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PHILLIPS BROOKS (1835-1893) )
BOSTON'S EMINENT BISHOP-ORATOR
N a high rank among America's eminent ecclesiastical orators
must be placed Phillips Brooks, who for ten years was one of
Philadelphia's favorite speakers, and for nearly a quarter of a century preached the Gospel to highly appreciative audiences in Boston. For the last two years of his life he was the Episcopal Bishop of Massachusetts. Brooks had not the wide-spread popularity of Beecher. He lacked the strongly emotional spirit, the raciness, and verbal originality to which the latter owed much of his effect on the public, yet he was one of the most admired pulpit orators of the country during the greater part of his career. He was more polished in style than Beecher, his language of striking simplicity yet always artistic in treatment; a man of restrained force yet of earnest sentiment and elevated thought.
" THE EVIL THAT MEN DO LIVES AFTER THEM” [Phillips Brooks did not win fame as a great secular orator, as Beecher did. His eminence was won in the pulpit, and confined to the pulpit. We give an example of his pulpit oratory in which is shown at once his simplicity of style, and the cumulative power by which he made his thoughts effective, and held his audiences in rapt attention.]
Tell me you have a sin that you mean to commit this evening that is going to make this night black. What can keep you from committing that sin? Suppose you look into its consequences. Suppose the qwise man tells you what will be the physical consequences of that sin. You shudder and you shrink, and perhaps you are partially deterred. Suppose you see the glory that might come to you, physical, temporal, spiritual, if you do not commit that sin. The opposite of it shows itself to you—the blessing and the richness in your life. Again there comes a
DWIGHT L. MOODY (1837-1899)
THE ELOQUENT EVANGELIST
OR many years Dwight L. Moody was immensely popular as an
evangelist, preaching to vast crowds both in the United States
and Great Britain. In both countries he had remarkable success, and exerted a powerful influence for good on various classes of the people. The success of his ministratious was very greatly enhanced by the sweet voice and fine native powers of song of Ira D. Sankey, who accompanied him in his wanderings, singing the familiar “Ninety and Nine” and various other hymns, original and striking in music and words.
Mr. Moody was born in Massachusetts, but went to Chicago in 1856, where, while engaged in business, he carried on an active missionary work. He was joined by Mr. Sankey in 1870, and for years afterward he was engaged in evangelical labors. As an orator Mr. Moody depended largely on his power of working on the emotions of an audience, his sermons manifesting little original thought and being by no means examples of classic English.
GOD IS LOVE [From one of Mr. Moody's sermons, with the above title, we select an interesting and very well told anecdote, which will serve as a favorable example of his powers.]
My text is taken from the ist epistle of John, and it is one of those texts the world does not believe. If I could make every one in this building believe this text, I would not preach a sermon. If we all believed it, we would not need a sermon. “God is love." That is one of the texts the devil would like to blot out of the Bible. For six thousand years he has been going up and down the world trying to make men believe that God is not love. Love begets love, and hate begets hate. Let me tell 19
Leaders in the Lecture Field
T is not alone in the legislative hall or the pulpit
that oratory flourishes. It is also to be found in
the field of forensic argument, and the lecture field. In the former of these, while rare displays of eloquence are ot times given, their subject is usually one of local and passing interest, which fact renders them unsuitable for popular reading. In the latter, while the topic is usually of an educational character, this is by no means always the case. The lecturer's purpose may not be to teach, but to convince and reform. Of such character are the many addresses on the subjects of temperance, woman's suffrage, industrial oppression, and numerous other topics in which some wrong is to be righted, some evil to be overcome. At the present day the lecture is a widely-prevailing form of the oration. In the absence of stirring causes for legislative eloquence, even the political speech verges towards this form. In a nation that is entirely peaceful and prosperous, with no vital difference of, opinion between its citizens, the oration will become more and more of the lecture character, its purpose being to instruct, interest or amuse, rather than to cure the political or social evils of the age. In the past many lecturers of fine powers have appeared, and English and American literature contains numerous readable and inspiring examples in this field. We shall here give extracts from some of the more eloquent and famous of these public favorites.
SERGEANT S. PRENTISS (1808-1851)
THE CICERO OF THE SOUTH
MONG the natural orators of America, the men to whom the
gift of fluent speech is part of their very being, there have
been none to surpass Sergeant S. Prentiss, a son of Maine, but for many years a resident of the South. In the words of one of his contemporaries : “His most striking talent was his oratory. We have never known nor read of a man who equalled Prentiss in the faculty of thinking on his legs, or of extemporaneous eloquence. He required no preparation to speak on any subject, and on all he was equally happy. We have heard from him, thrown out in a dinner speech, or at a public meeting, when unexpectedly called on, more brilliant and striking thoughts than many of the most celebrated poets and orators ever elaborated in their closets."
Born at Portland, Maine, an opportunity for, a lucrative tutorship took him from college to Natchez, Mississippi, and it was in this city and in New Orleans that he afterward resided, obtaining in each a very large legal practice. Elected to Congress in 1837, his seat was contested, and he addressed the House in support of his claim in a most admirable burst of oratory. His reputation as an orator had preceded him, and the House was crowded with those who desired to test the quality of his eloquénce. Rarely has Congress heard an abler or more telling address. Webster said, on leaving the hall, "Nobody could equal it.” Ex-President Fillmore remarked : “I can never forget that speech. It was certainly the most brilliant that I ever heard." Prentiss did not remain long in Congress. A parliamentary career was not to his taste. But his brief stay there was one of brilliancy and success, his few speeches winning him public applause and firmly establishing his fame as a statesmanlike orator. He continued, how
WENDELL PHILLIPS (1811-1884)
SLAVERY'S RELENTLESS FOE
OU are looking for a man who is all art and thunder. Lo! a
quiet man glides upon the platform and begins talking in a
simple, easy, conversational way. Presently he makes you smile at some happy turn, then he startles you by a rapier-like thrust, then electrifies you by a grand outburst of feeling. You listen, believe and applaud. And that is Wendell Phillips. That also is oratoryto produce the greatest effect by the simplest means.'
We cannot better present Wendell Phillips in his role as an orator, than by this quotation from one of his admirers. As an uncompromising foe to human slavery, he was one of the group of which Parker and Garrison were other conspicuous members. The assault by a Boston mob, led by gentlemen, on William Lloyd Garrison, in which the latter barely escaped with life, made Phillips an abolitionist. He took his stand publicly in a memorable speech at Faneuil Hall in 1837, which Dr. Channing designated as “morally sublime.” So bitter did Phillips become in his hatred of the slavery system, that he refused to practice law under a Constitution which recognized it, and was ready to welcome a dissolution of the Union as an effectual method of freeing the slaves. He was president of the Anti-Slavery Society till 'its dissolution in 1870, and was also a warm advocate of woman suffrage, prohibition, prison reform, and greenback currency, on all of which he made eloquent speeches.
JOHN BROWN AND LIBERTY [The growing sentiment in the North in favor of the abolition of slavery, rapid as it was, moved too slowly for the impatient spirit of Wendell Phillips, and when John Brown made his nenuorable assault on Harper's Ferry, in a hopelessly futile attempt to promote an insurrection of the slaves, Phillips regarded him as one of the