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development and perfection of all the human powers; elevating man from selfish individuality to a state of disinterested brotherhood with his kind, from the thraldom of low instincts and brutalizing passions, to a companionship with God-this is the province and end of the pulpit. It is to regenerate men, the masses, all men; to sanctify, to ennoble, to make them godlike.

Secondly. The means by which this work of difficulty may be accomplished, is truth eloquently enforced, or Christian eloquence. Neither the sword, nor governments, nor commercial intercourse, nor intrigue, nor the hope of wealth, nor even education, in the common sense of that terni, can deliver man from the canker of evil which corrodes him, and elevate his spirit to the high rank for which it was originally created. Martial glory, dazzling virtues grounded in selfishness, splendid productions in literature and art often coëxist with imbruting sensuality among the refined, and with a deep and universal corruption of the masses. This remark is preëminently true of the cultivated nations of antiquity. A few tall trees present the appearance of a verdant forest in the distance; but when you approach, the undergrowth is dark mass of mildew and rottenness, and the verdure which you admired is that of the deadly Upas, breathing destruction

upon all who seek repose beneath its shades. The principles of Christianity, and nothing less, urged in their simplicity, and in their power, can rebuild down-fallen humanity, and make it, according to its original design, the temple of an indwelling God.

It is not however of the principles of Christianity, but of the manner of enforcing them that we would now speak.

We have said that the divinely-appointed means for the accomplishment of the proposed end is preaching, or Christian eloquence. But what is eloquence? How are we to define it? By what marks shall we recognize its presence? On what does its power depend?

A good definition was given by the prince of Roman orators, more than eighteen hundred years ago : Is enim est eloquens qui et humilia subtiliter, et magna graviter, et mediocria temperate potest dicere, (Orator 29.) He is the eloquent man who is able to speak upon small subjects wisely, upon great subjects sublimely, upon those of an intermediate character moderately; and, we may add, upon all subjects properly; and therefore, especially on those of great importance, earnestly. And what is this when applied to the orator, who is always supposed to have an object to gain, but the art of persuasion by discourse.


The leading quality of Eloquence.


According to this definition, eloquence is not always passion, por always ratiocination; nor always, though often, a combination of both. It does not consist in words; for words, though its usual medium, when too numerous or not well chosen, encumber and sometimes destroy it. It is not poetry; for poetry is designed to please, to elevate the sentiments, to influence the imagination, but not often to control the will. It is not taste; for the refinements of literature sometimes distract attention and diminish emotion. Least of all is it vociferation; for one may have the lungs of a Stentor and bellow like a bull, and produce no more effect upon us than the unmeaning wind. Nor is it gesticulation; for bodily exercise, without a forth-going soul, profiteth little. Rudeness, vulgarity, bombast, rant, are always, among the cultivated, antagonists of it. Nor dues pedantry, nor extravagance, nor a lavish display of genius, nor anything but wisdom and sincerity produce conviction. Logic, passion, poetry, taste, intonation, gesture, learning and genius are all the tributaries of eloquence, but they are not it. Eloquence is an outward manifestation of a sincere, earnest soul, of a soul deeply interested in some sub. ject and intent upon some ends, of a soul full of truths and emo. tions, guided by the understanding to the accomplishment of its purposes. The words by which it is conveyed, Mr. Coleridge has called living words. “ The wheels of the intellect,” he says, "I admit them to be ; but such as Ezekiel beheld in the visions of God as he sat among the captives by the river of Chebar. Whithersoever the spirit was to go, the wheels went, and thither was their spirit to go, for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.”

The leading quality of eloquence, and that which expresses its combined elements in one word is force. We say force, rather than earnestness, for while we cannot be forceful without earbestness, we may, through lack of wisdom, be earnest without force.

Let us illustrate this quality by examples both secular and sacred, and then show some of the principles on which it depends.

Begin with Honier. The Iliad, though an epic poem, is every where alive with oratory. Its speeches are of course the creations of the poet, yet they are unquestionably conceived in the spirit of ancient eloquence, and become realities to the vivid im. agination of the blind old bard. They are clear, rapid, concentrated, wisely directed, irresistible utterances. They burst out like lava from a volcanic mountain, pouring down in rivers of fire. They always have an end, a meaning, an object, and never forget that“ a strait line is the shortest distance between two points."

Demosthenes was the very personification of force. In the oration for the crown, which Bossuet has somewhere pronounced the greatest work of the human mind, and of which Ciceroafter describing his ideal of eloquence to be what no human genius ever did or can attain, after denying that Crassus or Cotta or Hortensius were in this high sense eloquent, or even that Demosthenes himself, qui unus eminet, inter omnes in omni genere dicendi, (Orator 29,) could satisfy his ears, ever desiring an infinite unreachable excellence-says, “ that in this oration for Ctesiphon, where the orator speaks of his own deeds, councils and merits in respect to the republic, the ideal is filled, so that no higher eloquence can be required;" in this oration for the crown, we say, force is the predominating quality. In this master-piece of oratory, genius and judgment, logic and passion, vehemence and self-control, combine like so many chemical elements, to produce that intense livid heat, by which rock is melted and iron is consumed.

