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happiness, it would be some abatement of it, to see the inferior animals all around, silently submissive to that curse which our sins have brought down upon them. Nor is it possible to survey the cattle upon a thousand hills, the sheep that ornament our fields, innocent, defenceless and unsuspecting, without some feeling for that allotment by which they will all be summoned from their pleasant pastures, to die by the hand of slaughter. Into this mysterious arrangement I do not presume to enter fully; nor would I take upon me, with a late truly excellent minister of the gospel, to lay down as a positive doctrine (cheering as the prospect may be) that these animals will rise again to a new and blessed life. But this I will say, because the Scripture says it, that the meanest of such creatures is the care of Heaven; that God feedeth the young ravens that call upon him; that not even a sparrow falleth to the ground without our Heavenly Father. In these hands we should be satisfied to leave them; assured that they will be considerately and mercifully dealt with. One thing, however, is clear, that while they are the objects of such care, it is a more serious thing than some imagine to trifle with their pains, to make their miseries our sport, or to put them to one moment's needless suffering. These sentiments, I am well aware, will pass with many for unmanly, childish weakness : but alas! do we consider how much of that high mettle, which we call manliness, must come down? Do we remember that we must become as little children, if we would enter into the kingdom of Heaven? In that world, then, of angelic innocence, of divine simplicity, tenderness and love, where he, who was himself once led as a lamb to the slaughter, sitteth upon the throne—it will, I say, be a part of its blessedness, to feel assured that no creatures are doomed to suffer for our use : to look around, perhaps, and see various orders of happy beings, who range its everlasting hills, and rejoice in security on every side; to see its vallies smile with flocks, against which
no hand of violence shall be raised, and which shall repose upon their pastures during the days of an endless life.”—Irish Pulpit, 1827, p. 20.
There is a miracle related of St. Columba, which is in a better spirit than is often found in monkish miracles. St. Adamnan records it, and the Irish Friar, whose abridgement of the life was published at St. Omer's, (with the lives of St. Patrick and St. Bridget, 1625,) supposes “none will be so impudent as to deny what hath been delivered from so holy and innocuous a pen.” But this Friar having, like most abridgement-makers, a happy tact for omitting what is most worthy of notice, has not inserted the story which follows it.
“One day a certain brother, by name Molua, the grandson of Briun, came to the Saint when he was writing, and said to him, “ bless, I pray thee, this iron which I have in my hand.' He, stretching out his hand with the reed in it, signed and blessed it, his face still being turned toward the book whence he was writing. But as the brother was departing, the Saint asked of another what it was that he had blessed. Diermid, his pious attendant, made answer,' thou hast blessed a knife which is to cut the throats of the cattle.' Then said the Saint, • I trust in the Lord that the iron which I have blessed shall never hurt either man or beast.' In the same day what the Saint had thus said was approved. For when the brother, going out of the monastery, attempted to kill an ox, three times he tried with all his strength, and was not able to pierce the skin. The monks, understanding this, took the knife, and heated the blade and beat it out, and put part of the metal upon all the iron instruments in the monastery. Nor from that time forward could they inflict a wound upon any flesh, the blessing of the Saint remaining in its strength."—Acta SS. Jun. tom. ii.
From a different version of this story in another life, Baert, the Bollandist, argues, “ ea solummodò ferramenta sic illita fuisse, quæ aliis usibus destinata, fortuitum poterant vulnus facere : quis enim non videt inconsultum fuisse, ut nullum esset in monasterio ferrum, quo cutis cujusquam perstringi posset, ad usum valetudinarii vel macelli ?"--p. 224. It is edifying to observe the gravity with which such legends are treated by such men!
Butchers.—p. 129. · A representation from the Butchers in the different kingdoms and provinces of Spain, was presented to the Cortes in 1811, to show that they were comprehended in a certain ordinance of March 8, 1783, and consequently free from the note of infamy which was placed upon them, being equal in rights to other honourable subjects and honest men, and consequently capable of holding offices in the service of the commonwealth, and of serving in the army and navy. They prayed therefore that that part of the Ordonnance of 1800. which prejudiced them, might be abrogated. Copies of an essay were presented at the same time to prove “ que el oficio de cortador de carnes es una ocupacion honesta que no infama á sus operarios.” The matter was referred to the Commission of Legislation, one of the members observing that it was a subject which deserved the attention of the Cortes ; that in this point the laws required alteration, and that it was expedient to do away with stigmas of this kind, which depended wholly upon prejudice, and rendered infamous many employments which were useful to society.—Diario de las Cortes, t. iv. p. 152.
... An intolerant and bitter-minded bigot, who, as Warburton says, “ counterworks his Creator, makes God after man's image, and chuses the worst model he can find, himself!”—p. 133.
There is a freshness in this sentence and a vigour which evince its originality. Something however which might have suggested it, may be found in the following extract from a divine of a better school than Warburton's.
“There is no Christian man, I am persuaded, this day living (unless he be stark mad) who, if this interrogatory were propounded unto him in express terms, “ Whether do you think yourself altogether as wise as God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost ?" but would answer negatively, “ I am not.” And yet how many writers in our time, through forgetfulness to put this or the like interrogatory to themselves, when they set pen to paper, have continued for many years together grievously sick of our first parents' first disease, whatsoever that were ; yet not sick of it in explicit desires or attempts to be every way equal with God, but in implicit presumptions that they are altogether equal with him in wisdom and knowledge, at least for the governing of this Universe, from the beginning of it to the end, and for the dispensing of mercy and justice towards men and angels, before they had any beginning of being, and for ever, even world without end, after this middle world shall be dissolved. To give a true and punctual answer to all their presumptuous contrivances, or to accept their challenges in this kind, would require more skill in arts than most men are endowed with, and a great deal more time than any wise man or skilful artist can be persuaded to mispend. It would be a very hard task for the cunningest needle-woman, or other professor of manual or finger mysteries, to unweave or dissolve a spider's web, thread by thread, after the same manner which she did weave it; and yet a mean housewife or child may, with a wing or besom, in a moment undo all that the spider hath wrought in a whole year. And so may every novice in Arts unbubble all that some great clerks or schoolmen have been twenty or thirty years in contriving or working, (as in setting forth maps or systems of the manner of God's decrees before all times, or disputes about election or reprobation, as they are immanent acts in him,) with that common but useful exception, aut nihil, aut nimiùm. Their conclusions might (for aught I know) be unanswerable and sound, upon supposition that they are every whit as wise as God. But this being not granted them, or the contradictory being granted, “ that the Omnipotent Creator is dis dià maowv, wiser than they are ;" the most elaborate and longest-studied treatises, which it hath been my hap upon these arguments to see, afford no document of greater strength or cunning than is exhibited in the spider's web. The authors of them tell us only (and herein we believe them) what they themselves would have done, if they had been delegated to make decrees or acts for the government of men and angels, or what God should have done if they had been of his privy council, when he made all things, visible and invisible. But what God doth, hath done, or will do, according to the sole council of his most holy will, that, they show us not, nor go about to show, while they run the clear contrary way to that which God our Father, and the Church our Mother, hath prescribed us to follow. Now the way which the English Church, from the warrant of God's word, to this purpose prescribes, is to admire, not to determine the equity of God's decrees before all times from contemplation of the manner of their execution, or sweet disposition of his Providence in time. It is a preposterous presumption to determine the manner how they have been, or shall be executed, by prying into the projection or contrivance of the Almighty Judge, before man or angel, or any thing besides God himself had any being.