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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.
It is my intention; in this and the two following discourses, to take occasion, from the words of the text, to set before you the case of the brute creation, the uses which man is permitted to make of them, and his duties towards them. In the present discourse, I 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.
1. 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:" (ISATAH xi. 5, 6.) all was harmony, and all was happiness: the brute creation put their trust in man, and man de lighted 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 par. 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
To the Rev.
Rector of Normanton, in the County of Rutland, and
of Coningsby, in the County of Lincoln.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
The publication of a work has ever this pleasing circumstance attending it to the author, that it affords him an opportunity of paying a tribute of respect and esteem to public or private worth, in his dedication. In sending the following discourses abroad into the world, I feel an anxious wish to attach your name to them, as their Patron, in conjunction with my own. A work intended to promote the cause of Humanity, either towards Man or Brute, is certain to find an interest in your breast. The friendship which subsisted between us, for seve..