Wednesday, June 06, 2007

John Wesley, Geophysicist

This...um, odd sermon of John Wesley had escaped my notice until recently "The Cause of Cure of Earthquakes." Wesley sets forth that earthquakes are instruments of divine wrath for sin:

Yes; thou hast now another call to repentance, another offer of mercy, whosoever thou art that hearest these words. In the name of the Lord Jesus, I warn thee once more, as a watchman over the house of Israel, to flee from the wrath to come! I put thee in remembrance (if thou hast so soon forgotten it) of the late awful judgment, whereby God shook thee over the mouth of hell! Thy body he probably awoke by it; but did he awake thy soul? The Lord was in the earthquake, and put a solemn question to thy conscience: "Art thou ready to die?" "Is thy peace made with God?" Was the earth just now to open its mouth, and swallow thee up, what would become of thee? Where wouldest thou be? in Abraham's bosom, or lifting up thine eyes in torment? Hadst thou perished by the late earthquake, wouldest thou not have died in thy sins, or rather gone down quick into hell? Who prevented thy damnation? it was the Son of God! O fall down, and worship him! Give Him the glory of thy deliverance; and devote the residue of thy days to his service!

7 comments:

Will Deuel said...

Well, I guess he couldn't be right about everything.

David said...

and here I thought it went more like this:

"After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake."

Peace,
DC

Tom Jackson said...

Sounds like an early version of Jerry Falwell, Meteorologist.

tim said...

I remember this from college, actually. It was a response to the infamous Lisbon earthquake of 1755. Wesley wasn't the only person taking this view of the utter destruction of Lisbon. I think a lot of the big guns in theology were taking a shot at "Why did this happen?!"

Gail said...

Well, it's at least as sensible as the physical explanations people believed from Aristotle onward into the nineteenth century -- namely, that an earthquake was the earth passing gas.

John said...

He also wrote some strange cures in his General Physick.

Ivan said...

Actually, the idea is not as weird as it seems. I have read of the idea that when people talk about sin that is hidden and appears to have no effect they are wrong. All sin has an effect and it's a bad one. Sin that people try to hide and suppress has an result that comes out somewhere and the idea is that it is the cause of natural disasters. They aren't caused by God, they are caused by our collective sin that otherwise appears to have no effect.