I could fill pages with the proofs of the truth of this statement.
An ancient writer, describing the great meteoric shower of the year 1202, says:
“The stars flew against one another like a scattering swarm of locusts, to the right and left; this phenomenon lasted until daybreak; people were thrown into consternation and cried to God, the Most High, with confused clamor."
The great meteoric display of 1366 produced similar effects. An historian of the time says:
“Those who saw it were filled with such great fear and dismay that they were astounded, imagining that they were all dead men, and that the end of the world had come."
How could such a universal terror have fixed itself in the blood of the race, if it had not originated from some great primeval fact? And all this terror is associated with a dragon.
And Chambers says:
“The dragon appears in the mythical history and legendary poetry of almost every nation, as the emblem of the destructive and anarchical principle; . . . as misdirected physical force and untamable animal passions. . . . The dragon proceeds openly to work, running on its feet with expanded wings, and head and tail erect, violently and ruthlessly outraging decency and propriety, spouting fire and fury from both mouth and tail, and wasting and devastating the whole land."
This fiery monster is the comet.
[1. Popular Science Monthly,” June, 1882, p. 193.
2. Ibid., p. 193.
3. “Chambers’s Encyclopaedia,” vol. iii, p. 655.]
And Milton speaks from the same universal inspiration when he tells us:
That fires the length of Ophiucus huge
In th’ arctic sky, and from its horrid hair
Shakes pestilence and war.”
And in the Shakespeare plays we read:
“Hung be the heavens with black, yield day to night!
Comets, importing change of times and states,
Brandish your crystal tresses in the sky;
And with them scourge the bad revolting stars.”
Man, by an inherited instinct, regards the comet as a great terror and a great foe; and the heart of humanity sits uneasily when one blazes in the sky. Even to the scholar and the scientist they are a puzzle and a fear; they are erratic, unusual, anarchical, monstrous—something let loose, like a tiger of the heavens, athwart an orderly, peaceful, and harmonious world. They may be impalpable and harmless attenuations of gas, or they way be loaded with death and ruin; but in any event man can not contemplate them without terror.
[1. 1 Henry VI, 1, 1.]
THE EARTH STRUCK BY COMETS MANY TIMES.
IF the reader is satisfied, from my reasoning and the facts I have adduced, that the so-called Glacial Age really represents a collision of the earth with one of these wandering luminaries of space, the question can not but occur to him, Was this the first and only occasion, during all the thousands of millions of years that our planet has been revolving on its axis and circling around the sun, that such a catastrophe has occurred?