Imágenes de páginas

jects of man, whose dominion is established by a charter from heaven. By the reason and understanding of man the swiftest are overtaken, and the strongest are overpowered: he can take them as his property, manage them as his servants, confine them as his captives, and destroy them at his pleasure: they are impressed with a fear and dread of him, as if they were sensible of his power. Most of them serve to some natural use; but all have their intellectual use, in giving necessary ideas and lessons of wisdom to the mind of man. The goodness of God is no where more manifest than in this intellectual application of brute animals and their properties; no one creature upon earth can make that use of man, which man makes of all the rest; in rendering himself, if he will, a better reasoner, a better citizen, a more devout worshipper of God. This is so important a part of our present subject, so curious in itself, and so necessary to the improvement of the human understanding, that I must beg your attention, while I dwell upon it as far as the time will permit.

1. First then, we borrow from beasts, cattle, and creeping things of the earth, many of our best ideas of moral good and evil. As it was said by Solomon, "Go to the ant, consider her ways and be wise;" so might it be said, with parity of reason, go to the sheep for a pattern of submission and obedience; go to the ox for aa example of patient labour; go to the swine; consider its stubborn disposition, its intemperance, and beastly uncleanness; and thence learn to abhor and avoid them. The passage taken by St. Paul from the the poet Callimachus contains a plain allusion to the unprofitable character of this beast-—" The Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies *:" for the

* Kfjfltj an ftvrat, nax» Sufiot, y«r«f*t «cy*. Tit. i. 12.

swine of the Eastern countries drags its belly upon the ground, and is so incapable of speed, that it can scarcely walk. And such is man, if he is a slave to his bodily appetites; his feet are retarded bv the heaviness of his nature, and he can make no progress in any work that is good, useful, or ingenious.

The first man was instructed in Paradise from the qualities of brute creatures, which God summoned before him for his observation. The first writing in the world was by pictures and forms of animal life; for the conveying of religious and moral truth to the mind, before alphabetical writing was in use. These forms or likenesses had been abused by the idolaters of Egypt; so God forbad the use of them, and appointed the alphabetical signatures in their stead; which still retain some traces of the old animal forms*. The moral fables of antiquity are chiefly founded on the properties and manners of brute creatures, which are made to converse and reason according to the views and tempers of each, and so to give notice of the ways of different sorts of men. Thus also did God instruct his people in the law of Moses, by ordering their diet as they were to order their conversation. The unclean, and the rapacious, were prohibited, and, as it were, excommunicated; the useful, gentle, and obedient were selected for food and sacrifice. The prophets explain things in the same way. Isaiah describes the conversion of cruel and immoral heathens to the Gospel of peace under the figure of a miraculous reformation amongst the wild beasts of the earth; when the lion should eat straw like the ox, the wolf and the lamb should feed together, and all the sa

* See some very ingenious observations on the Origm and Progress of Alphabetic Writing, by the Rev. Mr. Davy, printed for Cadell.

vage kinds should put off the nature of evil beasts, as formerly when they had all lived quietly under the same roof in Noah's ark, a figure of the Church of Christ. The New Testament carries on the same mode of instruction, and Peter is taught in a vision that a communication was to be opened between the Jews and the Gentiles, under the figure of a liberty to eat all kinds of unclean beasts, now to be made clean by their reception to the purity of the Gospel *. Even the ill qualities of the great adversary of mankind are set forth for our dread and abhorrence, from Genesis to the Revelation, under the emblem of the old serpent, cursed above every beast of the field; insidious, insinuating, double-tongued, and having the power of death in his bite. We see him again under the emblem of a roaring lion, going about and seeking whom he may devour. Thus are all the creatures serviceable, both good and bad, in giving us ideas for the improvement of the mind and manners.

2. We may observe next, that industry and activity are recommended to us by the example of the whole animal creation. All work, that they may eat; and therefore, he who does not work, is not fit to live. All creatures seek their meat from God; it is not provided for any of them in an inactive state, but they must employ themselves to fmd and obtain it. Birds of the air are upon the wing from morning till evening. Wild creatures must hunt before they can be fed. Some partake of that sentence of labour passed upon man after the fall, and labour with him for their daily food. If it is then the appointment of God, that all his creatures should be in action, the idle man is a monster in the creation, who must pay for his offence * See Acts x. Compare verses 14, 15, and 28.

either by poverty, sickness, ignorance, or vice; and must, in some respect or other, become a nuisance tXt society; on which consideration, it is a great evil in government to maintain any, or to suffer any, for want of employment, to live idly.

3. From the state of beasts under the dominion of man, as God hath wisely established it, the parallel is very strong for the benefit and necessity of government amongst mankind.

Among brute beasts we find the two classes of wild and tame, totally differing in their manners, and in a state of hostility with each other. Man is over them all, to feed the gentle and domestic, to reward the laborious, and to secure them from the incursions of the common enemy. To the one sort he is a governor and protector; to the other an avenger, who ought not to bear the sword in vain; fof if he does, lie himself must suffer by it. as well as the beasts that are committed to his care; the enemy being equally at war with both.

Let us now suppose this law of subordination and subjection to be dissolved: let us suppose the authority of man to be withdrawn, and all animals abandoned to their natural liberty: what would be the consequence? The swine would make his part good by his impudence, and would root up the fruits of the earth in fields or gardens at his pleasure. Foxes, and other vermin, would no longer be thieves, because there would be none to judge them, and so they would take what they wanted by natural right. The wolves would scatter the sheep and tear them to pieces: the dogs, having no master to encourage and direct them, would forget their duty, and join the enemy: and thus the best part of the animal creation would become a prey to the worst. The dogs might perchance quarrel sometimes with a wolf: but the sheep would be no gainers by that.

In order to bring things to this state, the wolf might persuade the sheep, that the power of the shepherd is an imposition, a base encroachment of that tyrant and usurper man; that all creatures are born free and equal; and that they would see blessed times, if they were to assert their natural rights and become independent. The wolf, that should thus argue for universal liberty, would be a wise wolf; for he would be a gainer: but the sheep that should admit the argument, and bring up her lambs in the doctrine, would be a silly sheep indeed; for she would soon be a loser, chased out of her pasture, and worried out of her life.

Among men there certainly is the same difference as among the beasts. There is a sort of them with hard and unfeeling tempers, impudent foreheads, idle dispositions, voracious appetites, and endless wants: who will push themselves into importance, and make their party good either by importunity or by force. There is another sort, modest, sober, and gentle; fearful of offending, and contented with a, little. This difference, so obvious and indisputable, is totally overlooked by those who plead for universal liberty and natural equality: for men are no more equal in their natures than the lamb and the lion's whelp: and supposing liberty to be universal, the bold, the impudent, the idle, and the rapacious, instantly make their fortunes out of the peaceable and the patient. Therefore these can never live together in the world, but under the ordinance of God, who has appointed an authority of law and magistracy, which lays a common restraint upon all: whence all good men, who mean

VOL. iv. D

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