Thursday, September 10, 2009
Are we less grateful than brute beasts?
I am reading Philip Doddridge’s little spiritual classic The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul (c. 1745). At one point he laments the ingratitude of men toward the Lord, making unfavorable comparison between ungrateful human beings and dogs:
Surely every domestic animal around you must shame such ingratitude. If you do but for a few days take a little kind notice of a dog, and feed him with the refuse of your table, he will wait upon you, and love to be near you; he will be eager to follow you from place to place, and when, after a little absence, you return home, will try, by a thousand fond, transported motions to tell you how much he rejoices to see you again. Nay, brutes far less sagacious and apprehensive, have some sense of our kindness, and express it after their way…. What lamentable degeneracy therefore it is, that you do not know: that you, who have been numbered among God’s professed people, do not, and will not consider your numberless obligations to him.