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walk ? Old age would be to them a burthen, from which they are delivered by their ferocious brethren of another species. This idea is further illustrated by Lord Erskine, in his early advocacy of humanity towards the inferior creatures. If left to themselves, without the intervention of destroyers from various tribes which prey upon

ach other, how great would be their sufferings? “Old age, even amongst men, is but a rare blessing, amongst brutes, perhaps, never. Old age can only be supported in comfort by that aid and tenderness from others arising from the consciousness of those ties of nature which it has not pleased the Divine Providence to dispense to the lower world, but which is the greatest of all blessings it has communicated to man. When the brutes have fulfilled their duties to their young, for their protection, they know them no more, and die of old age, or cold, or hunger, in view of one another, without sympathy, or mutual assistance, or comfort.”

Secondly, Those creatures which prey upon each other obey an instinct which destroys the life of their victim at the least possible expense of pain. It is usually in the night time, and in the hour of sleep, that they sink under the fangs and teeth of their destroyers. Twenty strokes sent home in one instant to the sources of life afford no leisure to reflect that they are about to lose it. That fatal moment is not embittered to them by any of the feelings which render it so painful to most of the human race, regret for the past and solicitude about futurity. They feel the pang of nature, but not of mind; it is momentary, and then follows the undisturbed repose, the slumber of eternal rest.

Thirdly, The multitudes thus destroyed consist, for the most part, of beings whose numbers must be limited to prevent their consuming the provisions of nature destined for man; or which, if not thus devoured, would, by their carcases, taint the air with corruption, and convert the earth into one wide charnel-house. Were it not for beasts of prey this would follow of inevitable necessity. We are told there perishes annually of a natural death the twentieth part at least of quadrupeds, the tenth part of fowls, and an infinite number of insects; most of the species of which live only one year, and many which perish in a day. And these would increase to an indefinite and alarming extent if they were not cut off by the voracious demands of those who make them the victims of their hunger; and who, in their turn, are devoured by enemies whose subtlety and strength they are not able to elude or to conquer.

“Were they not destroyed thus, or by some other adequate means, the world could not contain them. A single herring, or codfish, would, in an incredibly short space of time, fill the whole capacity of the ocean with its progeny; and the rabbit and the rat would cover the entire surface of the terrestrial globe. Leuwenhæck computed that there are no less than 9,344,000 in a single cod; and Pennant has calculated, that a single pair of rabbits, in the lapse of four years, would have an offspring of 1,074,840."

That wisdom and goodness, and not caprice or chance, have made the sacrifice of life the condition of animal existence, is evident, if, for example, we turn our attention to the various

“ The number of individuals of these alone, which are at any one time, and at all times existing in our world, surpasses not only our usual supposition, but even all powers of human numeration, at least as to any real distinct

genera of birds.


conception of the amount; for we can only pen

down the words millions, billions, trillions, quadrillions, and such other augmentative terms, in which all actual comprehension soon becomes lost in mere verbal sounds and confusing obscurity. This surprising multitude of birds makes it necessary that the insect world on which the smaller feed, should be a thousand times more

The two millions of starlings, usually resident in the United States of America, have been computed to consume of the grubworms, caterpillars, and other larvæ on which they subsist, in the four months of their breeding and nurturing their young, sixteen thousand two hundred millions. But if a single kind of birds have this supply, all the other classes, who use the same nutriment, require as much. It is obviously impossible to enumerate the amount of the individual living creatures which are always existing on our globe, and partaking of its produce in some way or other. Yet, so admirably are the whole placed and disposed, and the size and movements of each so carefully regulated and adapted to us and to each other, that we are neither disturbed by the number nor even conscious of it. There is no crowding, no confusion; the enormous amount is no where visible to our sense; we must search it out in order to know it. We must calculate from what we can observe, before we can perceive or believe the ever palpable but unobtrusive truth. What but an almighty and all-adjusting sagacity, infinitely beyond the highest expansions of human genius, could have arranged such inexpressible multitudes of living, sentient, and ever moving beings into positions, limitations, and habits so wisely appropriated to each, so productive of comfort to every one, and yet so conservative of the harmony, the order and general welfare of the immense and multiform whole? As we contemplate such endless masses of living things, we are sometimes tempted to ask, Why so many ? why such an exuberance of creation ?” "My own reason,” says Mr. Sharon Turner,

answers to its private satisfaction, and from its own feeling. The gift of life, for whatever space, small or great, is a gift which Deity alone can give ; which is his noblest donation; and which, being attended with comfort as its universal law, and most general result, is the greatest blessing that any creature can receive. All other blessings


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