Written by Thomas De Witt Talmage.
I WAS IN A FAR DISTANT LAND
…not Persia, although more than Oriental luxuriance crowned the cities; nor the tropics” although more than tropical fruitfulness filled the gardens; nor Italy” although more than Italian softness filled the air.
And I wandered around looking for thorns and nettles, but I found none of them grew there. And I walked forth, and I saw the sun rise, and I said: “When will it set again?” And the sun sank not. And I saw all the people in holiday apparel, and I said: “When will they put on workingman’s garb again and delve in the mine and swelter at the forge?” But neither the garments nor the robes did they put off. And I wandered in the suburbs, and I said: “Where do they bury the dead of this great city?” And I looked along by the hills where it would be most beautiful for the dead to sleep, and I saw castles and towns and battlements, but not a mausoleum, nor monument, nor white slab could I see. And I went into the great chapel of the town, and I said: “Where do the poor worship; where are the benches on which they sit?” “And a voice answered: “We have no poor in this great city.” And I wandered out, seeking to find the place where were the hovels of the destitute, and I found mansions of amber and ivory and gold, but no tear did I see or sigh hear.
I was bewildered, and I sat under the shadow of a great tree, and I said, “Where am I, and whence comes all this?” And at that moment there came from among the leaves, skipping up the flowery paths and across the sparkling waters a very bright and sparkling group; and when I saw their step I knew it, and when I heard their voices I thought I knew them; but their apparel was so different from anything I had ever seen, I bowed, a stranger to strangers. But after awhile, when they clapped their hands and shouted, “Welcome! welcome!” the mystery was solved, and I saw that time had passed and that eternity had come, and that God had gathered us up into a higher home; and I said: “Are we all here;”‘ and the voices of innumerable generations answered: “All here;” and while tears of gladness were raining down our cheeks and the branches of the Lebanon cedars were clapping their hands, and the towers of the great city were chiming their welcome, we began to laugh and sing and leap and shout,
“Home! Home! Home!”
Meet the Author and part of your Christian heritage: Dr. Thomas De Witt Talmage (7 January 1832 – 12 April 1902) was a preacher, clergyman 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.”