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THE WILMINGTON MESSENGER, TUESDAY, APRIL 22, 1802. Remarkable Career of the Late Fev. Dr. T. De Witt Talmage His Won derful Influence For Good Dow Three of His Churches Took on "Red Wings of Fire" Interesting Anecdotes. ICovyr1 T America who can draw and bold and thrill every Sab bath the year round an au dience of thousands and "Who preaches the gospel every week to 20.000.000. but one man who thinks In pictures and paints with a large brush In colors that burn and glow, and the nations gather around his pictures and feel an uplift and a holy thrill." This was said by a celebrated orator ten .years ago of Thomas De Witt Talmage. the farmer's boy, whose remarkable career has Just ended. Yet there was nothing In his boyhood home or early surroundings from which an augury could be drawn of the worldwide fame be afterward attained. On a little farm In the New Jersey village of Bound Brook, the youngest son of a family of twelve children, the future pulpit ora tor first saw the light seventy years ago. His parents toiled bard and lived frugally that they might give their children an education. The eldest broth er at the close of his college career went to China as a missionary and won renown there. Another became a minister, and De Witt, the youngest of all, chose the profession of the law. After graduating with honor from the University of the City of New York he spent a year in special studies. But his parents never ceased to hope that he might become a preacher. Their hopes were ful Oiled, and in 1S53. at the age of twenty-one. he entered the College of New Brunswick to prepare for the min istry. As a student he was eccentric rather than brilliant. lie set the laws of pul pit oratory at defiance and with bold originality spoke the thing that was in bim in current phraseology and in his own way. "You must change your style." his teacher said to him. "Oth erwise no pulpit will be open to you." But somehow the people listened to the daring young preacher whose doc trines, while familiar and orthodox. Were explained in novel and uncon ventional language and Illustrated by figures and events of the ordinary dally life. HIS FIRST PASTORATE. At the conclusion of his theological course he received an Invitation from a church at Belleville, N. J., to be come its pastor. He accepted It and spent three years in that quiet town, lie was fond of relating an incident of that early time which to the last occu pied a grateful place In his memory, lie was promised a stipend of $S00 a year, which seemed to him a magnifi cent income. But he was fresh from college, with a college student's pov erty. The first installment of the in come was nut due. and he was glad that, whenever the loneliness of his bachelor todging became oppressive or bis larder bare, the hospitable homes cf bis people were open to him. There kwas a parsonage attached to the church, but it was as bare of furniture as his iocketlook was of money. A few of his parishioners suspected the condition of his finances, and one day they suggested that he take a week's vacation. On his return one of his church officers handed him the key of the parsonage. He entered and to his amazement found it carpeted and cozl ly furnished from basement to garret la the cellar was a stock of coal, and the pamry was filled with provisions. Even the kitchen stove contained a fire, ready laid. "All I had to do in beginning housekeeping." said Dr. Tal mage in telling the incident, "was to strike a match. This was one of hia earliest glearua of "Ministers' Sun shine." Belleville. however, could not retain him long. Other churches offered a wider sphere of labor, and at the end of bis third year he accepted a call to a church at Syracuse. N. Y. There his powers became more widely known, and invitations to more prominent pul pits poured iu upon him. In lSt! a call came from the Second Reformed church of Philadelphia, giving him the opportunity of reaching the people of a great city. He accepted it, aud his vivid, dramatic address, his anecdotal affluence and his fresh and pertinent Illustrations took the people by storm. His brilliant vocabulary and the su perb imagery that marked all his ad dresses were a revelation. It was pul pit oratory redeemed and sublimated. This suddm popularity might have spoiled some men. but young Talmage kept a close watch on himself. It gave . bim n st nse of enlarged responsibility, and be became eveu more careful not only In the preparation of his sermons, but la hi general conduct HIS LAST