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well and know their duty, will pray for those who are in authority, that God would direct their counsels and strengthen their hands in the execution of his laws, for the common good: that the fences may not he weak, nor the beast of prey find friends and accomplices within the fold. It is of pernicious consequence to the peace of mankind, that there is a certain wild spirit of reforming policy, which, whether it works with the commanding air and garb of philosophy, or with the powers of oratory, or the fancies of poetry, can never rest till it has made men wolves to one another; for, as tilings are, this must be the effect of natural equality brought to its proper issue. If we would reason like men, let ns first inform ourselves from the regulations and laws which God hath established in the world: this will be our best philosophy: When oratory takes us off from this ground, it is nothing but sophistry; and poetry, when it misrepresents the nature of things, is delusion and madness.
4. But now, fourthly, as the animal creation sets before us the natural interests of men in society, it leads us farther on to the attributes and perfections of God; as the stream, if we-trace it upwards, must bring us to the fountain. The whole world, as an effect, is so constituted as to instruct us in the nature of its cause. Thus the effect of motion in the world demonstrates a cause which has motion from itself, and in which all other motion must begin. Derivative life in living creatures must descend from a life which is original; that is, from a Being, zc/to, as the Scriptures speaks, only hath immortality.
The faculty of. sight, so piercing and extensive in some creatures, and so necessary to all, directs us to an all-seeing Power, from which nothing can be hid. He that made the eye must see with perfect sight, and be the witness of our secret thoughts. The appearance of mechanical art in animals, which is wonderful and incomprehensible in some kinds, is a specimen or emanation of that consummate art and skill which are in the Creator himself. Natural affection in animals toward their young is a proof that the Creator, who infused it, hath the same affection to his own creatures; especially to man ; for we are his offspring. The workings of natural affection in the creature are appealed to, as a sign or pledge of his own tender mercies to us: can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will not I forget thee. Our Saviour insists upon a like example in nature to give us an idea of his own tenderness towards his people: how often would 1 have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings! From these and other like examples, we infer with certainty, that whatsoever is good or excellent in the creature, the original of all that goodness is in the Creator himself; the whole world being as it were a transcript or tranfusion of the Divine Mind.
5. Lastly, from the consideration of those wonderful instincts which are found in living creatures, it should be our earnest desire and our highest ambition to have God for our teacher. The stork, the turtle, the crane,' and the swallow, know their appointed times *, and find an unbeaten invisible track through the air, and over the wide ocean, to a distant climate. The spider spreads and suspends its web by the nicest rules of art. The beaver, the architect of the waters, builds an habitatioa which no human architect could 9 Jer. viii. 7.
contrive or execute. The bird weaves a nest of untractable materials,, which it deposes and adjusts without any difficulty. The bee designs writh unerring skill what no geometrician could teach, and measures its work in the dark. As a chemist, it has the grand secret of transmutation, extracting the sweetest of meat from the most poisonous of herbs- See how wise all these are, without the tedious forms of practice and experience! they have no elements to learn, but are well read by immediate infusion. From the same power, and in the same compendious manner, did the Apostles, on the day of Pentecost, attain to the knowledge of all languages without learning them. The working of God is to us as unaccountable in the one way of teaching as in the other. And doth not God still give to man a sense and a power superior to reason, when he appear-s plainly to have given such a power to inferior creatures? Will not he still teach man, who continueth to teach the beasts of the earth, and the fowls of heaven? Therefore, if any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who certainly will give to men as liberally as to brutes; and they have a promise that they shall be answered if they apply for direction. Where shall the ant or the bee go, but to the Creator, to learn what no reason of man can teach them? And whither shall man go but to the same teacher? The knowledge he wants is no: from himself, but from the Spirit of Truth, and the word of Revelation; and now, by the sending of the Holy Ghost, and the publication of the Gospel, we see fulfilled which was written in the prophets, they shall be all taught of God: the grace of God hath been given to all nations as universally as instinct hath been infused into all the kinds of living creatures: and so God is just and equal in all his works: what we hare not in the ordinary way of nature, we obtain in the extraordinary way of grace; which is the better and the wiser way upon all accounts; and he, who pretends to have by nature what God giveth by grace, is more unprovided, and in a worse condition, than the beasts that perish.
6. Upon the whole, the animal world sets before us the most evident assurances of the Divine wisdom, power, and goodnesss: and our duty, in respect to this subject, is equally plain from what has been said. As the government of all creatures is committed to man by the Creator, not obtained by chance, it must be considered as a trust, which we are seriously and faithfully to discharge. We think few men are fit to be kings, and are strangely apprehensive of despotism: yet is every man an absolute monarch over these poor brute subjects; often shamefully abused by the wanton, the passionate, and the hard-hearted! A righteous man, who doeth good from a sense of duty, regardeth the life of his beast *: he abstains from all cruelty; he rewards the labour of his brute servants and domestics, and delights to render their lives as easy and comfortable as he can; knowing that he must give an account of this as.of every other trust. In their natural capacity, he uses them for his benefit with thankfulness to their Maker: in their intellectual application, he derives improvement to his mind from the contemplation of their natures. That man is a poor animal, not worthy of the name of a man, who looks upon beasts as beasts look upon him, and learns nothing from them; when a wise man may gather so much instruction to serve him in every relation of life, whether natural, social, civil, or re
* Prov. xii. 10.
When we see what wisdom is found in the beasts ofthe earth, and fowls of the heaven; how they perform what surpasses the power of reason, because God worketh in them; let us apply to their Teacher, that he may assist us in all the works necessary to the saving of our souls: that we may be as wise for the next world as they are for their well-being in this world. Whatsoever gifts and talents are necessary to them, they have by nature without asking; for they cannot ask: what We want we must pray for; God having made his teaching unto us an object of choice, and endued us with speech for the great ends of praying to him and praising him. To Him therefore, who is the only wise, who only hath immortality, the Lord and giver of life, who is magnified in all his works, even the Father, the Son, and the HoJy Ghost, three persons and one God, be ascribed all honour, glory, power, and dominion, now and for evermore. Amen.