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1. When we consider the animal creation: merely as proofs of the wisdom, and power, and goodness of the Almighty, they are fit subjects for our admiration and praise. From the Leviathan of the waters, and the Behemoth of the earth, to the insects invisible to us but by the aid of glasses, all are proofs of an Almighty and an incomprehensible God, incomprehensible in his might, incomprehensible equally in the minutest of his works.
2. But when we consider, that all were contrived and given for the use of man, how must admiration swell and break forth into gratitude and praise. Of the important use which many render to us we are aware; but how many contribute to our use and comfort, of which we are not conscious, and of which we take no notice? And of this we may rest assured, that, however we may not see the use of some, or misapprehend and misapply the use of others, yet all were intended for our good, and all would be so, but for our ignorance and folly.
3. We may consider them further, as afe fording us lessons of economical, moral, and spiritual instruction. From how many do we gain instruction in the arts of life. They perform by instinct, what we are to make out by reason and consideration. In the answer of Agur to the question, " What things are small and contemptible in themselves and yet wise? he replies: There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceedingly wise: The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer, and they teach us to prepare against a time of adversity; The conies, or Arabian mice, are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks, and thus teach us caution in avoiding those dangers we cannot resist; The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands, and their numbers make them terrible, which should teach us union in prosecuting good designs; The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in king's palaces; and by indefatigable : diligence : repairs her web; which should teach us perseverance, and not to be discouraged.” (Prov. XXX. 24–28. See ORTON'S EXPOSITION, vol. v. p. 96.). Be ye.“ wise as serpents, and harmless' as doves,” (MATT. X. 16.) was the precept of Him who was "the wisdom of God,” (1 Cor. i. 24.) and in whom there was' “ no guile.” (John i. 47.; 1 Pet. ii. 22.): ") ?9,.; ; !! Hisings :
. 4. But they will afford us instructions of a higher 'nature, even for our conduct to that gracious God, of whom we are apt to think so little, and to whom we render so little service. The prophet Isaiah opens his prophecy, with,
Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth, for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and
brought up, children, and they have rebelled against me. :-The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his : master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.” (i. 2, 3.) And the prophet Jeremiah, also, represents the Lord as saying, that “the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times, and the turtle, and the crane, and the swallow observe the time of their.coming; but my people know not the judgment of the Lord.” (viïi. 7.). But the animal with which we are the most conversant, and whose use, 'fidelity, and"attachment deserve our highest regard, is the Dog: “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him," (Job xiii. 15.) seems to be the principle in the heart of a Dog towards his master. “Go to the” Dog, thou unfaithful and ungrateful man, “consider his ways," and learn to trust in thy all-wise and all-gracious Master;" with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." (James. i. 17.) .. .... n
5. The animals will, yet further, teach the gratitude of the heart to break forth in songs of praise. The Psalmist calls upon the “feathered fowls” of the air, and “every thing that hath breath,” to “praise the Lord.” (cxlviii. 10.; cl. 6.) And what soul, that hath any feelings of piety, when he hears the varied. concert of birds, and especially the lark, in his morning and his evening song, soaring aloft towards heaven, can fail to be animated to join “the voice of praise and thanksgiving?” What fitter emblem of a pious soul rising in a halle lujah to Him, who hath “made all things,” and for whose "pleasure they are, and were created?” (Rev. iv. 11.)
But the animals of the lower world may not only teach us to give praise to God on earth; they may remind us of those praises, which, in a world of rest and unfading happiness, we hope to sing for ever in the presence of the