CHAP. 18. (20.)—WHY THUNDER IS ASCRIBED TO JUPITER.
It is not generally known, what has been discovered by
men who are the most eminent for their learning, in consequence of their assiduous observations of the heavens, that
the fires which fall upon the earth, and receive the name of
thunder-bolts, proceed from the three superior stars1
principally from the one which is situated in the middle. It
may perhaps depend on the superabundance of moisture from
the superior orbit communicating with the heat from the
inferior, which are expelled in this manner2
; and hence it
is commonly said, the thunder-bolts are darted by Jupiter.
And as, in burning wood, the burnt part is cast off with a
crackling noise, so does the star throw off this celestial fire,
bearing the omens of future events, even the part which is
thrown off not losing its divine operation. And this takes
place more particularly when the air is in an unsettled state,
either because the moisture which is then collected excites
the greatest quantity of fire, or because the air is disturbed,
as if by the parturition of the pregnant star.