BEFORE I proceed to my preſent Demonſtration of the Cauſe of the Deluge, I muſt premiſe this, That in my New Theory of the Earth, eſpecially as improv'd [...]nd corrected in the Second Edition, I have evi [...]ently ſhewn, that in Caſe a Comet paſs'd by, be [...]re the Earth, in its annual Courſe, on the 17th Day of the Second Month, from the Autumnal Equinox, or Nov. 28. in the 2349th Year before the Chriſtian Aera, the Phaenomena of Nature and Hiſtory, and particularly the Moſaic Account of the Deluge of Noah, which are no otherwiſe to be ac [...]ounted for, are exactly explain'd; that the Calcu [...]ations and Proportions, where-ever we can come [...] them, are on that Hypotheſis right, agreeable to [...] another, to Ancient, eſpecially Sacred Hiſtory, [...]nd to the Syſtem of Aſtronomy; that there are Tra [...]s in Ancient Books of a Tradition, that a Comet [...]id appear at the very Beginning of the Deluge; [...]at the very Month and Day mentioned by Moſes [...] ſuch its Beginning, is atteſted to by other Old [...]ecords, and, on this Hypotheſis, by Aſtronomical [...]alculations alſo: whence I concluded that it was [Page 2] moſt highly probable, or rather phyſically demonſtrable, that a Comet did paſs by at that time, and was, under the Conduct of the Divine Providence, and as his Inſtrument in puniſhing a wicked World, the Cauſe of that Deluge. The only thing wanting, was, to demonſtrate from the Period of ſome Comet, and its Situation in the Heavens, Aſtronomically ſtated and computed, that ſuch a Comet did actually come by at that very time: which if it could be once ſhewn, the whole muſt be own'd as certain, and demonſtrated, and all the natural Corollaries therefrom muſt be allow'd as true, even by the Obſtinate and Incredulous. This indeed at firſt was look'd upon by me as not at all to be expected; ſince we then barely began to know, or rather ſtrongly to conjecture that Comets did revolve about the Sun in ſettled Periods, but without being able to determine any one of thoſe Periods. But of late God has ſo bleſs'd the Labours of the Learned; and this Part of Aſtronomy is ſo much improv'd, eſpecially by the farther Pains and Obſervations of the great Inventor himſelf, Sir Iſaac Newton; whoſe Name will never be forgotten while Mathematicks and Aſtronomy are preſerved among Mankind; and by the laborious Calculations of the acute Dr. Halley, on the Principles laid down by the former, that what was a few Years ago almoſt deſpair'd of, is now in great Meaſure diſcover'd, and we know, not only that one Comet has come round three or four times already in later Ages, viz. A.D. 1456, 1531, 1607, and 1682, and will no doubt come round again A.D. 1758, as making its Period in about 75 Years; that another has probably come round in the ſame later Ages twice already, viz. A.D. 1532, and 1661; and ſo is to return A D. 1789, or 1790, as making its Period in about 129 Years: But, which is the greateſt Diſcovery of all, that the laſt moſt remarkable Comet, [Page 3] whoſe Deſcent into our Regions has occaſion'd almoſt all the modern ſolid Knowledge we have relating to the whole Cometick Syſtem it ſelf, has alſo ſeveral times been ſeen already within the time of certain Records; I mean in the 44th Year before Chriſt, and again A.D. 531, or 532; and yet again A.D. 1106, beſides this its laſt Appearance A.D. 1680, whereby we know that it revolves in about 575 Years. This laſt Comet I may well call the moſt remarkable one that ever appear'd; ſince beſides the former Conſideration, I ſhall preſently ſhew, that it is no other than that very Comet which came by the Earth at the Beginning of Noah's Deluge, and which was the Cauſe of the ſame. Now conſidering the Premiſes, I ſhall only have occaſion, in order to my preſent Deſign, to prove theſe five Things concerning it. (1.) That no other of the known Comets could paſs by the Earth at the Beginning of the Deluge. (2.) That this Comet was of the ſame Bigneſs with that which paſs'd by at that time. (3.) That its Orbit was then in a due Poſition to paſs by at that Time. (4.) That its deſcending Node was then alſo in a due Poſition for the ſame Paſſage by. (5.) That its Period exactly agrees to the ſame time. Or, in ſhort, that all the known Circumſtances of this Comet do correſpond, and that it actually paſs'd by on or about that very Year, and on or about that very Day of the Year when the Deluge began. All which Things I ſhall demonſtrate in their Order.