CIGAR. At the beginning of his Philadelphia pastorate a characteristic incident oc curred. Dr. Talmage at that time was a smoker. A member of his cohgrega tic a. a tobacco merchant, called on him in his study, and. detecting the odor of tobacca. be casually remarked on leav Jog that he would like to have the pleasure of sending the doctor some choice cigars. Next day the preacher found on his study table a lox filled with fragrant Havanas. and ou the trp - of tue t!gars was the card of the send er, lnT:bed. "With compliments. He . "took out a cigar, looked at it, turned it Nfl- OF A MAT? REACME around bezwjin all thumb and finger and soliloquized, "Shall I smoke and enjoy these and thus very likely impair my Influence with this man and his friends and my congregation in gener al, or shall I put influence and example first?" He laid the cigar back In the box, closed it with a snap and returned it to the sender with this note: My Dear Sir I have stopped emoklng qult today. . T. D. W. T. The sudden resolution, acted out In the pur of the moment, was typical of his whole life. In 1SC0. seven years after his settle ment In Philadelphia. Dr. Talmage re ceived simultaneous calls to Chicago. Brooklyn and San Francisco. Their demands spurred him to still higher ef fort. He chose Brooklyn, as he believed that city needed him most The call bore only seventeen signatures, but it was unanimous, for there were but sev enteen members In-the church. They had a large building, but the pews were mostly empty, and though it stood among a teeming population the church was exerting little Influence. In March, 1SG0, he preached his first ser mon there. The transformation that followed seemed magical. Every serv ice was crowded. Within a year It was decided to erect a new edifice capable of seating 3,000. Dr. Talmage's first sermon was from the text, "Compel them to come In," but it seemed an in aptitude, for the people came in such numbers that many were compelled to 6tay out. "RED WINGS OF FIRE." Two years afterward, on a Sunday morning in December, 1S72, Dr. Tal mage looked from the window of his house and saw his beloved church "put ting on red wings of fire" until it swept the heavens, a lurid mass of conflagra tion. Undismayed by the destruction of their church, the congregation soon be gan to build a still larger structure which would seat 5,000. Although the completed edifice was the largest church of its denomination in America, i it was never large enough to hold the ! crowds who came to listen to the now : famous preacher. The regular hearers alone were nearly sufficient to fill the building, and their number was aug- ' by many from other states and even by transatlantic visitors, who had read his sermons printed in their home journals. For fully fifteen years the church had uninterrupted prosperity, which was rudely broken on Oct. 13. 1SS0. by the complete destruction of the second tab ernacle by fire. A third tabernacle was built still larger than its predecessors. It was finished in 1S91. and Its dedica tion was a great public occasion. Large delegations, drawn from every section of the Union, came, bringing congratu lations. It was a grand and beautiful temple of, worship, rich In ornamentation, vast in seating capacity and perfect in acoustics. "I never could sing a note or raise a tune." Dr. Talmage would often say. Yet the music, the strains of the great, deep toned thirty thousand dollar organ, mingling with the mighty swell of voices, led by Peter Alis silver cornet, was the finest Imaginable. Three years later, when a series of meetings were held to celebrate the twenty-fifth an niversary of his pastorate in Brooklyn, the state, the city and the clergy of the neighborhood united in recognition of the eminence Dr. Talmage had achiev ed. He was overwhelmed with verbal congratulations and good wishes, and telegrams, letters and cable dispatches came from Illustrious personages here and beyond the seas. It was. however, the closing scene in his long succession of Brooklyn triumphs, for on the fol lowing Sunday. May 13, 1S94. a fire broke out in the church at the close of the morning service, and the fine build ing in a few hours became a pile of smoking ruins. HIS TOUR OF THE GLOBE. Saddened by the destruction of bis third and most beautiful tabernacle. Dr. Talmage for a time ceased active pastoral work and went abroad on a tour of the globe. He preached to large audiences In Australia. New Zealand. India and Great Britain and on his return published an account of his jourueylngs in a volume entitled "The Earth Girdled." which was widely cir culated. He now devoted himself al most exclusively to his editorial duties on The Christian Herald, to which he had been a regular weekly contributor since 1ST8. becoming editor in chief in 1S1K). Dr. Louis Klopsch. the proprie tor of that journal, had been bis Inti mate friend and business associate for many years. He had syndicated Dr. , Talmage's sermons since 1S85. furnish ing them regularly every week to over 3.000 newspapers. It is estimated that the total number of weekly readers reached by the syndicate and through other channels was not less than 20. 