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Talmage The Turgid
by [?]

Of course, in sloshing around over so wide a field, Mr. Talmage gave his hearers his truly valuable opinion of Mohammedanism. He admitted that it is a religion of cleanliness, sobriety and devotion; but the fact that its founder had four wives caused him to sweat in agony. Polygamy, according to Mr. Talmage, “blights everything it touches.” Those who practice it are, he is quite sure, the enemies of womankind. Is it not a trifle strange that from so foul a root should spring such a celestial plant as the Christian religion? that from the loins of a polygamous people should come an immaculate Christ? How can we mention Abraham, Isaac and Jacob without a curse, or think of a God whose teachings they followed, without horror–unless indeed we take issue with the public and vote Mr. Talmage an ass of the longest-eared variety.

Mr. Talmage is quite sure that God was on the side of the allies at the Battle of Waterloo; that he was on the side of the Russians during the French invasion. Mr. Talmage does not take it upon himself to explain, however, how the Deity chanced to be on the other side at Marengo and Austerlitz! No wonder that war is a risky business, if the God of battle changes his allegiance so erratically and without apparent provocation! Mr. Talmage should advise the government to cease expending money for ironclads and coast fortifications. In case of a foreign complication it were “all day with us” if the Autocrat of the Universe were swinging a battle-ax against us; while if we chanced to have him with us, we could send Baby McKee out with the jawbone of a hen, and put the armies of the world to shame!

Mr. Talmage should retire to some secluded spot and make a careful analysis of his sermons before firing them out to the press. They may sound all right in the big tabernacle, where a great volume of noise is the chief desideratum; but they make very poor reading. Like a flapjack, they may tickle the palate when served hot and with plenty of “sop”; but when allowed to grow cold are stale, flat and unprofitable.

Mr. Talmage is troubled with a diarrhoea of words and should take something for it. Perhaps the best possible prescription would be a long rest,–of a couple of centuries or so. How in God’s name the American people ever became afflicted with the idea that he is a great man, is a riddle which might make Oedipus cudgel his wits in vain. He is not even a skillful pretender, shining like the moon, by borrowed light,–for he does not shine at all. His sentences are neither picturesque, dramatic nor wise. His so-called “sermons” are but fragmentary and usually ignorant allusions to things in general. He seldom or never encroaches upon the realms of science and philosophy, although he frequently attempts it, and evidently imagines that he is succeeding admirably, when he is but sloshing around, like a drunken comet that is chiefly tail, in inane limboes.

I can find no other explanation of Mr. Talmage’s distinction than that, like Elliott F. Shepard, he can be more kinds of a fool in a given time than any other man in his profession. That were indeed distinction enough for one man, well calculated to cause the world to stand agaze! Notoriety and fame have, in this age, become synonymous if not exactly the same. The world gauges greatness by the volume of sound which the aspirant for immortal honors succeeds in setting afloat, little caring whether it be such celestial harp-music as caused Thebe’s walls to rise, or the discordant bray of the ram’s horn which made Jericho’s to fall, and Mr. Talmage is emphatically a noise-producer. From the lecherous, but learned and logical Beecher to the gabbling inanity now doing the drum-major act, is a long stride.