And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing…
In domestic animals we recognize a very marked token of the paternal kindness of the Creator. Their value and importance to man cannot well be estimated. How much do they add to his strength in toil, to his ease and speed in travelling, and to his sustenance and gratification in food. Even the dog proffers to us a serious and profitable lesson. "Man," said the poet Burns, "is the god of the dog. He knows no other, he can understand no other. And see how he worships him. With what reverence he crouches at his feet, with what love he fawns upon him, with what dependence he looks up to him, and with what cheerful alacrity he obeys him! His whole soul is wrapped up in his god; all the powers and faculties of his nature are devoted to his service, and these powers and faculties are ennobled by the intercourse. Divines tell us that it ought to be just so with the Christian; but does not the dog often put the Christian to shame?" The ox, also, is to us a living parable. As he slowly wends his way from the field of toil, at noon, or evening, toward home, how affecting the remonstrance his moving figure is made to utter — "The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib; but Israel doth not know, My people do not consider." And when he bows his submissive neck to receive the yoke and go forth to his labour again, how gracious the invitation symbolized by the willing act — "Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light." The sheep, likewise, is a sacred emblem. Were this animal to repeat all the various truths committed by the Spirit to its symbolism, it would preach to us a new lesson with every change of situation in which we beheld it — following after the shepherd — enclosed in the fold — scattered on the mountain — lying down in green pastures — straying among wolves — borne on the shepherd's shoulder — bound before the shearer — separating from the goats — in these various circumstances, sheep read to us the most solemn and important truths of the gospel of the Son of God. And the lamb — this is the central symbol of the Christian system. This innocent and gentle creature is preeminently the type of Him who was holy, harmless, and undefiled, the Lamb of God that was slain to take away the sins of the world, in whose blood the redeemed of heaven have washed their robes and made them white. The horse also is a chosen figure of inspiration. In the Book of Revelation — that wonderful portion of the sacred volume — the King of kings, and Lord of lords, is represented as riding on a white horse; and the armies of heaven as following Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, to witness His victory over all the enemies of truth and righteousness, and to participate in the final triumphs of His grace. Such is the deeply interesting event, such the glorious consummation, of which the horse stands forever a symbol and a remembrancer before his rider. How wise the arrangement that has thus embodied Divine truth in living forms, that ever move before our view. How kind and gracious in God our Father thus to constitute" sheep and oxen" to be unto us as priests and prophets, holding forth the Word of life, and, though they see not the vision themselves, symbolizing the glorious things of Christ and of heaven, to inspire us with the comfort of the most blessed hope.
(H. W. Morris, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.