2 Peter 3:10
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
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But the day of the Lord - The day of the Lord Jesus. That is, the day in which he will be manifested. It is called his day, because he will then be the grand and prominent object as the Judge of all. Compare Luke 17:27.

Will come as a thief in the night - Unexpectedly; suddenly. See the notes at 1 Thessalonians 5:2.

In the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise - That is, what seems to us to be the heavens. It cannot mean that the holy home where God dwells will pass away; nor do we need to suppose that this declaration extends to the starry worlds and systems as disclosed by modern astronomy. The word is doubtless used in a popular sense - that is, as things appear to us; and the fair interpretation of the passage would demand only such a change as would occur by the destruction of this world by fire. If a conflagration should take place, embracing the earth and its surrounding atmosphere, all the phenomena would occur which are here described; and, if this would be so, then this is all that can be proved to be meant by the passage. Such a destruction of the elements could not occur without "a great noise."

And the elements shall melt with fervent heat - Greek: "the elements being burned, or burning, (καυσούμενα kausoumena,) shall be dissolved." The idea is, that the cause of their being "dissolved" shall be fire; or that there will be a conflagration extending to what are here called the "elements," that shall produce the effects here described by the word "dissolved." There has been much difference of opinion in regard to the meaning of the word here rendered "elements," (στοιχεῖα stoicheia.) The word occurs in the New Testament only in the following places: Galatians 4:3, Galatians 4:9; 2 Peter 3:10, 2 Peter 3:12, in which it is rendered "elements;" Colossians 2:8, Colossians 2:20, in which it is rendered "rudiments;" and in Hebrews 5:12, where it is rendered "principles." For the general meaning of the word, see the notes at Galatians 4:3. The word denotes the "rudiments" of anything; the minute parts or portions of which anything is composed, or which constitutes the simple portions out of which anything grows, or of which it is compounded.

Here it would properly denote the component parts of the material world; or those which enter into its composition, and of which it is made up. It is not to be supposed that the apostle used the term with the same exact signification with which a chemist would use it now, but in accordance with the popular use of the term in his day. In all ages, and in all languages, some such word, with more or less scientific accuracy, has been employed to denote the primary materials out of which others were formed, just as, in most languages, there have been characters or letters to denote the elementary sounds of which language is composed. In general, the ancients supposed that the elements out of which all things were formed were four in number - air, earth, fire, and water. Modern science has overturned this theory completely, and has shown that these, so far from being simple elements, are themselves compounds; but the tendency of modern science is still to show that the elements of all things are in fact few in number.

The word, as used here by Peter, would refer to the elements of things as then understood in a popular sense; it would now not be an improper word to be applied to the few elements of which all things are composed, as disclosed by modern chemistry. In either case, the use of the word would be correct. Whether applied to the one or the other, science has shown that all are capable of combustion. Water, in its component parts, is inflammable in a high degree; and even the diamond has been shown to be combustible. The idea contained in the word "dissolved," is, properly, only the change which heat produces. Heat changes the forms of things; dissolves them into their elements; dissipates those which were solid by driving them off into gases, and produces new compounds, but it annihilates nothing. It could not be demonstrated from this phrase that the world would be annihilated by fire; it could be proved only that it will undergo important changes. So far as the action of fire is concerned, the form of the earth may pass away, and its aspect be changed; but unless the direct power which created it interposes to annihilate it, the matter which now composes it will still be in existence.

The earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up - That is, whether they are the works of God or man - the whole vegetable and animal creation, and all the towers, the towns, the palaces, the productions of genius, the paintings, the statuary, the books, which man has made:

"The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,

The solemn temples, the great globe itself,

And all that it inherits, shall dissolve,

And, like the baseless fabric of a vision,

Leave not one wreck behind."