I. None of the other Comets yet known, I mean of the 21 in Dr. Halley's Table and my Solar Syſtem, could be that which paſs'd by the Earth at the Beginning of the Deluge. This appears by theſe certain Arguments following.
(1.) None of them appear to have been of a due Bigneſs: For the Phaenomena of the Deluge, as I [Page 4] [Note: New Theor. 2d Edit. Co [...]. 2. Lem. 8 [...]. & p. 203, 204.] have elſewhere ſhew'd, require a ſmall one in Compariſon of the Earth, whereas the reſt of the Comets ſeem to have been commonly larger than it.
(2.) None of their deſcending Orbits are duly ſituate, I mean between 90 and 100 Degrees from Aries: which Poſition is yet abſolutely neceſſary in this Caſe. For the Preceſſion of the Equinox, which is about 50 Degrees, added to the 46 Degrees that the Earth was diſtant from Aries when the Flood began, muſt ſuppoſe the deſcending Orbit of the Comet to be now between 90 and 100 Degrees from Aries: at which place none of the deſcending Orbits of the other Comets are now ſituate; as Dr. Halley's Table, and my Solar Syſtem grounded thereon, will readily ſhew. (3.) None of the other's Nodes are ſo ſituate, as is neceſſary to bring the Comet near enough to our Earth: I mean between 90 or 100 Degrees from Aries; and ſo as to croſs the Plane of the Ecliptick very near to the Diſtance of the Earth from the Sun; as is alſo plain from the ſame Table and Syſtem. Nay indeed, the wrong Situation of the deſcending Orbits, noted under the laſt Head, renders this due Situation of the Nodes plainly impoſſible. For it being neceſſary, that the Orbit it ſelf interſect the Ecliptick it ſelf in the 17th Degree of Taurus; this cannot poſſibly be in ſuch a Situation of the Orbit, as that we have already mention'd to belong to all the reſt of the known Comets. So that theſe other Comets were utterly incapable of being inſtrumental in the Deluge, even tho their Periods ſhould any of them agree; which yet we know not that any of them do.
II. This Comet was of the ſame Bigneſs with that which paſs'd by at that time; I mean a very ſmall one, and only 10 times as large as the Moon. [Note: Ʋ [...] ] This appears by Mr. Flamſteed's Determination of its apparent Diameter, about 20″ when it was nearly [Page 5] as far off as the Sun: whereas he ſuppoſes that of the Moon at the ſame Diſtance to be about 6″. So that if due Allowance be made for that large and denſe Part of the Atmoſphere, which hides the Nucleus or Comet it ſelf from us, ſuppoſe 7″, the Diameter of the ſolid Body it ſelf will be only 13″. Now the Cube of 13, or 2197, is to the Cube of 6, or 216, as about 10 to 1. Whence it appears, that this Comet is about ten times ſo great as the Moon, or ¼ ſo great as the Earth, as the real Comet that occaſion'd the Deluge ought to be.
III. The deſcending Part of the Orbit of this Comet was about the 17th deg. of Taurus at the Time of the Deluge, as that of the Comet at the Deluge muſt have been. For this deſcending Orbit is now in the 2d Degree of Cancer; and if we allow 46 Degrees for its apparent Motion ſince the Deluge, which is very little different from the real Preceſſion of the Equinox, the main, if not only Occaſion of it, it will appear to have been in the 17th Degree of Taurus at that Time, according to the foregoing Computation.
IV. The Deſcending Node of this Comet, which is of the greateſt Conſideration here, and liable to the greateſt Variety of all, does alſo exceeding well agree in the preſent Caſe. For this is now in the 3d Degree of Cancer; and if we allow, as before, 46 Degrees for its apparent Motion ſince the Deluge, or for the real Preceſſion of the Equinox, the main, if not only Cauſe of it, it will appear to have been in the 17th of Taurus at that Time alſo. Nay, if we allow the leaſt Inequality in theſe two Motions, or the leaſt Alteration of the Planes either of the Ecliptick or of the Comets Orbit, or of both, as we juſtly may, both from the Phyſical Cauſes, and Aſtronomical Obſervations, we may ſuppoſe them ſtill nearer the Earth's Diſtance from the Sun, and ſo more exactly ſuitable to the Caſe of the Deluge.
