The creation of moving creatures.  

    1. "And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving 
creature that hath life" after their kind, "and fowl that may fly above the 
earth" after their kind.  After the creation of the luminaries the waters 
are now filled with living beings and 
its own adornment is given to this part of the world. Earth had received hers 
from her own plants, the heavens had received the flowers of the stars, and, 
like two eyes, the great luminaries beautified them in concert. It still 
retained for the waters to receive their adornment. The command was given, and 
immediately the rivers and lakes becoming fruitful brought forth their natural 
broods; the sea travailed with all kinds of swimming creatures; not even in 
mud and marshes did the water remain idle; it took its part in creation. 
Everywhere from its ebullition frogs, gnats and flies came forth. For that 
which we see to-day is the sign of the past. Thus everywhere the water 
hastened to obey the Creator's command. Who could count the species which the 
great and ineffable power of God caused to be suddenly seen living and moving, 
when this command had empowered the waters to bring forth life? Let the waters 
bring forth moving creatures that have life. Then for the first time is made a 
being with life and feeling. For though plants and trees be said to live, 
seeing that they share the power of being nourished and growing; nevertheless 
they are neither living beings, nor have they life.  To create these last 
God said, "Let the water produce moving creatures." 

    Every creature that swims, whether it skims on the surface of the waters, 
or cleaves the depths, is of the nature of a moving creature,  since it 
drags itself on the body of the water. Certain aquatic animals have feet and 
walk; especially amphibia, such as seals, crabs, crocodiles, river horses  
and frogs; but they are above all gifted with the power of swimming. Thus it 
is said, Let the waters produce moving creatures. In these few words what 
species is omitted? Which is not included in the command of the Creator? Do we 
not see viviparous animals, seals, dolphins, rays and all cartilaginous 
animals? Do we not see oviparous animals comprising every sort of fish, those 
which have a skin and those which have scales, those which have fins and those 
which have not? This command has only required one word, even less than a 
word, a sign, a motion of the divine will, and it has such a wide sense that 
it includes all the varieties and all the families of fish. To review them all 
would be to undertake to count the waves of the ocean or to measure its waters 
in the hollow of the hand. "Let the waters produce moving creatures." That is 
to say, those which people the high seas and those which love the shores; 
those which inhabit the depths and those which attach themselves to rocks; 
those which are gregarious and those which live dispersed, the cetaceous, the 
huge, and the tiny. It is from the same power, the same command, that all, 
small and great receive their existence. "Let the waters bring forth." These 
words show you the natural affinity of animals which swim in the water; thus, 
fish, when drawn out of the water, quickly die, because they have no 
respiration such as could attract our air and water is their element, as air 
is that of terrestrial animals. The reason for it is clear. With us the lung, 
that porous and spongy portion of the inward parts which receives air by the 
dilatation of the chest, disperses and cools interior warmth; in fish the 
motion of the gills, which open and shut by turns to take in and to eject the 
water, takes the place of respiration.  Fish have a peculiar lot, a special 
nature, a nourishment of their own, a life apart. Thus they cannot be tamed 
and cannot bear the touch of a man's hand.  

    2. "Let the waters bring forth moving creatures after their kind." God 
caused to be born the firstlings of each species to serve as seeds for nature. 
Their multitudinous numbers are kept up in subsequent succession, when it is 
necessary for them to grow and multiply. Of another kind is the species of 
testacea, as muscles, scallops, sea snails, conches, and the infinite variety 
of oysters. Another kind is that of the crustacea, as crabs and lobsters; 
another of fish without shells, with soft and tender flesh, like polypi and 
cuttle fish. And amidst these last what an innumerable variety! There are 
weevers, lampreys and eels, produced in the mud of rivers and ponds, which 
more resemble venomous reptiles than fish in their nature. Of another kind is 
the species of the ovipara; of another, that of the vivipara. Among the latter 
are sword-fish, cod, in one word, all cartilaginous fish, and even the greater 
part of the cetacea, as dolphins, seals, which, it is said, if they see their 
little ones, 
still quite young, frightened, take them back into their belly to protect 

   Let the waters bring forth after kind. The species of the cetacean is one;  
another is that of small fish. What infinite variety in the different kinds! 
All have their own names, different food, different form, shape, and quality 
of flesh. All present infinite variety, and are divided into innumerable 
classes. Is there a tunny fisher who can enumerate to us the different 
varieties of that fish? And yet they tell us that at the sight of great swarms 
of fish they can almost tell the number of the individual ones which compose 
it. What man is there of all that have spent their long lives by coasts and 
shores, who can inform us with exactness of the history of all fish? 

