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At the present day the fact must be recognized, that men of thought and science are coming more and more to believe that all beings have been created, in Divine wisdom, with adaptations and correspondences which reveal to him who perceives aright both the world within them and the world without; that the outward relations of the animal and the provisions made for it in the universe, on the one hand, and on the other its inner faculties and wants, each signify and illustrate the other. And this consideration goes to strengthen the conclusion that the moral and religious nature of man, and his desire and expectation of immortality, imply and suggest the fact of his immortality ; while the apparent absence of any capacities or desires in other animals which are not exactly accommodated and satisfied and fulfilled by their condition in this life, implies that they are for this world only. We know that not one of the countless myriads of animated beings with which the earth and waters and air have been teeming through all these ages was created in vain ; but what the ultimate object of this creation was, we can only doubtfully conjecture.
The want of any moral or spiritual nature in animals is very apparent, whatever may be the consequence of this deficiency; and if this deficiency really exist, it is not easy to see how a further state of existence, whether better or worse than the present, is either necessary or possible for them.
“ Yet some have held that they are all possessed,
And may be damned, although they can't be blessed.”
The Jesuit Father Bougeaut, in his “ Philosophical Amusement upon the Language of Beasts,” sets forth the doctrine that a distinct and separate devil dwells in each animal. He thinks that the reprobate spirits whom God has doomed to burn forever in hell may be awaiting the day of the final judgment for the execution of this sentence; and he infers. that, till doomsday comes, God, in order not to suffer so many legions of these spirits to be of no use, has distributed them through the several species of the world, to serve the designs of his providence, and make his omnipotence to appear. Some, continuing in their natural state, — and there are enough of these, — busy themselves in tempting men. By this means, he says, he can easily understand how, on the one hand, the devils can tempt us, and, on the other, how beasts can think, know, have sentiments and a spiritual soul, without any way striking at the doctrines of religion. He explains how the extreme littleness of an infinite number of beasts is no obstacle to their being the abodes of these spirits. “How! will one say, is it possible to believe that a devil can be lodged in a fly, a flea, or a mite? But how! might not he be as well lodged there as in a horse or an ox? A spirit having absolutely no extension, in order to be united to a body, does not require that this body be more or less extensive.” Father Bougeaut also explains how the devils whom God has destined to animate the bodies of animals never want employment or lodging. “ For if any species happen to fail or be considerably diminished, they may pass into the eggs of another, and multiply that. This is what sometimes causes those prodigious clouds of locusts, and those innumerable swarms of caterpillars, which lay waste our fields and gardens. We look into cold or heat, rains or winds, for the cause of these amazing multiplications, and the true reason is, that in the year they come, or in the foregoing, an extraordinary number of deer, birds, or fishes have perished with all their eggs; so that the devils which animated them have been obliged, suddenly, to get into the very first species they found disposed to receive them, and which had as it were so many houses to be let.” More fortunate, therefore, would these spirits seem to be than, according to the Mormon belief, are the human spirits that crowd the embryonic shores, waiting for their bodies.
It was also the hypothesis of Mr. Ramsey, who wrote in the early part of the last century, that the souls of brutes are certain intelligences that fell in a pre-existent state, whom God doomed to be confined to brutal machines in the present, till they have suffered a destined time the miseries of degradation, and their crimes are atoned for.
“Poor Tray! art thou indeed a mere machine,
Whose vital power is a spirit unclean ?”.
According to the Mahometan belief, as we read in a note to Sale's Koran, the irrational animals will also be restored to life at the resurrection, that they may be brought to judgment, and have vengeance taken on them for the injuries they did one another while in this world. The unarmed cattle shall take vengeance on the horned, till entire satisfaction shall be given to the injured.
