Live Coals: The National Arena

Prophecies From The Past

All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.”

Isaiah 40:17

The following is a sampling from the sermon series Live Coals: Coals for the National Arena, published 1885.

The words from the past resound with Scriptural authority as Dr. Talmage eloquently rebukes the low character of his America. Today’s America is not any different.

Courtesy of

I want you to notice that frequency of divorce always goes along with the dissoluteness of society. Rome for 500 years had not one case of divorce. Those were her days of glory and virtue. Then the reign of vice began, and divorce became epidemic. If you want to know how rapidly the Empire went down, ask Gibbon. (The Fall and Decline of the Roman Empire)

-From Easy Divorce

According to Edward Gibbon (1737-1794), author of The Fall and Decline of the Roman Empire, five signs characterized Rome as she was deteriorating from within:

  1. Mounting love of show and luxury. Affluence.
  2. Widening gap between the very rich and the very poor.
  3. Obsession with sex.
  4. Freakishness in the arts, masquerading as originality.
  5. Increased desire to live off the state.

“Genius is worse than stupidity, if it move in the wrong direction. I do not care for how talented a man is, if he is bad.”

-From Bossism

If, for instance, a man be profane, under provocation he will commit any crime. I say under provocation. For if a man will maltreat the Lord Almighty, would he not maltreat his fellow-man?”

-From Moral Character of Candidates, on the Ten Commandments

“Here is the every man’s Christ. None so high but He was higher. None so poor but He was poorer. Before the cross of such a capitalist, and such a carpenter all men can afford to shake hands, and worship.”

-From Capital and Labor

“The old lion of national strength is covered all over with greenbottle flies, sucking the life-blood from neck and flanks. The old lion may shake itself terrifically, and another set of greenbottle flies, but more hungry, will take their place.”

-On the Press

During the Revolutionary War there was a heavy piece of timber to be lifted, perhaps for some fortress, and a corporal was overseeing the work, and he was giving commands to some soldiers as they lifted: “Heave away there! Yo heave!”

Well, the timber was too heavy; they could not get it up. There was a gentleman riding by on a horse, and he stopped, and said to this corporal, “Why don’t you help them lift? That timber is too heavy for them to lift.”

“No,” he said, “I won’t; I am a corporal.”

The gentleman got off his horse, and came up to the place. “Now,” he said to the soldiers, “all together– yo heave!” and the timber went into its place.

“Now,” said the gentleman to the corporal, “when you have a piece of timber too heavy for the men to lift, and you want help, you send to your commander-in-chief.”

It was George Washington.

-On the Gospel

Evangelize the people. Get the hearts of the people right, and they will vote right. That woman who this afternoon in Sunday-school teaches six boys how to be Christians will do more for the future of the country than the man who writes the finest essay about the Federal Constitution.

I know there are a great many good people who think that God ought to be recognized in the Constitution, and they are making a move in that direction.

I am most anxious that God shall be in the hearts of the people. Get their hearts right first.

And remember, my friends, that we are at last to be judged, not as nations, but as individuals. In that day when empires and republics shall alike go down- we shall have to give account for ourselves, for what we have done and for what we have neglected to do.

-From Rulers, on Personal Responsibility

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