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FURTHER THOUGHTS ON RELIGION.
The scripture-system of man's creation is what Christians are bound to believe, and seems most agreeable of all others to probability and reason. Adam was formed from a piece of clay, and Eve from one of his ribs. The text mentioneth nothing of his Maker's intending him for, except to rule over the beasts of the field and birds of the air. As to Eve, it doth not appear that her husband was her monarch; only she was to be his help-mate, and placed in some degree of subjection. However, before his fall, the beasts were his most obedient subjects, whom he governed by absolute power. After his eating the forbidden fruit, the course of nature was changed; the animals began to reject his government; some were able to escape by flight, and others were too fierce to be attacked. The scripture mentioneth no particular acts of royalty in Adam over his posterity who were contemporary with him, or of any monarch until after the flood; whereof the first was Nimrod, the mighty hunter, who, as Milton expresseth it, made men, and not beasts, his prey : for men were easier caught by promises, and subdued by the folly or treachery of their own species; whereas the brutes prevailed only by their courage or strength, which, among them, are peculiar to certain kinds. Lions, bears, elephants, and some other animals, are strong or valiant; and their species never degenerates in their native soil, except they happen to be enslaved or destroyed by human fraud: but men degenerate every day, merely by the folly, the perverseness, the avarice, the tyranny, the pride, the treachery, or inhumanity, of their own kind.