Page images
PDF
EPUB

their various species, then we will meditate on a subject (altogether distinct from what has gone before) on Man made in the image of God; His appointed Vicegerent, or Governor, to rule over all the earth, and to have dominion over all that liveth. (Gen. i. 26.)

The benefits of the sixth day's Creation to man, no language can describe. On the third and fifth day, we saw, indeed, much of God's goodness in providing us food and raiment; but now, combined also with these two, we see the strongest, the fleetest, and the most patient animals -all called by man into obedient servitude:—the elephant comes to us, with his giant strength; the horse lends to us his swiftness; the ox his patient endurance; the camel and the dromedary their ceaseless service; the rein-deer, as the Laplander would tell you, brings every thing to him,-it draws his sledge, and supplies him with food and raiment, and other things beside; and even the ass, though so ill treated and abused, aids man in no ordinary degree. Other orders of animals have become so domesticated with us, that their wild character is entirely gone: thus the cow, though she mourns for a time over the loss of her offspring, yet soon forgets it, and comes to be milked by man, as if it was her very nature; and then the innumerable flocks of sheep yield to us in the month of May their fleecy wool,-the gift twice blest, both in the giver and receiver: for, as the summer advances, the coat so warm to them in the winter, would keep them in perpetual misery; therefore the shearing time to them is positive blessing; and the simple article of wool thus obtained, is of untold

benefit to us. Indeed, so valuable did our forefathers think this gift, that they made the seat of the Lord Chancellor, who always, by office, presides in the House of Lords, (the highest legislative body of the state) THE WOOLSACK.

When we consider the sheep, in its separate family, I will enumerate some of the many articles we derive from it.

Among other benefits derived from quadrupeds, the services of the dog must not be forgotten.*--He guards our houses for us, and is a pattern of faithful attachment, from the great St. Bernard breed, which seem to have an instinctive pity for man in his sorrow, to the

Whilst on the subject of the benefit of the animal creation to man, I would most affectionately warn ALL PARENTS against a most cruel custom, called "Vivesection," which prevails in the French Schools of Anatomy, and now, alas! is creeping into England. The meaning of the word “ Viresection," is literally " to divide or cut up the living." Yes ; living animals, made by God, and capable, as we have seen, of affection that oftentimes might put man to shame, are forcibly held or fastened down, and ARE CUT UP ALIVE! No language can sufficiently expose or reprobate so wicked a practice. Man is accountable to God for the life he takes. True, indeed, the Lord has for the present given it to him for food; but not for torture: and at the day of account, their cry will not be forgotten in His ears, who in his tender mercies over Nineveh, could remember the lives of the cattle, as well as of those who could not discern between their right hand and left. (Jonah iv. 2, 11.) Some of the highest and most learned of the medical profession of this country, and among them the late Sir Charles Bell, have written most pungently against this barbarous vice: and let every one that pities the poor dumb animal, who can only tell his tale in shrieks of anguish, “ let him open his mouth for the dumb;" and the cruel custom of Vivesection," without legal enactment, shall be driven from our land. Let not any Christian parent or guardian, even for a day, suffer his children to attend schools, where God the Creator is so dishonoured, in the torture of the animal he has created. If a more enlarged knowledge of Physiology cannot be obtained without this price being paid, the sum is too much,—we may not do evil, that good may come. See Appendix.

pretty little faithful spaniel, which Cowper so sweetly tells of. When we come to this family apart, I will copy his verses for you. And even that most useful and valuable animal, the cat, must not be forgotten: for though not esteemed, either as being so faithful or grateful as the dog; yet instances are not wanting of their attachment to man, proving that they have feelings which all do not give them credit for.

The second class of animals of this day's Creation, i.e. the Serpent family, are doubtless of use to man, though we know but little of them.

But the third class, or Insect tribes, though apparently so insignificant, yet have families among them of the utmost benefit to us, for raiment, food, and medicine; and I suppose, if you could at this moment gather all the yards of silk together that are in the whole world, it would be millions on millions; and yet it was a little worm, not larger than our common caterpillar, that, from its own bowels, spun it all. So also the quantity of honey, perhaps, could not be calculated: and yet it was the industrious Bee, that, from numberless flowers, sipped the nectar, and then concocted that delicious amalgam, called honey; and having prepared beautiful little houses, built after a most geometrical order, of the wax they had also produced in their bodies, they deposited their treasure

“ Till the rich hive was laden with the spoil,

Of all the flowers that deck sweet nature's soil.” And last of all, though not the least, how many valuable lives have

been spared, simply by the application of the Cantharis, or Spanish Fly, that sports in the sun-beam in Italy by millions, and medically forms the blister so valuable in the hands of skilful men: and even the little cochineal insect may not be forgotten, supplying us at the same time with a valuable medicine * and beautiful dye.

Thus the sixth day's Creation comes to man in boundless variety, laden with blessing: and what the Christian is called to is this, to receive all with gratitude and thankfulness-to use the world and not abuse it: and whether he has little or much, as a faithful steward, to dispense it with kindness; and to be merciful, even as his Father in heaven is merciful. (Luke vi. 35, 36.)

Having thus, however briefly, looked at the animal creation of this day, as adapted to the wants of man, we will now consider each of the three before mentioned classes separately; and, first,

THE QUADRUPEDS.

This diversified family take their name from the number of their feet: and though one species alone goes erect, like man; yet, with this exception, it is descriptive of the whole order, who, with their

See an interesting article in the Medical Gazette, January, 1844, showing the value of cochineal as a specific for hooping-cough.

body parallel with the earth, thus run or walk. Quadrupeds rank above the other parts of the animal creation in three particulars : They are viviparous ; respire by means of lungs; and have red blood : and, in addition to this, almost in all cases, they are covered with hair. As in Fishes and Birds, so in the Quadrupeds, their form, covering, &c., are all most minutely adapted to the country they live in, and the food they subsist on ;-the mouth is so situated, that with a slight inclination of the neck, they reach their food. The beasts of prey devour their food at once; but the ruminating animals, as the Cow, &c., take in a good stock, and put it in keeping, like the Pelican; and then lie down, and bring out at leisure their supply—and chew their cud.

Linnæus has arranged this great family into six orders, under the general name of Mammalia, distinguished principally by the number, situation, and structure of their teeth. He has also added a seventh, comprising the Whale family, but this last we considered on the fifth day. These six orders he has divided into forty-four genera, and subdivided into upwards of eight hundred species. The names of the respective orders are all taken from the Latin, and are strikingly significant of their character. I subjoin them, with the English names opposite :

« PreviousContinue »