But Teacher Talmage could not bear to be separated from the Church in China. Surely this was imitating the heart of Christ. Surely this was loving the people of China to the utmost.
REV. JOHN VAN NEST TALMAGE, D.D.
BY REV. S. L. BALDWIN, D.D.,
[Recording Secretary of the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church.]
My memory of Dr. Talmage dates back to the year 1846. I was then but eleven years old, but I remember distinctly the earnestness of his manner, as he preached early in that year in the Second Reformed Church of Somerville, New Jersey. His missionary zeal was of the most intense character.
I was present at the Missionary Convention, at Millstone, New Jersey, August 26, 1846, and saw him ordained. The Rev. Gabriel Ludlow preached from 2 Timothy ii. I, and the charge to the candidate was given by the Rev. Elihu Doty, of Amoy. Mr. Doty, at a children’s meeting in the afternoon, asked us whether we would come to help in the missionary work, and asked us to write down the question and think and pray about it, and when we had made up our minds to write an answer underneath the question. I did “think and pray about it,” and some weeks afterward, under a sense of duty, wrote “Yes” under it. From that time on, it was not a strange thought to me, to go to China as a missionary; and when the call came in 1858, I was ready. In 1860, on my first visit to Amoy, I renewed old acquaintanceship, and during my twenty-two years in China was several times a guest in Dr. Talmage’s family.
He was in the very front rank of missionaries. For ability, for fidelity, for usefulness, he had few equals. As a preacher, he was clear, forceful, fearless. As a translator, his work was marked by carefulness and accuracy. In social life, old-fashioned hospitality made every one feel at home, and one would have to travel far to find a more animated and interesting conversationalist. He held his convictions with great tenacity, and was a powerful debater, but always courteous to his opponents.
Many missionaries fell by his side, or were obliged to leave the field; and in the providence of God he remained until he was the oldest of all the American missionaries in China. His was a most pure and honorable record, and his death was universally lamented. From little beginnings, he was privileged to see one of the most flourishing of the native communions of China arise and attain large numbers and great influence among the Christian churches of the empire.
Such a history and such a record are to be coveted. May the Head of the Church raise up many worthy successors to this true and noble man!
THE REV. J. V. N. TALMAGE, D.D..
BY REV. TALBOT W. CHAMBERS, D.D., LL.D.,
[Pastor of the Collegiate Reformed Church, New York City.]