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him! What a rational and noble employment it is, to trace the effects of divine wisdom in a survey of the vegetable kingdom ; in the beautiful forms of plants, their endless variety, the configuration of their organs, the distinction of their characters ; the places of their inhabitation, by land, by sea, in rivers and in lakes, on rocks and mountains, in the fields, the pastures, and the woods with their successions from the spring to the summer, from the summer to the autumn; their appearances by day and by night! How proper
is it to use them for health and for temperance, as the wise have done, and as the Creator, ever mindful of the sum of our happiness, hath appointed ! What a respectable benefactor is he to mankind, who discovers their virtues in medicine, and applies them to the relief of the miserable ; an office ever grateful to a benevolent mind!
But happiest of all is he, who having cúltivated herbs and trees, and studied their virtues, and applied them for his own, and for the common benefit, rises from thence to a contemplation of the great Parent of good, whom he sees and adores in these his glorious works. The world cannot shew us a more exalted character than that of a truly religious philosopher, who delights to turn all things to the glory of God: who from the objects of his sight derives improvement to his mind, and in the glass of things temporal sees the image of things eternal: Let a man have all the world can give him; he is still miserable, if he has a groveling, unlettered, indevout mind: let him have his gardens, his fields, his woods, and his lawns, for grandeur, ornament, plenty and gratification ; while at the same time God is not in all his thoughts. And let another have neither field nor garden; let him only look at nature with an enlightened mind; a mind which can see and adore the Creator in his works; can consider them as demonstrations of his power, his wisdom, his goodness, his truth : this man is greater, as well as happier, in his poverty, than the other in his riches. The one is but little higher than a beast, the other but little lower than an angel.
We ought therefore to praise those who in their life-time made this use of the natural world, and gratefully to remember that piety which directed our minds to an annual commeinoration of God's wisdom in the works of
the vegetable creation : a great subject; in discoursing on which, I have only scattered some seeds, to be opened and perfected by your future meditation; in which may the grace of God assist us all, through Jesus Christ our Lord, &c.
AND GOD MADE THE BEAST
AFTER HIS KIND, AND CATTLE. AFTER THEIR KIND, AND EVERY THING THAT CREEPETH UPON THE EARTH AFTER HIS KIND: AND GOD SAW THAT IT WAS GOOD. GEN. 1. 25.
WHEN the works of God were finished,
his eye surveyed them, and saw that they were good ; that they were perfect in their construction, and capable of answering all the ends to which they were appointed. As far as man can observe this goodness in the works of nature, and see the mind of the Creator in the creature, so far he sees things as God sees them, and becomes partaker of a divine pleasure.
On a former occasion, I endeavoured to point out some of that goodness which is 9
found * See the preceding Sermon on the Religious Use of Botanical Philosophy.
found in the vegetable kingdom * : from whence I shall now proceed to the animal, with a desire to trace the same goodness in the structure, qualities, and economy of living creatures : but confining myself chiefly to those spoken of in the text, beästs and cattle.
When vegetable and animal life are compared, different things are to be admired, but nothing is to be preferred; for the wisdom of the Creator, being infinite, is every where equal to itself: to its works nothing can be added with advantage, nothing can be taken from them without loss. All things are perfect in their several kinds, and possessed of that goodness or sufficiency which must be found in every work of God.
Yet there is a visible series or scale in the natural creation; where those, derivative powers which are in the creature, rise from the lower to the higher, and keep ascending regularly till we can follow them no farther. When we pass from a lower to an higher order of beings, some new faculty presents itself to our admiration. Thus, betwixt plants and animals there are essential differences, which