« EelmineJätka »
God's Government and Care as ex
tending to the sensitive Brute Animals.
Are not two Sparrows fold for a Farthing ? And one of them hall not fall to the Ground
AVING considered the whole in
animate Creation, this vast material World, as under the constant Direction and Superintendency of Divine Providence; I shall now proceed to consider God's providential Care and Government as exercised towards the Brute Animals, which are endued with Life and Sensation, but have not
a Principle of Reason, nor are capable of moral Agency.
And these are certainly of an higher and more valuable Kind than any
Part of the inanimate Creation. Life in its lowest Notion, as including Selfmotion, and even the smallest Degree of Sensation, hath something in it more wonderful than the whole inanimate material World can furnish. There is an amazing Display of the Wisdom and Power of God in the Formation of sensitive Beings, both in the Fabric of their Bodies, which is contrived and formed with a Skill that exceedeth all human Imagination, and in the several Powers, Appetites, and Instincts, which they are furnished with. And it is reasonable to believe that he that first formed them exercises constant Care over them. How many different Species there may be of living Creatures which have Sense and Perception, and yet are not moral Agents, dispersed throughout the several Regions of this vast Universe, we cannot tell; but that there are various kinds of them here on Earth we well know. The great Author of Nature seems to delight in diffusing Life every where : The whole Earth is full of Vitality ; it is as it were one vast Mass or Coilection of living Creatures ; every Clod swarms with Inhabitants. And what a noble Astonishment
should possess our Minds, to regard all these various kinds of living sensitive Beings, from the greatest to the least and meanest of them, as under the Inspection and Government of the universal Parent, and Lord of all !
The Government of Divine Providence, as exercised towards inferior sensitive Beings, or the irrational Brute Animals, may be considered either as more immediately refpecting themselves and their own Benefit. As they are all of them, through the Goodness of Divine Providence, furnished with Organs and Appetites suited to the different Kinds of Life for which they are designed; so the very lowest and meanest of them are in their Degree capable of an Happiness and Enjoyment, which is as truly fitted and accommodated to them, as higher Enjoyments are to Creatures of a higher Kind, and · of more enlarged Capacities and Powers. And even with regard to those of them that appear to be most minute and inconsiderable, and whose Lives are of the shortest Duration, it must be considered that their short Lives may be as well proportioned to them, as a much longer Life to Creatures of a greater Bulk. There may, for ought we know, be Creatures of such a Kind, that a Day may be to them a sufficient Time of Existence, and yield them as full Enjoyment
as their Natures are capable of. And the shorter their Lives are, there is a more quick Succession of Individuals. And concerning the least of them it must be owned, that their vital Existence and Enjoyment, short as it may seem to be, is certainly better than Non-existence, or than an inanimate unperceptive Existence, destitute of Life and Sensation.
With regard to all those Animals which we are best acquainted with, the Care of Divine Providence over them manifestly appeareth in the Provifion that is made for maintaining their sensitive Life, for gratifying their Appetites, and for enabling them to attain to the End for which they are defigned. They are all carried by strong Instincts to use the properest Methods for preserving Life, and to shun whatever is destructive to it, to seek after and to take that Kind of Food which is most suited to their Nature, to provide themselves convenient Habitations, to propagate their Kind, and to take Care of their young in the fittest Manner, whilst that Care is necessary, and no longer. These several Instincts by which they are guided, and ac- : cording to which they act wisely and steadily in certain Cases, are not owing to any Contrivance or Reason of their own, but to the superior Wisdom and Power of him
that first formed them, and still governeth them, and exerciseth a constant Care over them. To this Care it is owing, that the several Species of them are still preserved and continued distinct, and that a due Balance among them is maintained.
And as Reason and Observation, if duly attended to, lead us to acknowledge the constant Care of Divine Providence towards the Brute Creatures, mere sensitive Beings, so it is very clearly and exprelly asserted in the sacred Writings. are there told, that God giveth to the Beast his Food, and to the young Ravens which cry. Psal. cxlvii. 9. The whole Brute Creation are represented as belonging to the Family of God, for whose Sustenance he continually provideth. These all wait upon tbee, that thou mayest give them their Meat in due Season. That thou givest them, they gather : Thou openest thine Hand, they are filled with Good. It is added, Thou bidest thy Face, they are troubled; thou takest away their Breath, they die, and return to their Duft. Thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created ; and thou renewest the Face of the Earth. Pfal. civ. 27, 28, 29, 30. Among the Laws which God gave by Moses, there are some that prescribe a kind Treatment even of the Brute Animals. And it is
particularly as one Design of the Appoint