The Thetis

by | Jun 7, 1998 | Preparation

Some years ago, a vessel named the “Thetis” was cruising in the Mediterranean in search of a shoal, a bank, or something of the kind, said to exist beneath the treacherous waters. The captain, having failed to locate it, after adopting all the means he thought necessary, abandoned the enterprise, saying that the reported danger was all a dream. One of his officers formed a different opinion, and some time afterward he went out by himself on an expedition into the same latitude and longitude, and discovered a submerged rock. He reported its position to the British Admiralty in London, and it was inserted in the charts. The discoverer himself was rewarded with a high appointment.

The intelligence came to the ears of the captain of the first expedition, and he would not believe in the discovery. He was a shrewd, clever, practical man, but unscientific, incredulous, and obstinate. “The whole thing is a falsehood,” he exclaimed, adding, “If ever I have the keel of the ‘Thetis’ under me in those waters again, if I don’t carry her clean over where the charts mark a rock, call me a liar, and no seaman.”

Two years later, in the same vessel, he was conveying the British ambassador to Naples. One windy night he and the mate were examining the chart by the light of the lantern, when the mate pointed out on the map the position of the sunken rock. “What!” Exclaimed the old seaman, “is this thing to meet me in the teeth again? I swore I would sail over that spot the first chance I had, and I’ll do it.” He went down into the cabin, merrily related the story to the company, and said, “Within five minutes we shall have crossed the spot.” There was a pause. Then taking out his watch he said, “Ah! The time is past; we have gone over the wonderful rock.” But presently a grating touch was felt on the ship’s keel–then a sudden shock–then a tremendous crash–the ship had foundered. Through great exertions most of the crew were saved; but the captain would not survive his temerity; and the last seen of him he was standing, bare-headed, on the dark hull of the ship, as the foam burst round her bows and stern. He perished as a victim of his own unbelief.

He thought that because he had looked for the reported rocks once and did not find them, they did not exist. So, many think that because some have looked for Christ to come at a certain time, and He did not come, He is not coming at all, and they therefore neglect to prepare to meet Him.

By John Lewis Shuler, Signs of the Times, January 3, 1922. With permission from Dale Galusha


The Thetis