« PreviousContinue »
Pfal. 1. 1o, II. They are all, even to the least of them, under his benign Care; and all this without Distraction or Confusion And he ordereth it so, that they have suitable Relishes of sensitive Happiness, and are carried by the Attractions of Pleasure to perform those Actions which are most necessary for the Support of their Beings, for supplying themselves with Food, for continuing their Kind, and taking Care of their Young: And, whether their Lives be longer or shorter, they are furnished with Enjoyments proper for them whilft they live, and have not a Foresight of Death to make them uneasy; so that, upon the whole, their Existence is an Ad vantage to them: And if some of them prove Food to other Animals, there is nothing in this Constitution that can justly be found fault with. For in this case it must be said, that as during the Time of their Lives, they have Enjoyments suited to their Natures; so the Kind of Death they suffer, is generally less grievous and lingering, than if they died of themselves in the natural Way; and at the same Time is rendered fubfervient to the maintaining the Lives of other Animals, and contributes to their Pleasure and Enjoyment. How should we, when we confider these Things, call upon the whole
Creation around us, to adore and bless the universal Lord, and fupreme Governor of the World! And since the Brute Creatures are unable to do it of themselves, let us offer up a Tribute of Praise on their Account as well as
our own, and lend them a Voice and Songs, a noble Specimen of which we have in the rapturous Strains of the devout Pfalmift in the 148th Psalm, where he calls upon Beasts and all Cattle, creeping Things and flying Fowl, to praise the Lord.
Secondly, Another Reflection which may be made
upon this Subject is, that if God governs and takes Care even of the inferior Brute Animals, this ought to strengthen our Faith with Relation to the Care he exerciseth towards Mankind, and should convince us, that all our Concernments and Affairs are, in a particular Manner, under the Superintendency of Divine Providence. This is what our Saviour hath especially in View, when he declares to his Disciples concerning the Sparrows, not one of them falleth to the Ground without your Father; or is forgotten before God : For he adds, Fear not therefore, ye are of more Value than many Sparrows. Mat. x. 29, 31.
And to the fame Purpose, in his admirable Discourse against anxious tormenting Cares and Solicitude, Mat. vi. Behold, faith he, . the Fowls of the Air ;
for they fow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into Barns; yet your heavenly Fatber feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Ver. 26. The Argument is clear and strong, that if the Care of God's Providence extendeth even to the irrational Brute Creatures, we may be sure he will not neglect the rational and much nobler Part of his Creation. This is not to be understood, as if we were not to fow or reap any more than the Brute Animals, who are incapable of doing this ; but the Meaning is, that as he provideth for the Brutes in a Way suited to their Natures, so he will much more provide for Men in a Way fuited to the rational Nature he hath given them, which requireth, that they should apply themselves to the Use of all proper Means according to their Ability. If they do this, they may, without anxious Solicitude, commit themselves to Divine Providence, depending upon it, that he who neglecteth not the inferior fenfitive Beings, will take Care of the human Race, especially those of them that exercise a regular Trust in him, and will grant what he seeth to be really good and needful for them.
Thirdly, From what hath been offered concerning the Dominion and Sovereignty of Divine Providence over both the in
animate and Brute Creation, we may see how careful we should be to please and serve God, and how much it concerneth us to secure an Interest in his Favour. We live in a World where every Thing above, beneath, on every Side of us, is in the Hand of God, and under his Direction. If we be rebellious and disobedient to his Voice, he can arm all the Creatures against us. He can cause the Earth we tread upon to shake under us, and swallow us up; he can point his awful Thunder at our Heads, or can taint the Air we breath in with a poisonous Influence ; he can commiffion the Water to overwhelm us, or the Fire to consume us; or he can make the Brute Beasts the Instruments of our Punishment. And that he doth not so, is only owing to his wonderful Patience and Forbearance, because he is not willing that rilh, but that all should come to Repentance. On the other Hand, if we lay hold of his offered Mercy upon the most gracious and reasonable Terms of his Covenant, and are careful to walk before him unto all pleasing, he can make the whole Creation to be as it were in a Covenant of Friend. ship with us, and to subserve his own kind and gracious Intentions towards us. . This is beautifully expressed by Eliphez, when he exhorteth Job to return to God,
and be at Peace with him: Thou shalt be in League, faith he, with the Stones of the Field; and the Beasts of the Field, faith he, shall be at Peace with thee : And thou shalt know that thy Tabernacle Mall be in Peace; and thou shalt visit thy Habitation, and shalt not fin. Job. v. 23, 24. And to the fame Purpose, Hof. ii. 18. God is introduced as declaring concerning his People, In that Day will I make a Covenant for them with the Beasts of the Field, and with the Fowls of Heaven, and with the creeping Things of the Ground. And Ver. 21, 22. And it mall come to pass in that Day, I will hear, faith the Lord, I will hear the Heavens, and they Jhall bear the Earth: And the Earth Mall bear the Corn, and the Wine, and the Oil, and they shall bear Jezreel. Where there is held forth to us a wonderful Concatenation of second Causes, all co-operating, under the Direction and Influence of God, the supreme Disposer, for the Good of his People. Let us, therefore, learn to yield a willing · and entire Subjection to the great Lord of the Universe. Let us make him our Friend, and all Things shall work together for our Good. Either none of the Creatures shall be suffered to hurt us, or, if they do, we may be sure this is ordered for wise Ends, and shall be over-ruled for