God’s Ownership Of The Sea -- By: Leonard Swain

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 018:71 (Jul 1861)
Article: God’s Ownership Of The Sea
Author: Leonard Swain


God’s Ownership Of The Sea1

Rev. Leonard Swain

Psalm 95:5.— “The Sea is his, and he made it.”

The traveller who would speak of his experience in foreign lands, must begin with the sea. Especially is this the case if he would speak of his journey in its religious aspects and connections. For it is through the religion of the sea that he approaches those lands, and through it that he returns from them. God has spread this vast pavement of his temple between the hemispheres, so that he who sails to foreign shores must pay a double tribute to the Most High; for through this temple he has to carry his anticipations as he goes, and his memories when he returns. Nor can the mind of the traveller be so frivolous, or the objects of his journey so trivial, but that the shadows of this temple will make themselves felt upon him during the long days that he is passing beneath them on his outward, and then again on his homeward, way. The sea speaks for God; and however eager the tourist may be to reach the strand that lies before him and enter upon the career of business or pleasure that awaits him, he must check his impatience during this long interval of approach, and listen to the voice with which Jehovah speaks to him as, horizon after horizon, he moves to his purpose along the aisles of God’s mighty tabernacle of the deep.

God’s way is in the sea as it is in the sanctuary; and

having so recently come from beholding it, that the roll of the ship and the roar of the waves are scarcely yet vanished from my brain, let me speak to you of it in his house to-day; that so his works may combine with his word to teach us the lessons of his greatness, and that some strains of that vast anthem of the deep that praises God round the whole world this morning may mingle with the worship which rises to him from this sanctuary.

In speaking of God’s ownership of the sea, I wish to consider, first, some of the more important material uses which he has made it to subserve in the economy of nature and for the welfare of the world, and then to refer to some of those more distinctively religious elements of impression by which it becomes the symbol of his presence and the earthly temple of his glory.

It is very natural, in looking at the ocean, and in travelling over its enormous breadth, to wonder why such an immense mass of water should have been created. When we think that three-fourths of the entire surface of the globe are covered by its waves, it seems to us like a vast disproportion. It is a common thing, in speaking of the sea, to call it “a waste of...

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