    Some are known to the fishermen of the Indian ocean, others to the toilers 
of the Egyptian gulf, others to the islanders, others to the men of 
Mauretania.  Great and small were all alike created by this first command by 
this ineffable power. What a difference in their food! What a variety in the 
manner in which each species reproduces itself! Most fish do not hatch eggs 
like birds; they do not build nests; they do not feed their young with toil; 
it is the water which receives and vivifies the egg dropped into it. With them 
the reproduction of each species is invariable, and natures are not mixed. 
There are none of those unions which, on the earth, produce mules and certain 
birds contrary to the nature of their species. With fish there is no variety  
which, like the ox and the sheep, is armed with a half-equipment of teeth, 
none which ruminates except, according to certain writers, the scar.  All 
have serried and very sharp teeth, for fear their food should escape them if 
they masticate it for too long a time. In fact, if it were not crushed and 
swallowed as soon as divided, it would be carried away by the water. 

    3. The food of fish differs according to their species. Some feed on mud; 
others eat sea weed; others content themselves with the herbs that grow in 
water. But the greater part devour each other, and the smaller is food for the 
larger, and if one which has possessed itself of a fish weaker than itself 
becomes a prey to another, the conqueror and the conquered are both swallowed 
up in the belly of the last. And we mortals, do we act otherwise when we press 
our inferiors?  What difference is there between the last fish and the man 
who, impelled by devouring greed, swallows the weak in the folds of his 
insatiable avarice? Yon fellow possessed the goods of the poor; you caught him 
and made him a part of your abundance. You have shown yourself more unjust 
than the unjust, and more miserly than the miser. Look to it lest you end like 
the fish, by hook, by weel, or by net. Surely we too, when we have done the 
deeds of the wicked, shall not escape punishment at the last. 

    Now see what tricks, what cunning, are to be found in a weak animal, and 
learn not to imitate wicked doers. The crab loves the flesh of the oyster; 
but, sheltered by its   shell, a solid rampart with which nature has furnished 
its soft and delicate flesh, it is a difficult prey to seize. Thus they call 
the oyster "sherd-hide."  Thanks to the two shells with which it is 
enveloped, and which adapt themselves perfectly the one to the other, the 
claws of the crab are quite powerless. What does he do? When he sees it, 
sheltered from the wind, warming itself with pleasure, and half opening its 
shells to the sun,  he secretly throws in a pebble, prevents them from 
closing, and takes by cunning what force had lost.  Such is the malice of 
these animals, deprived as they are of reason and of speech. But I would that 
you should at once rival the crab in cunning and industry, and abstain from 
harming your neighbour; this animal is the image of him who craftily 
approaches his brother, takes advantage of his neighbour's misfortunes, and 
finds his delight in other men's troubles. O copy not the damned! Content 
yourself with your own lot. Poverty, with what is necessary, is of more value 
in the eyes of the wise than all pleasures. 

    I will not pass in silence the cunning and trickery of the squid, which 
takes the colour of the rock to which it attaches itself. Most fish swim idly 
up to the squid as they might to a rock, and become themselves the prey of the 
crafty creature.  Such are men who 
court ruling powers, bending themselves to all circumstances and not remaining 
for a moment in the same purpose; who praise self-restraint in the company of 
the self-restrained, and license in that of the licentious, accommodating 
their feelings to the pleasure of each. It is difficult to escape them and to 
put ourselves on guard against their mischief; because it is trader the mask 
of friendship that they hide their clever wickedness. Men like this are 
ravening wolves covered with sheep's clothing, as the Lord calls them.  Flee 
then fickleness and pliability; seek truth, sincerity, simplicity. The serpent 
is shifty; so he has been condemned to crawl. The just is an honest man, like 
Job.  Wherefore God setteth the solitary in families.  So is this great 
and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great 
beasts.  Yet a wise and marvellous order reigns among these animals. Fish do 
not always deserve our reproaches; often they offer us useful examples. How is 
it that each sort of fish, content with the region that has been assigned to 
it, never travels over its own limits to pass into foreign seas? No surveyor 
has ever distributed to them their habitations, nor enclosed them in walls, 
nor assigned limits to them; each kind has been naturally assigned its own 
home. One gulf nourishes one kind of fish, another other sorts; those which 
swarm here are absent elsewhere. No mountain raises its sharp peaks between 
them; no rivers bar the passage to them; it is a law of nature, which 
according to the needs of each kind, has allotted to them their dwelling 
places with equality and justice.  

