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´╗┐Title: Kindness to Animals - Or, The Sin of Cruelty Exposed and Rebuked
Author: Charlotte Elizabeth, 1790-1846
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Kindness to Animals - Or, The Sin of Cruelty Exposed and Rebuked" ***

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[Illustration: FRONTISPIECE.]



Sin of Cruelty





Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1845, by HERMAN COPE,
Treasurer, in trust for the American Sunday-school Union, in the Clerk's
Office of the District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.






Many books have been written about animals, and very good books too,
giving a great deal of information. Most of them are called works of
Natural History; and they usually give some description of the birds
and beasts, fishes and insects, that are known to man. I am not going to
write such a book as that; but to say a little about different kinds of
creatures that we are all in the habit of seeing, and to tell you a few
things of some which have belonged to me, or have come under my own
observation; so that, at least, I can promise to write nothing but what
I know to be true. I have not learned their characters and habits from
books, but by watching them ever since I was a very young child; and
many a happy hour I have spent in that delightful employment.

One of the first things that it came into my little head to ask was,
"How were the animals made; and why were any of them made wild and
cruel, while some are tame and quiet?" I was told that the Bible gave an
answer to that question; and so it does. If we look in the first chapter
of Genesis, where there is an account of the creation of the world, we
find that on the fifth day God created the fishes to move in the water,
and the fowls to fly in the air; and on the sixth day, "God made the
beast of the earth 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." From this we learn, that there was no violence or
cruelty in any of them, as they first came from the hand of the holy and
merciful God. And I would have you take particular notice of what
directly follows: "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our
likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over
the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and
over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." Now, the great
God is invisible--a Spirit--and not a body, as I think you all know; and
when it is said that God made man in his own image, it must mean that
man was made to be holy, and just, and good, and merciful; and he was
made to be a careful and loving ruler over the poor dumb creatures, as
the Lord God is a careful and loving ruler over all that he has

Then, in the next chapter, we have a beautiful picture before us: I do
not mean a print, or drawing, but a description in words, that, if we
think a little, will make us fancy we see a lovely sight, such as we
cannot now see anywhere. We are told that out of the ground the Lord God
formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and then
that He "brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and
whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name

Was it not a wonderful and a beautiful sight? There, in a very delicious
garden, full of all manner of rich fruit and bright flowers, with soft
warm air, and calm sunshine, was the first and only man in all the
world! He was righteous and good, without any malice, or cruelty, or
covetousness, or pride in his heart, looking with delight upon the
creatures that came about him as their rightful ruler, to receive their

Can you not fancy how he must have admired the noble and beautiful
creatures as they meekly and lovingly came to him? The mighty lion,
shaking the curls of his mane, and fixing his eyes (not then fierce and
fiery, but bright and joyous) on the man, who, by God's gift, was
mightier than he; the great elephant, putting out his trunk to caress
his new master, and passing on to rest under the shadow of some stately
tree; the horse, with his arching neck and prancing movements; the fond
dog; the gentle sheep; the peacock, with its plumes of blue, and green,
and gold; the majestic snow-white swan; the little linnet; the
robin-redbreast; and that most beautiful, tiny creature, the
humming-bird; the gay butterfly; the bee. It is impossible to go over
the names of even what we know by sight, of the good creatures of God,
who on that sixth day of the creation came about our first father, to
receive just what name he was pleased to give them. But I often think
about it, because it keeps me in mind that the Lord God never overlooks
any thing which he has seen good to make.

But what changed the animals so sadly as they must have been changed,
to become what some of them are now? That we learn in the next chapter.
Eve listened to the wicked temptation of Satan, and disobeyed the good
and gracious Lord God, and persuaded Adam to do the same. So every thing
was altered: they were driven out of that fair garden into the wide
world, the ground of which was cursed for man's sake; and this curse,
which fell upon the earth, made it bring forth thorns and thistles, and
then it was very difficult for man to make it fruitful, till he had cut
and bruised it with iron spades and ploughshares, and bestowed a great
deal of labour upon it. This sad curse was on the animals too; not by
their fault, poor things! but by man's dreadful sin. For, you see, it
was God who made them subject to man; and when man became a rebel and
traitor to God, the creatures turned against him, and against each
other. Oh, it is sad to think of all the misery and crime brought into
the world by the ungrateful disobedience of man to his heavenly King and

However, it did happen once again that a thing as wonderful though not
so beautiful was seen: indeed, we may say more wonderful, considering
how the nature of the creatures had been changed for the worse. When all
the world had become so wicked that God resolved to destroy every human
being from off the face of the earth, except Noah and his family, He
directed that pious man to make an ark, as you all know--an immense
ship, or floating house--in which he was to be preserved on the surface
of the waters for many days. When this great ark was ready, God caused a
pair of each from among all the animals and birds to come to Noah, and
to enter into the ark. Of some kinds there were seven, and of none less
than two. This was a very great miracle; and it shows us, too, how
perfectly the Lord knows and numbers all the works of his hands, and how
tenderly he cares for them all. This is one of the things that we are
apt to forget when have a beast, or a bird, or a fish, or an insect, in
our power. We are too ready to say to ourselves, "This is mine, and I
may do what I like to it." Not so; it is a creature of God's, not of
ours; and if we do to it any thing that he does not approve of, he will
surely reckon with us for it. When I call this to mind, I am
alarmed--though I do not think I have often been cruel to animals, or
any such thing--and I am ready to pray, "Lord, if I have hurt any of thy
creatures, pardon my past sin, for Jesus Christ's sake, I beseech thee;
and give me grace to be merciful for the future."

Now, having told you how I got instructed when I was little, I shall
give you the history of some animals and birds that I have had, and how
I treated them, and what amusement they gave me. I am sure if you knew
how very amusing they all are, when left to their own harmless ways, and
gently restrained from ways that are not harmless, you would think it a
great loss to have them so altered as they are by bad management. If I
had been a great traveller, I could tell you more wonderful stories; but
having only been in England, and Ireland, and part of North America, my
store of anecdotes is not so great. However, I will try my best to give
you some notion of what I do know; and as I shall often have occasion to
name Jack, I will begin by telling you who he was.

Jack was a little Irish boy, who became deaf while he was still a baby;
and because, as you know, babies learn to talk by hearing those around
them, Jack, not hearing anybody talk, could not learn, and so he grew up
dumb. It is a sad thing to be deaf and dumb. A person who is so, cannot
possibly learn any thing about God and our Lord Jesus Christ, until he
has been taught to read; and it is so very difficult to teach them, that
if some benevolent people, who have money, did not subscribe to keep up
charitable schools on purpose for the deaf and dumb poor, I do not
suppose that one in a thousand of them would ever learn so much as that
they have a soul to be saved or lost: and you may judge what a miserable
life they must lead, in total ignorance, nobody speaking to them, and
they not able to speak to anybody. Jack was in this state when I first
saw him, at eleven years old; he was a poor boy, and I took him, and
taught him, and he lived with me above seven years, till he died of a
consumption. He died very happy indeed, full of love to God for his
great mercy in sending his Son into the world to save sinners: and
depending on the Lord Jesus for salvation. He was always with me,
speaking by means of his fingers, but in an odd, that is, an imperfect
sort of language, that would make you smile. So when I mention Jack, you
will know who I mean; and we will now have some talk about the domestic

When I say domestic, I mean such as we are used to see in our houses,
streets, and fields. Lions, tigers, elephants, and such as are shut up
in caravans, or only taken about for a show, do not belong to these;
though I am not sure that I shall not have a word or two to say about
bears and monkeys. I want to amuse you, my young friends, and to make
you think a little too; for all the good things given us of God become
more valuable to us when we think about them in a right way. Jack knew
this: he used to rub his forehead with his fingers' ends, shake his head
wisely, and spell, "Very good think." I hope you will judge the same;
and when you have come to the end of my little book, be able to say you
have had a "very good think" too.





The great mistake that people seem to me to make about animals is this:
they fancy that they must be frightened into obedience, and kept from
disobeying their masters by being made afraid of punishment. I dare say
that animals, like human beings, often need correction; but two things
are necessary to make such correction useful. One is, not to punish them
too severely, which only hardens them in rebellion; the other is, never
to hurt them at all except for a real fault--something that they know
to be a fault, and know that they will be punished for doing. Otherwise,
the poor beast, not knowing when or why it may be beaten, gets confused
and foolish, and does wrong, as any boy might do, from being in a great
fright. The truth is, that the animals are very sensible, and very
willing to do their best. They are fond of being praised and rewarded;
they become very much attached to those who treat them kindly; and when
they are so attached, they are very happy, and show off all the fine
qualities that make them both valuable and entertaining. I am going to
tell you some stories about my own favourites; and, to prevent your
thinking that they were different from others of the same kind, I shall
begin by letting you into the secret of making them so knowing.

