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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 vitae, or involuntary, mechanical force of aniC 2
mal life, is keptjip by the same elements wkich 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 pay, 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 precedence to the elementary powers which support it. The weight of the atmosphere forces into the lungs, as soon as they are exposed to its action, that air which is the breath of life; but this could not happen unless the more subtile element were to occasion a rarefaction within: and this reciprocation, once begun, is continued through life: though it will fail if either of the elements cease to act upon it. With extreme cold, the circulation of blood will stop; and the want of air, or the admission of that which is improper, will extinguish the vital motion in the lungs. But here, as the power of the Creator is found to maintain a vegetable life in plants, where the necessary means seem to .be wanting; so when we think the mechanism of animal life is understood, and that heat, and respiration, and circulation, are all necessary to it, we look farther, and find animals living without respiration: some totally, and others (which is more wonderful) occasionally. Some are comparatively, if not positively, cold in their temperature; as those which lie under water in the winter months. These are unable to endure that degree of heat which is the life of others: as there are plants which fix themselves upon the bleak head of a mountain, and will never be reconciled to a richer soil, and a warmer air. Thus doth the wisdom of God work by various ways to the same end; and animal life is maintained where the means of life seem to be wanting. That the elements which act upon the barometer and thermometer are necessary to animal life cannot be doubted, however the receptive faculties of organised matter may be varied. We have musical sounds from the pipe, the string, and the drum; but never without the musical element of air.
If we enquire how the wisdom of the Creator is displayed in the different kinds of animals, the field is so large, that the time will permit us to consider those only to which we are directed by the words of the text, beasts of the earth and cattle after their kind. And that we may proceed herein without confusion, we must take advantage of a plain and significant distinction which the Holy Scripture hath proposed to us for our learning.
The law of Moses, in the xith chapter of Leviticus, divides the brute creation into two grand parties, from the fashion of their feet, and their manner of feeding; that is, from the parting of the hoof, and the chewing of the cud; which properties are indications of their general characters, as wild or tame. For the dividing of the hoof and the chewing of the cud are peculiar to those cattle which ars serviceable to man's life, as sheep, oxen, goats, deer, and their several kinds. These are shod by the Creator for a peaceable and inoffensive progress through life; as ths Scripture exhorts us to be shod in like manner with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace. They live temperately upon herbage, the diet of students and saints; and after the taking of their food, chew it deliberately over again for better digestion; in which act they have all the appearance a brute can assume of pensiveness or meditation ; which is metaphorically called rumination, with reference to this property of certain animals.
Such are these: but when we compare the beasts of the field and the forest, they, instead of the harmless hoof, have feet which are swift to shed blood*, sharp claws to seize upon their prey, and teeth to devour it; such as lions, tygers, leopards, wolves, foxes, and smaller vermin.
Where one of the Mosaic marks is found, and the other js wanting, such creatures are of a middle nature be* Rom. iii. 15, 8
tween the wild and the tame; as the swine, the hare, and some others. Those that part the hoof afford us wholesome nourishment; those that are shod with any kind of hoof may be made useful to man ; as the camel, the horse, the ass, the mule; all of which are fit to travel and carry burthens. But when the foot is divided into many parts, and armed with claws, there is but small hope of the manners; such creatures being in general either murderers, or hunters, or thieves; the malefactors and felons of the brute creation: though among the wild there are all the possible gradations of ferocity and evil temper.
Who can review the creatures of God, as they arrange themselves under the two great denominations of wild and tame, without wondering at their different dispositions and ways of life! Sheep and oxen lead a sociable as well as a peaceable life; they are formed into flocks and herds; and as they live honestly they walk openly in the day. The time of darkness is to them, as to the virtuous and sober amongst men, a time of rest. But the beast of prey goeth about in solitude; the time of darkness is to him the time of action: then he visits the folds of sheep, and stalls of oxen, thirsting for their blood; as the thief and the murderer visits the habitations of men, for an opportunity of robbing and destroying, under 5!*e concealment of the night. When the sun ariseth the beast of prey retires to the covert of the forest; »nd while the cattle are spreadir. : themselves over a thousand hills in search of pastun the tyrant of the desart is laying himself down in hk .1, to sleep off the fumes of his bloody meal. The ways of men are not less different than the ways of beasts; and here.we may see them represented as in a glass; for, as the quietness of the pasture, in which the cattle spend their