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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 hanging over our heads, may God avert it, by giving us grace to put an end to the abuse!
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 whom the care of them may be entrusted, to defence from injury by strangers, to proper shelter from the severity of the seasons, or from the attacks of other animals of prey.
Under the head of cruelties may be comprehended all those unnecessary mutilations, made merely under a notion of rendering them more sightly in the ideas of the owner, by which pain is inflicted in the operation, and much inconvenience suffered for the remainder of the life of the animal..
It is not sufficient, in these, or in any cases of cruelty, for any one to say, that the animal is his own, and he may do what he pleases with it. It is not his own. It is a trust committed to his care by the Great Creator of all, who claims them as His, when he says, “all the beasts of the forest are mine, and so are the cattle upon a thousand hills: I know all the fowls upon the mountains, and the wild beasts of the field are in my sight;" (PSALM I. 10, 11.) and the man will have to account to Him for the care which he has taken of it. When Balaam smote in anger the beast upon which he rode; he might as well have urged its being his own; but the animal was endowed miraculously with a voice to remonstrate, and the angel rebuked him, and the prophet acknowledged that he had sinned. This miraculous voice speaks as the voice of God in behalf of the dumb, in every country and in every age.
II. The second particular of which I proposed to treat was instruction, or discipline; what is, in many instances, styled breaking. Animals were intended for our use, and, by whatever means they were to have been brought to this in a more perfect state, in this our fallen world, with their natures corrupt, as well as man's, much discipline is often necessary to bring them to it: the horse and the ass must be brought to bear the bit, the ox his yoke, and the dog to know what is allowable for him and what is not. The means by which these are to be accomplished are to be a due mixture of kindness and severity. Kindness in the general, a well-placed severity when needed. As, in the education of children, it is possible, by sparing the rod, to spoil the child, (Prov. xiii. 24.; xxii. 15.; xxiii. 13, 14.; xxix. 15.) so may animals be spoiled in their education, for want of proper correction. “The fear of you, and the dread of you,” (Gen. ix. 2.) was imposed, by the Great Creator and Governor, upon beast towards man, when he committed them into his hands after the flood. But an exhortation rather to restrain than to exert severity is what is now most needed. And, it may be affirmed, in general, that gentleness and patience are the great requisites in the discipline of animals, as well as of children and of men.
And, while we are gentle with them, we must teach them to be gentle too. The prac- tice of mankind is too much the other way. Instead of endeavouring to make animals dwell in “ harmony and family accord,” (CowPER's Task, b. vi. 1. 379.) they are generally set against each other, and man delights to see them worry and tear, rather than “lie down together” in love and happiness.
In this view of the subject, it deserves our consideration, how far those amusements may be lawful, which consist in making animals pursue, and worry, and destroy one another? None of them can be followed without a mixture of cruelty, properly so called. Are they, then, proper for those, who are the creatures of a benignant Creator, and redeemed by a