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tion, that the man is supposed to be senseless, who does not make this use of it-thou fool, it is not quickened, except it die.
I would now only observe, after what hath been said, that a right use of our present subject in all its parts, must contribute to the dignity, and to the happiness of man. How innocently, and how pleasantly is he entertained, who in cultivating the various productions of the earth, hath the elements working with him, and assisting him to perfect his flowers and fruits, and raise a Paradise around him! What a rational and noble employment it is, to trace the effects of divine wisdom in a survey of the vegetable kingdom; in the beautiful forms of plants, their endless variety, the configuration of their organs, the distinction of their characters; the places of their inhabitation, by land, by sea, in rivers and in lakes, on rocks and mountains, in the fields, the pastures, and the woods: with their successions from the spring to the summer, from the summer to the autumn: their appearances by day and by night!
How proper is it to use them for health and for temperance, as the wise have done, and as the Creator, ever mindful of the sum of our happiness, hath appointed! What a respectable benefactor is he to mankind, who discovers their virtues in medicine, and applies them to the relief of the miserable; an office ever grateful to a benevolent mind !
But happiest of all is he, who having cultivated herbs and trees, and studied their virtues, and applied them for his own, and for the common benefit, rises from thence to a contemplation of the great Parent of good, whom he sees and adores in these his glorious works. The world can shew us a more exalted character than that of a truly religious philosopher, who
delights to turn all things to the glory of God: who from the objects of his sight derives improvement to his mind, and in the glass of things temporal sees the image of things eternal. Let a man have all the world can give him; he is still miserable, if he has a groveling, unlettered, indevout mind: let him have his gardens, his fields, his woods, and his lawns, for grandeur, ornament, plenty and gratification; while at the same time God is not in all his thoughts. And let another have neither field nor garden; let him only look at nature with an enlightened mind; a mind which can see and adore the Creator in his works; can consider them as demonstrations of his power, his wisdom, his goodness, his truth: this man is greater, as well as happier, in his poverty, than the other in his riches. The one is but little higher than a beast, the other but little lower than an angel.
We ought therefore to praise those who in their life-time made this use of the natural world, and gratefully to remember that piety which directed our minds to an annual commemoration of God's wisdom in the works of the vegetable creation; a great subject; in discoursing on which, I have only scattered some seeds, to be opened and perfected by your future meditation in which may the grace of God assist us all, through Jesus Christ our Lord, &c.
AND GOD MADE THE BEAST OF THE EARTH AFTER HIS KIND, AND CATTLE AFTER THEIR KIND, AND EVERY THING THAT CREEPETH UPON THE EARTH AFTER HIS KIND: AND GOD SAW THAT IT WAS GOOD. GEN. I. 25.
WHEN the works of God were finished, his surveyed them, and saw that they were good; that they were perfect in their construction, and capable of answering all the ends to which they were appointed. As far as man can observe this goodness in the works of nature, and see the mind of the Creator in the creature, so far he sees things as God sees them, and becomes partaker of a divine pleasure.
On a former occasion, I endeavoured to point out some of that goodness which is found in the vegetable kingdom; from whence I shall now proceed to the animal, with a desire to trace the same goodness in the structure, qualities, and œconomy of living creatures : but confining myself chiefly to those spoken of in the text, beasts and cattle.
When vegetable and animal life are compared, difforent things are to be admired, but nothing is to be preferred; for the wisdom of the Creator, being infihite, is every where equal to itself: to its works noSee the preceding Sermon on the Religious Use of Botanical Philosophy.
thing can be added with advantage nothing can be taken from them without loss. All things are perfect in their several kinds, and possessed of that goodness or sufficiency which must be found in every work of God.
Yet there is a visible series or scale in the natural creation; where those derivative powers which are in the creature, rise from the lower to the higher, and keep ascending regularly till we can follow them no farther. When we pass from a lower to an higher order of beings, some new faculty presents itself to our admiration. Thus, betwixt plants and animals there are essential differences, which immediately strike us. A plant is a system of life, but insensitive, and fixed to a certain spot. An animal hath voluntary motion, sense, or perception, and is capable of pain and pleasure. Yet in the construction of each there are some general principles which very obviously connect them. It is literally as well as metaphorically true, that trees have limbs, and an animal body branches. A vascular system is also common to both, in the channels of which life is maintained and circulated. When the trachea, with its branches in the lungs, or the veins and arteries, or the nerves, are separately represented, we have the figure of a tree. The leaves of trees have a fibrous and a fleshy part; their bark is a covering, which answers to the skin in animals. An active vapour pervades them both, and perspires from both, which is necessary to the preservation of health and vigour.
The parallel might be extended to their wounds and distempers: but we must not be too minute, when our purpose is rather to raise devotion than to satisfy curiosity. However, it ought not to be omitted, that the vis vita, or involuntary, mechanical force of ani
mal life, is kept up by the same elements which act upon plants for their growth and support.
The organs of respiration, acted upon by the air, are as the first wheel in a machine, which receives the moving power; heat preserves the fluidity of the blood and humours, and acts as an expanding force in the stomach, heart, and blood-vessels; which force is counteracted from without by the atmospherical pressure; for the want of which, the vessels would be ruptured by the prevailing of the force within.
The nerves form another distinct branch of the animal system, and are accommodated by the Creator to the action of that subtile, forcible fluid, which in its different capacities we sometimes call light, and sometimes ether. Late experiments have shewn us how little this acts on the blood-vessels, and how powerfully on the nerves and muscles, the functions of which it will therefore restore, and hath done in several cases, when they have been impaired by diseases or accidents.
The animal mechanism, and the forces of life, are things fearful and wonderful in themselves, and of such deep research, that I am afraid of venturing too far: but thus far I think we are safe, that animal life, considered only as motion, is maintained like the other motions of nature, by the action of contrary forces; in which there is this wonderful property, that neither appears to have the priority; and their joint effect is a motion, which in theory is perpetual. The flame of a candle cannot burn without fire, nor be lighted without air: which of these is first we cannot say, for they seem co-instantaneous; and they continue to work together till the matter fails which they work upon.
Thus, when an animal is born into the world, and the candle of life is lighted up, it is hard to give any