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after this we look into the several inward perfections of cunning and fagacity, or what we generally call instinct, we find them rising after the same manner imperceptibly one above another, and receiving addi. tional improvements, according to the species in which they are implanted. This progress in nature is so very gradual, that the most perfect of an inferior species comes very near to the most imperfect of that which is immediately above it.
The exuberant and overflowing goodness of the Supreme Being, whose mercy extends to all his works, is plainly seen, as I have before hinted, from his have ing made so very little matter, at least what falls within our knowledge, that does not fwarm with life : nor is his goodness less seen in the diversity, than in the multitude of living creatures. Had he only made one species of animals, none of the rest would have enjoyed the happiness of existence; he has, therefore, specified in his creation every degree of life, every capacity of being. The whole chasm of nature, from a plant to a man, is filled up with divers kinds of crea. tures, rising one over another, by such a gentle and easy ascent, that the little transitions and deviations from one species to another are almost insensible. This intermediate space is so well husbanded and managed, that there is scarce a degree of perception which does not appear in some one part of the world of life. Is the goodness, or wisdom of the Divine Being, more manifested in this his proceeding?
There is a consequence, besides those I have al. ready mentioned, which seems very naturally deducia ble from the foregoing confiderations. If the scale of being risęs by such a regular progress, so high as man, we may by a parity of reason suppose that it still proceeds gradually through those beings which are of a superior nature to him ; since there is an infinitely greater space and room for different degrees of perfection between the Supreme Being and man, than between man and the most despicable insect. The consequence of fe great a variety of beings which are
stiperior to us, from that variety which is inferior to us, is made by Mr. Locke, in a passage which I shall here set down, after having premised, that notwichftanding there is such infinite room between man and his Maker for the creative power to exert itself in, it is impoffible that it should ever be filled up, fince there will be still an infinite gap or distance between the highest created being, and the power which produced him.
That there mould be more species of intelligent creatures above us, than there are of sensible and material ben low us, is probable to me from hence ; that in all the visible corporeal world, we see no chasms, or no gaps. All quite down from us, the descent is by easy steps, and a continued series of things, that in each remove differ .very little one from the other. There are fishes that have wings, and are not strangers to the airy region : and there are some birds, that are inhabitants of tbe water ; whose blood is cold as fishes, and their felle so like in taste, that the scrupulou's are allowed them on fill days. There are animals fo near of kin both to birds and beasts, that they are in the middie between botb : am. phibious animals link the terrestrial and aquatic together feals live at land and at sea, and porpoises have the warm blood and entrails of a hog; not to mention what is confidently reported of mermaids or sea men. There are some brutes, that seem to have as much knozuledge and reason, as fome that are called men; and the animal and vegetable kingdoms are so nearly joined, that if you will tałe the lowest of one, and the highest of the other, there will jcarce be perceived any great difference between them : and so on 'till we come to the lowest and the majte inorganical parts of matter, we shall find every where that the several species are linked together, and differ but in almost insensible degrees. And when we consider thé infinite power and wisdom of the Maker, we have reason to think that it is suitable to the magnificent harmony of the universe, and the great defign and infinite goodnejs of the architeet, that the fpecies of creatures should also, by gentle degrees, ascend upward from us toward his-infinite'
perfeétion, as we see they gradually defcend from us downward : which if it be probable, we have reafon then to be perfuaded, that there are far more species of creatures above us, than there are beneath; we being in degrees of perfe&tion much more remote from the infinite Being of God, than we are from the lowest state of being, and that which approaches nearest to nothing. And yet of all those diftin&t fpecies, we have no clear diftinet ideas.
In this system of being, there is no creature so wonderful in its nature, and which so much deserves our particular attention, as man, who fills up the middle space between the animal and intellectual nature, the visible and invisible world, and is that link in the chain of beings which has been often termed the Nexus utriufque mundi. So that he who in one respect is associated with angels and archangels, may look upon a Being of infinite perfection as his father, and the highest order of spirits as his brethren ; may in another respect say to corruption, thou art my father, end to the worm, thou art my mother and my fifter.