First, I tried to find out their habits; and I will tell you what they
are. All very young animals like to sleep a good deal, and to be let
alone. It both frightens and hurts them to be pulled about, and makes
them fretful and ill-tempered; spoils their growth, and prevents their
loving you. A puppy or a kitten is very fond of play, and will jump and
bounce about with you for a long while; but the moment they begin to get
tired, they should be left alone, to rest as much as they like. You may
suppose, that if, when you are comfortably going to sleep at night, a
rough-handed man were to come and shake you, and bawl out in your ears,
and wake you continually, you would soon become fretful and ill too, and
feverish, and be very glad to get out of the way of such a tormentor. So
my rule is, when creatures are young, to let them have as much sleep as
they will. It may sometimes prevent their being playthings when you want
them; but it will be made up in their health, and good-temper, and
gratitude to you.

Next, all creatures like liberty: a horse or a dog is never so happy as
when bounding across the fields in perfect freedom. Why does chaining or
tying up a dog make him savage? Because he then looks on mankind as his
enemies, and fancies that everybody he meets is going to take away his
liberty. My dogs have known as little about chains as possible: two of
them had been used to be tied up before I had them, and I never could
break them of being savage. As to beating it out of them, it would be
like putting on coals to keep a fire from burning. That, you know, makes
the fire look dull for a little while; but the moment you stir it, up it
blazes, much higher and brighter than if no coals had been put on. I
knew a horse that was not naturally good-tempered, and bad usage had
made him much worse: he was then bought by a gentleman, who gave him
enough of the whip, and spur, and sharp iron bit to cure him, if that
could have done it; but it only made him cunning and revengeful. Poor
beast! a little patient kindness would have gone much farther. I will
tell you an instance of this.

Once I had a mare, and such a beautiful creature she was! She lived on a
sort of farm, where they had not put her to work, and where the
children had been used to play with her. She was hardly full grown. I
lived then in a house with very low windows, and the pretty mare was
grazing on the outside. One warm day, the windows were all open, and I
was sitting at work, when she popped her beautiful head and neck in at
the one nearest to me. I gave her a bit of bread that was lying by me,
and told her to go away; but she would not. I said to myself, "Why
should I drive her away? God made the animals to be loving and confiding
towards man; and if this lonely creature wants me to be a friend to her,
why should I not? The Bible says, 'A righteous man regardeth the life of
his beast;' and what is life to a poor animal that has no hereafter to
look to, if its life be without comforts?" So I put down my work, and
went and rubbed her forehead, stroked her long white face, patted her
shining neck, and talked to her. After this when I was alone at my
morning work, she was sure to put her head in at one of the windows, to
ask, in her dumb way, to be petted; and many an apple, many a handful
of oats, did she get by coming there. She would soon listen for my
footstep about the house, and I seldom could look out from any window
without seeing her under it, or before it. She would also follow me like
a dog when I walked in the grounds where she grazed.


One day, a gentleman's groom undertook to ride her; but he began by
whipping and by jerking the bridle, which is a very cruel thing. My mare
did not like this; and as he went on doing it, she lost her patience;
and after a long trial as to who should be master, she threw him over
her head, and trotted home to her stable. He was not hurt, but very much
mortified, being a soldier, and a great horseman; and he told his master
that she was the most vicious beast in the world, not safe for anybody
to ride. I did not like my pretty mare to get such a bad name: so I told
my own groom to put on the side saddle, and I asked the gentleman to
mount his fine English horse, and to ride out, and see if she were not
easily managed. We had a long ride over mountains, and through little
streams, and crossing deep torrents by the unsteady bridges made of
trunks of trees, and he said he never saw an animal so full of spirit
and good-temper as my mare. I never touched her with the whip, but spoke
gently to her; and I can truly say, that for the year and a half of my
riding her every day, she never brought me into danger, nor ever
disobeyed me. You may say, "But this was a particular sort of horse, not
like others." I have only to answer you, that the bad, vicious horse I
spoke of before, was bred in the same place, lived in the same stable,
and the only difference between them was the different usage that they
had received.

The horse is one of the most sensible and most affectionate of
creatures. You see, every day, how they will obey the man who drives
them, going on, stopping, moving to the right or left, and turning any
corner, all without the driver going near them. They have learned the
meaning of his words, or they could not do this; and is it not dreadful
that a creature able to understand, and most willing to obey the voice,
should be beaten and tortured as horses are? Why does a horse go as fast
as he can when he is cruelly whipped, and his poor mouth wounded by the
hard bit? Because he is trying to get away from the man or boy who
treats him so. Ah, when God brought his beautiful creatures to the first
man, to be named, and gave them into his care, there was no appearance
of man ever becoming so cruel, or the animals so miserable as they now
are! Yet the Lord loves mercy and judgment, and hates tyranny and
wrong, as much now as he did then: and we may be quite certain of this,
that every cruelty committed is an offence in his sight, and will be
terribly punished, if it be not repented of, and left off; for when a
person says he repents, and goes on doing the same thing as before, he
is deceiving himself and provoking God.

The horse must bear a great deal of dreadful pain and suffering to be
made fit for the use man puts him to, in drawing carriages, and other
things. It is not natural to him to have even a bridle and saddle on
him; much less to be loaded with harness, to wear blinders on his eyes,
and to drag a great heavy weight as fast as he can run, keeping always
attentive to the least touch of the reins, and turning accordingly, to
prevent running his carriage against others. His fine spirit must be
broken, his liberty quite taken away, and many a bitter smart must the
poor, dumb, harmless, helpless creature suffer. But surely this ought to
be enough; and you would not be the cruel wretch to add to his pains?
Sometimes people _must_ go fast; but one who would distress and torment
a horse to make him go fast, just because it pleases the driver to be
moving quickly, is doing a very wrong thing; and so is the person who
could neglect to give food and drink to a horse when he wants it. I
wonder when I see the poor doing this. They know what it is to be
overworked, and to want as much as they could eat; they are often cold,
and cannot get fuel enough: and if they were tied up, and not able to
run about, or to help themselves, having no servants to wait on them,
how very badly off they would think themselves! Yet a poor horse is much
worse off; he can neither do any thing for himself, nor express his
wants to others: he does his best, serves us faithfully, obeys all that
he understands; and then to be ill-used, neglected, starved! It is a
thing that I cannot bear to think of; and I hope my readers will always
set their faces against such wickedness. Remember that promise which the
Lord has given, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain

I dare say you have heard of the Arabs--a wild people, the descendants
of Ishmael, the son of Abraham, who possess a great deal of country in
the east; and are powerful, and much feared, because nobody has been
able to conquer them. Their greatest strength consists in having the
boldest, fleetest, most docile horses in the whole world. Arabian horses
may be known in a moment by their uncommon beauty, their delicate arched
necks, waving manes, and long tails; but though a great price is given
for them, and they are lodged, and fed, and tended with all the care
possible, they cannot be so happy in a king's palace, as in the tent or
hut of their poor masters at home. The Arab treats his horse like a
child; gives it to eat of his own victuals, to drink of his own bowl of
milk, and lets it sleep in the midst of his family. Of course, the
animal becomes so fond of him, that it serves him for love, carries him
through all dangers, and has often been known to defend him with its
life. We cannot bring up our horses in this way, nor treat them as the
wild Arab does; but knowing what sense, and feeling, and gratitude, and
love, this noble creature can and does show, we ought to be always
watching to avoid giving it unnecessary pain, and to persuade others to
be equally kind.

I cannot tell you how it used to grieve my dumb boy, Jack, when he saw a
horse ill-used; or how very kind he was to one that he had the care of.
He would sooner have wanted food and drink himself, than have allowed
his master's horse to feel hunger or thirst. He was very tender when
rubbing it down, if there was any, sore place; and if the animal got
cross or impatient, he would say to me in signs, "Poor horse not know:
horse tired: soon go sleep, poor horse!" That was a very strong,
spirited animal, and needed a steady hand to rein him in; but I often
saw the dumb boy jump on his back, and with only the halter over his
head, guide him where he chose. I never saw him give that horse a blow
or a kick, in all the two years that he tended him. Jack was fourteen
when he began, and sixteen when he left off being his groom. He was
strong and healthy then; but at nineteen he died; and he told me that it
made him very happy to think that he had never been cruel to any of
God's poor creatures. But I must not say any more now about the noble
horse. There is another animal, the natural companion of man, the dog,
which comes next in value; for though it cannot take us on a long
journey, or convey our goods from place to place, it stands sentry over
us and our property, being not only a good servant, but a most
intelligent, fond, and faithful friend. It does not need to be broke in,
like the horse; it learns the ways and the wishes of those around it;
and the more liberty you give it, the more eager it is to serve and
please you. The dog deserves a chapter to himself, and shall have it.




There is a great deal of sorrow in the world: perhaps, through the
goodness of God, you have been kept from suffering much yourselves, but
you must have seen trouble among your friends and neighbours; sickness
and death, perhaps. And it often happens that great distress comes on
people, so as to keep them hungry and cold, for want of what would buy
enough food and fuel. Besides this, how often the bad conduct of one in
a family will make the rest unhappy! A single drunkard, or thief, or
violent person, will bring shame and misery on all the rest. The world
is full of troubles; but I do not think that we often find, even among
those of our own nature, men, women, boys, and girls, not related to us,
a person with so little selfishness as to be always sorry and sad when
we are so, and because we are so. When we meet with any one so
kind-hearted, we love that person, and would do a great deal to serve or
oblige such a feeling friend.

