Skip to main content

3LIj£ Christian ^tattftarft. Vol. ii. No. i. JULY, 1892. Price One Penny. DR. TALMAGE. N Sabbath morning, May 12th, 1889,1 went to hear the great Brooklyn preacher. The church, which was burnt down a few weeks later, was large and capable of accommodating a larger number of people than one could judge at first sight. Having a quarter of an hour to wait for the service to begin, I em¬ ployed the time in making observations. As the people were entering, the freedom with which they accosted each other was specially noticeable. The conductors were the most genial I ever saw, and the people in passing would hold a chat with them, and introduce their friends. The buzz of conversation was universal. Being a very fine morning, fans were used without number. During this time the organist played an overture on a very large organ. He was evidently a master, and for the delectation of a novice like myself, he seemed to have tried to demonstrate all the powers of his instrument, though I fancied that a less boisterous playing would better suit the commence¬ ment of a religious service. Dr. Talmage is no believer in pulpits. He prefers a bare plat¬ form, with a small table and chair, and footlights a la opera. Presently the preacher walked briskly from the vestry to the platform. The precentor now took his stand, cornet in hand, and while the organist played the "Old Hundredth," he motioned the whole audience to rise by a triple movement of his hand ; then, led by the shrill tones of the cornet, the congregation united in singing, " Praise God from whom all blesssings flow." The effect was electrical. What a spontaneous outburst of praise! How a stranger felt at home all at once! This glorious hymn is the true national anthem of America. After offering a short prayer, the preacher read from Genesis iv., commenting on the verses as he proceeded. Another hymn, and a prayer. The prayer, though chaste and appropriate in style, contained some startling petitions —startling because unusual. " We want to be on the right side of everything." Praying for merchants, he said " Grant them large success in bargain-making." " May all the Bastilles of suffering be demolished." Praying for physicians, he said with great pathos " Thyself wast a great physician once." Whoever prays for the lawyers ? Is it because they are past praying for? But the Doctor remembers them. " Help the lawyers to plead for the cause of righteousness." " Remember the mechanics, grant them large wages. May the long war between capital and labour cease." " Be with Matthew at the receipt of custom." When referring to the future life and its mysteries, he said, " We need not have to wait long. That is enough ! " Then followed the longest list of announcements that I ever heard made in the course of a preaching service. There was the annual pilgrimage to Saratoga springs, and a ladies' iair to be held in October, Then the doctor said, " This is the time we make our offering to the Lord for his goodness and mercy." While the collection was being taken up, the pre¬ centor gave a cornet solo. After another hymn was sung, the Doctor read as his text, IT. Kings, iv., 40, " There is death in the pot." Elisha had to go down to Gilgal to preach to the theological students there. These students were very hungry, as students are apt to be. It is useless to talk to hungry people. Feed them first, lecture afterwards. Jesus fed the multitude before he preached to them. While the dinner was getting ready, one student more hungry than the rest, took a mouthful and cried out immediately, "Poison, poison." The world has many cauldrons of sin and death. But there is also an antidote. While you must pity the sinner, you must excoriate the sin. You cannot tack a buffalo with a silken lasso. In exploring caverns you must carry a torch and a sword. Ihe first Cauldron — Unhappy and undisciplined homes. I noticed that Dr. Talmage has one bad habit — speaking con¬ stantly to the left. Joseph Cook speaks to the right, John Hall speaks straight. Talking of en- thusiasm in the Lord's work, he quoted Adam Clarke saying about some people, " they serve the Lord as if the devil was in them." Good homes, good characters, and vice versa. But there are many exceptions. Second Cauldron—An indolent life. God never made a man strong enough to be idle. He that chooses to be idle, chooses crime and death. What is worth your having is what you can earn. Third Cauldron—Bum shops and drinking saloons. They are the gates of hell. He quoted Mr. Gladstone's reply to the revenue argument. " Let us have thirty millions sober people, and we will have plenty of revenue." He went on to say that we are losing time with this question, allowing it to pass into politics only. The saloons are sometimes called sample rooms. A drunken man on the doorstep is their best sample. Young men, be masters of yourselves, and take hold of the arm of the Almighty God." A short prayer and a hymn concluded the service. Dr. Talmage is more of an accomplished elocutionist than of a rousing orator. His voice is shrill, cutting, and capable of great expansion at times. His oratory is much spoiled by the effort he betrays to recollect his sentences, and the way he has of warning his audience that a great oratorical effort is about to be made. In the course of his denunciation of the drink traffic, he said, " I wish to say—and say it with the concentrated energy of my body and soul," then followed a pause as uncomfortable to the audienoe as the pause between the appearance of a lightening flash and the roll of thunder, during which I prepared myself as well as I could for the coming storm, when the preacher shouted, " cursed be rum! cursed be rum ! " Perhaps the chief noticable effect of the passage was that the preacher turned very red in the face. But he is always good at description. The Outward man of the Doctor, as he appears on the platform, seems to be a combination of the late Principal Ho wells* of Trevecca, and Dean Vaughan, with enough of the real Talmage to pronounce him original and unclassed. In general build he resembles the former, whilst in profile