Billeder på siden

monkey; the inflexible, perseverance of the cat in watehing her prey, and the subtle artifices of the hare, in eluding her pursuers.

The lion, at whose tremendous, roar crear tion fies, as if knowing the terron which his fearless form inspires, has recourse to cunning, and watches his prey in ambush, in the neighbourhood of those springsandwaterstowhich they must necessarily come to quench their thirst.Thebear, in autumn, betakes himself to his winter quarters,nor ventures abroad till spring has again renewed the face of the earth -The Chamois Goat when closely pursued in his mountainous retreat, will suddenly rebound on the huntsman, and precipitate him over the rock. The hedgehog in winter wraps himself up in his mossy nest. The porcupine when almost overtaken in the pursuit, on a sudden rolls himself up, and presents to his antagonist, instead of a delicious morsel a ball of prickles: and the armadillo, aetuated by some unerring impulse, joins his extremities beneath his shelly covering, and rolls over the precipice unhurt, to the confusion of his enė my. But this is not all-Horses in a state of nature are not only said to keep a centinel on the out look,but when attacked, join heads together and fight with their beels.xen in a similar state, join tails togetier, and fight


with their horns.-Swine get together in impenetrable herds to resist the attack, and what is observable in all they place the young in the middle, and keep them safe in the day of battle.

The combination of these rational qualities, and the sources from which they spring, made many of the early and learned fathers, firmly believe in the IMMORTALITY OF THE SOULS OF BRUTES, and considered themselves well warranted by scripture and reason so to do. Le Clerc seems to have been of this, opinion; for, in a note to Grotius's “ Truth of the Christian Religion,” he corrects Grotius thus:-“ No, (says Le Clerc,) they are done, by the soul of those beasts, which is so reasonable, as to be able to do such things, and not others. Otherwise God himself would act in them instead of a soul, which a good philosopher will hardly be persuaded of. Nothing hinders but that there may be a great many ranks of sensible and intelligent natures the lowest of which may be in the bodies of brute creatures; for nobody, I think, really believes with Descartes, that brutes are merely corporeal machines. But you will say, when brute creatures die, what becomes of the soul? That indeed I know not, but it is nevertheless true that souls reside in them. There is

no necessity that we should know all things, nor are we therefore presently to deny any thing because we cannot give account of it. We are to receive those things that are evident, and be content to be ignorant of those things which we cannot know.”

In some passages of scripture, there is little distinction made between man and beast, as Eccl. III. 19, For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea they have all one breath; so that a man hath little pre-eminence over a beast. AN

go unto one place, all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. We are also informed by the evangelist St. John, that he beheld in a vision, while in the Isle of Patmos, beasts before the throne of God, giving glory, and honour, and thanks, to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever.

By way of conclusion, we shall now only add a few cursory remarks on the following passages--Eccl. 11. 21, Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of beast that goeth downward to the earth? Psalm XLIX. 12, Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish. As these two texts contain all that is generally offered in opposition to the pre

ceding arguments, we shall confine ourselves chiefly to them.

The first text indeed, shows there is a difference between the spirits or souls of men and the spirits of brutes, and that they go to separate places; but it by no means proves that the spirit or soul of the beast will be extinct, any more than that of man: and that they have spirits, is plainly declared. Were we to suppose that all the bodies of men that


to the earth were annihilated, we would be no better than Sadducees. It cannot therefore, in the least, imply extinction of being, but only a separate place from that of men.

The second text, is counted by ignorant people, an incontravertible proof that beasts perish; which, by their acceptation, is annihilation.--Learned theologists render it otherwise: and in no dictionary whatever, in a scriptural sense, has it this signification. The true explanation of it is thus: To run into decay, or ruin; to be cut off, to be killed, and to die; yet, the literal meaning of the word is very simple: it is compounded of per, by or through; and eo, I go; and signifies no more than passing out of sight. So, in Isaiah lvn.1, The righteous perisheth, justus periit. Thus it signifies to be removed by death; to passout of sight intothe invisible world,orparadise of God


The original word is compounded of APO intensive, and ollymi or OLLYO, to destroy, to kill, to lose : hence, the word APOLLYMI signifies to be utterly lost, not implying any ertinction of being, but by the rendering that being useless; totally defeating the end and purpose of life.

This, undoubtedly, is the true signification of the passage just quoted; for, in the context, it is said, the wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish. Are we then to suppose from this, that fools, &c. are annihilaied at death?-certainly not!

We shall now only offer a few more brief observations on the meaning of the word perish, and conclucle. For instance, when a person speaks of a ship being lost at sea, and every soul on board perished, (which is the common expression,) no one supposes that their souls will be extinct for ever. Nor does a person

that such a man and his horse have perished in the river -, or in the snow, mean, nor does he wish the hearers to infer from his saving so, that they are to be annihilated,-truly not!

Thou art worthy, () Lord, to receive glory, and honour, an:l power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

who says

F IN 1 S.

« ForrigeFortsæt »