   4. It is not thus with us. Why? Because we incessantly move the ancient 
landmarks which our fathers have set.  We encroach, we add house to house, 
field to field, to enrich ourselves at the expense of our neighbour. The great 
fish know the sojourning place that nature has assigned to them; they occupy 
the sea far from the haunts of men, where no islands lie, and where are no 
continents rising to confront them, because it has never been crossed and 
neither curiosity nor need has persuaded sailors to tempt it. The monsters 
that dwell in this sea are in size like high mountains, so witnesses who have 
seen tell us, and never cross their boundaries to ravage islands and seaboard 
towns. Thus each kind is as if it were stationed in towns, in villages, in an 
ancient country, and has for its dwelling place the regions of the sea which 
have been assigned to it. 

    Instances have, however, been known of migratory fish, who, as if common 
deliberation transported them into strange regions, all start on their march 
at a given sign. When the time marked for breeding arrives, they, as if 
awakened by a common law of nature, migrate from gulf to gulf, directing their 
course toward the North Sea. And at the epoch of their return you may see all 
these fish streaming like a torrent across the Propontis towards the Euxine 
Sea. Who puts them in marching array? Where is the prince's order? Has an 
edict affixed in the public place indicated to them their day of departure? 
Who serves them as a guide? See how the divine order embraces all and extends 
to the smallest object. A fish does not resist God's law, and we men cannot 
endure His precepts of salvation! Do not despise fish because they are dumb 
and quite unreasoning; rather fear lest, in your resistance to the disposition 
of the Creator, you have even less reason than they. Listen to the fish, who 
by their  actions all but speak and say: it is for the perpetuation of our 
race that we undertake this long voyage. 

They have not the gift of reason, but they have the law of nature firmly 
seated within them, to show them what they have to do. Let us go, they say, to 
the North Sea. Its water is sweeter than that of the rest of the sea; for the 
sun does not remain long there, and its rays do not draw up all the drinkable 
portions.  Even sea creatures love fresh watery TIres one often sees them 
enter into rivers and swim far up them from the sea. This is the reason which 
makes them  prefer the Euxine Sea to other gulfs, as the  most fit for 
breeding and for bringing up their young. When they have obtained their object 
the whole tribe returns home. Let us hear these dumb creatures tell us the 
reason. The Northern sea, they say, is shallow and its surface is exposed to 
the violence of the wind, and it has few shores and retreats. Thus the winds 
easily agitate it to its bottom and mingle the sands of its bed with its 
waves. Besides, it is cold in winter, filled as it is from all directions by 
large rivers. Wherefore after a moderate enjoyment of its waters, during the 
summer, when the winter comes they hasten to reach warmer depths and places 
heated by the sun, and after fleeing froth the stormy tracts of the North, 
they seek a haven in less agitated seas. 

    5. I myself have seen these marvels, and I  have admired the wisdom of God 
in all things, If beings deprived of reason are capable of thinking and of 
providing for their own preservation; if a fish knows what it ought to seek 
and what to shun, what shall we say, who are honoured with reason. instructed 
by law, encouraged by the promises, made wise by the Spirit, and are 
nevertheless less reasonable about our own affairs than the fish? They know 
how to provide for the future, but we renounce our hope of the future and 
spend our life in brutal indulgence. A fish traverses the extent of the sea to 
find what is good for it; what will you say then--you who live in idleness, 
the mother of all vices?  Do not let any one make his ignorance an excuse. 
There has been implanted in us natural reason which tells us to identify 
ourselves with good, and to avoid all that is harmful. I need not go far from 
the sea to find examples, as that is the object of our researches. I have 
heard it said by one living near the sea, that the sea urchin, a little 
contemptible creature, often foretells calm and tempest to sailors. When it 
foresees a disturbance of the winds, it gets under a great pebble, and 
clinging to it as to an anchor, it tosses about in safety, retained by the 
weight which prevents it from becoming the plaything of the waves.  It is a 
certain sign for sailors that they are threatened with a violent agitation of 
the winds. No astrologer, no Chaldaean, reading in the rising of the stars the 
disturbances of the air, has ever communicated his secret to the urchin: it is 
the Lord of the sea and of the winds who has impressed on this little animal a 
manifest proof of His great wisdom. God has foreseen all, He has neglected 
nothing. His eye, which never sleeps, watches over all.  He is present 
everywhere and gives to each being the means of preservation. If God has not 
left the sea urchin outside His providence, is He without care for you? 