[Page 6] V. The Period of this Comet moſt exactly agrees to the ſame Time, I mean to 7 Revolutions in 4028 Years, the Interval from the Deluge till its laſt Appearance 1680. [Note: [...]cip. [...] [...] 4 [...]5.] For, as Sir Iſaac Newton firſt obſerv'd, from its Elliptick Curvature before it diſappear'd, that its Period muſt be in general above 500 Years; ſo has he and Dr. Halley ſince obſerv'd, that the ſame Comet has been ſeen four times, viz. the 44th Year before Chriſt. A.D. 531 or 532, A.D. 1106, and A.D. 1680, and that by conſequence it makes a Revolution in about 575 Years. Now if we make a very ſmall Allowance for the old Periods before Chriſt, and ſuppoſe that, one with another, it has revolv'd in 575½ Years, we ſhall find that 7 ſuch Periods amount to 4028 Years, exactly, according to that Number ſince the Deluge. This is ſo remarkable an Obſervation, and ſo ſurprizing, that it will deſerve a particular Demonſtration from the original Authors themſelves. To begin then with the firſt of the Appearances recorded in later Hiſtory, I mean that in the 44th Year before Chriſt, the Year that Julius Caeſar was ſlain, [Note: [...]en. Nat. [...] I. V [...]. C. 1 [...]. [...] H [...]ſt. Nat. [...]. II. C. 24. [...].] we have no fewer nor leſſer Perſons than Seneca, Suetonius, Plutarch and Pliny, to atteſt it; and the laſt, as bringing Auguſtus's own Words for his Voucher. Take the Account in thoſe Words, as being the moſt authentick and remarkable. ‘'On thoſe very Days, ſays Auguſtus, when I was exhibiting ſome Games to the People, [begun about Sept. 26.] a Comet appear'd for 7 Days, and was ſeen in the Northern Part of Heaven. It roſe about the 11th Hour of the Day: It was a remarkable one, and viſible all over the World. The common People believ'd, that it ſignify'd the Reception of the Soul of Caeſar into the Number of the immortal Gods. On which Account the Image of this Star was added to that Statue repreſenting Caeſar's Head, which we a while after conſecrated [Page 7] in the Forum'.’ Accordingly it is known that ſome of Caeſar's Coins have a Star upon them, for a Memorial of this Comet; and obſervable that Virgil hints at the ſame alſo, [Note: Aeneid. VIII.] Patrium aperitur v [...]rtice ſidus. Plutarch's, Seneca's and Suetonius's Words are almoſt the very ſame that are included in the Paſſage from Auguſtus, and ſo need not be diſtinctly ſet down. Only the Time of its Riſing is by Suetonius ſet down about the 11th Hour, without the Words of the Day, which the other two have; and its Northern Poſition is only mentioned by Auguſtus himſelf. Now if we interpret the 11th Hour, or 11th Hour of the Day, to be either 11 a clock before Noon, or an Hour before Sun-ſet, this will render the whole almoſt incredible: it being next to impoſſible, that this Comet ſhould be ſeen in the Day-time. But the Romans then accounting Midnight the Beginning of their Day, as is well known by Chronologers, we may reckon this 11th Hour to be 11 at Night, and all will agree to the Comet before us; and it will ſhew, that as it had been conceal'd by cloudy Weather for ſome time, ſo it now appear'd aſcending from the Sun, with its long and ſplendid Tail for a Week, before the like cloudy Weather, or the Comet's too great Remoteneſs rendred it no longer obſervable. Accordingly the Northern Poſition of this Comet, noted here by Auguſtus, ſecures us ſtill farther, that it muſt have been the ſame with that A.D. 1680, which is ever in the ſame Poſition, at the ſame Place of its Orbit: to ſay nothing of its remarkable Brightneſs, which I take to belong to its Tail, and which rendred it ſo very remarkable then in the World: In which Point it as well or better agrees with this, than with any other in the whole Cometary Syſtem. So that on all theſe Accounts, the Comet ſeen then by the Romans, and that ſeen A.D. 1680, muſt have been one and the ſame Comet. The next Period [Page 8] when this Comet might be ſeen again, according to the foregoing Time of its Revolution, was A.D. 531, or 532. When yet we hear nothing of it in Hevelius's Hiſtory of Comets. But then we have it in Lubienietz's more exact Catalogue, out of Zonaras, the Original Hiſtorian, whoſe Words are theſe, Annal. L. xiv. p. 61. ‘'In the 5th Year of the Emperor Juſtinian [A.D. 531, or 532.] a Comet appear'd, of that Sort which is called Lampadias. It ſent its bright Tail upward, and continued to ſhine 20 Days.'’ Which Words exactly agree to this Comet. The next Period when it was to be expected, was A.D. 1106. at which Time the Hiſtorians are full of their Accounts of it. Take thoſe Accounts in their own Words, as they ſtand in Hevelius and Lubienietz, who have given us a moſt compleat Collection of them in their Hiſtories of Comets.
