« PreviousContinue »
of human beings while they continued obedient to the mandates of their heavenly l'ather; now became ravenous and ready to devour them; for they had no sooner eaten of the fruits of the earth, and drunken of the brook that bubbled by, then their natures were changed. — They no longer came at the command of their master Adam; nor considered him any longer their superior, nor entitled to rule over them. They shook off his arbitrary yoke-took the government of their actions under their own management, and viewed him only as a tyrant and imposter. From this mortifying change taking place, no longer did the fairest of women Eve, amuse herself with the paw of the tiger, nor the leopard gambol before her:—the lion shook his shaggy mane in anguish, and laid at his feet, weltering in their blood, all that came before him.— The nightingale no longer rejoiced in the sylvan shades of Eden, he changed his cheerful note of joy to woe, and his midnight complaint is still heard in the grove.-The lark" forgot to salute her ears with his hymn of praise in the morningthe thrush drooped his head on the spraythe linnet and blackbird warbled not their song:—the robin loathed his daily repast, and the wren sickened on the willow. The
wolf became a terror to the flocks grazing around; and the innocent lamb flew from before him. Such was the first state of things, and in such a condition were the brutes placed by man's disobedience.
The brutes were now compelled to seek abodes for themselves——they had no friendly fig-tree to shelter them from the angry and merciless elements that warred around them; they had to bide the bitter blasts of the pitiless storm, and no where to lay their head. -To appease the calls of nature, they eat for their sustenance, of the produce of the earth, which was now metamorphosed from a life pleasing banquet, (a special catholicon,) to death and all its attendant miseries: 'Altho' they had not been guilty of any wilful neglect of duty,still they became liable to man's infirmities, and to death itself, i. è. temporal death. We now see the cause of their misery and death, which began wino
curse, and will not end till the earth be purified by fire at ihe last day, when there will be no more deaths, sorrow, nor crying: the lion and the lamb shall lie down together, when a young child shall lead ihem.-Such, we hope, will be their portion in the new earth.
Man being the cause of the innumerabile evils attendant on the material part of the
brute creation, which is the only part within his reach. It was therefore not necessary that their souls, or immaterial part, should be often introduced in scripture.—Man is told every thing that is necessary regarding them, either for his own or their good. Their misery here is often permitted as a stimulus to man, to pray for his forgiveness, and to show him the evils which sin has caused on the earth; and how much he has lost by the neglect of keeping that covenant which was made with God, and how much cause he has to lament the loss of that kingly power with which he was at first invested: how sadly he is plunged into a degraded and slavish state, when he beholds howling around him, in all the agony of bitterst despair; and inwardly pouring curses upon the head of him who was the cause of their fierce * and des plorable nature, those that were once bis in- . nocent companions in Paradise.
• The voracious, blood-thirsty, and savage nature of many of the wild animals, is heightened much by their feeding upon raw Alesh with its blood, which they devour greedily. This is daily exemplified in butcher's dogs, &c. Hence God commanded the Hebrews not to eat of flesh with the blood, &c. Gen: ix. 4, But flesh with the life thereof, which is blood thereof, shall ye not eat. Levit. xvii. 10, And whatsoever man
No covenant being made with the brutes, nor perfect obedience required for trial of their love, they could not sin; and in consequence thereof not liable to that eternal punishment which awaits the wicked and sinful man: for their souls are as free of sin to-day as they were when they first enjoyed the company of Adam.
Were we, but for a moment, to contemplate the evil that has been wrought in the universe by man's fall, not only to his own posterity, but to the brute and vegetable creation, we must admire the goodness and long suffering patience of God to his creature man, in permitting him still to inhabit even the smallest portion of this wonderful world!
Brutes, by many, are said to be destitute of reason and reflection, but that has never yet been proved. Doth not our daily exper
united to the well-authenticated annals of what is termed Instinct, but which in fact
is reason, although in many cases without re- flection, prove their sagacity and wisdom?
there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn
aiiing you that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set | my face against that soal that eateth biood, and will cut him * off from aniong his people.
Their conduct, in many of their instinctive operations, show a great degree of reason and reflection :the bird repairs a shattered nest insteadof forming instinctively a new one: -the hen who has been robbed of her
eggs changes her place, in order to lay the remainder with nore security :-the cat discovers both care and artifice in concealing her kittens. Again, it is evident, that on many occasions, animals know their faults and mistakes, and correct them; they sometimes contrive the most ingenious methods of obtaining their ends, and when one method fails have recourse to another; and they have without doubt, a kind of language for the mutual communication of their ideas. How is all this to be accounted for unless we sųppose them endowed with the powers of
perceiving, thinking, remembering, comparing, and judging? They have these powers, indeed, in a degree inferior to that in which they are possessed by the human species, and form classes below them in the graduated scale of intelligent beings. But still it seems unreasonable to exclude them from the place which the principles of sound philosophy, and facts asceriained by constant observation,