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The brutal creation, indeed, enjoy those powers in some measure after their kind; to instance only that of the dog for all. Does he not understand that which is good or hurtful for him? for, place him upon the edge of a high precipice, where, on the one side he can come from it with safety, will he not discern his danger in leaping, and shew his will in choosing to come down the other way? And if he has often done a wrong, and been frequently beaten for it, will he not thereby become sensible that that is displeasing to his owner? And if he see or hear his master coming the time he is doing that particular fault, as, for instance, lying in a bed or so, will he not shew his consciousness of it, and his fear of punishment, by his immediately leaping out, or giving over what he was doing? And does he not shew his memory, when he has lost his master, in running to the different houses or places which he used to frequent, seeking him ? and his thought, or consideration, at the meeting of two ways, when running before, stopping at an uncertainty, till such time as he sees which road his owner will take ? And that he is possessed with passions, is evident from his
affection for his master, fear, anger, and resentment of injuries,
Now, since brutes are thus endowed, this question will naturally occur, What pre-eminence hath a man above a beast? I answer, A very great deal. The spirit, or brutal soul, is from the earth, and answereth to man and the things of this life; and that in a very limited capacity: whereas the soul of man is from God, and answereth to God; and the things not only of this life, but also of that which is eternal, in a most extensive degree; being highly distinguished by the faculty of rationality or reason, whereby it can discriminate and clearly distinguish betwixt moral good and evil, truth and falsehood ; assemble ideas, comparing one with another through means of intermediate ones ; reflect and deduce causes from effects, and effects from causes, and so find out truth from error, right from wrong, a future state from a present, and delight in the contemplation of infinity itself.
What a noble creature then is the soul of man! True, indeed, it, by the fall of Adam, (as Mephibosheth falling out of his nurse's lap), was maimed in all its powers, and greatly defiled, yet, blessed be God, through faith, Christ Jesus, that Physician of value, will heal and purify all again, and set it down to feast continually at the King's table above. 2 Sam. iv. 4. and ix. 13. · And seeing God hath thus highly distinguished us from the inferior creatures, not only by reason, but also in the use and capacity of all our mental powers, how thankful should we be, and improve them for his honour and glory, for which end we were endowed with them, and after whose image we were made! And, on the other hand, treat with gentleness those inferior creatures, which bear so much of ours. The soul of man, a most active intelligent being, must, of necessity, according to its essence, always be thinking on something, and can it be employed in a more reasonable service, or train of thought, than meditating on the fountain of its being, and his wonderful works?
ON THE DAWN OF THE MORNING.
While drowsy mortals are as yet supinely snoring on their couches, some, it may be, struggling in their dreams with sore conflicts, and others exulting in imaginary bliss ; let me, this fine morning, stray into the fields, and while I wet my foot with the virgin dews, regale my scent with the balmy odours which the zephyrs breathe from the flowering herbage; the beauties of which are at present obscured by the darkness.
Now, in this season, of all others best adapted for meditation, may I employ my thoughts on suitable subjects, and begin with contemplating the goodness of my Maker, in bringing me safely through the last night, acknowledging, with the prophet, “ his mer
“cies are new every morning;" while yonder dappled East declareth, that“ great is his “ faithfulness,” who hath promised that there shall be day and night while the earth remaineth.
The light now approaches, how feeble are its rays! Yet I know it to be the dawn, for I begin to discover some of the objects around me. How rapid is its motion! like the swift tide which overflows the sand till all is lost in one vast ocean ; so prevails the light over the darkness, but with incredible more velocity, till night is overwhelmed in the glare of day. “ Truly the light is sweet, “ (saith the inspired Solomon,) and a plea« sant thing it is for the eyes to behold the “ sun.” Eccl. xi. 7. This putteth me in mind of the creation of the world, when God said, “Let there be light, and there was light.” Gen. i. 3. Had thạt omnipotent, infinitely gracious word, not been spoken, how miserable, if at all, had our world been! man would have groped in darkness, and worn out a short life in wretchedness and grief.
But this calleth to my memory a still more interesting subject ; namely, the fall of man,