[Note: [...]vath ex [...] 148. [...] ex [...]. ] A.D. 1106. We ſaw a Comet of wonderful Brightneſs, from the firſt Week in Lent, until the Paſſion of our Lord. An extraordinary Star was ſeen to ſhine this Year on Friday in the Evening, Southward and Weſtward, and appeared bright for 25 Days together, and always at the ſame Hour.
[Note: [...] ] A.D. 1106. in the Month of February, two Days after the New Moon, a great Comet appear'd South-Weſtward. [Note: [...] [...]. 14 [...]. gebert. [...] ] A.D. 1106. a Comet appear'd like a Fire, almoſt all the Month of February.
On the Year of our Lord 1106, the 14th of the Calends of March, [Feb. 16.] a certain ſtrange Star [Page 9] was diſcovered, and was ſeen to ſhine between the South and Weſt for 25 Days, after the ſame manner, and at the ſame Hour. It ſeemed to be ſmall and obſcure; but that Light which went out from it was exceeding bright, and a Splendor, like a great Beam, proceeded from the Eaſt and North, and ſhot it ſelf upon the ſame Star.
In theſe Teſtimonies, we may ſee that all the Circumſtances of this Comet agree to that of A.D. 1680. I mean the Smallneſs and Obſcurity of its Nucleus, the Brightneſs and Remarkableneſs of its Tail, its Poſition South-Weſt, and the Direction of its Tail North-Eaſt. So that there is no Reaſon [...] doubt, but it was the very ſame. Only we muſt here note, that theſe two Periods were, one with another, three Quarters of a Year ſhorter [...]han the laſt Period. For from September, in the [...]4th Year before Chriſt, till February or March A. D. 1106. are but 1148½ Years, or two Periods of [...]74¼ a-piece, one with another: whereas from [...]he ſame February or March A.D. 1106. till Febru [...]y or March 1680/1, when this Comet was about [...] ſame Poſition again, there are juſt 575 Years. [...] is rather a Wonder, that the three laſt Periods [...] our Famous Comet are ſo very nearly equal, [...]an that there is this ſmall Inequality among [...]em. Nor is it, by the way, any Wonder there [...]re, that the four firſt Periods after the Deluge are [...] be ſuppos'd one with another rather above 576 [...]ears, to agree exactly to that Time. 'Tis rather [...] Queſtion whether the reſt of the Comets Periods [...]ill prove any of them near ſo equal in Proportion, [...] even that Allowance makes theſe to be. Accord [...]gly, Sir Iſaac Newton and Dr. Halley rightly obſerve, [Note: Princip. p. 480. Praelect. Phyſico. Math. p. 358, 359.] [...]at theſe Cometary Orbits are the moſt eaſily [...] ſenſibly diſturb'd by the occaſional Nearneſs of [...]eir Comets to other Bodies of all others; and ſo [Page 10] conſiderable Inequalities are to be expected among them.
