Page:The Philosophy of Earthquakes, Natural and Religious.djvu/10

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The Philosophy of

unusual. An omnipotent power admits of no distinctions. And when prodigious effects are produc'd from causes imperceptible, it rightly claims our most serious attention, as well as wonder. Nor need we lose sight of the theological purpose of these amazing alarms, whilst we endeavour to find out the philosophy of them.

Among all the appearances of nature, which are the subject of the inquiries of the Royal Society, none more deserves the regard of a contemplative mind. And among the very numerous accounts received there, from all quarters, being only Observations upon the manner of it, and its extent: I judg'd, it became us to inquire into the cause of so extraordinary a motion: of which we could not form a proper idea; had we not repeatedly seen, and felt it.

The moderns have not improved upon the opinions of the ancients, in this matter; any further than by the fancied analogy of some chymical experiments. But these chymical experiments, and all sorts of explosions by gunpowder, and the like, are to me, very unsatisfactory solutions; they are merely artificial compositions, which can have nothing similar in the bowels of the earth, and they produce their effects by violence, by rending and tearing, by a solutio continui. This is indeed too often the case of earthquakes, but that in a

partial