|Ichiyusai, by Utagawa Kuniyoshi|
I used an html version of Moby Dick (thank goodness for public domain) to do some simple searches in-browser, and it turned up some pretty interesting results. My first few searches were the most revealing, so I'll save those for the end, but I input forms of "bless" and "divinity," and those showed fairly uniform frequency throughout the novel as a whole. "Bless" and its derivative forms showed up twenty one times without any apparent pattern of usage or non-usage, and "divine" appeared a total of fifteen times. Interestingly, of those fifteen instances, five are in reference to whales or to the White Whale himself, this being the most common referent, coming in well above "God" and "Providence" in terms of usage.
Searching for "sanctity" yield but two results, one near the beginning and one near the end. "Sacred," on the other hand, showed up eleven times and, as it turns out, is entirely absent from the last thirty seven chapters. I thought that this "black space" might have been just a coincidence, but my analysis of "holy" and its derivatives showed similar results: Of the nineteen instances of "holy" and the five instances of derivatives like "holiest" and "holies," only one turned up after Ch. 64 (approximately the middle of the book), and this exceptional instance was in reference to the 'dying' Pagan, Queequeg, in his coffin. Even among the other uses of "holy," the latter four are either tied to a chapel in Cape Town (i.e. external to the crew's current state) or are part of the Town-Ho's story (i.e. reported speech rather than individual thought), meaning that Ishamel's last use of "holy" where the term still bears its traditional meaning is in Ch.
46, just a third of the way into the book.
Verduner altarpiece in Klosterneuburg, Austria