Providence proved from Animal inftin&t.
[Spect. No, 120.)
Must confess I am infinitely delighted with those 1 speculations of nature which are to be made in 2 country-life ; and as my reading has very much lain among books of natural history, I cannot forbear recollecting, upon this occasion, the several remarks which I have met with in authors, and comparing them with what falls under my observation ; the arguments for providence drawn from the natural history of animals being, in my opinion, demonstrative.
The make of every kind of animal is different from that of every other kind; and yet there is not the least turn in the muscles or twist in the fibres of any one, which does not render them more proper for that par
ticular animal's way of life than any other caf or texture of them would have been.
The most violent appetites in all creatures are luft and hunger : the first is a perpetual call upon them to propagate their kind; the latter to preserve themselves.
It is astonishing to consider the different degrees of care that descend from the parent to the young, so far · as is absolutely necessary for the leaving a pofterity.
Some creatures cast their eggs as chance direčts them, and think of them no farther, as insects and several kinds of fish; others, of a nicer frame, find out pro. per beds to deposit them in, and there leave them; as the serpent, the crocodile, and ostrich others hatch their eggs and tend the birth, 'till it is able to shift for itself.
What can we call the principle which directs every different kind of bird to observe a particular plan in the structure of its neit, and directs all of the same fpecies to work after the same model ? It cannot be imitation ; for though you hatch a crow under a hen, and never let it fee any of the works of its own kind, the neft it makes shall be the same, to the laying of a stick, with all the other nests of the same species. It cannot be reason; for were animals indued with it to as great a degree as man, their buildings would be as different as ours, according to the different conveniencies that they would propose to themselves.
Is it not remarkable, that the same temper of weather, which raises this general warmth in animals, should cover the trees with leaves, and the fields with grass, for their security and concealment, and produce such infinite swarms of insects for the support and fuftenance of their respective broods ?
Is it not wonderful, that the love of the parent Thould be so violent while it lasts, and that it Thould last no longer than is necessary for the preservation of the young ?
The violence of this natural love is exemplified by a very barbarous experiment; which I shall quote at length, as I find it in an excellent author, and hope
my my readers will pardon the mentioning such an in. fance of cruelty, because there is nothing can so effectually shew the strength of that principle in animals of which I am here speaking. .“ A person, who was u well killed in diffections, opened a bitch, and as “ fhe lay, in the most exquifite tortures, offered her “ one of her young puppies, which she immediately “ fell a licking; and for the time seemed insensible “ of her own pain: on the removal, she kept her eye “ fixed on it, and began a wailing sort of a cry, “ which seemed rather to proceed from the loss of her " young one, than the sense of her own torments.".
But notwithstanding this natural love in brutes is much more violent and intense than ir: rational creatures, providence has taken care that it should be no longer troublesome to the parent than it is useful to the young; for so soon as the wants of the latter cease, ; the mother withdraws her fondness, and leaves them to provide for themselves : and what is a very remarkable circumstance in this part of instinct, we find that the love of the parent may be lengthened out beyond its usual time, if the preservation of the species requires it; as we may see in birds that drive away their young, as soon as they are able to get their lives lihood, but continue to feed them if they are tied to the neft, or confined within a cage, or by any other , means appear to be out of a condition of supplying their own necessities.
This natural love is not observed in animals to af.. cend from the young to the parent, which is not at all necessary for the continuance of the species : nor indeed in reasonable creatures does it rise in any pro. portion, as it spreads itself downwards ; for in all family affection, we find protection granted, and fa. : vours bestowed, are greater motives to love and tenderness, than safety, benefits, or life received.
One would wonder to hear sceptical men disputing for the reason of animals, and telling us it is only our pride and prejudices that will not allow them the use • of that faculty.