He was a very popular American preacher whose printed weekly sermons in various local and national newspapers reached many thousands of people. In the pulpit, his ministry swept over great congregations with power. Crowds flocked to hear him preach, he certainly had a way with words, piling up adjectives, heaping up metaphor on metaphor, using a big brush to paint glowing word pictures in vivid colours. One moment he was so stern, then on a tender moment could touch deep cords of emotion.
His style can be shown by an extract from his sermon, “An Easter Surprise,” John 20 6-7.
“The first lesson that I get from this subject is that truth and righteousness cannot be successfully buried. This is not the first or will it be the last instance in which the world had tried to put truth and righteousness out of sight. But there is no rock so strong; there is no sword so sharp, that it can finally hinder the truth. Look now. It is Joseph in the pit. Look again. It is Joseph in the Court. Look now. It is Daniel in the den. Look again. It is Daniel in the Prime Minister’s chair. Look now. It is the Covenanters crouching in the Highlands. Look now. It is the Free Church of Scotland. Look now. It is the ‘Mayflower’ putting to a stormy harbour. Look again. It is a continent of freemen. Look again. It is twelve Apostles laughed at in Jerusalem. Look again. It is the whole world receiving the Gospel. Look now. It is a crucified body behind a sealed rock. Look again. It is a conquering Jesus, His foot on the fragments of a shattered grave. Let Truth, this daughter of God, be sealed; kindle around her the fires of Smithfield, or let her head fall under the axe or the guillotine, or let her body be mutilated, than put her out of sight, bolt her into a grave with all the bolts of the prison houses of earth, then roll against the door of the sepulchre all the boulders of the sea and all the granite of the cliffs; and some morning early the earth will shake and the door will swing open, and from the dust this daughter of God will arise, go forth amid the wreck and ruin of the sepulchre to strike the cymbals of her triumph.
“Truth crushed to earth will rise again,
The eternal years of God are hers.”
Dr. Talmage had the ear of multitudes who were not in the least anxious about Higher Criticism or Modernism he preached to help lift them above the darkness and drabness of sin and unbelief with the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.