000.000. an audience far more vast than has ever been addressed by any other writer or preacher in the world, ancient or modern. . "A MISSION OF DREAD." During the next two years be varied bis literary work by frequent preach ing and lecture' tours and an occasional : visit abroad. He bad a big: warm ; heart and generous Impulses, and he was Interested in various philanthropic movements, some cr them of wide Bcope. His love of such work was fos tered by his experience In 1S02 wfcen he visited Bussla with Dr. Klopsch on "a mission of bread first sending on ahead the steamship Ieo. laden with 50.000 sacks of 'Jour, the gift of gem-r ous Americans to the starving Ilusi.i:i peasants. While In St. Petersburg t!: Americans were summoned to Peter hof. the Imperial summer resi ler . where they were presented to the Czur Alexander, the empress. Czarowitz Nicholas, the present emperor, r.nd dth er royalties. That the stalwart Amri can preacher made an impression w::s evident from the fact that the emput.r sent to the visitors handsome gifts of gold and 6llver. The enthusiastic mu nicipalities of St. Petersburg and Mos cow gave them public fetes, and in the former city the astonished divine was carried on the shoulders of a cheering Russian crowd in front of the dohma. or town hall. Dr. Talmage often refer red with kindling eye to this Russian welcome, and ha spoke many a kindly word for the young czar. In later years, with voice and pen. he greatly helped the cause of Armenian, Cuban and Porto Rican relief. In the great In dia famine and a few years ago In Chi nese relief. Altogether, with his splen did talent for reaching the popular heart. $2,000,000 was raised in these various worldwide charities. He was a member and active worker in a num ber of charitable organizations, but in these, as in all others of the same char- EEV. DE. acter. he Invariably kept in the back- j ground. He Is one of the Incorporators : of the Bowery mission of New York, j tne pioneer or American rescue mis sions. HIS WORK IN WASHINGTON. In 1S05 Dr. Talmage accepud for a time a pastoral call from the First Presbyterian church In Washington, which is known as "the church of the presidents," many incumbents of the White House having, worshiped there In former years. Among his parishion ers were President Cleveland, many cabinet members and other high offi cials. He was the most popular minis ter at the national capital, and his church was crowded to the doors. But urgent calls from other quarters were multiplying, and he finally decided, though not without reluctance, to give up local pastoral work and devote him self exclusively to answering these de mands. He retired from active connec tion with the Washington church in 11)00 and thereafter gave himself up wholly to editorial work and preaching and lecturing. The passing years served to increase his fame, and the announcement of his preaching was always sufficient to at tract a vast audience. His personal mail was probably the largest of any man In America outside of public office. There' were thousands who wrote to him. asking advice in spiritual things and laying their hearts bare to one whom they regarded as bearing a di vine mission and "speaking with au thority." Dr. Talmage's noma at 1400 Massa chusetts avenue. Washington, was a handsome four story building, modern In style. Here in the center of national influence and culture the great preach er dispensed bis hospitality to guests who visited bim from all parts of the world. His study waa an ideal snug gery, lined with well filled bookshelves tnd big, inviting, leather covered chairs and settees. Books and periodicals were everywhere. Near by was a famous col- 1 lection of relics from eastern lands trophies of many .tsurceys rcsJrs from iCiazL pebbJrs from the brook Elas (whence David tck tbe stones vrlth which Le slew Goliattii. relics from the Acropcils, frcxa the Parthenon, from Mars bin (where Paul preached to the