We have quoted elsewhere the ingenious defence which Mr. Dean makes with regard to the religion of brutes. With a much better show of good sense, he goes on to say, that, if they are incapable of religion, the consequence is only that they have no right to a state designed for beings exercised therein; but that it does not follow that, because they have no right to a state of this superior degree hereafter, they have therefore a right to none at all. He argues that it cannot be unbecoming the same Power that created the most diminutive animals, to continue their existence. Do you ask if a silly worm, or a paltry fly, or a despicable mite, have an existence in another world? Why had you a gift of a moral understanding, and for what reason are you exposed to so many difficulties in the pursuit of an interest which such insignificant things are sure to obtain without them? Would it not have been better for you that you had been a fly also ? The curate replies: “ Thy sentiments, 0 man, are the suggestions of pride, envy, and prejudice.” “Moreover," he continues, “ since God, in the formation of creatures, displays his perfections to the end he may be adored and magnified for the excellence and variety of them, is it not extremely probable that they will be continued to serve the like purposes in the world to come? The ways and works of Divine Providence are but little known at present; and yet the contemplations exercised about them, wrapt up as they are in clouds and darkness, are the sources of much pleasure to the soul of man, and furnish many noble arguments for praise and reverence. If this is the case now as to the matter of our contemplations upon the works of creation, what will it be then, when all the secrets of nature are manifested, when everything which God has made is exhibited in its utmost perfection, and all the wonders of his wisdom fall within the compass of human knowledge? We dare not presume to assert that the happiness of man in a state of glorification
will consist in scenes of this sort, and yet we cannot find that the notion of such a thing is incompatible with any state of intelligences, however elevated. For Infinite Wisdom forms no creature of any kind that is not fit to employ the contemplation and engage the attention of spirits in all degrees of their exaltation. This is true of any one single production of Divine wisdom, and of the least of the creatures of God's power; and therefore must be especially so of the whole collection of them. And what is there amiss in supposing that some of the hours of our happiness in futurity may be spent in surveying the noble strokes of elegance and beauty discoverable in this immense collection ? Would it not be a rational employment, agreeable to the purest taste, and compatible with the dignity of human spirits in any degree of bliss or state of exaltation ? We cannot think that the supposition of such a case is indubitable, admitting that we are ever to be acquainted with the prodigies of our Maker's art, and the several dark particulars relating to the animal world are in any future age to be cleared up and explained to us. .... Must there not be a huge chasm and a vast defect in the universe, if all nature is to be radically destroyed below man? Must there not be wanting, on this hypothesis, myriads of creatures to testify the excellence of the Divinity ? What can exhibit the perfection of infinite life but the communication of all possible degrees of it? of infinite goodness, but the gift of all possible degrees of happiness ? and of infinite power, but all possible varieties of being which can be conceived or imagined? We can look no way now but we meet with instances of the greatness of the Deity; and will there be fewer testimonies of his perfection in a better world ? If anything is certain, it is that the perfections of God will never be less visible in his works than they are at present.” In a similar strain of thought, Agassiz says “that a future life, in which men should be deprived of that great source of enjoyment and intellectual and moral improvement which results from the contemplation of the harmonies of an organic world, would involve a lamentable loss”; and he asks if “ we may not look to a spiritual concert of the combined worlds, and all their inhabitants, in presence of their Creator, as the highest conception of paradise.” Weighty considerations these ; but it must be kept in mind, that, with all our inquisitiveness about the future life, we are quite unable to make out through the shadows of the dark frontier what may be the realities beyond ; and the conditions of our existence, and the sources and means of our knowledge, these are all unknown to us.
It has seemed to many minds to be a reflection upon the goodness and wisdom and justness of God, to suppose that there is no after-life for those of the brute creation that suffer under heavy burdens in this life, without finding in it any compensation for their sufferings in the way of an enlarged welfare. As this recompense does not come to them in this life, it is thought that it must come in another state of existence. This argument is stated by the author of “ The Great Question Debated," from which we have already quoted. “ In whatsoever degree we are pleased to consider ourselves above the brute creation,” he says, “nobody will deny but that the great Creator acts with impartial justice towards every one, even the most minute and insignificant of his creatures. Why is it, then, a horse, a dog, or a cat shall be nourished and fed with all the necessaries of life, while others of their species shall be subject to continual hard labor, to whipping, or being worried to death? Can we suppose this or that horse, dog, or cat has deserved more or less from the hands of its Creator than another? If not, certainly there must be, according to our notions of justice with respect to ourselves, a state in which the sufferer shall be recompensed for the pains and fatigues of this life.” The great Rabbi Arnould, as stated by Bayle, says that among the Jews it was an opinion, ancient as the Prophets, that the providence of God extended to everything ; and that, when followers of this opinion were asked what justice there was in the death of beasts, what sin they had committed, and why God, since his providence extended to all, would have an innocent rat pulled in pieces by a cat, they answered, God had ordered it so; but that he would recompense that rat in another world. It was very ridiculous, added the Rabbi, to think that there should be a heaven for beasts! Without the supposition of another life, Theodore Parker could not " vindicate the ways of God” to the horse and the ox. To