The word rendered "burned up," like the word just before used and rendered "fervent heat" - a word of the same origin, but here intensive - means that they will undergo such a change as fire will produce; not, necessarily, that the matter composing them will be annihilated. If the matter composing the earth is ever to be destroyed entirely, it must be by the immediate power of God, because only He who created can destroy. There is not the least evidence that a particle of matter originally made has been annihilated since the world began; and there are no fires so intense, no chemical powers so mighty, as to cause a particle of matter to cease wholly to exist. So far as the power of man is concerned, and so far as one portion of matter can prey on another, matter is as imperishable as mind, and neither can be destroyed unless God destroys it. Whether it is His purpose to annihilate any portion of the matter which He has made, does not appear from His Word; but it is clear that He intends that the universe shall undergo important changes. As to the possibility or probability of such a destruction by fire as is predicted here, no one can have any doubt who is acquainted with the disclosures of modern science in regard to the internal structure of the earth.

Even the ancient philosophers, from some cause, supposed that the earth would still be destroyed by fire (see my notes at 2 Peter 3:7), and modern science has made it probable that the interior of the earth is a melted and intensely-heated mass of burning materials; that the habitable world is only a comparatively thin crust (shell) over those internal fires; that earthquakes are caused by the vapors engendered by that heated mass when water comes in contact with it; and that volcanoes are only openings and vent-holes through which those internal flames make their way to the surface. Whether these fires will everywhere make their way to the surface, and produce an universal conflagration, perhaps could not be determined by science, but no one can doubt that the simple command of God would be all that is necessary to pour those burning floods over the earth, just as He once caused the waters to roll over every mountain and through every valley.

continued...

The day of the Lord will come - See Matthew 24:43, to which the apostle seems to allude.

The heavens shall pass away with a great noise - As the heavens mean here, and in the passages above, the whole atmosphere, in which all the terrestrial vapours are lodged; and as water itself is composed of two gases, eighty-five parts in weight of oxygen, and fifteen of hydrogen, or two parts in volume of the latter, and one of the former; (for if these quantities be put together, and several electric sparks passed through them, a chemical union takes place, and water is the product; and, vice versa, if the galvanic spark be made to pass through water, a portion of the fluid is immediately decomposed into its two constituent gases, oxygen and hydrogen); and as the electric or ethereal fire is that which, in all likelihood, God will use in the general conflagration; the noise occasioned by the application of this fire to such an immense congeries of aqueous particles as float in the atmosphere, must be terrible in the extreme. Put a drop of water on an anvil, place over it a piece of iron red hot, strike the iron with a hammer on the part above the drop of water, and the report will be as loud as a musket; when, then, the whole strength of those opposite agents is brought together into a state of conflict, the noise, the thunderings, the innumerable explosions, (till every particle of water on the earth and in the atmosphere is, by the action of the fire, reduced into its component gaseous parts), will be frequent, loud, confounding, and terrific, beyond every comprehension but that of God himself.

The elements shalt melt with fervent heat - When the fire has conquered and decomposed the water, the elements, στοιχεια, the hydrogen and oxygen airs or gases, (the former of which is most highly inflammable, and the latter an eminent supporter of all combustion), will occupy distinct regions of the atmosphere, the hydrogen by its very great levity ascending to the top, while the oxygen from its superior specific gravity will keep upon or near the surface of the earth; and thus, if different substances be once ignited, the fire, which is supported in this case, not only by the oxygen which is one of the constituents of atmospheric air, but also by a great additional quantity of oxygen obtained from the decomposition of all aqueous vapours, will rapidly seize on all other substances, on all terrestrial particles, and the whole frame of nature will be necessarily torn in pieces, and thus the earth and its works be burned up.

