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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 Sodoon and Gomorrab in the Days of Abrabam, 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 alfo ; without any Means of Deliverance whatsoever. Our only Hope is in the Mer. cy of God, and that this farge City, how wicked foever it be in the Generality of its Inhabitants, has many more than the Ten; nay, I hope
proportionably more than the fifty righteous within the City ; [Gen. xviii. 23–33.] which Numbers, upon the Interceffion of Abraham, had they been found in Sodom, God would have spared the whole City for their Sakes.
What such greatMen as Mr. Boyle, or Dr. Lifter, or Dr. Hale, or even Mr. Flamsteed 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 posfible, 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. Flamfteed supposes. Nor would these Hypotheses be much rely'd on I imagin, by such erninent Persons, but out of that Fear which induced Sir Isaac Newton hiniself, at Mr. Macbin'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. Flamfieed is here fo 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. [l fay only most Earthquakes, not all: For it evidently
appears by that at Taunton, in the Transactions, 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 s 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 geometrical Contemplations; but dark and obscure i when involved with it, as in this Subject. All I • can pretend to, is by comparing some of the beforeo mentioned 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 e must be content to be ignorant, till we rest in the BoSom of Providence, tbe first Cause, wbere they lie
bid, and whither all the Confiderations of Nature • lead us ; enquire not therefore how Explosions are • made.' And as for the vast Caverns and Passages for this nitrosulphureous Matter, to be supposed fo very deep underground, as to move so vast a Bulk of Earth, as all the South Parts of England, 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
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 Passages for counterfeiting the heathen Oracles in their Temples, as was deftitute of all Foundation in the World. No such Caverns or Passages having ever been discovered by the Christians, 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. Obfervations on Dr: Middleton, Pag. 6-12. as to those Demoniacal Powers, which the Devil set upin 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 Theft. ï. 8, 9.] Tber shall that wicked [Man of Sin,] [the Son of Perdition, v. 3.] be revealed, whom the Lord hall consume with the Spirit of his Mouth, and shall destroy with the Brightness of his coming : wboje coming is after the working of Satan, with all Power, and Signs, and Wonders of a Lie, O 3
&c. (Apoc. xiii. 14.] The Second Beast doth great Wonders ; so that be maketh Fire to come down from Heaven upon the Earth, in the Sight of Men, and deceiverb them that dwell on the Earth by those Miracles wbich be had Power to do, in the Sight of the [other] Beast.
[xvi. 14.] The three unclean Spirits are the Spirits of Dæmons, working Miracles; which go forth unto the Kings of the Earth, and of the whole World, to gather them to the Battle of the great Day of God Almighty
[Mat. xxiv. 24.] There hall arise false Christs, and falfe Prophets, and all thew great Signs and Wonders; infomuch that, if it were possible, they Joall deceive ibe very Elea. Bebold I bave told you before.
[Constitut. vi. 18.] There shall come false Cbrists, and false. Prophets, and hall Mew Signs in the Heaven, so as if it were possible, to deceive the Ele&t.
Now the Reason for inserting these Testimonies here, is to caution Christians against the later Antichristian, Popish and Athanafian Pretences to supernatural Powers and miraculous Operations, as Testimonials to the Truth of their Doctrines. Not that they are all meer vain Pretences, and false Facts : For that cannot be supposed, unless the foregoing Predictions of our Saviour and his Apostles, which so strongly foretell them, be supposed vain, and never to have been fulfilled ; but that all true Christians, should take particular Notice of our Saviour's Words here, Bebold I have told you before, and therefore ought not to suffer