Now, I always observed that a dog, when kindly treated and taken care
of, will show his concern for the troubles of his master or mistress, in
a wonderful way. Indeed, I never, in my life, had a dog that would not
do so; and seeing this has convinced me that it is worse than cruel to
treat a dog ill--it is most ungrateful. It does sometimes happen that a
dog has a bad and violent temper, even from a puppy; and if very careful
treatment does not soon cure this, I should say that such a dog ought to
be destroyed, by a quick and easy death; not making the poor brute
suffer for what it cannot help. But in ninety-nine cases out of a
hundred, a dog's savageness is the fault of those who have brought him
up: and few things are more wicked than to teach or encourage a dog to
fight his own race, or to bark and fly at human beings. When the world
was as God made it, there was no hatred in it, no quarrelling, no wish
in any living creature to frighten or hurt any other living creatures;
but when Adam became a sinner, his sin broke through all this beautiful
order, and peace, and love, and set the animals against each other, and
against himself. I am trying always to remember this; for when they
alarm or distress me, and I am thinking to punish them, I ought not to
forget what first made the brutes vicious, and brought so much suffering
on them. It was man's sin alone: man should therefore do the best he can
to make them amends; and not increase their misery, as he often does, by
cruel severity. I think you will agree with me in this. Besides, it is a
certain truth, that God's eye is upon us and on the animals about us,
as much as it was on Adam and the living creatures that came to him to
be named; and though we and they are much changed for the worse, yet the
Lord God never does or can change. He is as righteous, as holy, as
merciful, and as just to-day, as he was then. How often has Jack, when
he saw a thoughtless boy hurting a dog, or any other animal, gone up to
him, and said, on his fingers, in a very quiet, gentle, but earnest
manner, "God see--God angry." He felt much for the dumb beast, suffering
pain; but more for the boy who was forgetting that the Lord's hand would
yet punish him, when he least expected it: for Jack very well knew that
the Bible says, "He shall have judgment without mercy that hath showed
no mercy."

Dogs have been a great amusement to me ever since I was a baby; and I
never have been without one in the house when I could keep one. Ladies
and gentlemen are not often willing to let their carpets be soiled by
dogs; but the poor people, who are not troubled with carpets, make
companions of them. I am writing this book in a room with a carpet and
good furniture, but I have my two dogs with me. There is little Fiddy,
the small spaniel, at my feet, where he has lain every day for eight
years; and there is Bronti, the fine big Newfoundlander, lying, where do
you think? Why the rogue has got upon the sofa, and when I shake my head
at him, he wags his long tail, and turns up his large bright eyes to my
face, as much as to say, "Pray let me stop here; it is so comfortable."
But no, Bronti, you must walk down, my fine fellow, or some lady coming
to see me may have her gown soiled, which would not be fair. We have no
right to make our pets a plague to other people, and, perhaps, a means
of injuring them too.

That was enough for Bronti; no need of a loud, cross, or threatening
voice. He saw that I wished him to leave the sofa, and he wags his tail
as contentedly on the carpet. I can manage him with a word, almost with
a look, because he was born in the house, and has never been away from
me; but master Fiddy was a year or two old when I had him, and some
things he will do in spite of me. He will hunt a cat, kill a bird, and
growl most furiously over a bone. Bronti has the same nature, but his
love for us overcomes it all. He would live peaceably with a cat, it we
had one; he will let the chickens and pigeons perch upon him, or walk
between his feet; and last year I had half a dozen tame mice, which I
used to let out upon him, when they would nestle in his warm coat, run
races over and under him, and he would not move a limb, for fear of
hurting one. As to a bone, he will allow me to take it out of his mouth
at any time; and, what is more, he will readily give it up to Fiddy,
whose little teeth can only nibble off the meat; and when he has done
that, Bronti takes it, and munches the bone.

His mother was full grown when I had her, and she was very fierce: if
any workman came to the house, unless her master or I was by to
restrain her, she would put him in fear of his life; and would have
bitten him too, if she could have seized him. We gave her away to a
friend who would be kind to her, and keep her out of mischief; and we
brought up a puppy for ourselves, this same Bronti. Now he is more than
three years old; and though he will sometimes fight a big dog who
affronts him in the street, he never frightened anybody who came to the
house. He watches, and gives one single, deep, quiet bark, to let us
know that there is a stranger; and seeing that we are satisfied, he sits
with one ear thrown back, listening and watching. If he meets a workman
in the house, he does not even growl; only keeps him in sight, following
him about, but with such a sweet-tempered look, that the greatest
coward, if honest, could not contrive to be afraid of him. I might leave
a joint of meat under his care, if he were ever so hungry; he would not
touch it, because he is truly honest: and as to his sense, you would
hardly believe if I told you how sensible he is. When I am putting on
my boots, he comes up to me, and looks very eagerly in my face; if I say
"Yes," or, "Bronti shall go," he is just wild with joy, tearing about,
barking, and making no small riot. If I say "No," or shake my head
sorrowfully and say nothing, he steals away, lies down, and never
attempts to follow me: but he gets on a chair, and Fiddy on a table, to
see me go out at the gate; and then they both begin to cry and moan most
piteously, so that nobody can comfort them.

On Sunday morning, Bronti looks very melancholy; how he knows the day I
cannot tell. Of course, we all go to church, but he begins to be sad as
soon as we get up. Neither he, nor Fiddy would attempt to follow us
then, if the doors and gate were all set open: they seat themselves at
the window to see us go. And now I recollect one time when Bronti was as
savage as his mother. You shall hear about it.

One Sunday, when were all at church, a friend, just landed from a
voyage, came to the house. He opened the garden gate, and was walking
towards the door, when up jumped Bronti on a chair at window, barking,
growling, and behaving so violently, that he really dared not try to get
into a house where such a wild beast stood ready to seize him. So he
went off to the church, found us, and after service returned with us;
and Bronti, seeing him as a friend of the family, gave him an
affectionate welcome. Then he told us of his ferocious behaviour; and we
were very glad to find that our gentle dog knew how to protect our house
and property when it was left entirely to his care.

A book larger than this might be filled, all through, with stories about
the dog, besides what are already published; but any one of you may see
enough to delight you every day in the affectionate creature, it you
will only be patient and kind. It is too often the custom to punish a
dog when he does not do just what you like; and you may like things
quite different at different times. Now, the poor brute cannot tell
exactly what you wish; and if he is used to get a blow, or an angry
scolding, he will be so afraid of doing wrong, that what little sense
he has left will fail him, and he will be so confused as to make him do
wrong. An animal, or a boy either, living in constant fear of ill-usage
whether he deserves it or not, will get either so stupid or so careless,
as seldom to do what is required. Think a little, and you will
understand this. An angry tone and hard words agitate a dog very much.
Mr. Blaine, who wrote a book about their diseases and cures, says that
he has often known a dog, weakened by illness, to go into convulsions on
hearing another dog violently scolded. I tell you this to explain why
some dogs are hard to manage: they are frightened out of their senses;
to say nothing of the cruel pain that they are often made to suffer. I
have seen a person beat a dog one day for not following him when he
wished it, and the next day for following when he was not wanted. I have
seen a dog set at another to fight, being encouraged, and irritated, and
made savage on purpose; and soon after beaten for flying at some person,
or thing that he was not wanted to attack. No wonder if the poor
creature loses all his fine qualities under such treatment.

All that he wishes is to be allowed to love you, and follow you, and
serve you. He wants the help of your reason to keep him from doing
wrong; and he wants you to explain to him how he may please you. It has
made my heart ache, many a time, to see a poor dog obey his master's
call, coming up to him in a crouching, crawling way, trembling with
fear, and seeming to say, "Pray, pray do not hurt me! I am ready to do
what you wish, and to lay down my life for you; but you are going to
beat or to kick me, and I am a poor creature, without any one to take my
part. I _could_ bite you, I _could_ seize you by the throat, or tear the
flesh off your leg, but I will not do so. I come because you call me;
pray do not hurt me!" And I have seen the meek, obedient creature
struck, and put to cruel pain, without the smallest reason in the world.
And when I recollected the words of the Bible, "Verily there is a God
that judgeth in the earth," I have grieved the more to think what
punishment that cruel man or boy was bringing on himself.

If we call one of our dogs, even when at high play in the fields, he
instantly comes bounding up, puts his head on one side, pricks up his
ears, and looks full in our faces as if saying, "Well, here I am; what
do you want me to do?" A beating is the last thing that they would think
of. I am not now speaking of Bronti and Fiddy in particular, but all the
dogs that ever I had. The reason is, that the dog is the very fondest
creature that breathes; and any but a really ill-tempered dog may be
managed by means of this fondness; while, as I before remarked, a really
bad-tempered one should not be kept to be punished, but speedily

You know what a terrible thing the bite of a mad dog is. The wound may
be so small as hardly to leave a scar, and it may heal, and be
forgotten, perhaps for weeks and months; still, the deadly poison is in
the person's blood, and when it breaks out, a most fearful death
follows, after such sufferings as nobody, who has not seen them, can
have an idea of. But, perhaps, you do not know that the angry bite of a
dog, when teased or hurt, has often produced the same awful madness. I
remember a neighbour's son dying most horribly of it, who had only had
his finger wounded, as if by a pin's point, by the tooth of a little dog
which he was teasing and provoking in play. This shows us how very
dangerous it is to irritate an animal; for you never know what peril you
may run into. These things do not fall out by chance. The Lord God
orders them all; and sometimes he does very terrible things, in judgment
on those who knowingly transgress, and for an example to others. May
you, dear young readers, be loving, and merciful, and kind; and never
stand for a moment in the hateful character of oppressors, where it is
alike your duty and your happiness to help the defenceless and to
protect the weak!