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night,.... That is, the Lord will come in that day, which he has fixed, according to his promise, than which nothing is more certain; and he will come as a thief in the night: he will come "in the night", which may be literally understood; for as his first coming was in the night; see Luke 2:8; so perhaps his second coming may be in the night season; or figuratively, when it will be a time of great darkness; when there will be little faith in the earth, and both the wise and foolish virgins will be slumbering and sleeping; when it will be a season of great security, as it was in the days of Noah, and at the time of the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions, leave out the phrase, "in the night": and the Alexandrian copy uses the emphatic article, "in the night": and he will come, "as a thief", in the dark, indiscernibly; it will not be known what hour he will come; he will come suddenly, at an unawares, when he is not expected, to the great surprise of men, and especially of the scoffers; when the following awful things will be done:

in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise; not the third heaven, the seat of angels and glorified saints, and even of God himself; but the starry and airy heavens, which shall pass away, not as to their matter and substance, but as to some of their accidents and qualities, and the present use of them; and that with a great noise, like that of a violent storm, or tempest; though the Ethiopic version renders it, "without a noise"; and which is more agreeable to his coming as a thief, which is not with noise, but in as still a manner as possible; and some learned men observe, that the word signifies swiftly, as well as with a noise; and, accordingly, the Syriac version renders it "suddenly"; and the Arabic version "presently", immediately; that is, as soon as Christ shall come, immediately, at once, from his face shall the earth and heavens flee away, as John in a vision saw, Revelation 20:11;

and the elements shall melt with fervent heat: not what are commonly called the four elements, earth, air, tire, and water, the first principles of all things: the ancient philosophers distinguished between principles and elements; principles, they say (h), are neither generated, nor corrupted; "but the elements will be corrupted, or destroyed by the conflagration"; which exactly agrees with what the apostle here says: by the elements seem to be meant the host of heaven, being distinguished from the heavens, as the works of the earth are distinguished from the earth in the next clause; and design the firmament, or expanse, with the sun, moon, and stars in it, which will be purged and purified by this liquefaction by fire;

the earth also will be purged and purified from everything that is noxious, hurtful, unnecessary, and disagreeable; though the matter and substance of it will continue:

and the works that are therein shall be burnt up; all the works of nature, wicked men, cattle, trees, &c. and all the works of men, cities, towns, houses, furniture, utensils, instruments of arts of all sorts, will be burnt by a material fire, breaking out of the earth and descending from heaven, for which the present heavens and earth are reserved: this general conflagration was not only known to the Jews, but to the Heathens, to the poets, and Platonist and Stoic philosophers, who frequently (i) speak of it in plain terms. Some are of opinion that these words refer to the destruction of Jerusalem; and so the passing away of the heavens may design the removal of their church state and ordinances, Hebrews 12:26, and the melting of the elements the ceasing of the ceremonial law, called the elements of the world, Galatians 4:3, and the burning of the earth the destruction of the land of Judea, expressed in such a manner in Deuteronomy 29:23, and particularly of the temple, and the curious works in that, which were all burnt up and destroyed by fire, though Titus endeavoured to prevent it, but could not (k): which sense may be included, inasmuch as there was a promise of Christ's coming to destroy the Jewish nation, and was expected; and which destruction was a prelude of the destruction of the world, and is sometimes expressed in such like language as that is; but then this must not take place, to the exclusion of the other sense: and whereas this sense makes the words to he taken partly in a figurative, and partly in a literal way; and seeing the heavens and the earth are in the context only literally taken, the former sense is to be preferred; and to which best agrees the following use to be made of these things.

(h) Diog. Laert. l. 7. in Vita Zenonis. (i) Vid. Diog. Laert ib. & l. 9. in Vita Heraclit. & Hesych. de Philos. p. 36. Arrian. Epict. l. 3. c. 13. Phurut. de Natura Deorum, p. 39. Ovid. Metamorph, fab. 7. Min. Felix, p. 37. & Justin. Martyr. Apol. 2. p. 66. (k) Vid. Joseph. de Bello Jud. l. 3. c. 9, 10. & l. 7. c. 14, 16.

{10} But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great {d} noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

(10) A very short description of the last destruction of the world, but in such sort as nothing could be spoken more gravely.

(d) With the violence of a storm.

