Imatges de pÓgina
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: gels of Peace, or good Angels, acting according to the

Direction of God himself; or else the evil Angels or wicked Demons, acting according to their ownevil Inclinations, by God's Permission ; but still för ever under his omnipotent Controul, in all Cases whatsoever. - Thus in the oldest Book in our Bible, the Book of Job, the fore Afflictions of that holy Man were, by the Permission of God, brought upon him by Satan, or the Devil himself. [fob. i. ii. with xxxviii. xlii.) And his Delivery from thence at last, and his long and great Prosperity afterwards, were owing to the Appearance of his Redeemer, the divine Person of the Messiah, or of God himself by him. Thus when Senacherib, that proud and blafphemous King of Assyria, was to be destroyed for his Pride and klasphemy against the God of Israel, [2 Kings xix. If. xxxvii.] It was effected most probably by a fiery Blaft, or Wind; but certainly by the Miniftry of an Angel, who New 185000 Men of his Army in one Night's Time. [2 Kings xix. 35. I/. xxxvii. 36.] Nor, in my own Opinion, are the ordinary Phænomena of our Air, excepting those that are optical and not real, such as are our Pictures in a Glass, to be solved barely. by Principles of natural Philosophy, without the Agency of some invisible and rational Powers. Nor indeed, where the Phænomena are optical, and not real, such as Halos, Rainbows, Mock Suns, &c. can we at all foretell their Appearance beforehand, as in Solutions of Phæ. nomena properly mechanical, such as the Laws of Motion, both unelastick, perfectly and imperfectly

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elastick Bodies, we can readily do. [See my Difcourse upon the Northern Lights, A. D. 1715-6. Pag. 68.72.] Nor is there, I think, the least Pretence to any such mechanical Power in our Air, as can collect a Mass of nitrosulphureous Vapours, more than equivalent to 100000 Barrels of Gunpowder, and throw them with such a prodigious Force, as a Ball of Fire, 250 Miles, in half a Quarter of a Minutes Time; which yet the Observations of that Ball of Fire, A. D. 1718-9, undeniably prove to have been certain Fact. And this Instance is the more pertinent to the present Occasion, because in my Pamphlet published about that latter Meteor, I have shewed, that it seems to have been no other Fire and Brimstone, by which Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, than that Ball of Fire exhibited to us. And I venture to say, in Consequence of what is there demonstrated, that if the like Crime of Sodomy, so frequent in London of late, be to be punished after the like Manner, as were Sodom and Gomorrab in the Days of Abraham, such a Ball of Fire can do it effectually, if it please God to send it ; and if it be sent, we have no possible Security against it at this Day; but all the Inhabitants of London, Westminster, and Southwark, as I have said already, may be destroyed thereby in a small Part of a single Minute also ; without any Means of Delive- . rance whatsoever. Our only Hope is in the Mercy of God, and that this farge City, how wicked soever it be in the Generality of its Inhabitants, has many more than the Ten; nay, I hope

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proportionably more than the fifty righteous within the City: (Gen. xviii. 23–33.] which Numbers, upon the Interceffion of Abrabam, had they been found in Sodom, God would have spared the whole City for their Sakes.

What such greatMen as Mr. Boyle, or Dr. Lister, or Dr. Hale, or even Mr. Flanteed say, which last seems me to go upon greater Evidence than the rest, and to write with more Judgment, in his Letter concerning Earthquakes, lately published, comes to no more, I think, than some possible, rather than probable Hypotheses, of a mechanical Solution of Earthquakes ; nay, proposes rather to find the Materials than to ascertain the Agent or Manner of Action or Explosion; whether it be within the Earth or in the Air, which later Mr. Flamfieed supposes. Nor would these Hypotheses be much rely'd on I imagin, by such eminent Persons, but out of that Fear which induced Sir Isaac Newton binself, at Mr. Machin's Suggestion, to make his very weak, and indeed almost wholly groundless Hypotheses, for a mechanical Solution of Gravity, I mean that Royal Societies, and their Members ought to have a Care of proposing what will be thought unphiloSophical ; as was the Case of Sir Isaac, even against the constant declar'd Sense of his own Mind for many years together. However, Mr. Flamsteed is here so just and fair, as very nearly to come into my Opinion, that an higher Agent or Agents are concern'd in these aerial Explosions, as he shews most of the Earthquakes to be, Pag. 10, 11. [I say only most Earthquakes, not all: For it evidently

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appears by that at Taunton, in the Transaktions, No: 488. Pag. 400, and others, that the Motion comes sometimes from the Ground, and not from the Air.] · You will ask, says he, how Explosions are

made ? I must answer, I know not whether it be by diffolving some glutinous Matter, that holds the nitrous Particles close wrapt up, like Springs . in Watches, and so permitting them to explicate

themselves, or otherwise. For all our Knowledge • is but a Train of Comparisons, which are clear and « distinct when abstracted from Matter, as in geo

metrical Contemplations; but dark and obscure i when involved with it, as in this Subject. All I

can pretend to, is by comparing fome of the beforementioned Circumstances of Earthquakes, with • Accidents more common amongst us, and which

we think we understand well enough, to shew you · fuch Similitudes as may satisfy you, that both pro

ceed from like Causes. Which how they operate we must be content to be ignorant, till we rest in the Bo"Som of Providence, the first Cause, wbere they lie

bid, and whither all the confiderations of Nature tead us ; enquire not therefore how Explosions are

made.' And as for the vast Caverns and Passages for this nitrofulphureous Matter, to be supposed fa very deep underground, as to move so vast a Bulk of Earth, as all the South Parts of Eng. land, all the Netherlands, ,with Part of Germany, all France, and perhaps Italy, which were shock'd at once, Sept. 8, 1692, or Part of Asia, and near all Europe, which trembled together the same Day 91 Years before, which Mr. Flamsteed cannot di

geft.

gest, I take the Hypothesis to be quite precarious and like that to which the Fear of owning too much the Influence of invisible Beings or Dæmons in the heathen Oracles, brought Sir Isaac Newton himself, I mean to suppose such Caverns and Parsages for counterfeiting the heathen Oracles in their Temples, as was destitute of all Foundation in the World. No such Caverns or Passages having ever been discovered by the Chriftians, when under Constantine, they were demolished; [See Reflections on Free-thinking, Pag. 21.] the Discovery of which would yet have greatly confounded the Heathens and served the Christians of that Age. But of such fictitious Hypotheses I shall add no more here.

But now, to digress a little, it may deserve Consideration here, what I insisted on at one of these Lectures, and in my Observations on Dr. Middleton, Pag. 6–12. as to those Demoniacal Powers, which the Devil fet up in the 4th Century, instead of the truly geriuine Divine or Angelical Powers before that Time; I mean to take distinct Notice how such Powers were foretold, as Punishments for that Antichristianism, which was then beginning to be established by Law. Take first the Texts that contain Predictions of these Dæmoniacal Powers in order as follows;

[2 Theff. ii. 8,9.] Then shall that wicked [Man of Sin, ] [zhe Son of Perdition, v. 3.] be revealed, whom the Lord fall confume with the Spirit of his Mouth, and shall destroy with the Brightness of his coming : whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all Power, and Signs, and Wonders of a Lie, O 3

&c.

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