Concerning the Causes of the Conflagration.
The difficulty of conceiving how this Earth can be
set on fire. With a general answer to that difficulty. Two suppos'd causes of the Conflagration,
by the Sun's drawing nearer to the Earth, or the
Earth's throwing out the central fire, examin'd
WE have now made our way clear to the principal point, The Causes of the Conflagration:
How the Heavens and the Earth will be set on fire,
what materials are prepar'd, or what train of causes,
for that purpose. The Ancients, who have kept us
company pretty well thus far, here quite desert us.
They deal more in Conclusions than Causes, as is usual
in all Traditional Learning. And the Stoicks themselves, who inculcate so much the doctrine of the Conflagration, and make the strength of it such as to dissolve the Earth into a fiery Chaos, are yet very short
and superficial in their explications, how this shall
come to pass. The latent seeds of fire, they say, shall
every where be let loose, and that Element will prevail over all the rest, and transform every thing into
its own nature. But these are general things that
give little satisfaction to inquisitive Persons. Neither
do the modern Authors that treat of the same subject,
relieve us in this particular: They are willing to suppose the Conflagration a supernatural effect, that so
they may excuse themselves the trouble of enquiring
after causes. 'Tis, no doubt, in a sort, supernatural:
and so the Deluge was: yet Moses sets down the causes of the Deluge, the rains from above, and the disruption of the Abyss. So there must be treasures of
fire provided against that day, by whose eruption this
second Deluge will be brought upon the Earth.