10. The certainty, suddenness, and concomitant effects, of the coming of the day of the Lord. Faber argues from this that the millennium, &c., must precede Christ's literal coming, not follow it. But "the day of the Lord" comprehends the whole series of events, beginning with the pre-millennial advent, and ending with the destruction of the wicked, and final conflagration, and general judgment (which last intervenes between the conflagration and the renovation of the earth).

will—emphatical. But (in spite of the mockers, and notwithstanding the delay) come and be present the day of the Lord SHALL.

as a thief—Peter remembers and repeats his Lord's image (Lu 12:39, 41) used in the conversation in which he took a part; so also Paul (1Th 5:2) and John (Re 3:3; 16:15).

the heavens—which the scoffers say' shall "continue" as they are (2Pe 3:4; Mt 24:35; Re 21:1).

with a great noise—with a rushing noise, like that of a whizzing arrow, or the crash of a devouring flame.

elements—the component materials of the world [Wahl]. However, as "the works" in the earth are mentioned separately from "the earth," so it is likely by "elements," mentioned after "the heavens," are meant "the works therein," namely, the sun, moon, and stars (as Theophilus of Antioch [p. 22, 148, 228]; and Justin Martyr [Apology, 2.44], use the word "elements"): these, as at creation, so in the destruction of the world, are mentioned [Bengel]. But as "elements" is not so used in Scripture Greek, perhaps it refers to the component materials of "the heavens," including the heavenly bodies; it clearly belongs to the former clause, "the heavens," not to the following, "the earth," &c.

melt—be dissolved, as in 2Pe 3:11.

the works … therein—of nature and of art.

3:5-10 Had these scoffers considered the dreadful vengeance with which God swept away a whole world of ungodly men at once, surely they would not have scoffed at his threatening an equally terrible judgment. The heavens and the earth which now are, by the same word, it is declared, will be destroyed by fire. This is as sure to come, as the truth and the power of God can make it. Christians are here taught and established in the truth of the coming of the Lord. Though, in the account of men, there is a vast difference between one day and a thousand years, yet, in the account of God, there is no difference. All things past, present, and future, are ever before him: the delay of a thousand years cannot be so much to him, as putting off any thing for a day or for an hour is to us. If men have no knowledge or belief of the eternal God, they will be very apt to think him such as themselves. How hard is it to form any thoughts of eternity! What men count slackness, is long-suffering, and that to us-ward; it is giving more time to hisown people, to advance in knowledge and holiness, and in the exercise of faith and patience, to abound in good works, doing and suffering what they are called to, that they may bring glory to God. Settle therefore in your hearts that you shall certainly be called to give an account of all things done in the body, whether good or evil. And let a humble and diligent walking before God, and a frequent judging of yourselves, show a firm belief of the future judgment, though many live as if they were never to give any account at all. This day will come, when men are secure, and have no expectation of the day of the Lord. The stately palaces, and all the desirable things wherein wordly-minded men seek and place their happiness, shall be burned up; all sorts of creatures God has made, and all the works of men, must pass through the fire, which shall be a consuming fire to all that sin has brought into the world, though a refining fire to the works of God's hand. What will become of us, if we set our affections on this earth, and make it our portion, seeing all these things shall be burned up? Therefore make sure of happiness beyond this visible world. 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come. This expression usually, but not always, refers to the second advent. Such is the meaning here.

As a thief in the night. When people are not expecting it. Compare 1Th 5:2 Mt 24:43.

In which the heavens shall pass away. See Lu 21:33.

The elements shall melt. The material of which they are composed.

The earth also and the works that are therein, shall be burnt up. The earth and all man's creations. That the world shall come to an end seems to be written in its very constitution. A slight change in the constitution of the atmosphere, or the decomposition of its water would wrap it in flame. Science finds the elements of final dissolution in the relations of the earth and sun. According to the ratio of increase in two centuries the would will not have resources to feed its population. In a few hundred years the coal resources of the world will fail. These and many other facts point to a necessary and inevitable change.

