by T. De Witt Talmage

The Sculpture of the Bible; Or, God Amid the Coral Reefs
T. DeWitt Talmage
Job 28:18

Why do you say so, inspired dramatist? When you wanted to set forth the superior value of our religion, you tossed aside the onyx, which is used for making exquisite cameos, and the sapphire of deep blue and topaz of rhombic prism and the ruby of frozen blood, and here you say that the coral, which is a miracle of shape and a transport of color to those who have studied it, is not worthy of mention in comparison with our holy religion. "No mention shall be made of coral." At St. Johnsbury, Vt., in a museum built by the chief citizen, as I examined a specimen on the shelf, I first realized what a holy of holies God can build and has built in the temple of one piece of coral. I do not wonder that Ernst Heckel, the great scientist, while in Ceylon was so entranced with the specimens which some Cingalese divers had brought up for his inspection that he himself plunged into the sea and went clear under the waves at the risk of his life, again and again and again, that he might know more of the coral, the beauty of which he indicates cannot even be guessed by those who have only seen it above water, and after the polyps, which are its sculptors and architects, have died and the chief glories of these submarine flowers have expired.

Job, in my text, did not mean to depreciate this divine sculpture in the coral reefs along the sea-coasts. No one can afford to-depreciate these white palaces of the deep, built under God's direction. He never changes his plans for the building of the islands and shores; and for uncounted thousands of years the coral gardens, and the coral castles, and the coral battlements go on and up. I charge you that you will please God and please yourself if you will go into the minute examination of the corals-their foundations, their pinnacles, their aisles, their curves, their cleavages, their reticulation, their grouping-families of them, towns of them, ...

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