Note, (1.) That it is highly remarkable, that this is the only Comet yet known, whoſe Node renders it capable of approaching very near the Body of the Earth; and that the ſame Node is ſtill ſo little remote from the Earth's Orbit, as Dr. Halley well obſerves, that it brought this Comet about as near to the ſame as the Moon this very laſt time. Hear his remarkable Words, and conſider the Conſequence of them in this Matter. [Note: Synopſ. Comet. in calce.] ‘'No Comet, ſays he, has hitherto threatned the Earth with a nearer Appulſe than that of 1680. For by Calculation, I find that November 11th 1h 6′ after Noon, that Comet was not above a Semidiameter of the Sun, (which I take to be equal to the Diſtance of the Moon) to the Northwards of the Way of the Earth. At which time, had the Earth been there, the Comet would, I think, have had a Parallax equal to that of the Moon.'’ Nor can I paſs over his following Words without ſetting them down, they are ſo appoſite to my preſent Purpoſe. ‘'The former Obſervations, ſays he, are to be ſuppos'd as ſpoken to Aſtronomers. But what might be the Conſequences of ſo near an Appulſe, or of a Contact, or laſtly of a Colliſion of theſe celeſtial Bodies, (which are none of them impoſſible) I leave to be diſcuſs'd by the Philoſophers.'’
(2.) Since this Comet's Period is 575 Years, its middle Diſtance muſt be about 5,600,000,000 Miles from the Sun; its longer Axis and greateſt Diſtance twice ſo long, or nearly 11,200,000,000 Miles; its Aphelion Diſtance about 14 times as great as the Diſtance of Saturn; its greateſt Diſtance to its leaſt, as above 20,000 to 1: and ſo its greateſt Light and Heat to its leaſt, as above 400,000,000 to 1.
[Page 11] (3.) Since 575 Years appears to be the Period of the Comet that caus'd the Deluge, what a learned Friend of mine, who was the Occaſion of my Examination of this Matter, ſuggeſts, will deſerve to be conſidered, viz. Whether the Story of [...]he Phoenix, that celebrated Emblem of the Reſurrection in Chriſtian Antiquity; [that it returns once after 5 Centuries, and goes to the Altar and City of [...]he Sun, and is there burnt; and another ariſes out of its Aſhes, and carries away the Remains of the former, &c.] be not an Allegorical Repreſentation of this Comet; [which returns once after 5 Centuries, and goes down to the Sun, and is there vehemently heated, and its outward Regions diſſolv'd; yet that it flies off again, and carries away what remains after that terrible burning, &c.] and whether the Conflagration and Renovation of [...]hings, which ſome ſuch Comet in its Aſcent from [...]e Sun may bring upon the Earth, be not hereby [...]refigur'd. I will not here be poſitive; but I own [...]hat I don't know of any Solution of this famous Piece of Egyptian Mythology and Hieroglyphicks, [...] this ſeems to be, that can be compared with it.
Note, (4.) That none of thoſe Comets whoſe Or [...]its are yet known, can come near enough to our Earth in their Aſcent from the Sun to cauſe the Conflagration. This is evident to thoſe who con [...]der Dr. Halley's Table, or my Solar Syſtem built [...]pon it; ſince none of them move in or very near [...]he Plane of the Ecliptick; and thoſe four which [...]ave their Nodes neareſt the Earth's Orbit, and ſo might approach neareſt to the Earth, are either [...]ch as have theſe Nodes ſo near only in their De [...]ent to the Sun; as that in 1472, and that in 1618, [...]nd that in 1680; or go not any time much near [...] to the Sun than the Earth it ſelf, as that in 1684, [...]nd ſo are on all Accounts utterly incapable of affording [Page 12] Heat enough for ſuch a Conflagration.
Note (5.) That therefore the Period of Time for that Conflagration, upon the Suppoſition that it is to be cauſed by a Comet, cannot now be diſcover'd by any natural Means; but muſt ſtill remain, as formerly, only knowable from Divine Revelation.