      "Husbands love your wives."  Although formed of two bodies you are 
united to live in the communion of wedlock. May this natural link, may this 
yoke imposed by the blessing, reunite those who are divided. The viper, the 
cruelest of reptiles, unites itself with the sea lamprey, and, announcing its 
presence by a hiss, it calls it from the depths to conjugal union. The lamprey 
obeys, and is united to this venomous animal.  What does this mean? However 
hard, however fierce a husband may be, the wife ought to hear with him, and 
not wish to find any pretext for breaking the union. He strikes you, but he is 
your husband. He is a drunkard, but he is united to you by nature. He is 
brutal and cross, but he is henceforth one of your members, and the most 
precious of all. 

    6. Let husbands listen as well: here is a lesson for them. The viper 
vomits forth its venom in respect for marriage; and you, will you not put 
aside the barbarity and the inhumanity of your soul, out of respect for your 
union? Perhaps the example of the viper contains another meaning. The union of 
the viper and of the lamprey is an adulterous violation of nature. You, who 
are plotting against other men's wedlock, learn what creeping creature you are 
like. I have only one object, to make all I say turn to the edification of the 
Church. Let then libertines
put a restraint on their passions, for they are taught by the examples 
set by creatures of earth and sea. 

    My bodily infirmity and the lateness of the hour force me to end my 
discourse. However, I have still many observations to make on the products of 
the sea, for the admiration of my attentive audience. To speak of the sea 
itself, how does its water change into salt? How is it that coral, a stone so 
much esteemed, is a plant in the midst of the sea, and when once exposed to 
the air becomes hard as a rock? Why has nature enclosed in the meanest of 
animals, in an oyster, so precious an object as a pearl? For these pearls, 
which are coveted by the caskets of kings, are cast upon the shores, upon the 
coasts, upon sharp rocks, and enclosed in oyster shells. How can the sea pinna 
produce her fleece of gold, which no dye has ever imitated?  How can shells 
give kings purple of a brilliancy not surpassed by the flowers of the field? 

   "Let the waters bring forth." What necessary object was there that did not 
immediately appear? What object of luxury was not given to man? Some to supply 
his needs, some to make him contemplate the marvels of creation. Some are 
terrible, so as to take oar idleness to school. "God created great whales."  
Scripture gives them the name of "great" not because they are greater than a 
shrimp and a sprat, but because the size of their bodies equals that of great 
hills. Thus when they swim on the surface of the waters one often sees them 
appear like islands. But these monstrous creatures do not frequent our coasts 
and shores; they inhabit the Atlantic ocean. Such are these animals created to 
strike us with terror and awe. If now you hear say that the greatest vessels, 
sailing with full sails, are easily stopped by a very small fish, by the 
remora, and so forcibly that the ship remains motionless for a long time, as 
if it had taken root in the middle of the sea,  do you not see in this 
little creature a like proof of the power of the Creator? Sword fish, saw 
fish, dog fish, whales, and sharks, are not therefore the only things to be 
dreaded; we have to fear no less the spike of the stingray even after its 
death,  and the sea-hare,  whose mortal blows are as rapid as they are 
inevitable. Thus the Creator wishes that all may keep you awake, so that full 
of hope in Him you may avoid the evils with which all these creatures threaten 

    But let us come out of the depths of the sea and take refuge upon the 
shore. For the marvels of creation, coming one after the other in constant 
succession like the waves, have submerged my discourse. However, I should not 
be surprised if, after finding greater wonders upon the earth, my spirit seeks 
like Jonah's to flee to the sea. But it seems to me, that meeting with these 
innumerable marvels has made me forget all measure, and experience the fate of 
those who navigate the high seas without a fixed point to mark their progress, 
anti are often ignorant of the space which they have traversed. This is what 
has happened to me; whilst my words glanced at creation, I have not been 
sensible of the multitude of beings of which I spoke to you. But although this 
honourable assembly is pleased by my speech, and the recital of the marvels of 
the Master is grateful to the ears of His servants, let me here bring the ship 
of my discourse to anchor, and await the day to deliver you the rest. Let us, 
therefore, all arise, and, giving thanks for what has been said, let us ask 
for strength to hear the rest. Whilst taking your food may the conversation at 
your table turn upon what has occupied us this morning and this evening. 
Filled with these thoughts may you, even in sleep, enjoy the pleasure of the 
day, so that you may be permitted to say, "I sleep but my heart waketh,"  
meditating day and night upon the law   of the Lord, to Whom be glory and 
power world without end. Amen.