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 names.
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 Father!
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