Verse 10. - But the day of the Lord will come. The word ἥξει, will come, stands emphatically at the beginning of the clause; whatever the mockers may say, whatever may happen, come certainly will the day of the Lord. "The day of the Lord" meets us often in the prophets; it is usually associated with the thought of judgment (see Isaiah 2:12; Ezekiel 13:5; Joel 1:15; Malachi 3:2). In the New Testament it signifies the second advent of Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:2; 1 Corinthians 1:8; Philippians 1:6; 2 Thessalonians 2:2). As a thief in the night. The best manuscripts omit here "in the night." St. Peter is evidently echoing the Lord's words in that great prophetic discourse on the Mount of Olives, which must have made such a deep impression upon the apostles. This illustration of the sudden coming of the thief is repeated not only by St. Peter here, but also by St. Paul (1 Thessalonians 5:2), and twice by St. John (Revelation 3:3 and Revelation 16:15). In the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise. The Greek for "with a great noise (ῤοιζηδόν)" occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, and is one of those remarkable poetic forms which are not unfrequent in this Epistle: the noun ῤοῖζος is used of the whizzing of arrows, of the rush of wings, of the sound of mighty winds or roaring waters. It may be understood here of the crash of a falling world or of the roar of the destroying flames. The word rendered "pass away" is that used by our Lord in the prophecy just referred to (Matthew 24:35; also in Matthew 5:18 and in Luke 16:17). And the elements shall melt with fervent heat. It is uncertain whether by "the elements" (στοιχεῖα) St. Peter means the four elements (in the old and popular use of the word), or the great constituent parts of the universe, the heavenly bodies. Against the first view is the assertion that one of those elements is to be the agent of destruction. But the word rendered "melt" means "shall be dissolved" or "loosed;" and it may be, as Bishop Wordsworth says, that "St. Peter's meaning seems to be that the στοιχεῖα, elements or rudiments, of which the universe is composed and compacted, will be loosed; that is, the framework of the world will be disorganized; and this is the sense of στοιχεῖα in the LXX. (Wisd. 7:17 Wisd. 19:17) and in Hippolytus, 'Philos.,' pages 219, 318. The dissolution is contrasted with the consistency described by the word συνεστῶσα in verse 5. The heavens are reserved for fire, and will pass away with a rushing noise, and, being set on fire, will be dissolved; the elements will be on fire and melt, and he reduced to a state of confusion; the earth and the works therein will be burnt up. There does not seem, therefore, to be any cause for abandoning the common meaning of στοιχεῖα, the elemental principles of which the universe is made." On the other hand, the word στοιχεῖα is certainly used of the heavenly bodies by Justin Martyr ('Apolog.,' 2. c. 5, and 'Dial. cum Tryphon,' c. 23); and the heavenly bodies are constantly mentioned in the descriptions of the awful convulsions of the great day (Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:24; Luke 21:25; Acts 2:20; Revelation 6:12, etc.). The objection that the word does not bear this meaning elsewhere in Holy Scripture is of little weight, as this is the only place in which it has a physical sense. The literal translation of the clause is, "The elements, being scorched, shall be dissolved." The word for "being scorched" (καυσούμενα) occurs in the New Testament only here and in verse 12; it is used by the Greek physicians of the burning heat of fever. The verb λυθήσεται means "shall be dissolved or loosened." The earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. By "the works that are therein" St. Peter seems to mean all the works both of God and of man, "opera naturae et artis" (Bengel). There is a very remarkable reading here (supported by the Sinaitic and Vatican and another uncial manuscript), εὑρεθήσεται, "shall be discovered," instead of κατακαήσεται, "shall be burned up." If we understand "the works that are therein" of man's works and actions, this reading will give a good sense (comp. 1 Corinthians 3:13, "Every man's work shall be made manifest, for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is"). Or the clause may be regarded as interrogative, "Shall the earth and the works that are therein be found?" But the reading, "shall be burned up" is well supported, and suits the context best.

the day.

Isaiah 2:12 For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be on every one that is proud …

Joel 1:15 Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction …

Joel 2:1,31 Blow you the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: …

Joel 3:14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of …

Malachi 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the …

1 Corinthians 5:5 To deliver such an one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, …

2 Corinthians 1:14 As also you have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, …

Jude 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their …

as a.