Poor Puss! I have not so much to say for her as for the noble dog. The
cat is more selfish, and not so trustful; neither does she often show so
much affection for us. The cat's habits are more like those of a wild
animal, than are the habits of any other of our domestic creatures. It
is hardly possible to keep her from straying about, or to teach her to
do no mischief. I have had a cat that would not steal, and a dog that
would: both proving that every rule has an exception. I often think,
when I see Puss watching for mice and birds, and choosing them rather
than meat, what a wonderful thing it is that God should have taught a
beast of prey to attach itself to man, so far as to rid him of other
creatures which, by increasing too fast, would eat up what he wants to
live upon. At the same time, I grieve to remember that this war between
us and the smaller animals, and between them and each other, comes from
our rebellion against God; and I dare not set one creature to destroy
another, any farther than is necessary for my own safety, and the
support of my family.

Still the cat is an interesting animal, beautiful, cleanly, graceful,
and often very loving. A kitten is even more engaging than a puppy. Its
fun and frolic are more diverting because of its light, active
movements. A grave old cat, sitting in the sunshine, with her eyes half
shut, and a merry little kitten, playing with her tail, bounding over
her back, and comically boxing her ears, is a sight that I cannot help
stopping to admire. But how much to be pitied is a kitten in the hands
of children too young to know, or too cruel to care what pain they may
put it to! As to setting dogs to hunt and worry cats, or tormenting them
on purpose, as some will, I do not wish to think that anybody who can
read the Bible, or hear it read, is capable of such wickedness; nor
should I like to believe that anybody born in this free country, among a
brave people, could be so mean a coward. A boy may fancy himself very
courageous, if he is able and willing to fight anybody who doubts his
being so; but if he is capable of wantonly hurting one of God's
creatures, when he gets it into his power, he is a real coward. He alone
is truly brave who fears none because he would injure none, but would
use all the strength and all the influence that he has, to protect the
weak from those who are too powerful for them.

I have seen wild cats abroad: most terrible-looking they are, and more
dangerous than many larger animals. Nobody would offer to play any
unfeeling tricks with them; a single look from their fierce, fiery eyes,
glaring from the branches of a tree, round which they twist their long
tails, would send the boldest of you scampering away. They grow larger,
and their fur becomes much richer, when in a wild state. The good
providence of God supplies them with very warm, thick coat, when they
have no longer the benefit of a corner by the fireside. Oh that we would
learn lessons of tender mercy by seeing how compassionately the Lord
cares for the meanest creature that he has made!

But about young kittens: there are two things, often done through
thoughtlessness, which are both very cruel indeed. One is to kill all
her little ones, which not only causes great distress, but severe pain
too, to the poor mother. God gives her milk to nourish the little
creatures, and if one is not left to draw it off, the animal suffers
much torment and fever from it. The other thing is one that no
kindhearted person could do, or allow to be done, after being once told
how exceedingly inhuman it is: I mean, putting the young ones to death
in the mother's sight. The agonies of a bitch, when she sees her puppies
drowned, are really a call for divine vengeance on the wretch who could
purposely be guilty of such an outrage on the tenderest feelings of
nature. The cat, though inferior to the dog in many points, is a most
loving mother, and very sagacious in protecting her young. She will
often hide them so cunningly, that nobody can reach them; and I have
seen a family astonished by the return of a cat which they had supposed
was lost, with four or five wild-looking, lean kittens behind her, all
their faces being well scratched by the sticks or other rubbish among
which they were hidden. The dog never does so: its confiding character
leads it to commit its young to its master's care, little as he
sometimes deserves such a trust.


Have you a cow? People who live in cities very seldom indeed have one;
but in the country, many, who are not rich, contrive to keep one; and a
more gentle, quiet, patient animal is not to be found. Jack's mother
was a poor Irishwoman, but she had two cows, and sold their milk to
support her family. I have often met her, stepping so stately and
steadily, because she had a brim-full pail of milk balanced on her head,
and never even put up her hand to support it. Jack was very fond of his
mother; and next after his parents, brother, and sisters, he certainly
loved the cows. It was his business, when quite a little fellow, to
serve up to them the pail of hot potatoes in winter; and many a walk he
took to the green fields where they pastured in summer, to see that all
was safe and right about them. Three years after his leaving home, we
also kept a cow; and Jack insisted on having the care of it, and milking
it himself. It was quite a lesson to see how kind and thoughtful the
dumb boy was about the poor cow: and what a happy life she led under his
management might be easily known by her being always good-tempered and
fearless. Often, when standing on the lawn, feeding my chickens, I have
been surprised by finding her gently rubbing her horns against my
shoulder, and asking to be petted, as every animal will ask when
encouraged. She gave a great deal more milk than any one expected--for
kind usage is a wonderful help in making any creature thrive; and I
never shall forget the joyful looks of Jack, when, one morning, he came
jumping and skipping to me, spelling as fast as he could, "Cow baby--cow
baby." He did not know the right name for a calf, and our cow had a very
pretty one, born in the night.

Then Jack's sweet disposition showed itself farther in the care that he
took not to distress the poor creatures more than was necessary. He did
not ill-use the cow for being unwilling to leave her young one, and very
eager to return to it again; nor did he frighten or hurt the tender
little calf for crying and struggling to get to its mother. In all these
things there is opportunity for being merciful and kind: and because
Satan knows that the Lord hates cruelty, and will punish those who
afflict his helpless creatures, there he chooses these occasions to
tempt people into the wanton wickedness of offending the Most High by
the abuse of such power as he has intrusted them with. Jack knew it. I
have seen the colour rise to his face, with the effort that he made to
overcome the impatience that was provoked by the eagerness of the
animals to break through the fence which separated them; but he did
overcome it, and said with a smile, "Poor baby cow! Jack not hurt--no;
God see!" Ah, it is a happy and a blessed thing to be able to rejoice
that God sees us! Less than three years after that, Jack was called to
appear before the Lord; and I am sure the recollection of having
purposely given pain to others never disturbed the quietness of his
death-bed. He felt the blessedness of having been merciful. For my own
part, I never can see a man or boy driving cattle with sticks and goads;
torturing the poor creatures for being tired, and lame, and thirsty, and
faint; and cruelly punishing them for wishing to rest, or do drink, or
to crop the green grass; or for being confused and frightened in the
noisy, crowded streets of a city, after the quiet country places that
they were reared in; I say, I never see such things without a feeling of
horror and dread: for the Lord God will surely call to a terrible
account those who act as if there were no just, holy, and merciful
Creator, to hear the cry of his tormented creatures, and to prove before
men and angels that they did not cry to him in vain.


The next animal that I shall talk to you about is the SHEEP. People call
them "silly sheep," because they are so easily frightened, and show very
little sense of judgment when running away. This is owing to their
being driven about. We seem to think it right to make every creature
afraid of us, and by that means we weaken their faculties; or, to speak
in common words, we frighten them out of their wits. In eastern
countries it is quite different. There the flocks are not driven, but
led. You will remember that beautiful description in the tenth chapter
of John, where our blessed Lord Jesus Christ compares himself to a
shepherd, and his people to sheep. It is now above eighteen hundred
years since He spoke those words; but travellers tell us that it is
exactly the same at this day. Speaking of the shepherd, our Lord says,
"The sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and
leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth
before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a
stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not
the voice of strangers." Only fancy what a different sight it must be
from what we often witness! Instead of a poor, frightened, agitated
crowd of panting creatures, running here and there, with perhaps a man
or boy shouting after them, outspreading his arms to increase their
terror, and a rough dog jumping and barking among them, to see a
quiet-looking, happy flock walking after their shepherd, pressing
forward to get near him, and each coming readily when called by its
name. Of course, not being taught to run away from man, they are not
flurried and thrown into confusion so easily as ours are. But sheep are
always timid, weak, defenceless creatures, and therefore the Lord often
speaks of his disciples as sheep; because we are all as little able to
protest ourselves from our enemy, Satan, as a flock of sheep is to
defend itself from a wolf, or a lion; and he would have us keep close to
him for protection as the eastern sheep do to their careful shepherd.

There is nothing to prevent our sheep from being as manageable as any
others. I once had a lamb given to me, because its mother could not
nurse it; and I kept it in some nice hay in a large basket, and fed it
with warm milk from the spout of a teapot. As it gained strength, I let
it run about the house, and it was a droll sight to see the big lamb
come bouncing and scampering into a room full of company, hunting the
cat about, leaping over chairs, and playing just like a frolicsome
kitten. If I walked out, it would, like the eastern sheep, follow me. I
have taken it for miles along the public road, and never saw it appear
frightened. It was stolen and killed before it became quite a sheep; but
I have no doubt it would have continued as tame, and as bold, and as
happy. If you look into the faces of a flock of sheep, you will see a
great variety of countenances among them, and some are very intelligent.
There is a field near me, where I often go to walk; and a number of
young sheep in it have taken such a fancy to Bronti, that when he stands
still they will come almost close to him, the ram foremost, as if
wishing to play with him; but if he goes towards them, off they trot,
poor things, to the other end of the field.

