The Rev. T. De Witt Talmage,
David and Catherine Talmage—parents of Dr. T. De Witt Talmage
Dr. Talmage in his first church, Belleville, new Jersey
Dr. Talmage as chaplain of the thirteenth regiment of new York
the third Brooklyn tabernacle
the first Presbyterian church, Washington, D.C.
Dr. And Mrs. T. De Witt Talmage
facsimile of president Abraham Lincoln’s letter
I write this story of my life, first of all for my children. How much would I now give for a full account of my father’s life written by his own hand! That which merely goes from lip to ear is apt to be soon forgotten. The generations move on so rapidly that events become confused. I said to my son, “Do you remember that time in Philadelphia, during the war, when I received a telegram saying several hundred wounded soldiers would arrive next day, and we suddenly extemporised a hospital and all turned in to the help of the suffering soldiers?” My son’s reply was, “My memory of that occurrence is not very distinct, as it took place six years before I was born.” The fact is that we think our children know many things concerning which they know nothing at all.
But, outside my own family, I am sure that there are many who would like to read about what I have been doing, thinking, enjoying, and hoping all these years; for through the publication of my entire Sermons, as has again and again been demonstrated, I have been brought into contact with the minds of more people, and for a longer time, than most men. This I mean not in boast, but as a reason for thinking that this autobiography may have some attention outside of my own circle, and I mention it also in gratitude to God, Who has for so long a time given me this unlimited and almost miraculous opportunity.
Each life is different from every other life. God never repeats Himself, and He never intended two men to be alike, or two women to be alike, or two children to be alike. This infinite variety of character and experience makes the story of any life interesting, if that story be clearly and accurately told.
I am now in the full play of my faculties, and without any apprehension of early departure, not having had any portents, nor seen the moon over my left shoulder, nor had a salt-cellar upset, nor seen a bat fly into the window, nor heard a cricket chirp from the hearth, nor been one of thirteen persons at a table. But my common sense, and the family record, and the almanac tell me it must be “towards evening.”