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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 are 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 the 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 is wanting, such creatures are of a middle nature be
*Rom. iii. 15,
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 e concealment of the night. When the sun ariseth the beast of prey retires to the covert of the forest; and while the cattle are spreadin themselves over a thousand hills in search of pasture the tyrant of the desart is laying himself down in his, 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
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
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 with 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 find 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 friend of man; and happy is he, who finds a friend as 'true and uncorrupt 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 crcatures 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 he treadeth out the
The different manners of beasts and cattle, with their dependence upon the bounty of God, are briefly