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the sandy wastes, the rugged mountains, the hoary forests, the inhospitable climates of heat and cold, the changeful accidents of thunderstorm and thunder-bolts, the avalanches of snow and inundations of wasteful waters, the iron frosts, the drenching rains ; in one word, the natural barrenness of the earth's bosom, and the evil conditions which she underlieth since the Fall? I speak not now of the partial deliverance which the well-bestowed sweat of man may give her from the rugged wilderness of her nature; but I speak of her proper nature, and shew you how ill. attuned to truth are those rapturous strains which they utter over the elemental world.
If I speak of the element of air, which was made to nourish human life, what infinite variations is it not liable to, every one burdened with pain and death to thousands ! What unwholesome vapours, what deadly blasts, what desolating storms! Look, and behold how almost one half of man's care and labour is to defend himself from the ills with which the air is loaded. His clothing, his houses, his fires, and all his other shelters, cannot spin out to three-score years and ten that term of life which at the beginning was made to endure for a thousand.-If I speak of the element of water, which was made to sustain both vegetable and animal life, behold how it hath drowned more than half the world, swamped a goodly portion of the rest, gathered itself into wide-spread lakes, seas, and oceans, leaving great portions of the earth parched, barren, and blighted, for want of sufficient supplies. And though the labour of man hath made its streams and rivers both useful and ornamental, how little so they are by natural inclination is beheld in the mighty rivers of the western hemisphere rushing through the depths of hoary forests, and filled with every beast the most destructive of human life. And over that element how little has man the power, who cannot cross a brook or inland bay without peril of his life, and must bridge it over with laborious masonry, or boat across it with a continual risk of life !--If I should speak of the element of earth, how it runneth to waste as fast as it can, and hasteth to become a wilderness inaccessible to the tread of man; giving itself up to be tenanted by the beasts of prey, or by the serpent's slimy brood; what poisons it produceth, what cold damps it exhaleth, what interruptions to the going forth of man; what toil it taxeth him withal; what long hours of labour, what long weeks and months of patient and watchful toil, yea, what generations of a laborious population, must be given to it before it will consent to produce in any abundance, or to support in any considerable numbers, the race of men. Before you can set an ordinary meal upon your table, how many hands must have laboured, how many brows sweat, how many careful hearts combined before it came thither: but if you would set forth a feast, how many lives must have been periled, how many lashes of the whip endured, how much blood shed in desolating war, before the raw material of it can be brought to your home; how many ingenious men must have laboured in the shop, how many in the damp and darksome mine, how many broiled their faces over the oven, before it can be placed in a comely style upon our tables ;-and how we are foot-bound to little spots of the earth's surface, removing to and fro with infinite pains and toils: and this law of gravitation brings us plum down if we would ascend to any elevation above the earth : and the laws of space and time set a fearful restraint upon the freedom of the human will, and the liberty of human action- -But it is endless and infinite to speak of the miserable plight into which that elemental nature hath been reduced, which was created to be the vital breath of our life, the wholesome nourishment of our body, the obedient servant of our will.
Now how men, looking upon the violent hands which sin hath laid upon these things, and the base servitude into which they are compelled by Satan, “ the prince of the power of the air,” and “ the ruler of the darkness of this world,” can do any thing but pity and lament their miserable case, I greatly wonder. It seems to me little less than an insult to the poor sin-enthralled and suffering creature, to lift up in its ear a pean of joy; and it argues, in all who do so, either great ignorance and insensibility towards the creature, or great degradation and debasement in themselves. Indeed, I trace it to nothing else than Satan's having blinded our eyes to our own bondage under this same evil law, that we feel not the kindred bondage of our own body and mind; are not taught to groan within ourselves, and cannot hear the groanings of all nature around us. Satan's offer of this world and its kingdoms, and fall down and worship them: we delight ourselves with them as they are; we share not their burden, we pity not their slavery, we are not vexed that we should be defeated of their ministry; we look not for any deliverance or emancipation for them;
We accept we care not to hear of it: and so we are stolen away from the hope of Christ's advent to redeem the body, and all the creatures dependent upon the body, from their thraldom.
These same views, which it is proper for a good and wise man to live under with respect to the ground which God hath cursed, it is proper for him to live under with respect to all the living creatures, or the whole animal creation, which are cursed along with it. Their birth in groaning agony;
their life in continual peril of one another; the absolute necessity, in order to live, that they should make war upon one another; their continual tendency to the wild and savage state, and in that state their furious and inveterate destruction of one another; the defensive attitudes which the beasts of the field must maintain against the winged creatures of the air, and these again against the beasts of the field, and both against the creeping things of the earth. And then, how man for his own defence must turn out, with all his faculties, and circumvent and slay the wild creatures which have made the earth their own; and, in order to live, must for many generations feed on them almost entirely. And when he hath reclaimed the forest, and made it a fertile field, how still the sheep that clothes him must be led to the slaughter, and the bullock that labours his field must be stalled for the knife. It is very pitiful to look at a city full of peaceable and ingenious men; to see what droves and flocks must pass into their gates for destruction ; and at what a fearful expense of animal life, human life must be supported. And you cannot mend it. It is a constitution of things which at
the best is bad. For, if you
your bondage, the tamed beasts run wild again, and destroy the face of the reclaimed ground: or if you cease to feed upon them, they multiply and eject man from his right. And if you stand still or relax in the labouring of the ground, it returns to thorns and thistles, and noxious animals increase apace: vermin of every name, weeds of every
description, and wild beasts which are able to destroy man at a blow: these all hang upon the rearward of civilization, to cut us off if we fall back. We cannot stand still; the feller must ply his work, the hunter must ply his work, the fattener must ply his work, the slayer must ply his work; for if man do it not according to a measure of humanity and wisdom, the beasts will do it themselves without either humanity or wisdom.
He that looks on these things and beholdeth not the bondage of all creatures under the law of corruption, is indeed blinded by the god of this world: he that looks upon these things and feeleth not, is lost to all tenderness of feeling : he that looks upon them and hopes not and desires not the day of redemption, is indeed deprived of the sweetest consolation of this our fallen and sinful estate. Do I say that we ought to weep and make continual lamenting, as your sensitive sentimentalists and shrinking men of feeling do? No! It is the ordinance of God for this sinful estate, to keep it from utter death and dissolution. It is death warded off to a distance. It is the blossoming of a life which the wasting winds are always nipping Bụt we cannot make a better of it: we cannot change it: we may humanize it-that is, bring it under the dominion of