The Astronomy Of The Bible by T. De Witt Talmage

T. DeWitt Talmage

Exodus, 30: 34: " And the Lord said unto Moses, Take unto
thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha."

You may not have noticed the shells of the Bible,
although in this early part of the sacred Book God
calls you to consider and employ them, as he called
Moses to consider and employ them. Behold and
wonder and worship. The onycha of my text is a
shell found on the banks of the Red Sea, and Moses
and his army must have crushed many of them under
foot as they crossed the bisected waters, onycha on
the beach and onycha in the unfolded bed of the deep.
I shall speak of this shell as a beautiful and practical
revelation of God, and as true as the first chapter of
Genesis and the last chapter of the Revelation or every-
thing between. Not only is this shell, the onycha,
found in the Red Sea, but in the waters of India. It
not only delectates the eye with its convolutions of
beauty, white and lustrous and seriate, but blesses
the nostril with a pungent aroma. This shell-fish,
accustomed to feed on spikenard, is redolent with that
odorous plant, redolent when alive and redolent when
dead. Its shells, when burnt, bewitch the air with
fragrance. In my text, God commands Moses to mix
this onycha with the perfumes of the altar in the
ancient Tabernacle, and I propose to mix some of its
perfumes at the altar of our own tabernacle, as I now
come to speak of the Conchology of the Bible, or
God among the Shells.

It is a secret that you may keep for me, for I have
never before told it to any one, that in all the realms
of the natural world there is nothing to me so fasci-
nating, so completely absorbing, so full of suggestive-
ness, as a shell. What? More entertaining than a
bird, which can sing, when a shell cannot sing? Well,
there you have made a great mistake. Pick up the
onycha from the banks of the Red Sea, or pick up a
bivalve from the beach of the Atlantic Ocean, ...

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