Page:The Philosophy of Earthquakes, Natural and Religious.djvu/55

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51
Earthquakes.

eclipse, tho' it was expected long before. We had the prediction and calculations about it in all our almanacs; yet there was an universal seriousness that followed it. All that morning, we could walk the street, without hearing an oath, and the churches were full, in time of prayer. But the suddeness of an earthquake that comes at an instant, unthought of, without warning, that seems to bring unavoidable death along with it; is able to touch an adamantin heart. To see death stalking over a great city, ready to sweep us all away, in an instantaneous rain, without a single moment to recollect our thoughts; this is fear without remedy; this is far beyond battle and pestilence. The lightning and thunderbolt, the arrow that flieth by day, may suddenly take off an object or two, and leave no space for repentance: but what horror can equal that, when above a million of people are liable to be buried, in one common grave!

Another consideration that inhances the dread of earthquakes, is the unavoidableness of the calamity. Famine, and war, and rebellion, and pestilence we may run from, the disease among the cattle, and locusts, and the like stripes of angry heaven, we may have some chance to escape: but no means, uo precaution, no remedy, no prudence can screen us, from so universal a desolation as this: 'tis

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