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ILLUSTRATIONS

OF

SCRIPTURE,

IN THREE PARTS, &c.

CHAP. VII.

TAME ANIMALS CONTINUED.

The Ox. The Sheep...The Goat.-The Dog.The Hog.

The Ox. The ox, by which the natural historian means black cattle in general, without regard to sex, is one of the most precious and useful to man, among the herbiverous animals. Easily tamed, and of a gentle and placid temper, he is maintained at small expense; and while he consumes but little, he enriches and improves the ground from which he draws his subsistence. He patiently lends his neck to the yoke, and exerts his great muscular strength in bearing our burdens, in preparing our fields for the seed, and, to this day in eastern regions, in separating the chaff from the grain, after he has assisted in gathering in the harvest. The milk of the herd supplies us with a rich and pleasant beverage ; the flesh with a nutritious food; the skin forms

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a part of our covering, and in many parts of the world, still contributes to the defence of warriors in the day of battle. Scarcely a part of this animal indeed can be named, which is not daily rendered subservient to the purposes of utility or elegance. In the patriarchal ages, the ox constituted no inconsiderable portion of their wealth ; and he is still the basis of the riches of nations, which in general flourish only in proportion to the cultivation of their territories, and the number of their cattle. In these, all real wealth consists; for silver and gold are only representations of riches, possessing in themselves little intrinsic value. These remarks are verified, by the notice which the sacred writers take of the ox, when they describe the wealth of primordial generations : “ Abraham,” say they, “ was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.” “ The Lord has blessed my master greatly,” said the steward of Abraham's house, “ and he is become great; and he has given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, and menservants, and maid-servants, and camels, and asses. Si, milar language is used in relation to the riches of Jacob: “ The man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maid-servants, and men-servants, and camels, and

Another instance only shall be given from the book of Job : “ His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she-asses, and a very great household; so that the man was the greatest of all the men in the east." So highly valued was this animal, that it

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790 asses.

a Buffon's Nat. Hist. vol. iii, p. 423, 433. Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. vüi, cap. 70. Ælian de Nat. Animal. lib. ii, cap. 57. Bochart. Hieroz. lib. ii, p. 273-318. b Gen. xxiv, 35.

• Ch. xxx, 43.

d Job i, 3.

to 66

a

was not thought too mean a present for a king to make in ancient times to his ally: for Moses informs us, that “Abimelech took sheep, and oxen, and men-servants, and wo. men-servants, and gave them to Abraham.”e Soon after, these eminent personages entered into a treaty with each other, and, on that occasion, Abraham “ took sheep, and oxen ,and gave them to Abimelech.”

The ox, especially when fattened, is of a rounder form than any other domestic animal; a circumstance which has given him a name in the Hebrew text. The beauty of his shape has been celebrated in the lines of heathen poets, and acknowledged in the dictates of inspiration. In the prophecies of Jeremiah, the kingdom of Egypt is compared

very

fair heifer;"f and the same allusion is involved in these words of Hosea : “And Ephraim is an heifer that is taught, and loveth to tread out the corn; but I passed over upon her fair neck.”& The beauty of the heifer has been sung by the prince of Italian poets :

“ Pascitur in magnis sylvis formosa juvenca.” And by Ovid,

“ Victima labe carens et præstantissima forma." Met. lib. xv. An air of grandeur and majesty has been remarked in the motions and attitudes of the bull, and a certain generosity in his aspect, which the Latin bard celebrates in these terms:

torvæque decorus

Frontis honos." Homer had long before sung the praise of bovine excellence :

3 Geor. l. 219.

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These high authorities justify the figure which Moses 'employs, in the blessing which he pronounces on the tribe of Joseph: “ His glory is like the firstling of his bullock ;" the generosity of his heart, and the majesty of his presence, were conspicuous in the amiable and dignified father of that tribe, the preserver of his family, and an eminent type of our gracious Redeemer.

The playful disposition of a young ox, the son of the herd, as the Hebrews beautifully call him, has been remarked by writers of eyery age.

επην βοτανης κορεσωνται Πασαι αμα σκαιρεσιν εναντιαι. .

Odyss. lib. ix. Their wanton gambols on the soft grass, is thus described by Theocritus :

Ωρχευνα ενα μαλακά ται πορθμες αδικα ποια.

Νικη μαν εδ αλλος, ανασσατοι δ' εγενοντο. It is therefore with strict propriety, the Hebrew bard compares the shaking of the earth, and the reeling of the mountains with all their forests, when Jehovah descended in terrible majesty, to deliver the law from the top of Sinai, to the friskings of a young calf: “ He maketh them also to skip like a calf : Lebanon and Sirion like a young -unicorn.”i The prophet Jeremiah is supposed, by anscient interpreters, to refer to the same circumstance, where he foretels the ruin of Babylon : “Because ye were glad, because ye rejoiced, Oye destroyers of mine heritage ; because ye are grown fat,” or sport,

as the heifer at grass, and bellow as bulls.” A similar allusion is made by Ma. lachi, when he describes the glorious appearance of the promised Messiah, and the joy of his people : “But unto you that fear my name, shall the sun of righteousness arise h Idyll. vi, 1. 45, 46.

i Psalm xxix, 6.

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1 יי

with healing in his wings; and ye

shall

go

forth and grow up, or gambol, as calves of the stall." ;

The strength of the bull is too remarkable to require description ; and his courage and fierceness are so great, that he ventures at times to combat the lion himself.k Nor is he more celebrated for these qualities, than for his disposition to unite with those of his own kind against their common enemy. For these reasons, he has been chosen by the Spirit of inspiration, to symbolize the powerful, fierce, and implacable enemies of our blessed Redeemer ; who, forgetting their personal animosities, combined against his precious life, and succeeded in procuring his crucifixion : “ Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me around.”] Nor can we conceive a more striking and appropriate symbol of a fierce and ruthless warrior; an instance of which occurs in that supplication of David : “ Rebuke the company of the spearmen, the multitude of the bulls, with the calves of the people, till every one submit himself with pieces of silver.” In the sublime description of Isaiah, which seems to refer to some great revolutions, which are to be effected in times long posterior to the age in which he flourished; probably in these last days, antecedent to the millennial state of the church; the complete destruction of her strong and cruel enemies is thus foretold: “ And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls, and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness."

The ox is a heavy and sluggish animal, blunt in his feelings, and almost destitute of sagacity; yet he

may

be

i Mal. iv, 2.

Psa. xxii, 12.

* Bochart. Hieroz. vol. ii, lib. ii, c. 28, p. 279. m Psa. Ixviii, 31.

Isa. xxxiv, 7.

n

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