Athenian), from Sicnl. Jerusalem. Oli vet and even Calvary. GREAT SERMONS AT SEVENTY. Few men la literary Kf e retained their intellectual rigor so long. Even those who knew hia best could detect no diminution in the .force of his elo quence and no dimming o tbe luster of his splendid periods though he had turned seventy. Ills last sermons were every whit as brilliant as those he com posed when in bis prime. His eye was as clear, his voice as flexible and reso- nant and his step as elastic as though I he were not Hearing that border land , "W II ere rmrrtpns are laid down," lliose . last few golden years were in some re spects the happiest of his life. Though they were busy years, they still left him some leisure. In the summer, which he usually passed at bis beauti ful country home at Easthampton. N. Y.. be did an Immense amount of liter ary work. He was a most agreeable host and could recall with photograph ic fidelity scenes and events long pass ed, delighting his guests with such reminiscences. He was the personal friend of many leading Americans of the preceding half century, and his rec ollections of presidents, statesmen, au tbors and other eminent people were full of interest. Few men possessed the ability to tell a story so entertain ingly. He had the keenest sense of hu mor and frequently set his audience in a roar by bis droll wit and Comic mim icry. But it was always good humored, and his wit. like a buttoned foil, had a point that hurt nobody. A master of invective,, be was kindly at heart and never quarrelsome. Once when he was asked why be allowed attacks upon him to pass unheeded he answered with a characteristic story: THE FATE OF THE FLY. "When I was preaching my first ser mon, on a hot summer Sunday. I had just given out the text and had hardly opened my mouth for the first sen tence of my discourse when In popped T. BE WITI TALLAGE AT HIS n flv I mnlrt htir him hnrm5nr nrniinH in my mouth and buzzing like sessed. A cold sweat broke all pos- out all over me. I felt him back iu my threat. I glared at the audience. They were looking at me expectantly. I felt that the crisis of my life had arrived and that I must act at once. Through my hot brain flashed the thought. 'Shall 1 gag and spit out the intruder and make a spectacle of myself before these peo ple who are waiting for the sermon and thus very likely spoil the effect of it and ruin my reputation at the out set of my career or shall I take the fel low down and wrest victory from the enemy'' My mind was made up ou the Instant. I gulped. Down went Mr. Fly. to be converted into flesh and bone and muscle, and 1 plunged into my sermon and went through it with such zest and earnestness that the rows of people who met me at the door to shake hands declared it was the best sermou they had ever listened to. And I've been swallowing flies ever since.' be added, with a droll twinkle of the eye. "Whenever one attacks in the paper or elsewhere. I simply say to my self: 'Here's another fly. I'll take him down.' And down be goes. I find it the best way to avoid quarrels and to over come trifling obstacles wb'th would only be magnified by opposition." "INSPIRED FROM LID iG LID." Dr. Talmage's doctrine was cf the old fashioned orthodox type, but it fell with new attractions from bis eloquent Hps. He believed In a Bible "inspired from lid to lid." and many times during his career be came to the front as a de fender of the Integrity of the book of books. He repudiated the "higher criti cism" as a menace to the old religion and denounced as Impious the doubts concerning miracles and inspiration. His famous attack on Ingersoll created something of a sensation twenty years ago. He scored the brilliant agnostic In a series of sermons fall of vigorous philippics. - Often be chose as a target for bis oratorical batteries the foibles and besetting sins of society, and he never spared bis ammunition, Be poor- td out broadside n'YTall street J falcons, gamblers, low politicians and j ail who cane within the range of hia criticism. Hia forceful denunciation of , popular vices was equaled only by his nbility to move bis audience to tears of sympathy when be chose to appeal to t the emotions. No preacher in a century ; could describe In such moving lan-. guage the charms of home, the moth- i ers love for a wayward child, the de- lights of rural life cr the simple faith of the believer In Christ and heaven lie was unquestionably within a cer tain wide range the most vivid and pic turesque speaker the American pulpit bas eTCr known, and bis sermons and writings