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I have now gone through the principal passages in the Old Testament which relate to the brüte creation, and the precepts given by God to man respecting them. The passages on this subject in the New Testament, I shall consider in my next discourse. In the mean time, I request you to view this subject in a light in which, perhaps, you have not before been used to contemplate it-as one of very great importance; and I shall now conclude with a few lines from the Christian poet, Cowper, who, speaking of the animal creation, says,
They are all the meanest things that are
To check them. But, alas ! none sooner shoots,
TASK, b. vi, 1. 584-600,
END OF THE FIRST DISCOURSE.
THE ANIMAL CREATION.
GENESIS I. 26.
And God said, Let them have dominion over
the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
In my last discourse, I undertook to show from these words, the case of man and of the brute creation, and of our duties towards them. I went through the principal passages on this subject in the Old Testament, and proposed in this, to consider the case of animals under
the gospel. And, here, as there have been persons in all times of the Christian dispensation, who have denied the right of using them as food; and as there are some in these times who maintain the same doctrine, as well as others who object to it on the ground of humanity, it seems to be necessary, in the first place, to prove, that man is permitted, under the gospel, to eat flesh, or, in other words, to take away life for his sustenance.
I. 1. Before I mention our blessed Lord himself, I will just notice that remarkable instance of abstemiousness, John the Baptist, the “ Elias who was for to come,” (Matt. xi. 14.) and who might be said, comparatively speaking, to have come “neither eating nor drinking,” (Matt. v. 18.) whose food was “ locusts and wild honey:" (Matt. iii. 4.). his life, therefore, was sustained by the labour of the bees and the death of the locusts.