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“ To conclude, there is certainly a degree of gratitude oweing to those animals that serve us; as for such as are mortal or noxious, we have a right to destroy them; and for those that are neither of advantage nor' prejudice to us, the common enjoyment of life is what i cannot think we ought to deprive them of.”
Man, who is every-where a tyrant or a slave, delights to inflict on each sensible being within his power the treatment he receives from his own superiors: as the negro revengeës the cruelty of his owner upon the innocent dog. Every animal, wild or tame, of which he becomes the possessor, is his property, his prisoner, his flave; to be treated with caprice and cruelty, and put to death at his pleasure. Hear, upon this subject, the poetical reflections of the amiable Thom. fon:
< Bu not the Mufe ashame’d, here to bemoan
in this instance, had all the success the intended. She would have acted more wisely, when she was about it, to have infuse'd a little humanity into the mind of her favourite.
Which, clear and vigorous, warbles from the beech,
The beaver, whose tender plaintive accents, and whose strikeing example, draw tears of admiration and pity from the humane philosopher, who contemplates his life and manners; this harmless animal, which never hurts any liveing creature, neither carnivorous nor fanguinary, is become the object of mans moft earnest pursuit, and the one which the favageës hunt after with the greatest eagerness and cruelty: a circumstance oweing to the unmercyful rapaciousness of the most polish’d nations of Europe.t
· CHAP. V.
ANIMAL FOOD THE CAUSE OF HUMAN SACRI
SUPERSTITION is the mother of Ignorance and Barbarity. Priests began by persuadeing people of the existence of certain invisible beings, which they pretended to be the creatours of the world, and the dispenseërs of good and evil; and of whose wils, in fine, they were the sole interpreters. Hence arose the necessity of facrificeës to appease the wrath or procure the favour of imaginary gods, but, in reality, to gratify the gluttonous and unnatural appetites of real daemons. Domestick animals were the first vic. tims. These were immediately under the eye of the priest, and he was pleased with their taste. This satisfy'd for a time; but he had eaten the same things fo repeatedly, that his luxurious ap. petite call'd for variety. He had devour'd the sheep, and was now desirous to masticate the fhepherd. The anger of the gods, testify'd by an opportune thunder-storm, was not to be assuage'd but by a facrifice of uncommon magnitude. The people tremble, and offer him their enemys, their slaves, their parents, their children,
to obtain a clear sky on a summers day, or a bright moon by night. When, or upon what particular occasion, the first human creature was made a sacrifice is not known, nor is it of any consequence to enquire. Goats and bullocks had been offer'd up allready, and the transition was easey from the brute to the man. The practice, however, is of remote antiquity, and univerfal extent, there being scarcely a country in the world in which it has not, at some time or other, prevail'd. The most ancient sacrificeës, it must be confess’d, were, in all probability, holocausts, entirely destroy'd by the fire, from which the priests, of course, would receive no advantage : but, beside that these burnt offerings cost them nothing, it might be their interest to have it believe'd that their god was partial to animal food, and delighted in the pleasant savour of roasting or broiling flesh.
The origin not onely of facrisiceës, but of animal food, is related by Porphyry as follows:
“ Allthough they report that the Syrians formerly abstain'd from animals, and, therefor, neither did they immolate to the gods : but afterward admited them in facrificeës in order to avert certain evils: they did not, however, ada mit the use of flesh. But in process of time, as
THE CAUSE CHAP. V. sayth Neanthes of Cyzicum, and Asclepiades the Cyprian, about the age of Pygmalion, a Phoeni. cian, truely, by birth, who reign’d over the Cyprians, the eating of flesh crept in by this sort of prevarication. At first indeed no animal was facrifice’d to the gods, neither was there any law upon this subject, because it was prohibited by the law of nature. But a certain occasion requireing life for life, the first sacrifice was made of animateëd beings, and thence, they say, a whole victim was consumed by fire. But, afterward, as the sacrifice was burning a small part of the flelh fel upon the ground, which the priest took up, and being burn'd in touching it, he unadvise’dly put his fingers to his mouth, in order to mitigate the pain proceeding from the burn. But when he had tasteëd the fat, he was enflamed with the desire thereof, nor could he abstain, but allso gave part of it to his wife : which when Pygmalion had hear'd of, he caused the priest with his wife to be thrown down a rock, and gave the priests office to another, who, not long after, celebrateing the same sacrifice, ate, in like manner, the flesh, and fel into the same calamitys. The thing, however, proceeding further, and men useing the same sacrifice, and not abstaining through gluttony from tasteing flesh, the