Not long ago, I saw something that made me quite unhappy; and indeed it
was one reason for my writing this little book. A boy was driving a few
sheep, and he got them into a corner, on some very high ground, from
which they could not possibly get away without jumping down where they
must have broken their necks, or limbs. Then this bad boy called
another, and they both took up large stones that were lying about the
road, and threw them at the innocent sheep--or rather lambs, for they
were not full grown. I saw them hit on their heads and eyes, and nearly
mad with pain and terror. I never saw a more cruel thing: I thought
Bronti would have seized the boys, he was so angry. I could not help
thinking how awful would be the state of those boys, if they were cut
off by death in such wickedness. Alas! the agonies of one hour
hereafter, would be worse than all the tortures that could be inflicted
on God's creatures during their whole lives. But instead of an hour, it
is for ever and ever that all who go to that dreadful place of
punishment must remain. It made me very miserable to see the poor lambs
so cruelly hurt, and to think what judgment those boys were bringing on
themselves. I ran for Bronti's master, and we met the bruised, bleeding
little innocents limping along, and the inhuman boy, tired of his savage
sport, following them. We stopped him, and that gentleman spoke very
plainly to him of his sin, and God's anger. The boy looked alarmed, but
sulky; and I sadly fear he was hardening his young heart against the
Lord. Let us pray that we may be kept from hardness of heart, and made
tender to keep a conscience void of offence towards God and towards man.

It was a donkey-boy who had helped the other to throw stones at the
lambs; and this reminds me that I have something to say about the ass;
the most despised and the worst-used of all animals, and yet the one on
which the greatest honour has been put, being chosen for its humble,
gentle, patient character to assist in setting forth the wonderful
humiliation of the Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, who in the greatness
of his everlasting majesty and power condescended to stoop low for our
sakes. I think you will remember at once what I mean. In the ninth
chapter of the book of Zechariah, it is written, "Rejoice greatly, O
daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King
cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding
upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass."

And you know how this was fulfilled. When our Lord Jesus was about to
enter, for the last time, into the holy city of Jerusalem, before his
enemies had laid their cruel hands on him, he sent two of the disciples,
saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway
ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring
them unto me. They did so; and this meek and lowly Saviour, this King of
heaven and earth, descended from the mount of Olives, and rode into
Jerusalem, not as the monarchs of this world ride, on a fiery war-horse
with proud trappings and surrounded by gleaming swords and spears. No,
the blessed Jesus chose no such pomp. He made choice of the humble,
despised ass; her trappings were the outer garments of those poor men,
fishermen and such like, who followed him; and who took them off, to
make, as it were, a saddle and saddle-cloth for their beloved Master;
while others, seeing that no more were wanted for that purpose, spread
theirs on the ground that he might ride over them. Ah, the day will come
when the King of kings and Lord of lords shall ride in vengeance over
the persons of his rebellious enemies, as he then rode in meek and
lowly state over the garments of his loving friends. And, as you would
avoid his wrath on that terrible day, provoke him not now by wanton
cruelty to the creatures which he has made. He is very, very merciful to
them, and to you. They do you no wrong; do no wrong to them.

How often have I thought of that beautiful scene on the green side of
the gently sloping mount of Olives, which rises eastward of the city of
Jerusalem, with the brook Kedron sparkling at its feet! You know the
Bible tells us, concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, that by Him God made
the world; and again, "All things were made by him, and without him was
not any thing made that was made." Yet he, the Maker of all things, took
upon him the nature of man; and so you see, for once, a poor animal
enjoyed even greater privilege and happiness than when the creatures
were first brought to Adam; and that animal was no other than the
persecuted ass! The Lord showed his tenderness in not separating the
dam from her young one: He commanded both to be brought; and the little
creature tripped so happily beside its mother, while both enjoyed the
sheltering protection of Him who made the worlds! Yes, I very often
think of this, when I see the cruelties committed on some overworked
animal, in a cart, or ridden by an unfeeling person; and the mischief,
the wicked mischief, that Satan finds for idle hands to do, in the
field, or by the way-side, where the poor ass is quietly nibbling at
such coarse weeds as neither horse, nor cow, nor sheep would touch. The
little foal too, with its innocent face, and broad forehead covered with
shaggy hair, looking as if it longed to have a game of play with you.
Can you put it to pain? Alas! it has a life of cruel labour and
suffering before it: and you should not be so inhuman as to rob it of
its very short time of freedom and repose. Some boys are cruel on
purpose. Satan leads them captive at his will; and if they continue to
do his wicked will, they must expect to be with him for ever in the
place of fire. But many are cruel from thoughtlessness only; and I hope
this little book will lead such to reflect, and to cease from what is a
great sin against God, whether they think it to be so or not.

I have said nothing about the wonderful story of an ass which you will
find in the book of Numbers, chapter xxii.: you can read it for
yourselves. I will finish this subject by giving you a text from the
wise and gracious laws which it pleased the Lord God to lay down for his
people Israel, when he was himself their own King. It is a most
beautiful precept: it teaches at once to overcome an evil feeling
against a fellow-man, and to show mercy to a suffering animal. "If thou
see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest
forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him," Ex. xxiii. 5; and
in the 12th verse we read a reason given for keeping holy and quiet the
Sabbath day, "that thine ox and thine ass may rest."

This is a long chapter; but I had a good deal to say in it, and I hope
you are not tired, and that you will think it over, and pray God to
enable you to profit by it.





Now, I think, you are laughing at the heading of this chapter, and
wondering what I can have to say about such creatures; but wait a
little, and you will find I am not afraid to put in a good word for
them. You must know that I once had a young bear, a mere cub, which was
given to me by one of the wild Indians, as they are called. These
Indians, by the way, are not half so wild as some boys of my
acquaintance, who are a great deal better taught; and they were very
fond of me--merely because it pleased God to keep me mindful of a
gracious command which he has given us. You will find it in the first
Epistle of Peter, chap. ii., verse 17: "Honour all men." Man, whether he
be black, or white, or tawny; whether he be rich or poor, bond or free;
man was at first made in the image of God, and would have kept the image
if Adam had not sinned and lost it; so that none of his posterity are
now born in that holy, happy state in which Adam was created. But then,
lost as man is, and deprived of all honour, it pleased the eternal Son
of God to take upon Him the name and the nature of man, free from all
its sinfulness, though deprived of its first glory, and this he did that
he might, by suffering death, atone for the sin of the world. So now, as
there is no person so miserable, so despised, or even so sinful, that by
coming to the Lord Jesus Christ, and believing in Him alone, he may not
have his sins blotted out, and himself made an inheritor of the kingdom
of heaven, I am sure that every man ought to be treated with some
respect, as one of that race whom God created, and for whom Christ died.
Indeed, it would be enough for me, if only the Bible said, "Honour all
men," without my being able to see why I ought to do so. It is my duty
to obey every one of my Lord's commands: but it is very pleasant to
think about his gracious commandments, and to see, as we must then do,
how very lovely they are. Now you know why I treated the wild Indians of
the woods with gentle, kind respect; and they felt it, and loved me
greatly, and used to bring me their little gifts. One day, two rough
Indian men came to me, in their very strange dresses, with their stiff
black hair hanging down, never having been combed in their lives, I
should think. They each brought a young bear into my large kitchen; and
while I told them to sit down and eat something, the two cubs began to
examine the place for themselves. It was a funny sight, so I will tell
you about it.

Under a table, there lay a good long barrel on its side, and two very
friendly cats had each got some kittens in it. They had made themselves
little beds in the straw, one near the mouth of the barrel, the other
farther in. So one young bear, (they were but a few weeks old, poor
little animals!) in the course of his travels about the kitchen, poked
his nose into this barrel, and out flew the old gray cat, in a great
rage, or fright, I hardly know which, and began to spit most furiously
at the cub, who ran away as fast as he could, into a distant corner,
followed by puss. She did not choose to go too near such an odd-looking
creature; but sat watching him, to prevent his leaving that corner.

Meantime, the other cub, thinking, I suppose, that, "as the cat was
away, the bear might play"--at least with the kittens, went boldly close
to the barrel, when lo! out sprang the tortoise-shell cat from the
farther end, and this master Bruin was not slower than his brother in
scampering away, the cat following him also. No harm was done; none of
them had any wish to fight, and the scene was so droll that the
servants were in fits of laughter; while the Indians, who I must tell
you are very grave, and even sad-looking people, and seldom seen to
smile, for once laughed heartily too. I took pity upon the frightened
cub, at whom the gray cat was still growling and spitting, and took him
up my arms; for which he seemed so thankful, that I continued to stroke
his shaggy coat, until one of the Indians, with a grin, offered to give
him to me. I accepted him, making a present in return; and for some days
I took delight in my bargain; for he was a most innocent little
creature, and played merrily with a puppy dog: but those who understood
the nature of a bear better than I did, persuaded me to give him up;
because they had known a young lady who was killed by a tame bear in a
sudden passion.

