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Syftem, and make their Entry among other Worlds.
THEY are harmlefs Vifitants. I acquit them from the Charge of caufing, or being accessary to, defolating Plagues. Would to GOD there were no other more formidable Indications of approaching Judgments, or impending Ruin. But, alas! when Vice becomes predominant, and Irreligion almoft epidemical: when the Sabbaths of a jealous GoD are notoriously profaned; and that "Name, which is great, wonderful, and "holy," is prostituted to the meaneft, or abused to the most execrable Purposes: when the Worhip of the great Creator and Preferver of Mankind is banished, from many of the most confpicuous Families; and it is deemed a Piece of rude Impertinence, so much as to mention the gracious Redeemer, in our genteel Interviews: when it paffes for an elegant Freedom of Behaviour, to ridicule the Mysteries of Christianity; and a Species of refined Converfation, to taint the Air with lafcivious Hints: when thofe, that fit in the Scorner's Chair, fin with a high Hand; and many of those that wear the Profeffor's Garb, are deftitute of the Power, and content themselves with the mere Form of Godliness: when fuch is the State of a Community, there is Reason, too apparent Reason, to be horribly afraid. Such Phænomena, abounding in the moral World, are
not fanciful, but real Omens. Will not an injured GOD" be avenged on fuch a Nation as "this?" Will He not be provoked to " sweep "them with the Befom of Deftruction *?”
O! that the Inhabitants of Great-Britain, would lay these alarming Confiderations to Heart : The LORD of Hofts has commanded the Sword of civil Difcord, to return into its Sheath: But have we returned every one from his evil Ways? Are we become a renewed People; devoted to a dying Saviour; and zealous of good Works.What mean thofe Peals of Sobs, which burst from the expiring Cattle?-What mean those melancholy Moans, where the lufty Droves were wont to low t? What mean thofe Arrows of untimely Death, discharged on our innocent and useful Animals? Are not these the Weapons of Divine
*Ifa. xiv. 23. The eternal Sovereign, fpeaking of Babylon, denounces this Threatning, I will fweep it with the Befom of Deftruction.- What a noble, but dreadful Image is here? How ftrongly and awfully pourtrayed! How pregnant alfo in its Signification? Intimating at once the vile Nature, the total Extirpation of this wicked People; and the perfect Eafe, with which the righteous GoD would execute his intended Vengeance.
+ If these Papers should be fo fortunate, as to outlive their Author; perhaps, it may be needful to inform Pofterity, that thefe Hints allude to a moft terrible, contagious, and mortal Diftemper, raging, at the Time of writing them, among the horned Cattle, in various Parts of the Kingdom.
Divine Difpleafure, and manifeft Chaftifements of a finful Generation? Has not GOD, the "GOD to whom Vengeance belongeth," ftill a Controverfy with our Land? And who can tell, where the Vifitation will end? What a Storm may follow these prelufive Drops? O! that we may hear the Rod, and who hath appointed "it." Taught by these penal Effects of our Difobedience, may we remove the accurfed Thing from our Tents, our Practices, our Hearts! May we turn from all Ungodlinefs, before Wrath come upon us to the uttermoft; before Iniquity prove our Ruin!
SOMETIMES, at this Hour, another most remarkable Sight amufes the Curious, and alarms the Vulgar. A Blaze of lambent Meteors is kindled; or fome very extraordinary Lights are refracted, in the Quarters of the North. Sometimes, the radiant Streamers meet and mingle, infomuch that the Air feems to be all conflicting Fire: At other times, they start from one another, and, like Legions in precipitate Flight, sweep each a separate Way through the Firma
* Hinc lætis vituli vulgo moriuntur in herbis,
ment. Now, they are quiefcent; anon, they are thrown into a quivering Motion; presently, a nimble Glance diffufes them over the whole Hemisphere. Sometimes, with an Afpect awfully ludicrous, they reprefent extravagant and antic Vagaries; at other times, you would fufpect that fome invifible Power was playing off the Artillery of the Skies, and giving us the Flash, without the Noife.
THE Villagers gaze at the Spectacle, first with Wonder, then with Horror. A general Panic feizes the Country. Every Heart throbs, and every Face is pale. The Crouds that flock together, instead of diminishing, increase the Dread. They catch Contagion from each other's Looks and Words; while Fear is in every Eye, and every Tongue fpeaks the Language of Terfor. Some fee hideous Shapes, Armies mixing in fierce Encounter, or Fields fwimming with Blood. Some forefee direful Events, States overthrown, or mighty Monarchs tottering on their Thrones. Others, feared with ftill more frightful Apprehenfions, think of nothing but the Day of Doom. "Sure, fays one, the unalterable Hour is ftruck, " and the End of all Things come. -See, re"plies another, how the blafted Stars look wan! << are not these the Signs of the Son of Man "coming in the Clouds of Heaven?-JESUS cr prepare us, cries a Third, and lifts his Eyes
« in Devotion, for the Archangel's Trump, and "the great Tribunal !"
IF this waving Brightness, which plays innocently over our Heads, be fo amazing to Multitudes; what inexpreffible Confternation must overwhelm unthinking Mortals, when the general Conflagration commences? The Day, the dreadful Day, is approaching, "In the which the "Heavens fball pass away with a great Noife*, " and
2 Pet. iii. 10. I have often thought this Verfe an eminent Inftance of that Kind of beautiful Writeing, in which the very Sound bears a Sort of Significancy; at least, carries an exact Correfpondence with the Senfe. The original Expreffion gondo -ροιζηδον is one of the hoarfest and deepest Words in Language. Nothing could be more exquifitely adapted to affect the Ear, as well as imprefs the Imagination, with the Wreck of Nature, and the Crafh of a falling World.- –I scarce ever read this Clause, but it brings to my Mind that admired Description in Milton,
On a fudden open fly
With impetuous Recoil, and jarring Sound,
It is a pleafing Employ, and one of the nobleft Offices of true Criticífm, to point out these inferior Recommendations of the Sacred Claffics. Though, I believe, the infpired Writers themselves, amidst all the Elevation and Magnificence of their Divine Ideas, difdained a fcrupulous Attention to fuch little Niceties of Stile.