« PreviousContinue »
shall consider the case of the animals at the creation, after the fall, at and after the flood, and under the law of Moses. In my next, I shall consider their state under the Gospel; and in my third, the duties owing from man to the brutes committed to his dominion.
I. When our great Creator had finished his work, and “ saw every thing that he had made, and behold it was very good," and, “having made man in his own likeness,” he invested him with dominion over the creation, and brought “every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air, unto Adam, to see what he would call them;" and our first parent gave unto every thing a name, and reigned sole lord of this our earth. Unto man were assigned" for meat,” “every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed.” “ And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth wherein there is life,” God gave .“ every green herb for meat.” “Righteousness” was then “the girdle of” man's “loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The wolf dwelt with the lamb, and the leopard lay down with the kid; the calf, and the young lion, and the fatling together:". (ISAIAH xi. 5, 6.) all was harmony, and all. was happiness: the brute creation put their trust in man, and man delighted in the trust; nature wore a universal smile, and the joys of paradise were second only to the joys of heaven.
But our first parents, by their disobedience to the Creator, reversed this state of innocence, and entailed sin and misery upon the whole creation: “ For their wickedness, the land mourned, and the herbs of every field withered, and the beasts and the birds were consumed.” (JEREMIAH xii. 4.) The social bond was then broken, and man became the terror of the brute creation.
What was the original intention of the Creator in respect to man and the brute creation, as far as concerns some of their para ticular uses, it is impossible to say. But, when we consider the great service which some of them afford to man, both in respect to food and assistance, even in the fallen state of the world; and then estimate the uses to which others, with their extraordinary strength, agility, and sagacity, might be applied in a state of absolute subjection, the effect must have been prodigious. We may gain some assistance in this contemplation, by considering what they are in the hands of the Almighty Creator, when he pleases to make use of them as the instruments of his pleasure, or of his
wrath. Consider, for a moment, the animals made to pass in review before Adam in Paradise-those brought by pairs and by sevens to Noah at the ark--the “insect armies” used as the scourges of Pharaoh and the Egyptians the quails brought to the Israelites in the wilderness as food, or the fiery serpents sent to sting them the ravens made the purveyors of food to Elijah--the lion which killed the disobedient prophet--the lions which crouched before the holy prophet Daniel and the wild beasts in the wilderness, which harmed not the Saviour in the days of his temptation:when we reflect upon these cases, well may we exclaim, “ O Lord, wbat service have we lost by our rebellion against Thee!" But to return to our history.
In the fourth chapter of the book of Genesis, mention is made of Abel having a flock of sheep, and of his offering the firstlings of it to
the Lord. The offering was a sacrifice, appointed, probably, by God, at the time of the fall of Adam; and the promise of the seed of the woman to bruise the serpent's head, as a type of that Lamb of God, which was in due time to appear and be sacrificed for us, to take away the sin of the world. The flock, probably, was kept by Abel for the milk, as, “Who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?" (1 Cor. ix. 7.) For the eating of flesh," it seems, was not yet permitted, as the food still assigned to man after the fall, was “the herb of the field.” (GEN. iii. 18.) Whether man had gone beyond this permission, and had eaten flesh before the flood, we are not informed.. .
II. After the flood, however, we find, that, on Noah's coming out of the ark, with all the creatures, he builded an altar unto the Lord,” and “offered burnt offerings upon the