alike were Turneresque In lit-1 co,or and expression. His religion was the old satisfying "corn and wine j v h1' " - predated. He was always In his best vein when facing a miscellaneous as semblage in the great cities. He bas frequently spoken before 10.000 per sons, and bis great audiences at the Academy of Music New York: In the f Chicago Auditorium and in London, ! Liverpool and Glasgow have rarely ! been equaled In point of numbers. He delighted, too. In an audience of farm- j era. sut-n gatherings never lauca 10 comprehend hl3 homely doctrines. lie used to 6ay that he had long since "lived down" the frills and nonessen tials of religion. "At twenty." he would explain. "I believed several hundred things; at fifty I believed about a score, but now, with clearer vision, as I grow okler and come nearer the close of the Journey. I hold only to three things as vital that God our Father loves us far better than we know, that Jesus Christ, his Son. Is our Redeemer and Saviour and that I cm a sinner, enriched by his grace, though all unworthy." FOND OF RELIGIOUS LITERATURE. All his life he was Inordinately fond of religious literature. Even In child i hood he would read Scott's Commenta ' ries. a bulky volume, when he was too small to sit upon a chair and had to use a stool Instead. If he could have mastered even a single foreign lan guage, he would probably have become a missionary like his brothers, but be DESK, ! h.d no knack of acquiring strange j to:;:rjs so ne 6uck to the plain ' K'o Suxon and to such purpose that An that his sturdy utterances have been translated into ueariy a score of foreign lan guages. When he visited Athens in 1S!. he was presented to Queen Olga. who told him that she "had the pleas ure of reading bis sermons In her na tive Greek In her own capital In the columns of a weekly publication." Through such means he doubtless reached much vaster audiences In for eign lands than any missionary could ever hope to reach. When he was mak ing his round the world trip, he found his sermons read In so many places that he afterward used to say jocular ly. "I felt on that trip as though I was making a round of pastoral calls." Speaking of the secret of bis own powers. Dr. Talmage once said: "I take the subjects that are Interesting people all around me every day aud particularly at the momenL I jot down my notes In a little book and always try to get down the precise point I wish to make. Then I take all availa ble sources of information on that point acd sift them thoroughly, avoid ing beaten tracks. 1 suppose I have preached more sermons than any one living on texts that are overlooked by other preachers. I revise my work and boil it down, making It as pungent and epigrammatic as possible, and then dic tate it to get the oratorical effect I've found my subjects in odd. out of the way places, la a locomotive train, on a hotel piazza, la a patent office report, in a rainstorm. I never had more than three lessons In elocution, but I recall an early experience that helped me. When a young man. I belonged to a de bating club. It was a rule of the club to devote one evening a month to ex temporaneous addresses on a topic not to be announced, even to the speaker, until the moment of delivery. None of os knew what we might have to talk about, bot we were expected to get op and say something anyway without hesitating about IL One night It came my turn, and when the president aa- aounced, lit. Talmage win now cfr 3ress cs oa the influence of the moot; upon vegetation,' I felt as though I bad been struck with a baseball bat But I rose, pulled cp ny collar and made a speech, I don't remembes rtrhnt I said, but It was as full of serf ous. fine spun resounding phrases as though I bad been a scientific professos fresh from the study of the subject; and It passed muster. After that exj perience." he added, laughing. "I fell onite equal to speaking offhand or anything." TALMAGISMS." As an editorial writer Dr. Talmage was versatile and prolific, and hia. weekly contributions on an Immense variety of topics would fill many vol-i umcs. nis writing was as entertaining and pungent as bis reaching and! full of brilliant eccentricities -Tall marisms." as they were called. IleJ coined new words and Invented new phrases. If the topic was to bis liking,! the pen raced to keep time with thd thought It was the same with his ser-; mons. Once conceived In the bus brain, the committing to paper wasj swift and exciting. Still, with all this haste, nothing could exceed the scroj pulous care be took with bis Cnlshea