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signs' of the coming of that great and terrible day of the Lord,' now specially near at hand.”
" The following account is copied from the New York Commercial Advertiser of Oct. 22, 1839, showing a wonderful exhibition of these phenomena in London, a few weeks before that date. These were also seen in this country on the same night, but far less remarkable :
From late London Papers. 666 London, Sept. 5, [1839.Between the hours of ten, on Thursday night, and three yesterday morning, in the heavens, was observed one of the most magnificent specimens of these extraordinary phenomena, the falling stars and Northern Lights, witnessed for many years past. The first indication of this singular phenomenon was ten minutes before 10, when a light crimson, apparently vapor, rose from the northern portion of the hemisphere, and gradually extended to the centre of the heavens, and by 10 o'clock, or a quarter past, the whole, from east to west, was one vast sheet of light. It had a most alarming appearance, and was exactly like that occasioned by a terrific fire. The light varied considerably; at one time it seemed to fall, and directly after rose with intense brightness. There were to be seen mingled with it volumes of smoke, which rolled over and over, and every beholder seemed convinced that it was a “tremendous conflagration.” The consternation of the metropolis was very great; thousands of persons were running in the direction of the supposed awful catastrophe. The engines belonging to the fire-brigade stations in Baker-st., Farringtonst., Watling-st., Waterloo Road, and likewise those belonging to the West of England stations-in fact, every fire-engine in London, was horsed, and gallopped after the supposed “scene of destruction, with more than ordinary energy, followed by carriages, horsemen, and vast mobs. Some of the engines proceeded as far as Highgate and Halloway, before the error was discovered. These appearances lasted for upwards of two hours, and toward morning the spectacle became one of more grandeur.
666At two o'clock in the morning, the phenomena presented a most gorgeous scene, and one very difficult to describe. The whole of London was illuminated as light as noon day, and the atmosphere was remarkably clear. The southern hemisphere, at the time mentioned, though unclouded, was very dark; but the stars, which were innumerable, shone beautifully. The opposite side of the heavens presented a singular but magnificent contrast; it was clear to extreme, and the light was very vivid; there was a continual succession of meteors, which varied in splendor-they appeared formed in the centre of the heavens, and spread till they seemed to burst. The effect was electrical. Myriads of small stars
shot out over the horizon, and darted with that swiftness toward the earth, that the eye scarcely could follow the track; they seemed to burst also, and to throw a dark crimson vapor over the entire hemisphere. The colors were most magnificent. At half past two o'clock, the spectacle changed to darkness, which, on dispersing, displayed a luminous rainbow in the zenith of the heavens, and round the ridge of darkness that overhung the southern portion of the country. Soon afterward, columns of silvery light radiated from it-they increased wonderfully, intermingled among crimson vapor, which formed at the same time, and when at full height, the spectacle was beyond all imagination. Stars were darting about in all directions, and continued until four o'clock, when all died away.'"
“ The writer of the above account, it will be seen, makes no allusion to the fact, that such 'alarming' appearances are foretold in prophecy as 'great signs' of the Second Advent at hand. And though it may be that he knew, or thought of no such thing while writing, he has described the phenomena as being an exact fulfilment of the many prophecies of these very things. He speaks of them as something 'wonderful'-'singular'-'extraordinary'_'a vast sheet of light'-'most magnificent'---'alarming'-'a terrific fire''awful'-'a tremendous conflagration' "volumes of smoke'-columns of silvery
light'—'intense brightness'—'producing very great consternation,' &c., which the Almighty had previously foretold, and described them as 'wonders in the heavens'- blood and fire, and pillars of smoke'-'fearful sights and great signs from heaven,' 'before that great and terrible day of the Lord come. Just so sure then, as the Lord cannot lie, and would have us, as little children, to understand him to mean as he says, these now fulfilled wonders and signs admonish us, together with many other signs fulfilled, that Christ's coming is verily near, and even at the doors.'
“Again, on the evening of January 25, 1837, there was a remarkable exhibition of the same phenomenon in the various parts of our country, as our readers will doubtless recollect. Where the ground was then covered with snow, the sight was grand and “fearful' in a most unprecedented manner. In one place, situated near a mountain, the people who witnessed the scene, informed us that it resembled waves of fire rolling down the mountain. And generally, so far as learnt, the snow covering the ground, appeared like fire mingled with blood, while above, (as the apostle says,) 'the heavens being on fire,'., resembled so much the prophetic description of the last day, that many were amazed; the children beholding it were affrighted, and inquired if it were the coming of the judgment;
and even the animals trembled with much manifest alarm.”
Furthermore, the fact that but a short period since, any remarkable phenomenon in the heavens caused universal consternation and alarm, proves that such were no common occurrences. Otherwise, they would have been regarded with as much complacency as was the rising of the sun, which the ancients supposed to be an actual ball of fire. On the contrary, the present generation have become so familiar with such scenes, that they have ceased to excite alarm. The venerable Noah Webster, in a late article, says:
“In the evening of March 20th, 1782, an extraordinary light spread over the whole hemisphere, from horizon to horizon, north and south, east and west. The light was of a yellow cast, and wavy. The waving of the light was visible, and some persons heard, or imagined they heard, a slight rustling sound. I then resided in Goshen, Orange county, New York, and stood half an hour on a bridge over the Wall Kill, to witness this extraordinary phenomenon.
“In the year 1786, a great part of Europe was for weeks overspread with a haziness of atmosphere which caused great consternation. Churches were crowded with suppliants. At the close of the seventeenth and beginning of the eighteenth century, those lights were not seen for a long period, and