THE LIGHTNING OF THE SEA
T. DeWitt Talmage
Job, 41: 32: "He maketh a path to shine after him."
If for the next thousand years ministers of religion
should preach from this Bible there will yet be texts
unexpounded and unexplained and unappreciated.
What little has been said concerning this chapter in
Job from which my text is taken, bears on the contro-
versy as to what was really the leviathan described as
disturbing the sea. What creature it was I know not.
Some say it was a whale. Some say it was a crocodile.
My own opinion is, it was a sea-monster now extinct.
No creature now floating in Mediterranean or Atlantic
waters corresponds to Job's description.
What most interests me is that as it moved on
through the deep it left the waters flashing and re-
splendent. In the words of the text, "He maketh a
path to shine after him." What was that illumined
path? It was phosphorescence- You- find it in the
wake of a ship in the night, especially after rough
weather. Phosphorescence is the lightning of the sea.
That this figure of speech is correct in describing its
appearance I am certified by an incident. After cross-
ing the Atlantic the first time and writing from Basle,
Switzerland, to an American magazine an account of
my voyage, in which nothing more fascinated me than
the phosphorescence in the ship's wake, I called it The
Lightning of the Sea. Returning to my hotel, I
found a book of John Ruskin, and the first sentence
my eyes fell upon was his description of phospho-
rescence, in which he called it "The Lightning of the
Sea." Down to the post-office I hastened to get the
manuscript, and with great labor and some expense
got possession of the magazine article and put quota-
tion marks around that one sentence, although it was
as original with me as with John Ruskin.
I suppose that nine-tenths of you living so near the
sea-coast have watched this marine appearance called
phosphorescence, and I hope that the other tent ...
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