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A NCIENT religions, though they frequently tended to c o r r up t i o n a n d t h u s e v e n t u a l l y b e c a me o b s o l e t e , w e r e o r i g i n a l l y b a s e d o n metaphysics, or the probing into the basic principles of c r e a t i o n a n d e x i s t e n c e o f t h e earth, the why and wherefore of the universe, the secrets of the Almighty, and the eternal logic of the universe. It was thus the ancient wise men decided there to be some overpowering Logos or Mind that ruled all things, a thought so properly expressed by Schiller, in Die Wörte Des Glauben :
"While man's will wavers, And in eternal movement all things circle around, One tranquil Spirit remains firm in the midst of movement— The Loftiest Living Mind Soaring high o'er time and space, One God, one Holy Living Will." The various aspects of the Deity were recognised and accorded deification as separate, powerful, but subordinate gods and goddesses, supreme in their sphere, yet limited to it alone. Thus we had the Sun god, the Moon goddess, the Earthquake god, the Meteor-that-strikes god, the Hurricane god, the god of the Nether Regions, and many others. Their activities varied in a slight degree among different nations, and the influence of certain gods or goddesses in various localities was affected by local conditions around which grew myths and legends, but the general principle remained of a supreme Will. Astronony gave the knowledge that led to the institution of these pantheons. This age-old science has been attributed to the Chaldeans, although some would say to the Phœnicians. At all events we find the Jewish philosopher and historian Josephus telling us in the beginning of his Antiquities of the Jews, that the sons of the patriarch Seth were astronomers and astrologers. This passage of his is so striking that it should be quoted. He says, "They were also the inventors of that peculiar sort of wisdom which is concerned with the heavenly bodies and their order. And that their inventions might not be lost before they were sufficiently known, upon Adam's prediction that the world was to be destroyed at one time by the force of fire, and at another time by the violence and quantity of water, they made two pillars, the one of brick, the other of stone : they inscribed their discoveries on them both, that in case the pillar of brick should be destroyed by the flood, the pillar of stone might remain, and exhibit those discoveries to mankind. . . . Now this remains in the land of Syria to this day." (Antiq. of the Jews, I, ii, 3.) This passage means that the astronomers of the race or sect of Seth were students of the heavens, of the sun, moon, planets, the starry host, and claimed to be able to predict when and how great terrestial disturbances would take place. If Josephus were right the pillar of stone stood in Syria in his time—he lived from A.D. 37 to circa A.D. 100—and survived as a proof of the celestial wisdom of these men who, by movements of bodies outside the earth, could not only prophesy of actual destructive events, but foretell the method, and when such events would take place. Some of the engraved stones of Scotland, erected by the Druids (of the race of Seth), purport to contain exactly such prophecies, and the
engravings depict the definite position of certain heavenly bodies on an occasion of great destruction from without. Josephus also tells us some remarkable things about Abraham, who certainly was not only a great law-giver but an astronomer. He says that Abraham "determined to renew and to change the opinion all men happened then to have concerning God." He was the first to contend that "there was but one God, the Creator of the Universe," and as to other gods they only contributed their part by their appointment (in the Universe) by God and not by their own power. Abraham held strong views regarding "the irregular phenomena that were visible. both on land and sea," and described them in these words : "If these bodies had power (independence) of their own, they would certainly take care of their own regular motions ; but since they do not preserve such regularity they make it plain that they are subservient to Him who commands them, to whom alone we ought to justly offer our honour and thanksgiving." The Chaldeans, we are told, raised a tumult against Abraham because of these presumably then advanced views and he left Chaldea for Canaan. Later he left Canaan, during a famine, for Egypt, as Josephus quaintly puts it, partly to partake of their plenty, "and to know what they said concerning the gods." The "irregular phenomena" of Abraham, and the celestial bodies related to such, which had no regular motions like the sun, moon, planets, and stars, were obviously comets. This work is concerned directly and indirectly with the phenomena of cometary bodies and their off-shoots or residue meteors. Their importance as part and parcel of the whole working of the universe, as I shall attempt to prove, is of transcendent magnitude. The ancients, as I have suggested, were well aware of all this, for comets, or their broken-off particles, meteors, were regarded by them as the actual media between God and Mankind, the manifestation of the Godhead. Anyone who wishes to probe deeper into the earlier beliefs on this subject, incorporated later into Christianity but now lost sight of, should study the Apocalypse of St. John, which is no mere visionary moral lesson but descriptive of the destruction of much of the earth ; the fourth book of Esdras also is unmistakable in its doctrines, also especially the Book of Enoch, which describes the whole modus operandi of the Deluge, and other akin works are the Popol Vuh, the sacred Book of the Quiches of Guatemala, Bousset's Antichrist Age, and within more recent times Ignatius Donnelly's remarkable work Ragnarok. A comet, full of mystery as it passes a beautiful vision across the heavens, I shall show, is no other than a planet hurtling to destruc tion. It is a world which for one reason or another has been thrown out of the system to which it belonged, and when falling is captured or attracted by a sun, which sun eventually draws it in and devours it for the augmentation of his own power and sus tenance. The tremendous laws of the universe vary in expanse from the clash of suns and the creation of planets, down to the residue of a comet, destined to stoke the fires of, say, our solar orb, the comet disintegrating into meteors through the terrific heat and magnetic power of the sun, until the last movement of what was once a world in another solar system, a world containing mountains and seas, forests and ocean depths, living creatures in all three elements including doubtless mankind, bursts up on our vision as a brilliant momentary flash of fire, a meteor, and very probably completes its epitaph as a mere shower of rain or a thunderstorm. Thus do we pass through the gamut of celestial action. I do not claim that in what I have to tell there is any new revelation,
because, as has been hinted in this foreword, the ancients were well aware of such matters. It is only new to the modern world because it has been utterly misled by wrong principles for the last twenty centuries or thereabouts. The principle I have to enunciate is in essence quite simple. It is that this world (like all other planets) depends throughout for its sustenance, accretion and continuance upon constant contact with forces outside the earth itself. The laws which govern the distribution of cometary bodies, those wonderful messengers of the Almighty, are obscure, but they most certainly must exist. The effect of the principle I attempt in this work to establish is that our world has developed from small beginnings to its present size by direct contact with cometary bodies or their residue, either as vast appulsions, destroying much of what formerly existed and bringing in a new epoch, with new creations and conditions, down to the passing meteor which may not even strike our planet and yet leave behind as it passes through our atmosphere certain gases, which condense and cause a thunder-st orm or pe rhaps a hurr icane and t he ref ore augme nt our atmosphere and watery depths. When this principle of meteorism is established it will no longer be possible to regard earthquakes, tidal waves, volcanic eruptions, or even, perhaps, epidemics as caused by movements within the earth, and instead we shall study cometary phenomena with the care and concede to it the importance the subject demands. COMYNS BEAUMONT 1 BENTINCK STREET, CAVENDISH SQUARE, W.1.
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