Care for Creation

Ray opposed Descartes’ notion that animals are unfeeling machines.

“ Should this true, that Beasts were Automata or Machines, they could have no Sense or Perception of Pleasure or Pain, and consequently no Cruelty could be exercis’d towards them; which is contrary... to the common Sense of Mankind, all Men naturally pitying them, as apprehending them to have such Sense and Feeling of Pain and Misery as themselves have... Besides, having the same members and Organs of Sense as we have, it is very probable they have the same Sensations and Perceptions with us ...and at last seemingly contrary to the Scripture too: Proverbs 12:10... A good Man is merciful to his Beast; which is the true Exposition of it...”
Wisdom of God p.55-6

Environmental degradation was not such an issue in the 17th century as it is today. Ray’s respect for creation can however be seen in his advice regarding the body.

“ And as we are to give Thanks for the Integrity of our Body, so are we likewise for the Health of it, and the sound Temper and Constitution of all its Parts and Humours; Health being the principal Blessing of this Life, without which we cannot enjoy, or take Comfort in any thing besides.

... give Thanks ... also for their Preservation and Continuance. God preserves our Souls in Life, and defends us from Dangers and sad Accidents, which do so beset us on every side, that the greatest Circumspection in the World could not secure us, did not his good Providence continually watch over us. We may be said to walk and converse in the midst of Snares; besides, did we but duly consider the Make and Frame of our Bodies, what a Multitude of minute Parts and Vessels there are in them, and how an Obstruction in one redounds to the Prejudice of the whole, we could not but wonder how so curious an Engine as Man’s Body could be kept in tune one Hour, as we use it, much less hold out so many Years? How it were possible it should endure such Hardships, such Blows, so many Shocks and Concussions, nay, such Violences and Outrages as are offered it by our frequent Excesses, and not be disordered and rendered useless; and acknowledge the transcendent Art and Skill of him who put it together, as to render it thus firm and durable.

Have a care thou dost not by any vicious Practice deface, marr, or destroy the Workmanship of God. So use this Body as to preserve the Form and Comeliness, the Health and Vigour of it.”
Wisdom of God p.378-9

Ray was wary of human pride and its pretensions to knowledge and power.

“ The Reason why Man ought not to admire himself, or seek his own Glory, is because he is a dependent Creature, and hath nothing but what he hath received, and not only dependent, but imperfect; yea, weak and impotent: And yet I do not take Humility in Man to consist in disowning or denying any Gift or Ability that is in him, but in a just Valuation of such Gifts and Endowments, yet rather thinking too meanly than too highly of them; because Human Nature is so apt to err in running into the other Extreme, to flatter itself, and to accept those Praises that are not due to it.”
Wisdom of God p.184-5


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