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POWER AND PERSONALITY IN SPEAKING
The public speaker and the preacher have much in comThe difference lies mainly in their message. Both are concerned with the problem of convincing and persuading men. To achieve this result there must be brought to bear the highest possible training in thought and expression.
In the best sense, a public speaker should be a man of sterling character, of lofty purpose, of trained ability, and, like the preacher, he should be prepared, if need be, to offer himself a living sacrifice in the cause of truth. "Let no man who is a sneak try to be an orator," said Beecher, and he might have added, Let no man aspire to distinction in public speaking, whether in pulpit, on platform, or elsewhere, unless he be willing to spend his days and nights in developing all the resources of his mind, voice, and body.
The lawyer can learn much from the sincerity, sympathy, and persuasiveness of the preacher; the preacher in turn may take a valuable lesson from the concise, direct, and convincing style of the lawyer; while the average public speaker may learn from both the value of truth and earnestness as effective elements in speech.
Assuming that the preacher, thoroughly trained in voice and manner, having the highest truth to proclaim, and uttering it from a position of authority, is the ideal public
speaker, may we not here find the fundamental elements of success for those who would speak with truth and effectiveness upon other occasions?
Two essential elements in successful preaching are truth and personality. By truth here is meant God's revelation. The truth of the preacher is the Bible truth. Not exclusively, for the Bible will conduct him beyond the Bible, to the heart, to history, and to the book of nature, but the ultimate authority for him is the Bible as the revealed truth of God. Three things are involved in this matter of truth—receiving, adapting, and giving. The preacher will first find and appropriate the truth to himself. He will adapt it in such a way as to make it available for his practical work as a teacher. He will adopt the best means in his power of giving that truth to others.
No one thing will add so much to a man's power in speaking as the conscious possession of truth. As Cardinal Newman says, "What is so powerful an incentive to preaching as the sure belief that it is the preaching of the truth?" The speaker knows he stands upon a solid rock, and this assurance produces the highest type of self-confidence.
It is the work of the preacher to interpret the truth, not to create it. That he may search out the right kind of truth he should have a clear and definite purpose ever before him. Phillips Brooks says, in speaking of the minister: "He must receive the truth as one who is to teach it. He can not, he must not study as if the truth he sought were purely for his own culture or enrichment. This will bring, first, a deeper and more solemn sense of responsibility in the search for truth; second, a desire to find the human side of every truth, the point at which every speculation touches humanity; and, third, a breadth which
comes from the constant presence in the mind of the fact that truth has various aspects and presents itself in many ways to different people, according to their needs and characters.
It will be seen, then, that no two men will convey their message exactly alike. They will speak out of the fulness of their own hearts and experiences. Each man has a grasp of partial truth, but no man has the whole truth. As Professor James says, the truth is too great for any one actual mind. Each man will give what he has to give.
The importance of truth is nowhere emphasized more than in the Bible. "The truth of the Lord endureth forever."-Psalm cxvii., 2. "Thy law is the truth."-Psalm cxix., 142. "All thy commandments are truth.”—Psalm cxix., 151. "He that walketh uprightly, and worketh Frighteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart." Psalm xv., 2. "All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies." —Psalm xxv., 10. "His truth shall be thy shield and t buckler."-Psalm xci., 4. "The lip of truth shall be established forever."-Proverbs xii., 19. "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John viii., 32. "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the V truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."-John xiv., 6. "Sanctify them through thy truth: athy word is truth.”—John xvii., 17. "For this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice."-John xviii., 37. "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ." Ephesians iv., 15. "For the fruit of the Spirit is in all
'Phillips Brooks, Yale Lectures on Preaching.
goodness and righteousness and truth."-Ephesians v., 9. "Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth and having on the breastplate of righteousness."—Ephe sians vi., 14. "And it is the Spirit that beareth witness because the Spirit is truth."-I John, v., 6.
The knowledge and consciousness of this truth will do much toward making a man eloquent in speech. "There is a calm and earnest trust in God's ordinance," says Austin Phelps, "that truth shall do its work in the salvation of men, which every preacher needs to make him what the world calls a natural orator. Possest of such a trust, all preachers may be natural orators. That trust creates spirit of repose in the use of God's instrument. It makes a preacher feel that he can afford to preach the truth naturally. He need not exaggerate it; he need not distort it; he need not deck it with meretricious ornament; he need not mince it, nor inflate it, nor paint it. He has only to speak it in a spirit of reverence and love, and let it do its work. It will do its work. He may safely repose in it. In the very heat and turmoil of the world's hostility to his message he may wrap himself in the spirit of a child's faith. That shall be to him and to his life's work like the mantle of a prophet. He may know in his inmost soul that his words are the wisdom of God and the power of God."
But truth alone is not sufficient, else we might leave the sermon to the printed page. What is needed is the message and the man, or truth conveyed through personality. Th qualities of a truly great personality are many. Among them are faith, personal piety, unselfishness, magnetism sociability, culture of mind and heart, and devotion to humanity. Paul's personality speaks even from the printed page because of his unquenchable love for men. The