manuscript He once wired from Cin cinnati to his publisher in New Ycrli Instructions to change a comma In bla current sermon to a semicolon. Jle badj detected the error while reading proof on the train. His phenomenal memory was never: at a loss. He had spoken or written ori thousands of topics, and be remember ed almost everything be had ev preached. In preparing bis twent, volume series of sermons be used onl 500. or less than half the total numbe he had preached. In addition to at least a thousand sermons of 4.C0a words each, each sermon diffcrcntj from the other, this vast pulpit reperj tory aggregating probably 4.000.00$ words, he was the author of a numbe of lectures, the most popular bel "The New Life of tbe Nation." "Grutn biers," "Our New Home." "Big BIu ders" and "The Bright Side of Things.' Originality in all things was perhaps' the most pronounced trait of Dr. Tal-j mage's character. In his literary workj be scorned to borrow, though bis own unique phrases and ideas were thej prey of many petty plagiarists. Al4 though his fame will rest chiefly uponi his sermonlc writings, bis treatment o! lighter topics was brilliant and clever But his finest work was not among th shallows. His pen could go deeply int the secrets of the heart and soul, a such was his rare gift that with a sin-: gle sentence he could move a multitude. Some of his volumes written In the early part of his career show rare vH vacity and wit and give a clew to hia wonderful success as an entertaining lecturer In matu-er years. Among the periodicals to which he contributed at various times were the New York Weekly. Hearth and Home, The Inde-i pendent and The Christian at Work. About thirty volumes of bis sermons have been published, twenty volume appearing In a single series In 11XX). His other works besides those already.! mentioned Include "Crumbs Swept Up," "Around the Tea Table," Sparks From My Anvil. "A Thousand Gems." "From Manger to Throne." "Sports That Kill." "The Wedding Ring." "Night Sides of City Life." "Tbe Poetry of Life." "Old' Wells Dug Out" "Abominations of Modern Society" and "Tbe Earth Gir dled." For many years bis revenues from his editorial and other literary work, bis book royalties and bis lee-' tures netted him the princely Income of 20.000 a yenr. these figures by no means representing tbe maximum. PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS. In person Dr. Talmage was aboves the medium height and well propor-j tloned. His bead was of average size.1 with marked evidence of Intellectual power. His eyes were light .and hlai complexion fresh acd Indicative of ro-j bust health. Ills face shone with nrula-i blllty and cheerfulness. His conversa- tion was animated, his manner gentlef and cordial in tbe extreme. Self reU- ance. calmness and Judgment were ap parent and his bearing Indicated dig-? nity and self possession, yet be was no- wise ostentatious or affected, and bis hearty manner and genial flow of con versation placed even a stranger onj, agreeable terms with bim at once. He was a most fascinating conversational- 1st Ills language was marked by nob!. senumenr. poetry ana numor. ami lie talked with a fine originality, never I-! Ing afraid to show bis feelings. Whea In tbe glee and enthusiasm of the n;o- ment at a church festival he exclaiui.1 that he felt "like a morning star." it' was not that bis taste induced bim to' take h!s illustration from negro min strelsy: but acting on the impulse of the moment he seized upon a popular saying to express h'ji own feelings Men of stiff propriety aud starched ctg ;" nity would uot have done such a thin,;. With him It was the Impulsive expres slon of a free, cheerful heart bubbling over with the love of burner and the "milk of human kindness. Whether it was due to eccentricity or to an uncsa al store of rich, exuberant animal spir its, he was certainly more real and true to genuine auman nature In social life than most of bis ministerial con temporaries. Dr. Talmage was three times mar ried. His first wife was Miss Mary Avery of Brooklyn. A son, Thomas (wbo died In his nineteenth yeari, and a daughter. Jessie, were tbe fruits of this union. A great sorrow shadowed his life when Mrs. Talmage was acci dentally drowned In the ScboyikUl riv er near Philadelphia in 18C2. His scc-i ond marriage was with Miss Suslei Whittemore, and five children were born'to theo, the eldest Frank, beingi now, a Presbyterian minister la Cbica-I go- Again bereaved by death of his matrimonial companion, be married, int 1803, Sirs. Collier of Allegheny, wbol tUTTiTej hia.