Rare Geology Book, Mather Blyes; Divine Power and Anger Displayed in Earthquakes

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Blyes, Mather; Divine power and anger displayed in earthquakes : a sermon occasioned by the late earthquake in New-England, November 18, 1755 and preached the next Lord’s-Day, at Point-Shirley. Boston, Printed and Sold by S. Kneeland, in Queen-Street, 1755. Octavo, pp. half title, title, 31.

The work is complete and in an archival folder. Binding is tight and clean, text has chipping and bumping at corners and light toning. In very good condition.


A Tory preacher, Mather Byles (1706-1788)  was a descendant of Richard Mather, who  was one of principal writers of the Bay Psalm Book.  After graduating from Harvard in 1725, Byles held a position as a minister in Boston for several decades. Throughout his life he remained a Loyalist and supported the British Crown. At the start of the Revolution he resigned from his post at the Hollis Street Church, where he had been serving since 1733. He was imprisoned briefly and then placed under house arrest for a time.  However, upon  his release he chose to stay in Boston until his death in 1788. He published several of his sermons and the above one was the only that related to geology. On November 18, 1755 New England was rocked by a moderate earthquake and many members of his congregation asked Blyes to preach a sermon on the earthquake and he did so. Blyes related the trembling of the earth to God's wreath for the sins being commited. He takes numerous examples from Biblical history and uses those for the November 18th earthquake. The work is very rare with few copies located in institutions.