But I want to convince you how wrong we are in treating any animal as if
it could not feel attachment to us. Some soldiers' wives used to pet my
little cub, even with tears in their eyes; and they told me the reason.
They said, that a short time before, the regiment to which they belonged
was quartered in Canada, and the soldiers had a bear, which they brought
up tame. This creature had a strange office--he was nurse to all the
babies in the barrack. So great was his love for them, that whenever the
mothers wanted to have their infants well taken care of, they would
place them under this animal's charge, who was delighted to smooth for
them the clean soft straw that they gave him; and whose tender care over
the babes was, they told me, the most beautiful thing ever seen. The
poor bear was always trying to help and oblige his friends; and on
washing days he had plenty of babies to mind, when the weather was mild
enough to have them out of doors; but one cold day they were all left
within, and the bear had nothing to do. So, seeing a woman leave her
washing-tub, which she had just filled with boiling water, he thought he
would do some of her work, and put his paws into it: the pain made him
snatch them out, and in so doing he upset the tub--all the scalding
water fell over him--and his agonies were such that, in mercy, some
soldier shot him dead at once. The women, when they told me this, sobbed
with grief, saying, "He was so kind to our babies! he would have died in
their defence, poor fellow!" I assure you, that when I see a poor bear
led through the streets, chained, beaten, and made to dance, as they
call it, which it is taught to do by cruel tortures, I always remember
this story; and think, how much love and gratitude might that miserable
sufferer feel, and how happy he might be made, if those who have taken
him from his native woods, and made a slave of him, would only show
mercy now instead of such barbarity! We often hear the expression, "As
savage as a bear;" but, I fear, in general, the man is the greater
savage of the two.


MONKEYS are diverting creatures; and if you saw their fun and frolic
where they have liberty among the boughs of a tree, you would not know
how to leave off laughing. It is a different thing, however, to see
them also chained, and beaten, and with their limbs confined in
unnatural clothing, forced by fear, and hunger, and pain, to play the
antics which they would do of their own accord if treated differently. I
never could understand how people can be amused by any thing that causes
pain to the creature doing it. They must either be very stupid, or very
hard-hearted. Want of thought is a great cause of needless cruelty, I
know; and I am trying to put some kind thoughts into your heads, which
you may be thankful for when you are older. I can tell you one thing,
which is, that it is impossible for a cruel man to be happy: it is
entirely IMPOSSIBLE. He may laugh and shout, and sing, and dance, and
tell you that he is very happy; but it is not so. There is in his heart
something always whispering, "Your turn will come. The great God, the
holy, just, merciful God, whose creatures you now torment, sees it all,
knows it all; and he will punish you. Every one of us must appear before
the judgment-seat of Christ, to give an account of the things done in
the body; and you will be forced to own all your cruelties, before
angels and men: and then what follows? 'HE SHALL HAVE JUDGMENT WITHOUT
MERCY WHO HATH SHOWN NO MERCY!'" A bad man will never confess to you
that such is his feeling: for bad men always will try to make you as bad
as themselves: but now, mind, after what I have told you, if you have
not the same terror of God's vengeance coming over you when you do a
cruel thing. If not, it is because you are already hardened by Satan;
but I should grieve to think it was so with you. Oh! remember that the
blessed Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil; and pray to him
now to deliver you from the power of that evil one. He will hear, and
help, and save.

Even as to animals that we may destroy when they injure us, we should
not forget the good they also do: as an instance, the RAT may be
mentioned. It is, indeed, a very troublesome and sometimes dangerous
creature: it will kill and carry off young chickens, pigeons, and other
defenceless things; besides making sad havoc among the grain and
eatables of every sort. It is often more than a match for a grown
kitten, or even a weak cat: and where they are in numbers, they have
been known to overpower a man. I confess, the rat is a very disagreeable
enemy, whom we may fairly get rid of when we can. But when it is
necessary to kill them, we should do it mercifully; do not put them to
needless pain. Why should you? Is it manly? Is it generous? Is it what
you think God will approve? Will it make you wiser, or better, or
happier to feel that you are giving pain to a poor creature?





Having now, I think, mentioned all the "four-footed beasts" about which
I had any thing particular to say, I will pass on to another and still
more beautiful portion of God's handy-work--the birds. The account of
their creation is thus given: "And God said, Let the waters bring forth
abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly
above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great
whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought
forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his
kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be
fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl
multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth
day." The beasts were not made until the sixth day; so that, if I had
been writing a history of the creation, I should have put the birds and
fishes first. Notice these expressions, "God saw that it was good; and
God blessed them." Every thing when it came from his glorious hand was
very good; and man was the only being who became bad by his own fault,
despised the blessing, and brought the curse on himself, with all its
sad consequences to the whole earth and every creature. "God blessed
them;" and what right have we to make their little lives miserable? This
thought has often come over me when I have seen any cruel thing done.
God said, that the fowl were to "fly above the earth, in the open
firmament of heaven;" but he has made some fowls that are very useful to
man, willing to stay upon the earth. If hens and ducks were to lay their
eggs in high trees, and among rocks, as many birds do, we should get
very few of them; and as they lay many more than they can hatch, it
would be a great and wasteful loss. By this we are sure that poultry was
intended for our use; and if you take care not to frighten or tease
them, you may bring up chickens to be as tame and familiar as dogs or
cats. I remember a droll proof of this. Once, out of a great many fowls,
belonging to a dear friend in whose house I lived, there was only one
that would not be friends with me. She was a fine old speckled black and
white hen, very wild; and her running away from me vexed me; for I
cannot bear that any one of God's creatures should think I would be so
cruel as to hurt it. Well, I set myself to wheedle this hen into being
on better terms; taking crumbs to her, and persuading her by degrees to
feed from my hand, like the rest. This was very good: but it did not
stop here. Whether Mrs. Hen was flattered by so much attention, or
whether she was desirous of making up for her former rudeness, or how it
was, I don't know; but she became so unreasonably fond of me, that if a
door or window were opened she would pop in to look for her friend,
running up and down stairs, into the parlour, the drawing-room, the
bed-rooms, and making no little work for the servants. At first, every
body was amused at it; but, after a time, the poor hen became so
troublesome that we were obliged to give her away. Jack, the dumb boy,
would put his hands to his sides, and laugh till he lost his breath, to
see "my fat hen," as he called her, waddling after me, without minding
either dogs or strangers, and he was in great trouble when she was sent
away. Jack's care of the poultry, and his anxiety to prevent their being
hunted, or hurt, would have delighted you. Nothing pleased him better
than to see that fine fellow, the cock, when he had scratched up or
found any nice thing, calling the hens and chickens about him, bidding
them take it, and never seeming even to wish for it himself. Jack used
to say, "Good; beautiful! God made poor bird." When he was a little boy,
he had seen some cock-fighting; and he used to tell me of it, in his
way, with so much grief and anger. He said, "God see bad man hurt poor
birds--make birds fight." The tears would come into his eyes, when he
thought how the birds were tortured; but he always ended by pitying the
men and boys who suffered Satan to tempt them into such wickedness, for
which they would be dreadfully punished at last.

Jack was very fond of small birds: I suppose you think, then, that he
had some in a cage; and that he caught them in traps, for he was very
ingenious. No; Jack would as soon, and sooner, have gone to prison
himself. He could not bear the idea of imprisoning a bird. Canaries,
indeed, and such others as could not live in our cold climate, and
which, having been hatched in a cage, would not have known how to use
their liberty, he did not object to, but took great pleasure in giving
them pans or saucers of clean water, to bathe themselves in; and plenty
of fresh sand, and nice food: but most birds he could not bear to see
within the bars of a prison. The robin, the thrush, the blackbird, the
linnet, the sparrow, he knew it was a sin to deprive of their liberty. I
have seen him persuade other boys to break their traps, or to let the
poor frightened captives go: and I have seen him clap his hands with joy
as they spread out their pretty wings, and flew "above the earth, in the
open firmament of heaven," as they were made to do; but I do not believe
that a whole pocket full of silver and gold would have tempted Jack to
catch and sell a bird. Indeed, I am sure it would not; for he knew that
neither silver nor gold, nor any thing that is to be bought with them,
would make a person's heart feel happy; and that the commission of a sin
would make him feel very unhappy; for nothing was so dreadful to Jack as
the idea of offending his gracious God, or grieving the Holy Spirit,
who dwells in the heart of every true believer. Now, perhaps, you will
say, "I would not catch and sell birds to put money in my own pocket;
but may I not do it to earn a little for those who really want it?" But
robbing is not earning. If you catch a bird, or a fish, not belonging to
another person, to kill and eat it, or to sell or to give it to others
for food, you do what God has permitted; and if it is done for this
purpose, and not for sport, nobody can blame you. But, though the Lord
has given you the bodies of his creatures for food, he has never given
you their natural liberty, either for your amusement or profit.

