XXI. Besides all this, if the progeny of any future generation should wish to transmit to their posterity the praises of any one of us which they have heard from their forefathers, yet the deluges and combustions of the earth, which must necessarily happen at their destined periods, will prevent our obtaining, not only an eternal, but even a durable glory.

As Plato, Lib. 5 de Repub., would not have it called war, but sedition, when the Greeks took up arms against one another, and that therefore, when such combustions should arise amongst them, his advice was to behave themselves in the managing of them with all discretion and modesty. Although you call it war, it is but superficial; it entereth not into the closet and inmost cabinet of our hearts.

At the same time died Antiochus, king of Comagena, as also Philopator, king of Cilicia; and great combustions shook these nations; whilst of the people many desired Roman government, and many were addicted to domestic monarchy. The provinces, too, of Syria and Judea, as they were oppressed with impositions, prayed an abatement of tribute.

By the effect of the heat, we shall reduce the lump of carbon into particles that will fly off; still every particle, equally with the whole mass, burns in this peculiar way: it burns as a coal, and not like a flame. You observe a multitude of little combustions going on, but no flame. I do not know a finer experiment than this, to shew that carbon burns with a spark.

Invisible, too, from thence was that eye he turned below, when, like the cannon booms, came up to him the people's combustions of applause. That which stirred them so was, seeing with what serenity the builder stood three hundred feet in air, upon an unrailed perch. This none but he durst do. But his periodic standing upon the pile, in each stage of its growth such discipline had its last result.

In such circumstances it is also easy, it is even natural, perhaps it is even inevitable, to be something more than a friend. There were rumours and combustions. Lord Melbourne was twice a co-respondent in a divorce action; but on each occasion he won his suit. The lovely Lady Brandon, the unhappy and brilliant Mrs. Norton... the law exonerated them both. Beyond that hung an impenetrable veil.

As fearful storms, accompanied by lightning and rumbling thunder, sweep over the earth's surface, so beneath the crust occur electric storms, accompanied with terrific combustions of gases, which in their efforts to escape convulse the outer earth, and in many cases rend the shell asunder. The "tidal phenomenon," as it is called, is the effect of the electrical condition of the earth beneath.

This necessity of heating any body we mean to burn depends upon certain considerations which have not hitherto been attended to by any natural philosopher, for which reason I shall enlarge a little upon the subject in this place: "Nature is at present in a state of equilibrium, which cannot have been attained until all the spontaneous combustions or oxygenations possible in an ordinary degree of temperature had taken place.... To illustrate this abstract view of the matter by example: Let us suppose the usual temperature of the earth a little changed, and it is raised only to the degree of boiling water; it is evident that in this case phosphorus, which is combustible in a considerably lower degree of temperature, would no longer exist in nature in its pure and simple state, but would always be procured in its acid or oxygenated state, and its radical would become one of the substances unknown to chemistry.

In the same manner, when nitrogen, holding the particles of oxygen with which it is combined in the compounds above named by a very feeble control, brings them into the presence of other substances for which they have a very strong affinity, they release themselves at once from their weak custodian, and rush into the combinations which their nature demands with so much avidity as to produce combustions, deflagrations, and explosions of the most violent character.

The body is a sort of furnace in which combustions are continually going on, and oxygen is as essential for these as for the burning of a candle, and the products are in each case the same.