The circumstances were indeed unusual, and without the concurrence of which Demosthenes, though still perhaps without a superior, would never have been the Demosthenes to whom eloquence herself does obeisance as her prince. The orator, goaded by his deadly assailants—his honor, prosperity, life, everything he had toiled for and valued at stake-was excited 10 the highest degree. As though he had been raised up, as an illustration of eloquence for all ages, his great powers were stimulated and concentrated to the production of a speech, which for two thousand years has been considered a perfect model of its kind. It is force personified.

The same quality distinguished Cicero, though in an unequal degree. Cicero was the superior of Demosthenes in general learning, in philosophy, and as a great writer on numerous topics, and not inferior to him in statesmanship, nor in some departments of oratory. Yet the strength, the majesty, the vis animi, the concentrated energy of the former was rarely paralleled by the latter. Cicero was like the Amazon, great in all its windings, and on the whole the broadest, largest, mightiest river in the world. But Demosthenes was one whole Niagara whose awful thundering flood nothing could resist. At the same time Cicero excelled most if not all other orators in those very attributes which made Demosthenes super-eminent. At the close of his 1847.]

The Eloquence of Fox, Pitt and Burke.


great orations, he gathers his arguments and thoughts into one mass which by ardor of emotion, he kindles into a devouring fame. It was this intenseness of feeling, especially in the peroration, to which he attributes principally his success. No secular orator ever surpassed him in pathetic conclusions. After hin Hortensius pleading for a friend, feared to respond. Catiline, ac. cused by him in the senate was struck dumb. On another occasion Curio, attempting to answer him, suddenly sat down, saying that his memory had been taken from him by poison. Most of his cases in the forum were obtained, according to his own account of the matter, by a kind of rhetorical passion, preceded however by clear and conclusive argument.

He secured them, he says, not so much by his genius as by his feelings-by grief in his defences, by indignation in his accusations. Intense, though wisely directed, emotion, magna vis animi, a great power of passion imflamed him, so that sometimes he could scarcely contain himself. The outpourings of his full heart were overwhelming.

Let os select a few of the chiefs of oratory from another age and portion of the world. There are perhaps no brighter names in the department of secular eloquence than those which shone in the British senate during our own revolution. With other qualities of successful oratory, it was force which made them peculiarly eminent. Take first Mr. Fox,-a man of singular wisdom, integrity, and common sense, a business man, a matter-offact man, his whole soul went out after his clear positions and historical demonstrations and pressed them irresistibly into the hearer's heart." It was,” says Mr. Hazlitt,“ to the confidence inspired by the earnestness and simplicity of his manner, that Fox was indebted for more than half the effect of his speeches. Some others, (as Lord Lansdown for instance,) might possess nearly as much information, as exact a knowledge of the situation and interests of the country, but they wanted that zeal, that ani. mation, that enthusiasm, that deep sense of the importance of the subject, which removes all doubt or suspicion from the minds of the hearers, and commends its own warmth to every breast.”

Some give the palm of British oratory to the Earl of Chatham. What was the secret of his power? It was not learning, it was not imagination, it was not cunning. It was authority, it was vehemence, it was an indomitable energy of purpose to carry his points. With a firm conviction of the proper ends to be obtained, he exercised a sort of magnetic power of determination to obtain them. Vol. IV. No. 14.


Burke was in some respects a greater man than Chatham or Fox. Perhaps he had at his command more of the material of oratory, than any other English statesman. But there was a want of that directness, that concentration of thought, that fire, which is essential to the highest effect. He was too loquacious, sometimes too abstract and prosy. There is some justice, in the satire of Goldsmith, in the Retaliation :

“ Here lies our good Edmund whose genius was such
We scarcely can praise it, or blame it too much;
Who too deep for his hearers still went on refining,
And thought of convincing while they thought of dining."

Burke however was not only a statesman, a genius, a scholar, but an orator. He did not always like Chatham concentrate all his vast powers upon one point, and carry it with the irresistible impetus of his attack. But Burke was still among the sons of the mighty. He was a whole cloud of thunder, wind and rain, which passing off with a bow upon it left the earth fresh and beautiful, while Chatham was a single bolt falling straight from Heaven, burning, melting, shattering what it struck. It was simple force which gave the latter superiority.

In our own country, we need but mention Patrick Henry and Fisher Ames, as illustrations of the power which earnest feeling combined with wisdom gives to speech. Nor is the greatest liv. ing orator an exception. With a mind expansive as the globe, fertile as the country whose constitution he defends, solid and massive as the granite of his native state, his wise positions, his clear logic, his compact thought, his burning spirit, manifest in the eye, the cheek, the hand, the whole body, give to his eloquence a power before which enemies quail, and under the influence of which men sometimes hold their breath, or shout with involuntary applause. The leading characteristic of Webster's eloquence is force.

We pass from secular oratory to the pulpit. But here let it be premised that force is not vehemence alone. There is force in the still small voice as well as in the earthquake. That which produces conviction, that which deeply affects the feelings, that which moves to action partakes of this excellence. There is force in mathematical demonstrations. When Archimedes proved that the weight of a solid body in water is diminished in proportion to the weight of the water displaced, and by this means discovered the amount of alloy which an artist had fraudulently used in mak

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