Artic. 1. Of the Wonderful beginning of Fire.
FIre was a long time unknown to the Antients, especially if you respect them who in the utmost borders of Egypt dwelt by the Sea side, Plin. histor. Natural. l. 16. c. 40. When Eudoxus found it, they were so pleased with it, that they would have put it in their bosomes.
Fire, is not unknown to us. So great is the variety of it, and it is so manifold, that I know not what order to deliver it in. Pliny saith it is from it self; steel rubb'd against steel causeth fire. Also the stones we call fire-stones, stricken against steel or other stones, send forth sparkles. Therefore the Laplanders begin their Contracts of Mar∣riage with the fire and flint, Scalig. Exerc. 16. s. 1. For fire with them is the Authour of life, and the flint is eternal, wherein the treasure never fails. It is in vain to try that in a brittle stone: for the piece falling away, that which should draw forth the Ayr is lost. The rubbing of sticks one against another will fetch fire. The Indians do so; They make two sticks fast together, and put another stick be∣tween them, turning it swift like a wimble, and so they make them Page 34 take fire, Ovetan. l. 6. c. 5. In Apulia they wrap a Ca••• i• cords, and draw them as fast as they can forward and backward, till they fire it by motion, Mayolus Colloq▪ 2•. The Vestal Nuns did the same, when their eternall fire went out, if we credit Festus. In Nympheus, a flame goes out of a Rock, which is kindled by rain. Aristotle saith, in Admirand. it is not perceived untill you cast oyl upon it, and then the flame flyes upward. We find also in Authours, that in the Coun∣try of the Sabins, and Apulia, there is a stone that will fire if you annoint it, Plin. l. 2. c. 207. In Aricia, if a live cole fall on arable ground, the ground will burn. In a Town of Picenum, Egnatia, if wood be laid on a certain stone, that they account holy there, it will flame presently. Also a flame goes forth at the waters of Scantia, but it is very weak at the going forth, and will not last long in any other matter. Also at Gratianopolis in Dauphin, flame shines out, when you stir the burning Fountain with a staff, so that straw may be kindled by it; Dalechamp. ad l. c. The fire of the Mountain Chimer• is kindled by water, Plin. l. 2. c. 106. If you hold a glasse Globe full of water in the Sun, fire will rise from the repercussion of the light from the water, in the coldest frost: Lactan. de ira Dei, c. 10. Some∣times also fire ariseth so suddenly in houses, that it may be thought wonderful. Cardan. l. 10. de varietate, c. 49. ascribes the cause to the salt, and Salt-Peter that sticks to the walls of the houses. Which Valerius reports concerning the Schollar of the vestall Nun, Maxima Aemilia, l. 1. c. 1. that she adoring Vesta, when she had laid her fine linnen veil upon the hearth, the fire that was out, shined forth again: an old wall being scraped down, he writes, that it might take fire onely by hot Ashes.
If you look in the Bible, you shall find a wonderfull originall of fire in it, 1 King. c. 18. Elias when he offered sacrifice brought fire down from heaven, which consumed the sacrifice, wood, stones, dust, and water. In the Book of Judges, Ch. 6. when Gideon at the com∣mand of the Angel had laid flesh and bread upon a stone, and poured Frankincense upon them, fire came forth of the stone, and consumed them.