; God hath abundantly and plainly promised, by the mouth of his holy prophets and apostles, since the world began. Isaiah Lxv. 17, For, behold, I create new heavens, and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into my mind. lxvi. 22, For as the new heavens, and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. 2 Peter iii. 13, Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteouness.
Rev. xxi. 1, And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. The scripture also declareth, . Cor.xv.21 & 22, For since by man came deatli, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Chiist shall all be made alive.
Some are at a loss how to dispose of the animal creation if their resurrection be to everlasting life, as we are plainly told in the foregoing texts; but as this new earth so often mentioned, will not be made in vain, nor have we any cause to think it will be destitute of inhabitants: what, if we should suppo e it set apart for the reception of these animals after their reanimation and the union of their souls with the bodies: for we are informed by Paul in his Epistle to the Romans, VIII. 21 & 22, The creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. What more would man require, or in what plainer language to prove the justice of our claim, then these texts? It is alsocertain,that God made nothing in vain,and that the brutes have been created for some wise and good
purposes, we must firmly believe, although unknown to us for the present.
Among their apparent uses to us, in the gradual chain of beings that descends from the Great Creator to the least creature, they form a link between man and the inanimate creation.
Far as creation's ample range extends,
See thro’ this air, this ocean, and this earth,