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tended in most cases, if not all, with some enjoyment, swarms every where--in the air, in the earth, under the earth, in the waters, there is no place in which the will of an Almighty Creator is not executed by some being that hath animal life. What Power is manifested in the organization and structure of these infinite hosts of existences ! what Wisdom in their adaptation to their several functions ! and what Goodness and stupendous Love in that universal action upon all these different and often discordant creatures compelling them, while they are gratifying their own appetites or passions, and following the lead of their several instincts, to promote the good of the whole system, combining into harmony almost universal discord, and out of seeming death and destruction bringing forth life and health and universal joy! He who, as an ancient writer speaks, “ Contains all things, can alone thus act upon all things, and direct them in all their ways to acknowledge him by the accomplishment of each wise and beneficent purpose of his will. Philo Judæus, in his book upon agriculture, speaking of those words of the Psalmist, “ The Lord is my shepherd, therefore can I lack nothing," has the following sublime idea, illustrative of this subject. “God, like a shepherd
152. A. Ed. Col. Allob.
and king, leads, according to right and law, the earth, and the water, and the air, and the fire, and whatever plants or animals are therein, things mortal and things divine; the physical structure also of the heavens, and the circuit of the sun and moon; the revolutions and harmonious choirs of the other stars; placing over them his right Word the first born Son, who hath inherited the care of this Holy Flock, as the Viceroy of a mighty King."
Functions and Instincts of Animals.
Having, in the last chapter, stated how the dispersion and distribution of animals, under the Divine superintendence and direction, probably took place after the Deluge; and having likewise considered those temporary changes of place, either casual or periodical, which are still in operation, I shall next endeavour to give a general sketch of the animal kingdom, its classes and larger groups, and so much of their history, habits, and instincts, as may be necessary to indicate their several functions and offices in the general plan of creation, so as to illustrate more strikingly the Goodness that willed, the Wisdom that planned, and the Power that executed the wondrous whole ; so that each in its place and station, by employing the faculties and organs, with which he has gifted it, in accomplishing his will, praises, though unconsciously, its Almighty and Beneficent Creator, thus loudly calling upon man, the rational head of the creation, to take up the strain and lead the general choir.
Before I descend to particulars, I must say a few words upon the general functions of the animal kingdom. These, like Janus, have a double aspect ;-on one side they affect the vegetable world, and on the other their own body
There is a singular contrast and contrariety between the majority of animals and vegetables. The head of the animal and the root or base of the vegetable perform the same office, that of collecting and absorbing the nutriment of each. The animal derives this nutriment from organic matter, the vegetable from inorganic. The plant gives oxygen to the heaven, and falling leaves and other matters to the earth. The animal gives nitrogen to the former, and the rejectamenta of its food to the latter. The most beautiful and admired, and odorous and elevated parts of the plant are its reproductive organs and their appendages, while in the animal they are the very reverse of this.
But, in all this, we see the wisdom and forethought of the Creator. We see how exactly, by this mutual inversion, each class of beings is fitted for its station and functions. The plant to take root in, invest and ornament the earth, and keep the atmosphere pure by a constant supply of vital air ; the animal to browse and trim the vegetable, and by checking its luxuriance promote its welfare, to furnish it with a product calculated for its health and necessary to its existence; and by the manure, various in kind as the animals themselves, which it produces, supplying to the earth fresh pabulum for its vegetable tribes, and making good what it lost by the exhaustion, occasioned by the infinite myriads that, investing it on all sides like a garment, derive their nutriment from it, some plunging deep, and others, as it were, skimming the surface: if we contrast this with the returns they make, we shall be convinced that, in this case, the expenditure would vastly exceed the income, and that a class of beings was essentially necessary as a counterpoise, which, by taking little or nothing immediately from the soil, at the same time that they added to it, some in a greater and some in a less degree, might afford a sufficient supply of those principles which are indispensably requisite for the due nutriment and developement of the various members of the vegetable kingdom, and thus maintain an equilibrium, and make good the deficiency just stated.
There is another function which is devolved upon animals with respect to the vegetable kingdom ; to keep the members of it within due limits, and to hinder them from encroaching too much upon each other. All organised beings have a natural tendency to increase and multiply ; and while there is space this tendency is beneficial ; but when plants or animals exceed certain limits, they stand in each other's way, and prevent all further growth or healthy progress. The herbivorous animals, in various ways, serve as a countercheck to this tendency, and keep the vegetable tribes from encroaching too much upon each other. As I have detailed the effects of this when I spoke of the ravages of the locusts, and shall have occasion again to notice it, I shall not now enlarge further upon it.
I am next to consider another general function of animals, or the effects they produce upon their own body : and here the reason just alluded to, their constant tendency to multiply so as to be injurious to each other, and also to vegetable productions, especially those that are important to man or beast, which in the present state of things is so constantly recurring, renders it necessary that some bounds should be set to their increase, which Providence effects by letting them loose against each other. The great