[Note: New Theory, p. 45 [...], [...]453.]Note (6.) That hence thoſe remarkable Corollaries, drawn from the accurate Solution of ſuch Difficulties now, as formerly were plainly inſoluble; I mean, the great Regard due to the Ancienteſt Sacred and Prophane Records, and to the inſpired Method whence they muſt have been deriv'd; the Imperfection of Human Knowledge; the Folly of rejecting Revealed Truths, out of regard to uncertain Human Reaſonings; the Wiſdom of adhering to the moſt obvious Senſe of Scripture; the Reaſonableneſs of believing Scripture-Accounts and Scripture-Myſteries, tho' not fully comprehended by us; the Juſtneſs of expecting Satisfaction in moral Difficulties in due time from the like Satisfaction afforded already in thoſe that are Philoſophical, and the like, do all receive a new and ſurprizing Confirmation; and will therefore deſerve a new and ſerious Conſideration.
N.B. Dr. Halley having himſelf given an Account of this Comet lately in Dr. Gregory's Engliſh Aſtronomy, P. 901, 902, 903, I here preſent it to the Reader verbatim, that he may compare the two Accounts together, for his more entire Satisfaction.
‘"But as far as Probability from the Equality of Periods, and ſimilar Appearance of Comets, may be urged as an Argument, the late wondrous Comet of 1680/1, ſeems to have been the ſame, which was ſeen in the Time of our King Henry I. Anno 1106, which began to appear in [Page 13] the West about the middle of February, and continued for many Days after, with ſuch a Tail as was ſeen in that of 1680/1. And again in the Conſulate of Lampadius and Orestes, about the Year of Chriſt 531, ſuch another Comet appeared in the Weſt, of which Malela, perhaps an Eyewitneſs, relates that it was [...], a great and fearful Star; that it appeared in the Weſt, and emitted upwards from it a long white Beam; and was ſeen for 20 Days. It were to be wiſh'd the Hiſtorian had told us what Time of the Year it was ſeen; but 'tis however plain, that the Interval between this and that of 1106, is nearly equal to that between 1106 and 1680/1, viz. about 575 Years. And if we reckon backward ſuch another Period, we ſhall come to the 44th Year before Chriſt, in which Julius Caeſar was murder'd, and in which there appear'd a very remarkable Comet, mentioned by almoſt all the Hiſtorians of thoſe Times, and by Pliny in his Natural Hiſtory, lib. 11. c. 24. who recites the Words of Auguſtus Caeſar on this Occaſion, which lead us to the very Time of its Appearance, and its Situation in the Heavens. Theſe Words being very much to our purpoſe, it may not be amiſs to recite them. In ipſis Ludorum meorum diebus, ſydus crinitum per ſeptem dies, in regione Coeli quae ſub Septentrionibus est conſpectum. Id oriebatur circa undecimam horam diei, clarum que & omnibus terris conſpicuum fuit. Now theſe Ludi were dedicated Veneri genetrici, (for from Venus the Caeſars would be thought to be deſcended,) and began with the Birth-day of Auguſtus, viz. Sept. 23. (as may be collected from a Fragment of an Old Roman Calendar extant in Gruter, pag. 135.) and continued for 7 Days, during which the Comet appeared. Nor are we to ſuppoſe that it was [Page 14] ſeen only thoſe 7 Days, but poſſibly both before and after. Nor are we to interpret the Words ſub Septentrionibus, as if the Comet had appear'd in the North, but that it was ſeen under the Septem triones, or brighter Stars of Urſa major. And as to its riſing Hora undecima diei, it can no ways be underſtood, unleſs the word diei be left out, as it is by Suetonius; for it muſt have been very far from the Sun, either to riſe at Five in the Afternoon, or at Eleven at Night; in which Caſes it muſt have appeared for a long time, and its Tail have been ſo little remarkable, that it could by no means be call'd, Clarum & omnibus Terris conſpicuum Sydus. But ſuppoſing this Comet to have traced the ſame Path with that of the Year 1680, the aſcending part of the Orb will exactly repreſent all that Auguſtus hath ſaid concerning it; and is yet an additional Argument to that drawn from the Equality of the Period. Thus 'tis not improbable but this Comet may have four times viſited us at Intervals of about 575 Years: Whence the Tranſverſe Diameter of its Elliptic Orb will be found √3575×575 times greater than the annual Orb; or 138 times greater than the mean Diſtance of the Sun; which Diſtance, tho' immenſely great, bears no Proportion to that of the Fixed Stars."’FINIS.