Ladies and Gentlemen, I Present to you… The Bible

by Thomas De Witt Talmage (1832 – 1902)

I will undertake to say that every great book, that has been published since the first printing press was lifted, has directly or indirectly derived much of its power from the sacred oracles. -TALMAGE.


“Thy word is truth,'” John 17:17.  “The word of our God shall stand forever” Isaiah 40:8.
“Within this ample volume lies
The mystery of mysteries.
Happiest they of human race,
To whom their God has given Grace
To read, to fear, to hope, to pray,
To lift the latch, to force the way;
And better had they ne’er been born.
That read to doubt, or read to scorn.”

                                                                                   -“SIR WALTER SCOTT.


lady_macbeth_by_ayamesakura61-d3a62e0I know that young doctors, young lawyers, young accountants, young mechanics, young merchants, have but little time for general reading. If so, then spend more of that time at the fountain of divine truth from which nearly all the books have been dipped that are worth anything. I will undertake to say that every great book, that has been published since the first printing press was lifted, has directly or indirectly derived much of its power from the sacred oracles.

Goethe, the admired of all skeptics, had the wall of his home at Weimar covered with religious maps and pictures. Milton’s “Paradise Lost” is part of the Bible in blank verse. Tasso’s “Jerusalem Delivered” is borrowed from the Bible. Spencer’s writings are imitations of the parables. John Bunyan saw in a dream only what John had seen before in apocalyptic vision. Macaulay crowns his most gigantic sentences with Scripture quotations.

Through Addison’s “Spectator” there glances in and out the stream that broke from beneath the throne of God, clear as crystal. Walter Scott’s characters are Bible men and women under different names: Meg Merrihes, the witch of Endor.  Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth was Jezebel. Hobbes stole from this “Castle of Truth” the weapons with which he afterward assaulted it. Lord Byron caught the ruggedness and majesty of his style from the prophecies. The writings of Pope are saturated with Isaiah, and he finds his most successful theme in the Messiah. The poets Thompson and Johnson, dipped their pens in the style of the inspired Orientals. Thomas Carlyle is only a splendid distortion of Ezekiel; and wandering through the lanes and parks of this imperial domain of Bible truth, I find all the great American, English, German, Spanish, Italian poets, painters, orators, and rhetoricians

Now if this be so, and the young man has but little time to read, why not go to the great fountain of all truth and inspiration, from which these other books dip their life.” 




Meet the Author and part of your Christian heritage: Dr. Thomas De Witt Talmage (7 January 1832 – 12 April 1902) was a preacherclergyman and divine in the United States who held pastorates in the Reformed Church in America and Presbyterian Church. He was one of the most prominent religious leaders in the United States during the mid- to late-19th century, equaled as a pulpit orator perhaps only by Henry Ward Beecher. He also preached to crowds in England. During the 1860s and 70s, Talmage was a well-known reformer in New York City and was often involved in crusades against vice and crime.

During the last years of his life, Dr. Talmage ceased preaching and devoted himself to editing, writing, and lecturing. At different periods he was editor of the Christian at Work(1873–76), New York; the Advance (1877–79), Chicago; Frank Leslie’s Sunday Magazine (1879–89), New York; and the Christian Herald (1890–1902), New York. For years his sermons were published regularly in more than 3,000 journals, through which he was said to reach 25,000,000 readers.

“One Sunday morning when the time came for him to deliver his sermon, he walked to the extreme edge on one side of his fifty-foot platform, faced about, then suddenly started as fast as he could jump for the opposite side. Just as everybody in the congregation, breathless, expected to see him pitch headlong from the further side of the platform he leaped suddenly in the air and came down with a crash, shouting, “Young man, you are rushing towards a precipice”. And then he delivered a moving sermon upon the temptations and sins of youth in a big city.”