As for keeping birds in a cage to sing, if you look at the hundred and
fourth Psalm, you will find that they were made to "sing among the
branches." Go into the fields, and listen to their happy little songs of
liberty, and take from them a lesson of thankful joy: or, if you want
them at home, put crumbs and grains of corn on the windows, and they
will learn to come and pick them up, and thank you with their merry
notes. Only do not be so mean and treacherous as to draw a snare or
close a trap over the poor things when they come, as they think, to be
fed by your bounty. People who love music so well as to make an innocent
creature miserable that they may enjoy its songs will wish, some day,
that they had been born deaf.

But there is one thing that I am sorry to see many boys doing every
spring, and which they cannot defend by any such excuses. I often wonder
who was the first to begin such a disgraceful custom, the most cruel,
senseless, and babyish piece of folly: I mean what is called
bird-nesting. God said to the creatures, "Be fruitful and
multiply,"--"let fowl multiply in the earth." At the same time, He gave
them a wonderful instinct and skill, such as man's reason cannot
imitate. The birds must keep their eggs very warm for a certain number
of days, to bring to life the little creatures that are forming within
them; and the eggs being so very delicate and brittle, they must also
have a soft place to lie in, close enough for the bird's body to cover
them all; and be out of reach of rats, and other enemies. So, when the
bird is going to lay, she and her mate set to work, and what wonderful
work it is! These little creatures, without any hands, or even paws like
four-footed animals, to help them, and with only the bits of stick, hay,
grass, dead leaves, wool, hairs, and moss, that they can pick up with
their bills, presently form a soft, snug, warm, strong apartment, as
round as a tea-cup, and exactly of the proper size; placed, too, where
it will be little seen, sheltered above from the wet, yet airy enough to
keep it fresh and wholesome, and so smooth on the inside that even the
delicate naked body of a bird just hatched cannot be made uneasy by a
rough point. It costs the parent-birds a great deal of trouble; and if
you leave a nest untouched from one year to another, neither disturbing
the eggs nor the nestings, you will find it the next spring nicely
repaired and new lined, and a new family in it. Oh! I do wish that boys,
remembering how, by the goodness of our equal laws, a poor man's house
is his castle, would let a poor bird's little nest be its castle too! He
is the bravest boy who will defend the weak from the strong; and he is
the best boy who loves and is kind to the least of God's creatures for
the sake of the glorious Creator.

But perhaps you may say, "Well, I will not spoil the nest; I will only
take the eggs." No, pray do not take the eggs. What pleasure in the
world can a parcel of little eggs afford you, compared with the delight
that the poor harmless mother takes in them as she sits in her warm
house, of her own making, listening for the first faint chirp of the
tiny creature within? Birds only bring up one family in a year; and if
you take from them the eggs that are to produce that one, you rob them
of all the happiness for which they took so much trouble. You are not
enough of a hen to hatch the eggs, though you may be enough of a goose
to try: then think, and be too much of a man to do such a silly, cruel
thing. You like, perhaps, to blow the inside out, and string the shells
in a row. Oh you thoughtless child! You must certainly be a very little
child to take pleasure in such a babyish thing; and you are very, very
thoughtless and wrong to do it at the expense of a poor innocent bird
which never injured or wished to injure you, though you can rob it of
all its delight, to please such a silly fancy. If you want a pretty
thing to ornament your room, go and pick up some round, clear pebbles,
of different colours, and give one side of them a polish at the
grindstone; then get some pieces of brick, and join them together in the
shape of an arch, or any thing you fancy, with a little mortar; spread
more mortar, thick and rough, over the front, and, while it is wet,
stick in your pebbles, with the shining side outmost, with bits of
glass, moss, sealing-wax, and any gay thing that comes in your way. I
have seen such pretty contrivances, and have said to myself, "The boy
who made this is skilful, and may come to be a good builder, or other
artisan, some day;" but when I see bird's eggshells hung up, I turn away
with a feeling of pain, because I know that somebody must be there,
either idle and cruel, or encouraging their children to be so.


But there is something far worse than this. When the mother bird has
made her nest, and sat long days and nights on her eggs, and heard the
little ones chirp within, and helped them to break the thin shell, and
felt their little warm bodies cuddling themselves among her soft
feathers, and seen their yellow beaks open to ask her for the food that
it gives such joy to her affectionate heart to put into them; oh, THEN,
can you turn all her honest happiness into misery and mourning, and kill
those baby-birds with a miserable death, by cold and hunger, if not by
other tortures. If ever you have done this, pray to the Lord God to
forgive your sin, for Jesus Christ's sake. Do you think He will forgive
you? Yes, you say, because he is very merciful. Indeed he is and for
that very reason he hates cruelty: but while you look to the Lord's
mercy for pardon, you must steadily resolve to offend no more by doing
what he hates; else you only mock him.

I do not myself understand how anybody can bear to hurt little birds,
they are such endearing creatures; but I have seen it with my own eyes,
and am obliged to believe it. Bad example will go a great way. Boys, and
men too, will do what they see others do, without stopping to think of
the great truth that God sees them too. But, then, good example goes
far also; and the person who is careful not to do wrong has the comfort
of knowing that he is showing others the right way. While I write this
little book, I am praying to the Lord to make it the means of persuading
many young readers to be merciful; and that their good example will
persuade many more, who may not see the book; and so good will be done,
greater than you now think.

I have a cockatoo. A friend brought him from India, and a funny bird he
is, but terribly noisy. He soon began to bark like Fid, and to growl
like Bronti; to cackle like the hens, and to imitate every loud noise
that he heard. We hoped, if he had a good teacher, he would learn to
sing, instead of making such a riot, as he whistles uncommonly well
after his master. So we went to buy a Canary bird, and you may be sure
we bought two; for it is very cruel to shut up a bird alone in a cage.
The cockatoo is not in a cage, but on a stand, dancing and chattering
all day. We put our canaries into a very large cage, with a good-sized
pan of fresh water every day, clean gravel, and plenty of seed. Nothing
could be happier, or tamer, than these little things; but one day the
hen got at some green paper, which she pecked at through the wires, and
the stuff that coloured it killed her at once. We got another directly
in her place, and there they are in the sunshine, on a table close by
me, splashing the paper on which I write with the water; for they
delight to plunge into it, till they are wet in every feather. Nothing
is more necessary to animals and birds than plenty of fresh water. My
pigeons have a pan of it to wash in, and it wants changing several times
a day; and you do not know how much birds in confinement suffer if that
is neglected. A glass hung outside, if always kept full, is good to
drink out of; but a bath _in_ the cage is the great luxury.

Perhaps you will ask, Has the cockatoo learned to sing? No, I am sorry
to say, he is as noisy as ever, and not at all musical. We keep him
quiet by giving him sticks to break, and knotted cord to untie; and when
he has been good I take him on my lap, and rub his head and wings, which
he greatly likes. I never yet saw the animal, down to a little mouse,
that would not be fond of those who treated it tenderly; and the
pleasure of being loved is so great, that I only wonder how anybody can
neglect to win the love of the creatures which were made for man's use
and benefit. There is a wonderful deal of happiness among them, showing
how, as the Psalm says, the Lord's "tender mercies are over all his
works;" and a little kindness makes them so familiar, that we are always
reminded how sociable they were with Adam in the garden of Eden; and how
happy they and we should all be together now, if sin had not entered
into the world to destroy the beauty and blessedness that were upon
every thing when God first made them, and saw that they were all "very




A story about Jack. When he was a little fellow, soon after he came to
me, and before he knew many words, he made me understand that he wanted
a very long, slender stick. I asked a gardener of a friend, and he cut
him a fine one from a particular sort of tree. Then Jack laid out a
penny, all that he had, on a coarse bit of line, such as fishermen use;
and, lastly, he came to me for some large pins: one of which he bent
like a hook; explaining to me that he was going to dig for worms to put
upon it, that he might fish. I shook my head, saying, "No." Jack nodded
his head, and said "Yes." I said "bad;" Jack said "good;" and then I
took up his little red hand, and pretended I was going to run the hook
through the flesh. He snatched it away in a fright, saying "Bad, bad!"
but I nodded, and said "Good, good!" He said, "Bad Mam, hurt Jack!" and
I answered, "Bad Jack, hurt worm: God made Jack--God made worm." He
shook his head, and said, "No;" and what do you think was the reason he
gave? He reminded me that God is high up above, and that the worms come
from below, under the ground. The little fellow did not know that the
world is round; he thought it was flat: still less did he then
understand that God is everywhere, and made all things, above and
beneath. Then I told him that the Lord did so; and that worms and other
things were put into the earth by him, even as we were made to walk upon
its surface. Jack considered a little; and then said the worms were
rolled up in the world as apples were in a dumpling, and that they eat
their way through the crust. It was an odd idea, and made me smile; on
which he said, "Good," and told me he would fish with a piece of meat or
bread for a bait.


