Like Charles Spurgeon in his Lectures to My Students, Thomas De Witt Talmage (1832-1902), dubbed 'The American Spurgeon' by the newspapers, has left us a remarkable resource on the topic of sermon illustrations.
"Points;" or, Suggestive Passages, Incidents, and Illustrations, From the Writings of T. De Witt Talmage, D.D. was published in 1874 and its contents reveal the preacher's remarkable ability to paint a picture with words and give his hearers substance to ponder.
BIBLE ILLUSTRATIONS. -- There is hardly a beast, or bird, or insect, which has not been called to illustrate divine truth. The ox's patience, the ant's industry, the spider's skill, the hind's sure-footedness, the eagle's speed, the dove's gentleness, and even the sparrow's meanness and insignificance.
PEARLS FROM GREAT DEPTHS. -- I have been told that the deeper the water the larger the pearl. I don't know how that is, but I do know that from the greatest depths of sin the Lord Jesus Christ sometimes gathers up His brightest jewels. Paul was a persecutor, Bunyan was a blasphemer, John Newton a libertine, the Earl of Rochester was an infidel; and yet the grace of God went plunging down through the fathoms of their abomination, until it found them and brought them up to the light.
JEWELS OF GOD'S GRACE. -- The geologist tells you that the brightest diamond is only crystallized carbon, or, as I might call it, charcoal glorified; and so it is with souls that were coal black in the defilements of sin - by the power of God's grace they are made God's jewels for ever.
DON'T WORRY. -- Don't worry because God made you different from others. Don't worry because you don't have the faith of that man, or the praying qualities of this, or the singing qualities of another. It were as unwise as for a carnelian to blush deeper because it is not a diamond, or a japonica to fret all the colour out of its cheek because it is not a rose. God intended you to be different.
THE BEAUTY OF GOD'S CARE FOR US. -- More beautiful than any flower I ever saw are the hues of a bird's plumage. Did you ever examine it? The blackbird, floating like a flake of darkness through the sunlight; the meadow-lark, with head of fawn, and throat of velvet, and breast of gold; the red flamingo flying over the Southern swamps, like sparks from the forge of the setting sun; the pelican white and black - morning and night tangled in its wings - give but a very faint idea of the beauty that comes down over the soul when on it drop the feathers of the Almighty.
There are many other "talking points" for ministers to be studied and considered. They may serve as inspiration for more. Rather utilizing a table of contents in the front of the book, look instead for the index of topics at the back of the book. It is a resource that can benefit 21st century pastors as it did their counterparts in the 19th century.