The reason so many ministers think everything is going to ruin is because their circulation is lethargic, or their lungs are in need of inflection by outdoor exercise. I have often wished since that this splendid idea among the ministers in Philadelphia could have been emulated elsewhere. Every big city should have its ministerial ball club. We want this glorious game rescued from the roughs and put into the hands of those who will employ it in recuperation.
My life in Philadelphia was so busy that I must have had very little time for keeping any record or note-books. Most of my warmest and life-long friendships were made in Philadelphia, however, and in the retrospect of the years since I left there I have sometimes wondered how I ever found courage to say good-bye.
I was amazed and gratified one day at receiving a call from four of the most prominent churches at that time in America: Calvary Church of Chicago, the Union Church of Boston, the First Presbyterian Church of San Francisco, and the Central Church of Brooklyn. These invitations all came simultaneously in February, 1869. The committees from these various churches called upon me at my house in Philadelphia. It was a period of anxious uncertainty with me. One morning, I remember, a committee from Chicago was in one room, a committee from Brooklyn in another room of my house, and a committee from my Philadelphia church in another room. My wife [B] passed from room to room entertaining them to keep the three committees from meeting. It would have been unpleasant for them to meet.
[B] In 1863, Dr. Talmage married
his second wife, Miss
Susan C. Whittemore, of Greenport, N.Y. They had five
children: May, Edith, Frank, Maud, and Daisy.
At this point my Syracuse remembrance of perplexity returned, and I resolved to stay in Philadelphia unless God made it very plain that I was to go and where I was to go. An engagement to speak that night in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, took me to the depot. I got on the train, my mind full of the arguments of the three committees, and all a bewilderment. I stretched myself out upon the seats for a sound sleep, saying, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do? Make it plain to me when I wake up.” When I awoke I was entering Harrisburg, and as plainly as though the voice had been audible God said to me, “Go to Brooklyn.” I went, and never have doubted that I did right to go. It is always best to stay where you are until God gives you marching orders, and then move on.
I succeeded the Rev. J.E. Rockwell in the Brooklyn Church, who resigned only a month or so before I accepted the call. Mr. Charles Cravat Converse, LL.D., an elder of the Church, presented the call to me, being appointed to do so by the Board of Trustees and the Session, after I had been unanimously elected by the congregation at a special meeting for that purpose held on February 16, 1869. The salary fixed was $7,000, payable monthly.