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A Great Earthquake

Earthquake
Key Text
"There was a

great earthquake

; and the sun became

black as sackcloth

of hair, and the

moon become as blood

." Revelation 6:12
In the year

1755

occurred the most terrible

earthquake

that has ever been recorded. Though commonly known as the

earthquake of Lisbon

, it extended to the greater part of Europe, Africa, and America. It was felt in Greenland, in the West Indies, in the island of Madeira, in Norway and Sweden, Great Britain and Ireland. It pervaded an extent of not less than four million square miles. In Africa the shock was almost as severe as in Europe. A great part of Algiers was destroyed; and a short distance from Morocco, a village containing eight or ten thousand inhabitants was swallowed up. A vast wave swept over the coast of Spain and Africa, engulfing cities, and causing

great destruction

.

It was in Spain and Portugal that the shock manifested its extreme violence. At Cadiz the inflowing wave was said to be sixty feet high. Mountains--some of the largest in Portugal--"were impetuously shaken, as it were from the very foundation; and some of them opened at their summits, which were split and rent in a wonderful manner, huge masses of them being thrown down into the subjacent valleys. Flames are related to have issued from these mountains."

At

Lisbon

"a sound of thunder was heard underground, and immediately afterward a violent shock threw down the greater part of that city. In the course of about six minutes sixty thousand persons perished. The sea first retired, and laid the bar dry, it then rolled in, rising fifty feet above its ordinary level." "The most extraordinary circumstance which occurred at Lisbon during the

catastrophe

, was the subsidence of the new quay, built entirely of marble, at an immense expense. A great concourse of people had collected there for safety, as a spot where they might be beyond the reach of falling ruins; but suddenly the quay sunk down with all the people on it, and not one of the dead bodies ever floated to the surface."

The shock of the earthquake "was instantly followed by the fall of every church and convent, almost all the large and public buildings, and one-fourth of the houses. In about two hours afterward, fires broke out in different quarters, and raged with such

violence

for the space of nearly three days that the city was completely desolated. The earthquake happened on a holy day, when the churches and

convents

were full of people, very few of whom escaped." "The terror of the people was beyond description. Nobody wept; it was beyond tears. They ran hither and thither, delirious with

horror

and astonishment, beating their faces and breasts, crying, 'Misericordia! the world's at an end!' Mothers forgot their children, and ran loaded with

crucifixed

images. Unfortunately, many ran to the

churches

for protection; but in vain was the

sacrament

exposed; in vain did the poor creatures embrace the

altars

; images, priests, and people were buried in one common ruin."

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