Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

News from the whalesman's pulpit

(Father Mapple) paused a little; then kneeling in the pulpit’s bows, folded his large brown hands across his chest, uplifted his closed eyes, and offered a prayer so deeply devout that he seemed kneeling and praying at the bottom of the sea.


The ribs and terrors in the whale,
Arched over me a dismal gloom,
While all God’s sunlit waves rolled by,
And left me deepeing down to doom.

I saw the opening maw of hell,
With endless pains and sorrows there;
Which none but they that feel can tell --
Oh, I was plunging to despair.

In black distress, I called my God
When I could scarce believe him mine.
He bowed his ear to my complaints --
No more the whale did me confine.

With speed he flew to my relief,
As on a radiant dolphin borne;
Awful, yet bright, as lightning shone
The face of my Deliverer God.

My song for ever shall record
That terrible, that joyful hour;
I give the glory to my God,
HIs all the mercy and the power.

-- hymn in the whalesman’s church, Moby Dick, 46-7


And from Father Mapple's sermon:

And now behold Jonah taking up as an anchor and droppepd into the sea; when instantly an oily calmness floats out form the east, and the sea is still, as Jonah carries down the gale with him, leaving smooth water behind. He goes down in the whirling heart of such a masterless commotion that he scarce heeds the moment when he drops seething into the yawning jaws awaiting him; and the whale upshoots-to all his ivory teeth, like so many white bolts, upon his prison.

Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord out of the fish’s belly. But observe his prayer, and learn his weighty lesson. For sinful as he is, Jonah does not weep and wail for direct deliverance. He feels that his dreadful punishment is just. He leaves all his deliverance to God, contenting himself with this, that spit of all his pains and pangs, he will still look toward His holy temple. And here, shipmates, is true and faithful repenctence, not clamorous for pardon, but grateful for pujnishment.

-- Father Mapple’s sermon, Moby Dick


Post a Comment

<< Home

Hit Counter
Internet Service Provider