Page images

proceed now to consider, as I at first proposed, in a more particular and systematic way, the duties which man owes to the animals committed to his care.

Dominion implies government for the general good of the governors and the governed, together with all things intended by the Great Governor of All for their well-being and comfort; and these may be comprehended under the heads of protection-discipline,-food, rest, and assistance in accidents and sickness. Upon each of these heads I shall speak more at large, and conclude with some general instructions.

I. “The advantages, which mankind possess above the rest of the animal creation," says an excellent writer, “are principally derived from reason, from the social principle, from taste," meaning the mental taste, “and from religion *.” In another place, he says: “ Their want of language seems owing to their having no regular train or order in their ideas, and not any deficiency in their organs of speech. Many animals may be taught to speak, but none of them can be taught to connect any idea to the words they pronounce. The reason, therefore, why they do not express themselves by combined and regulated signs, is, because they have no regular combination in their ideast." The animal creation, therefore, not being endowed with reason, and being placed under the dominion of man, he is in the place of reason to them; . that is, he is to determine for them, to the When the Israelites, in the land of Canaan, were enjoined to let the land have rest every seven years; and, in their avarice and distrust of God, neglected the command; God, in his anger, gave them into captivity for seventy years, to make them suffer for those years-ofsabbaths neglected by them and their forefathers. Should it please an offended God to call us to account for the Sabbaths we have profaned in denying rest to the cattle, heavy indeed will be the reckoning which we must pay. Should such a retribution be hangirg over our heads, may God avert it, by giving us grace to put an end to the abuse!

#. Dr. Gregory's “ Comparative View of the State and Faculties of Man with those of the Animal World.” Seventh Edition, Sect. II. p. 82..

7. Ditto,' p. II,

best of his judgment, enlightened by the Word of God; and it is the part of animals to be guided by him, that is, to obey.

Protection may be said to be particular, or general; that is, particular being shown to the animals under our own immediate care; or general, as a governor or common member of the community, whose duty it is to watch and act for the general good, and see that the animals enjoy all those privileges and comforts designed them by the Great Father-of-AH. And, here, in every country, the king, or chief magistrate, or those who rule and make the laws, are to take care, that the laws commanded by God make, likewise, a part of the laws of the land, and that they be regularly and punctually fulfilled. There are, certainly, many good laws in this country for the protection of animals; but, is the great law of the Sabbath respecting them observed? I have

no hesitation in saying, that I conceive the
treatment of horses in this country to be 'a
NATIONAL SIN. I say a national sin, because
it is of such extent, so well known, and sanc-
tioned by the ruling powers of the nation,
-contrary to the existing laws. The labouring
cattle, in the country, it is to be hoped, for the
most part, enjoy the rest of the Sabbath; but,
what is to be said of those poor animals, who
run upon our roads in travelling, in mail-
coaches, in stages, in Waggons, and in the
carriages of travellers? A shomo of respect to
the law of God is, indeed, made in the metro-
polis, by no letters coming in, and none going
out, upon that day. But the carriages and
horses still run, and neither drivers, travellers,.
nor horses, observe and enjoy the holy rest of
the Sabbath. Surely, such a conduct is tri-
fling with God.

[ocr errors]

- Much might be done by magistrates within their respective spheres, and by individuals, by example, and by interference, where cases may require it. This protection will extend to a defence from the cruel treatment of those to

« PreviousContinue »