Next morning, Jack came to me, and after reminding me of this, he asked
me if God also made the little newts, tadpoles, and frogs, and other
things that he had seen in the muddy ditches? I replied, "Yes, all."
"Did God make fishes?" "Oh yes," I answered, "he made fishes and every
thing." Then, in a very lively manner, he made me understand, that if
God did not like to have him hurt the worms, neither would he like to
have him hurt the fish. "Poor fish!" he said, showing me how its mouth
would be torn by the hook; and then, to my surprise, he got a small
hatchet, and chopped up his fine fishing-rod into walking-sticks; and
from that day he could never bear to see anybody angling. He used to
tell him, if they wanted to fish to eat or sell, to catch them with a
net, and to kill them at once; and I believe that the sight of the deaf
and dumb boy, taking such pains to plead for the creatures which are not
only dumb, but have no way of pleading for themselves, was the means of
checking many persons in cruel practices. He knew very little compared
with what you, perhaps, know; but he knew one blessed truth--he knew
that "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting
life;" and by always thinking on this great mercy of God to man, and the
exceeding love of our Lord Jesus Christ, in dying for poor sinners like
us, Jack came to hate whatever he knew to be displeasing to that
gracious Lord and heavenly Father; and the happiness that he felt in his
own soul made him delight in seeking the happiness of every creature
around him.

Jack died of a slow decline. He had much pain, but I never saw him look
impatient or unhappy. He felt what David so beautifully describes in the
twenty-third Psalm: "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of
death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me." He knew quite well
that he was going to die; but it never made him uneasy. He knew that God
was at peace with him, through the merits of the Redeemer; and he was at
peace with all the world. His dying pillow was not made a pillow of
thorns by the remembrance of having made any living thing suffer
torment; nor were his short sleeps disturbed by terrible dreams of what
he had forgotten until the time drew near to appear before God. I could
tell fearful stories of some who died as young as Jack, and whose
death-beds can never be forgotten by those who saw them. They had been
cruel to God's dumb creatures, and never gave a thought to what they had
done; but when death was near, when the poor weak body could not rise
from the bed, nor the soul be any longer deceived with the thought of
years to come, it was horrible to hear the cries they uttered, and the
wild things that they said about beasts, and birds, and insects tortured
by them in the days of their health and strength. There was one in
particular, a butcher's boy, who could not be comforted: he said, the
calves, the sheep, and the lambs, had provoked him by their
unwillingness to be caught and driven into the slaughter-yard, and he
had revenged himself by making their deaths as painful as he could; and
that he saw them then--whether his eyes were open or shut, he always saw
them--all bleeding, and torn, and struggling, as they used to do: and
whatever was said to him, or whatever noise was made, he heard their
cries of agony louder than all. When he was told that God was merciful,
he answered, "Yes; but I had no mercy, and there is no mercy for me." I
wish I could tell you that he died praying for pardon; but, alas! he
died shrieking out that he must go to hell. At that time, I was asked to
write a book about it, to warn others; but I was so much shocked that I
could not write about it. I mention it now, to show you that sometimes,
even in this world, the dreadful work of judgment is begun--judgment
without mercy, to those who show no mercy.

But you must not suppose that Jack's happiness and peace, and confidence
in God, came from any thing that he had done, or any thing that he had
refrained from doing. No, it was all from believing with his whole heart
that God loved him for the sake of his dear son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, if Jack has said, or fancied, that he loved God, and had at the
same time been cruel, or lived in any other sin, it would have proved
that he was mistaken, and he would have had no real peace. If you pass
by a garden and see clusters of fine ripe grapes hanging from the boughs
of a tree, and anybody should say to you, "That's a fine vine," you
would agree with him at once; but if he pointed to a tree where
horse-chestnuts were growing, and called it a vine, you would laugh at
him; you know the difference between a sweet juicy grape, and a hard,
bitter, uneatable horse-chestnut. Yet you would not say that the grapes
made the vine, would you? No, they did not make it a vine, but they
proved it to be one. If a boy were to tie bunches of grapes to a
horse-chestnut tree, and tell you it was a vine, you would say no, it is
not a real vine--the fruit did not grow upon it.

In this way, I may say that I knew Jack to be a true child of God:
because the fruit of good works grew upon him. It was not in look only,
but really and indeed, that he was the character I have described; and
if you read carefully, very carefully, the fifteenth chapter of St.
John's Gospel, you will see what I mean. In that beautiful chapter, our
Lord Jesus Christ compares himself to a vine, his people to the
branches, and the good works that they do to the grapes; and he shows us
that if we do not really belong to him, and keep close to him, (which we
can only do by believing and praying,) then we are like the branches cut
off from the vine, which cannot possibly bring forth any grapes. You may
think little of this now; but you must think of it, whether you will or
no, when you come to die. Perhaps you say to yourself, "Ay, but when I
come to die, I will pray, and make my peace with God." Do not deceive
yourself with such a vain hope: there is a very terrible warning given
in the first chapter of Proverbs, which you must not forget. The Lord is
addressing such as mean to put off repenting and praying, and serving
him, to another time, when sickness or some other calamity shall
frighten them into calling on him for pardon and help. These are the
words: "Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my
hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and
would none of my reproof; I also will laugh at your calamity; I will
mock when your fear cometh, when your fear cometh as desolation, and
your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh
upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they
shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: for that they hate
knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: they would none of
my counsel: they despised all my reproof." Does not this alarm you? Then
do not be found a day longer among those who refuse to hear the gracious
voice of the Lord Jesus, who invites you to come to him for eternal
life; and who will, if you ask it in his name, send the Holy Spirit to
guide you in the good way, and make you real branches of the good Vine,
as he made the dumb boy. When Jack was eleven years old, he became a
true servant of the Lord; and he died at nineteen, and went to live in
heaven with the blessed Master whom he had delighted to serve upon

His religion made him so happy, there was not a merrier boy to be found.
Some people will tell you that being religious makes a boy feel dull and
melancholy. Ask them if they think you so silly as to believe that
walking in the summer sunshine will make you feel dark and cold? True
religion is to man what the bright sunshine is to the little insects
that sport upon the wing, and who find in it not only their light but
their life.


Does any boy's conscience smite him at my naming the insects? I hope
not. I hope you have not been tempted by Satan to do any harm to the
little harmless, and often useful, creatures that cross your path. A
butterfly, a cockchaffer, a house-fly, a snail, a caterpillar, a
worm--these, and all others, are God's handy-work; and if you could see
them through a glass that magnifies very much indeed, you would be more
astonished than I can tell you. The small powder, scarcely seen on your
finger's end, from the wing of a butterfly, is a lump of the most
beautiful feathers, so delicate that the gentlest touch will rub some of
them off: the wing itself is made of lovely net-work, like silver
threads, stretched on strong wires; and all the skill of all the most
skilful men in the world could make nothing to equal the coarsest part
of the plainest insect. But it is not their beauty--though we ought to
see and to glorify the Creator's hand in that--it is their delicate
sense of feeling that should keep us from hurting them. The common worm
is very useful in dividing the clods of earth, which would otherwise
become so hard as to prevent the fine fibres of the roots of plants from
forcing their way, and then the plants would die. Man has not discovered
all the uses of the different insects; but God has made nothing in vain:
and though, for our own safety and comfort, we must destroy some sorts,
still we are bound to do it in the quickest and most complete manner, or
else we must give an account to their Creator and ours for the cruelty
we commit. I have killed insects myself, for no reason but because I saw
that they must fall into the hands of boys, or others, whom I knew to be
so dreadfully wicked as to take pleasure in torturing them; but I did it
sorrowfully; feeling that I could not give life to the meanest reptile,
and that I must be able to render to God a reason for taking it away. I
have found poor harmless insects alive, most cruelly maimed, with their
wings or legs torn off, or their bodies pierced through; and I shuddered
to think how the eye of God was fixed on those who did it, never losing
sight of them; and I have prayed that he would change their wicked
hearts before it was too late.

And now I have finished my book. While I was writing it, more than a few
funerals passed my window, the coffins being those of very young people;
and this made me more anxious to go on; for I thought to myself,
"Perhaps some boy or girl will read it who has never thought rightly
about these things, and will presently determine not to go on in sin,
but to become merciful and obedient, and all that they ought to be." If
they try to do this of themselves, they will soon find that the sinful
nature of Adam is too strong in them; and the more they try to mend
themselves, they will find Satan is the more busy, leading them into
more wickedness. Then, perhaps, they will mind what I have said about
the need not only of pardon, but of help from the Lord Jesus Christ.
They will pray to God, for his sake, to give them a new heart, holy,
humble, obedient, and merciful. This prayer will be heard; for our
gracious God hears and answers the prayer of the poorest child as
readily as that of the mightiest king. Then they will know what it
really is to love God, and to keep his commandments, because they love
him; and what a sweet example they will set to others, and how happy
they will be themselves, and what a blessing to all belonging to them!
Perhaps, too, they will make a little party among the kindest-hearted of
their playmates, all giving a promise to each other not willingly to
hurt any of God's creatures; but to do the best they can to persuade
every one to be merciful to the dumb animals, birds, fishes, and
insects. If they live, they will grow up to be such men and women as we
want, to bring a blessing on this land; and in their own children they
will reap the reward of having shown tenderness to the helpless. If they
die young, they will be like my happy boy Jack, not afraid of death; but
willing and rejoiced to go to the Saviour, whom they sought and found so
early. Oh, may the Lord grant this blessing to my little book, that at
the great day of judgment I may meet with some happy spirits to tell me
that it was not written in vain! "BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL, FOR THEY

[Illustration: FINIS]

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