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facts illustrate the propriety of our Lord's reply to those who advised him to flee from the machinations of Herod : “And he said unto them, Go ye and tell that fox, behold I cast out devils, and I do cures to-day, and to-morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.”y Herod was an insidious, crafty, and refined politician, and a cruel unfeeling prince. He recommended himself with great art to the Jews, by pretending a love for their religion ; whilst, intent on his own private interests, he servilely flattered the Roman emperor. It is known to all who are versant in the history of those times, by what arts he seduced his brother's wife, and with what cruelty, and in. justice he treated John the Baptist, who reproved him for his incestuous connection. The Herodians, it has been said, were his creatures and spies, who spread themselves over the country, to hear the conversation of the people concerning their master ; and were secretly sent to watch the discourses and proceedings of the Saviour. The title of fox, therefore, could not be applied with more propriety to any human character. But although Herod was confessedly artful and cruel as the fox, some have doubted if it was lawful for his subjects, of whom our Lord was one, to reproach him. But since the Saviour did reproach him, it was lawful; for he did always the things which pleased his heavenly Father: and the Spirit of inspiration attests him as the “ holy One and the just.” To this conclusive reply, may be added, that the objection is founded on the divine right of kings; a doctrine which cannot be sufficiently detested, and which has long been exploded by the most enlightened writers on jurisprudence.
; Luke xiii, 32.
WILD INOFFENSIVE ANIMALS.
The Wild Ass.- The Hart.- The Ibex or Wild Goat.-The Antelope.
The Unicorr. The Coney.-- The Mouse. The Badger. The Mole. The Bat.
The Wild Ass. This animal was called ovos ayquos among the Greeks, and onager by the Romans. Some natural historians consider it as a different species from the tame and domestic ass ; but others, among whom is the celebrated Buffon, affirm, that it differs from its unhappy relation, only in those particulars which are the proper effects of independence and liberty. Although more elegantly shaped, the general form of its body is the same; but in temper
manners it is extremely dissimilar. Intended to fill a higher place in the kingdom of nature, than its abject and enslaved brother, it exhibits endowments, which in all ages have commanded the admiration of every observer. Animated by an unconquerable love of liberty, this high spirited animal submits his neck with great reluctance to the yoke of man; extremely jealous of the least restraint, he shuns the inhabited country, and steadily rejects all the delicacies it has to offer. His chosen haunt is the solitary and inhospitable desert, where he roves at his ease, exulting in the possession of unrestrained freedom. These are not accidental nor acquired traits in his character; but instincts, a Bochart. Hieroz. lib. iii, p. 867. Buffon's Nat. Hist. vol. ii.- Onager. implanted by the hand of his Maker, that are neither to be extinguished nor modified by length of time, nor change of circumstances. To this wild and untameable temper, Jehovah himself condescends to direct the attention of Job, when he answered him out of the whirlwind, and said: “ Who hath sent out the wild ass free? or who hath loosed the bands of the wild ass? whose house I have made the wilderness, and the barren land his dwellings. He scorneth the multitude of the city ; neither regardeth he the crying of the driver. The range of the mountains is his pasture, and he searcheth after every green thing."
The proper name of this animal in the Hebrew language, is , Phæræ, a term which, according to some writers, is expressive of its extreme suspicion. It is em. ployed by Moses, to denote the wild and untractable disposition of Ishmael, and his descendants; and by Zophar, to characterise a vain, self-righteous, and obstinate person. In accordance with this idea, the noun furnishes a verb in the Hiphil form, which signifies to act as wildly as the onager.
Others derive the noun from a Chaldee verb, which signifies to run with great swiftness; and every writer, ancient and modern, who has treated of this animal, has attested the wonderful celerity with which it flies over the desert. According to Leo Africanus, the wild ass yields only to the horses of Barbary; and Xenophon avers in his Anabasis, that it out-runs the fleetest horses. It has feet like the whirlwind, says Oppian ; Ælian asserts, that it seems as if it were carried forward by wings like a bird.
Þ Job xxxix, 5.
• Anab. lib. i, cap. 5, sec. 2, Hutchison's edition, Glasgow. Ælian de Nat. Animal. lib. xiv, cap. 10, and lib. xvi, cap. 9.
These testimonies are confirmed by Professor Gmelin, who saw numerous troops of them in the deserts of Great Tartary, and says, The onagers are animals adapted to running, and of such swiftness, that the best horses cannot equal them. Relying on its extraordinary powers, it fre quently mocks the pursuit of the hunter; and in the striking description of its Creator, “ Scorneth the mula titude of the city," that invade its retreats, and seek its de struction. It laughs (as the original term properly signifies) at their numbers and their speed, and seems to take a malicious pleasure in disappointing their hopes. Xenophon states, that the onagers in Mesopotamia, when pursued on horseback, will stop suddenly in the midst of their career, till the hunters approach, and then dart away with surprising velocity; and again stop, as if inviting them to make another effort to overtake them, but immediatly dart away again like an arrow shot from a bow: indeed it would be impossible for men to take them, without the assistance of art. “We gave chase,” says Mr. Morier, “ to two wild asses, but which had so much the speed of our horses, that when they had got at some distance, they stood still and looked behind at us, snorting with their noses in the air as if in contempt of our endeavours to catch them."d The hunters, however, often lie in wait for them at the ponds of brackish water, to which they resort to drink; or take them alive by means of concealed pits, half filled with plants and branches of trees, to lessen the creature's fall. At other times the chase is continued by relays of fresh horses, which the hunters mount as the others are exhausted, till the strength of the animal is so completely worn out, that it can be easily overtaken.
d Trav. vol. i, p. 201.
The wild ass, unsocial in his temper, and impatient of restraint, frequents the solitary wilderness, and the vast inhospitable desert, the salt marsh, and the mountain range. This is the scene adapted to his nature and instincts, and his proper domain allotted to him by the author of his being. We are not left to infer this fact from the manners and habits of the animal; Jehovah himself has attested it in these terms: “ Whose house I have made the wilderness, and the barren lands his dwellings.” He who made the wild ass free, and loosed his bands, provides a habitation for him in the desert, where the voice of man is not heard, nor a human dwelling meets his eye. But every desert is not equally to his liking; it is the barren or salt land in which he delights. So grateful is salt to his taste, that he uniformly prefers brackish water to fresh, and selects for his food those plants that are impregnated with saline particles, or that have bitter juices. He, therefore, retires from the cultivated or fertile regions, not merely to be free from the domination of man, but to enjoy the pasture which is agreeable to his instincts. “The multitude,” or the abundance of the city, “ he despises for the salt or bitter leaf on the sandy waste."
Into such a state of desolation and sterility was the inheritance of God's ancient people reduced, by the arms of Nebuchadnezzar : “Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns and briers, yea, upon all the houses of joy in the joyous city: because the palaces shall be forsaken, the multitude of the city shall be left, the forts and towers shall be dens for ever, a joy of wild asses, a
• Varro de Re Rust. lib. ii, cap. 6. Plin. Hist. Nat. lib. viii, cap. 30.
* Bochart. Hieroz. lib. iii, cap. 16, p. 872. Plin. Hist. Nat. lib. xxxi, cap. 7. Vir. Geor. lib. ii, l. 288.