Matthew 24:42,43 Watch therefore: for you know not what hour your Lord does come…

Luke 12:39 And this know, that if the manager of the house had known what hour …

1 Thessalonians 5:2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as …

Revelation 3:3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard, and hold fast, …

Revelation 16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watches, and keeps …

in the which.

Psalm 102:26 They shall perish, but you shall endure: yes, all of them shall wax …

Isaiah 51:6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look on the earth beneath: …

Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

Mark 13:31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

Romans 8:20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by …

Hebrews 1:11,12 They shall perish; but you remain; and they all shall wax old as …

Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose …

Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and …

the elements.

2 Peter 3:12 Looking for and hastening to the coming of the day of God, wherein …

melt.

Psalm 46:6 The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, …

Psalm 97:5 The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence …

Amos 9:5,13 And the Lord GOD of hosts is he that touches the land, and it shall …

Nahum 1:5 The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is …

the earth. See on ver.

2 Peter 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are …

The day of the Lord

Compare the same phrase in Peter's sermon, Acts 2:20. It occurs only in these two passages and 1 Thessalonians 5:2. See 1 Corinthians 1:8; 2 Corinthians 1:14.

As a thief

Omit in the night. Compare Matthew 24:43; 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 1 Thessalonians 5:4; Revelation 3:3; Revelation 16:15.

With a great noise (ῥοιζηδὸν)

An adverb peculiar to Peter, and occurring only here. It is a word in which the sound suggests the sense (rhoizedon); and the kindred noun, ῥοῖζος, is used in classical Greek of the whistling of an arrow; the sound of a shepherd's pipe; the rush of wings; the plash of water; the hissing of a serpent; and the sound of filing.

The elements (στοιχεῖα)

Derived from στοῖχος, a row, and meaning originally one of a row or series; hence a component or element. The name for the letters of the alphabet, as being set in rows. Applied to the four elements - fire, air, earth, water; and in later times to the planets and signs of the zodiac. It is used in all ethical sense in other passages; as in Galatians 4:3, "elements or rudiments of the world." Also of elementary teaching, such as the law, which was fitted for an earlier stage in the world's history; and of the first principles of religious knowledge among men. In Colossians 2:8, of formal ordinances. Compare Hebrews 5:12. The kindred verb στοιχέω, to walk, carries the idea of keeping in line, according to the radical sense. Thus, walk according to rule (Galatians 6:16); walkest orderly (Acts 21:24). So, too, the compound συστοιχέω, only in Galatians 4:25, answereth to, lit., belongs to the same row or column with. The Greek grammarians called the categories of letters arranged according to the organs of speech συστοιχίαι. Here the word is of course used in a physical sense, meaning the parts of which this system of things is composed. Some take it as meaning the heavenly bodies, but the term is too late and technical in that sense. Compare Matthew 24:29, the powers of the heaven.

Shall melt (λυθήσονται)

More literally, as Rev., shall be dissolved.

With fervent heat (καυσούμενα)

Lit., being scorched up.

3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief - Suddenly, unexpectedly. In which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise - Surprisingly expressed by the very sound of the original word. The elements shall melt with fervent heat - The elements seem to mean, the sun, moon, and stars; not the four, commonly so called; for air and water cannot melt, and the earth is mentioned immediately after. The earth and all the works - Whether of nature or art. That are therein shall be burned up - And has not God already abundantly provided for this?
1. By the stores of subterranean fire which are so frequently bursting out at Aetna, Vesuvius, Hecla, and many other burning mountains.
2. By the ethereal (vulgarly called electrical) fire, diffused through the whole globe; which, if the secret chain that now binds it up were loosed, would immediately dissolve the whole frame of nature.
3. By comets, one of which, if it touch the earth in its course toward the sun, must needs strike it into that abyss of fire; if in its return from the sun, when it is heated, as a great man computes, two thousand times hotter than a red - hot cannonball, it must destroy all vegetables and animals long before their contact, and soon after burn it up.
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