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But there appears to be no weight in this argument; for as soon as it became certain, in consequence of Adam's first transgression, that all his posterity would become sinners without law, and deserve to perish without law, there was an absolute necessity of a full and universal atonement, in order to render it consistent with the justice, or moral character of God, to offer and grant salvation to any of the guilty race of Adam.
SUPERIORITY OF MEN TO ANIMALS.
"BE ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding."
Ps. xxxii. 9.
“ The proper study of mankind is man." To know our own nature, powers, and capacities, and to understand our connections, relations, and obligations, is highly necessary, in order to act agreeably to our rank in creation, and to the end of our being. Our Creator and Lawgiver has adapted all his precepts to our powers and capacities. He neither requires us to act like creatures above us, nor like creatures below us, but com. mands us to act like men. Whenever, therefore, we disregard his authority, and blindly follow our perverse inclinations, he upbraids us for our stupidity, absurdity, and folly, by comparing us with inferior creatures, and reminding us of the dignity of our nature. He commands us to show ourselves men, and not to be as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding. To enter into this, as well as many other divine precepts, it is necessary to draw the line of distinction between men and the lower animals. The above passage suggests, that we possess some powers and faculties, of which they are entirely destitute; but this does not imply, that there is no resemblance between rational and irrational creatures. Though the horse and the mule are said to have no understanding, yet we are told," the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle, and the crane, and the swallow, observe the time of their coming ;” and that “the ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib.” These are plain intima. tions, that there is some resemblance between men and other species of living creatures.
I. I shall consider wherein men are not superior to some irrational creatures. And,
II. Wherein they are superior to all irrational creatures. And here I may observe,
1. That men are not superior to some of the irrational creation, in respect to perception. We have the power of perceiving all external material objects around us. We can perceive the sun, the earth, and all that grows, and lives, and moves upon the earth. But we have no ground to think, that we are superior to some of the irrational creation in this respect. For they have eyes and ears, and every organ of sense, by which they can see, and hear, and perceive all external objects around them, and with greater acuteness and sensibility than we can.
2. We are not superior to them in respect to memory, or the power of retaining and recollecting those ideas which have been derived from sensation and reflection. The ox remembers his owner and the ass his master's crib. These and other animals appear to consider, hesitate, and reflect, before they move and act. We have ground to think, that some of the fowls of the air and beasts of the earth can remember places and objects for as long a time, and at as great a distance from them, as mankind can.
3. We are not superior to some of the animal creation in respect to the power of volition, or a capacity of choosing and refusing in the view of different objects. They choose and refuse, love and hate, and exercise both friendly and unfriendly affections towards one another, and towards mankind. They have a quick sense of inferiority and superiority. The lion reigns king in the forest, and makes every creature, man not excepted, tremble at his presence and displeasure. We find a sublime description of the native grandeur of the war-horse in the thirty-ninth chapter of Job. «Hast thou given the horse
“ strength? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder? Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? the glory of his nostrils is terrible. He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength: he goeth on to meet the armed men. He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword. The quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield. He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage; neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet. He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha! and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting." No men have stronger sensibilities or keener appetites, than some of the irrational creation.
Having considered these points of resemblance between man and the various species of creatures below him, I proceed,
II. To trace out the line of distinction, and search for the
powers and faculties peculiar to him, and which place him at the head of all the irrational creation. I begin with observing,
1. That men have the faculty of Reason, which does not belong to any of the lower animals. Reason is that power of the human mind, by which we are capable of comparing and arranging our ideas, and of perceiving their agreement or disagreement between each other. By this faculty, we can, prove things less evident, by things more evident or self-evident. By this faculty, astronomers discover the distances and magnitudes of the sun, moon, and planets, and their various revolutions and eclipses. By this faculty, philosophers discover the causes of tides, earthquakes, thunder and lightning, winds, storms, and fruitful showers. By this faculty, mechanics erect our buildings, prepare our clothing, and furnish us with all the implements of industry. In a word, all the arts and sciences originate from the use and exercise of reason, which is one of the distinguishing properties of men, and which raises them above all the animal creation. It may be justly questioned whether any of the animal species possesses the faculty of reason in the least degree. Though the ant "provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest;" yet it may be doubted whether she exercises the same reason about her future wants that men do, or knows any motive why she exercises care and foresight, but only blind instinct. It may be questioned whether birds exercise any such reason in constructing their nests, as the mechanic does in constructing a building; or know any reason why they should place their materials in such a curious order, but their native disposition or inclination to do it. Though bees construct their cells, so as to contain the largest quantity in the least space, yet there is no ground to think that they are governed by reason, but only by instinct. Indeed, it is much to be doubted whether they ever lay down premises and draw consequences in any of their apparently rational conduct. Whatever
of reason they may discover in any of their actions, may be ascribed to certain propensities or association of ideas, rather than to reason.
2. Men have the power of imagination, or a faculty of forming abstract ideas, which is a peculiar attribute of rationality. After we have received the idea of a man and the idea of a horse, we are capable of abstracting the idea of a particular man and a particular horse, and forming the idea of a centaur, or such a creature as a certain people supposed they saw, when they first beheld an army of horsemen. They took the man and the horse to be one animal, or what is called a centaur. After we have received the idea of gold and the idea of
a mountain, we can, from these ideas, form the idea of a golden mountain. From the idea of men and of the world in which we live, we can form the idea of a world having rational inhab
a itants ten times smaller, or ten times larger than men. By the power of abstraction, we can form innumerable imaginary objects, which never have existed and never will exist. This power the author of nature has been pleased to bestow upon us, in distinction from all creatures destitute of intelligence. Mr. Locke considers the power of imagination as the grand characteristic of rationality, which distinguishes men from all creatures void of intelligence and incapable of forming abstract ideas.
3. Men have the power of perceiving cause and effect, and the marks of wisdom and design in all the works of nature and of art, which gives them a superiority above all unintelligent creatures. We are capable of discerning the laws of nature and the various powers of all the creatures and objects around us. When we see fire consuming wood, and water suffocating living creatures, we immediately perceive, that fire is the cause of consuming wood, and water the cause of drowning animals. And by observing these effects frequently, we perceive that the causes of them are fixed and permanent; or that fire will always burn and water will always drown.) When we see a man do repeated acts of kindness, we view him as a kind and benevolent man, and expect that benevolence will continue to mark his character. Or when we find any animal fierce and malignant, we suppose it is his nature to be so. The lion and the bear are always to be feared and shunned. When we view a clock, a house, or a ship, we not only perceive that they are effects produced by some cause, but by some intelligent, designing cause. So when we view the heavens and the earth, and the various animate and inanimate objects around us, we not only discover that they owe their existence to some cause, but to some wise, intelligent cause. We discover clear evidence of the Author's character and perfections. Now, it is evident that mere perception of these objects conveys no perception of power, wisdom, or design; for we often behold them without having any sense of their being the works of God, and the effects of his power and wisdom. The perception of cause and effect is something more than the bare perception of objects. Animals have the perception of objects as clearly as we have. They see the sun, moon, and stars, and the earth with all that is upon it, as clearly and distinctly as we do; but there is no ground to think, that they have the least idea, that these objects are the effects of some powerful,