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Pathfinder of the Seas

 By the summer of 1839, Lieutenant Maury had been around the world with the U.S. Navy, and was famous for improving the science of navigation. Now he found himself on a stagecoach bound for New York harbor, but he would never meet his ship. One rainy night, the stagecoach on which he was riding tipped over. His legs were hurt badly. He could not serve on the open seas again, so he put his energy into writing.

The government and navy were very impressed with Lieutenant Maury. They put him in charge of making sailing charts for American ships. He collected information from stacks of old sailing records, and realized that ships could take advantage of ocean currents and winds to shorten their sea voyages. Lieutenant Maury was right! When captains used his charts, they saved many days and a lot of money. Matthew Fontaine Maury became known as “The Pathfinder of the Seas,” because he showed the best “paths” for sailing ships.

However, Lieutenant Maury was more than a great naval officer and scientist–he believed God’s Word with all his heart. Some people told him that the Bible made many scientific mistakes, but he showed that the Bible always got its facts right. Everything he studied about the oceans–from currents, to winds, to the smallest creatures beneath the waves–made him believe that God created our world.

One of Mr. Maury’s favorite passages in the Bible comes from Psalm 8: “You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen; Even the beasts of the field, The birds of the air, And the fish of the sea That pass through the paths of the seas” (verses 6-8).


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