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day, is to the howlings of a wilderness in the night, such is the virtuous life of honest labour to the life of the thief, the oppressor, the murderer, and the midnight gamester, who live upon the losses and sufferings of other men.
The different qualities and properties in which brute creatures excel are as manifest proofs of the divine wisdom as their different modes of living. The horse excels in strength and courage. His aptness for war is finely touched in the book of Job.—Hast thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed his neck zvith thunder ?—He paweth in the valley, andrejoiceth in his strength: he goeth on to meet the armed men: he mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword*. When he heareth the sound of the trumpets, and the noise of the battle at a distance, the thunder of the captains and their shouting, he signifies by his voice and his motion, that he is impatient to join them and be in action. The fox excels in subtilty and subterfuge; and his arts fmd employment for some amongst mankind, who disdain to busy themselves in any useful study or labour for the benefit of the community.
The dog is gifted with that sagacity, vigilance, and fidelity, which qualify him to be the guard, the companion, the fW',nd of man; and happy is he, who finds a friend as true and u-ncorrupt as this animal; who will rather die by the side of his master than take a bribe of a stranger to betray him. The sense whereby he is enabled to trace a single person through a croud of people, is a gift of the Creator, which exceeds our comprehension: and many other examples of the sagacity of this creature would be incredible, if they were not common and well attested. By what natu
*. Job. xxxix. 19
ral faculties they are performed, it is hard for us to conjecture.
In all brute creatures there is implanted an ardent attention towards their offspring, which prevails over every other consideration. Even the weakest creatures will undertake to defend and preserve their young at the hazard of their lives. They do not leave their offspring to be attended for hire by others, that they may be at liberty to follow their own unprofitable pleasures; this duty is their greatest pleasure; and yet it never exceeds the bounds of discretion. Beasts, with all their tenderness, are never betrayed into any acts of false indulgence: their affection never gratifies itself with raising up their young to an unnatural state of ease, idleness, and ignorance: as soon as they are well able to exercise the faculties the Creator hath given them, they are compelled by their parents to provide for their own wants. And, through the divine bounty, the world is open to them, and their own labour is sufficient to maintain them. Provision of the proper sort is within the reach of every species, and a place is allotted to each, in which it does not encroach upon the rest. The mountains and rocks are a refuge for the wild goats, which climb over frightful precipices to a pasture where no other creature can partake with them. The beast of prey is covered by the wood, and can feed himself according to his nature. Foxes, and other animals, have holes wherein they rest and hide themselves under the earth. The sheep hath a fold, the ox hath a stall, provided for them by man; having no covert provided by themselves. Beasts of labour are maintained by their labour; for few men are so unjust as to muzzle the ox when lie treudeth out the corn.
The different manners of beasts and cattle, with their dependence upon the bounty of God, are briefly described to us in those sublime terms which are pe— culiar to the Scripture. Thou makest darkness that iz may be night , wherein all the beasts of the forest do move. The lions roaring after their prey do seek their meat from God. The sun ariseth, and they get themz away together, and lay them down in their dens. (Then) man goeth forth to his work and to his labour until the evening ; and those serviceable worthy creatures, which are the companions of his labour, go along with him—O Lord, how manifold are thy works; in wis— dom hast thou made them all; the earth is full of thy riches / All creatures wait upon thee, that thou mayest give them their meat in due season. JWhen thou givesz it them, they gather it , and when thou openest thine hand they are filled with good. How great is this idea the hand of man scatters food to the few creatures that are about him ; but when the hand of God is opened, a world is fed and satisfied. The usefulness of cattle to the support, comfort, and convenience of man, is a topic which would carry us out to a great length. The state of man, as an inhabitant of this world, could not be maintained without them. From cattle we have food, and raiment, and assistance, and employment. How wisely and mercifully is it ordained, that those creatures which afford us wholesome nourishment are disposed to live with us, that we may live upon them : their milk is so agreeable to the human constitution, and so pleasant in itself, that it is celebrated among the first blessings of the promised land. The wool of the sheep gives us clothing, such as the world cannot equal ; and late discoveries explain to us an essential difference between the vegetable clothing and the animal; the former of which draws off, the latter retains and promotes animal heat; and is found to assist in the cure of Some very critical distempers. What would
the labour of man avail, without the strength and patience of beasts to assist him in the cultivation of the earth, and the necessary business of life? even the fiercest of creatures made to be taken and destroyed “, have their use ; for, in taking and destroying them, man is employed; and so one great purpose of his present life is answered. Whoever considers this, will find, that the true state of nature is a state of society; in which men necessarily unite against the beasts of the field, which would otherwise prevail against them : and he is fittest to be a leader in natural society, who can best defend others against their natural enemies the beasts. Thus from the nature of wild beasts arises one of the employments of man, which is that of hunting; to which war is nearly allied, as another sort of hunting; and it should never be entered upon, but for reasons the same with those which arm us against the beasts that would devour us; that is, for self-defence ; though it is too true in fact, that men hunt men for their spoils, as they hunt wild beasts for their skins; and the scalps of men are the trophies of some, as the scalps of foxes are nailed up by others against the wall. Hunters and warriors make a great figure in the world; but he that feeds the sheep is more honourably employed than he who pursues the lion. The attendance of man upon those innocent creatures which God hath ordained for his use, is an employment which succeeded to the life of Paradise. The holy patriarchs and servants of God were taught to prefer the occupations of shepherds. Their riches consisted in flocks and herds: and it was their pleasure, as well as their labour, to wait upon them in tents, amidst the various and beautiful scenery of the
io 2 Pet. ii. 12.
mountains, the groves, the fields, and streams of water. The fancy of man hath always heen delighted with the simple pleasures of the pastoral life; which probahly afforded matter to the first poetry before the tumultuous scenes of war and slaughter had been celebrated in verse. Whatever the improvements of modern times may be, the imagination has a pleasure in resigning them all, to dwell upon the less improved manners of those who lived in the purer ages. O happy state of health, innocence, plenty, and pleasure; plenty without luxury, and pleasure without corruption! How far preferable to that artificial state of life, into which we have been brought by overstrained refmements in civilization, and commerce too much extended ! where corruption of manners, unnatural, and consequently unhealthy modes of living, perplexity of law, consumption of property, and other kindred evils, conspire to render life so vain and unsatisfactory, that many throw it away in despair, as not worth having. A false glare of tinselled happiness is found amongst the rich and the great, with such distressing want and misery amongst the poor, as nature knows nothing of; and which can arise only from the false principles and selfish views and expedients of a weak and degenerate policy.
It hath been made a question,, whether the world and the creatures that belong to it were made for the benefit of man: which question was well argued, and wisely determined in the affirmative, by the philosophical orator of Rome: but the modern infidel, to make man an inconsiderable being, has a strong propensity to the negative; and some poets, jn their way of arguing, have attempted to make the subject ridiculous. We see that even the fiercest creatures have their use, by driving men into society fortheir mutual defence. All creatures in general are the sub