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self, I confess my own judgment preponderates decidedly to the former.
This view of the subject may receive support from the following considerations :--A distinct recognition of the naked fact of the sin and fall of some of the angels, and their irretrievable condition in that state, together with a view of their final condemnation and eternal punishment, all of which are clearly revealed in the Scriptures, is all that can serve any valuable practical purposes to man, as far as their example and the immutable aversion which the great moral Governor necessarily bears against sin in all intelligent and accountable creatures, can have an influence upon him. Nor do the Scriptures profess to give a full and explicit history of this order of moral beings, analogous to the detailed manner in which it delineates the creation, character, temptation, fall, guilt, condemnation, corruption, and redemption of man. The substance of what it teaches in regard to angels is to hold up the example, purity, and benevolence of the unfallen for our imitation, that we may do the will of God on earth as they do in heaven,” as incentives to holiness; and the sin, fall, misery, malignant nature and character, and the certain ultimate and eternal punishment of the fallen are doubtless designed to act upon us as preventives against disobedience and unbelief. In this light a definite knowledge of the distinct facts pertaining to both classes of angels, which facts are clearly revealed in the Holy Scriptures, cannot be too highly appreciated by every firm believer in divine revelation. But here let us pause before we take another step, lest we “darken counsel by words without knowledge." Once more: the theory under consideration necessarily involves, as its counterpart, the doctrine that there was a time since their creation when the holy angels were not the denizens of the kingdom of heaven as they now are; when they did not “minister before God," “always beholding his face,” as we are informed they now do. Well; perhaps all this is possible, nor shall I attempt to prove the contrary. But where is the proof that this ever was the case? It cannot be produced. Of these things we know nothing, because revelation is silent respecting them. And for my own part I can only say I am here again thrown back upon first principles—it is not revealed, and I am not allowed to make it a matter of speculation. Here let me be content to let the whole matter rest till I attain that improved state of future being which is the object of my present faith and hope, where many hidden things shall be adequately brought to light; “when we shall see as we are seen, and know as we are known."
I will only add, in conclusion, that though I might wish, with the intelligent and respected author of the theory which I have taken the liberty so freely to canvass, for "gray hairs” to give weight and influence to these strictures, in view of my immaturity, if I cannot add youthfulness also, I have no desire, were it possible, for them to receive the least authority from such considerations. If they are committed to the press, I wish to submit them to the can. dor and judgment of the reflecting reader, invested with nothing but their own truth and the importance of the subject.
Manchester, Mo., March 15, 1838.
For the Methodist Magazine and Quarterly Review.
Art. VII.-EXTEMPORANEOUS SPEAKING.
AN ADDRESS TO THE LYCEUM OF THE ONEIDA CONFERENCE
SEMINARY, BY PROFESSOR N. ROUNDS.
Delivered December 29, 1837.
Young Gentlemen of the Lyceum,- Education consists not only in storing the mind richly with knowledge, but also in acquiring an ability to communicate that knowledge. To be destitute of an ability to express what one knows were a very serious defect. The knowledge of such a man is like a lamp placed under a bushel, or like the miser's gold locked up in his coffers; it can be of but little use either to himself or to others. That scholar must have studied to very little purpose, who, after having tinished his academic course, in which he has devoted years to the study of languages, is nevertheless unable to address an audience in an appropriate and interesting manner in his vernacular tongue.
The modes of communicating thought are chiefly two: writing and speaking. Each has its place and its importance. Your attention at present, however, is solicited for a few moments to the subject of extemporaneous speaking. We would speak,
I. Of the means; and,
II. Of the motives for the cultivation of this important branch of education.
I. As a means for improving in extemporaneous address we would recommend, first, thorough premeditation. This is the foundation of all good speaking. The object of speaking is, to communicate thought. To attempt, therefore, to address an audience without premeditation is to attempt to communicate what we do not possess. This, besides being philosophically absurd, is both offensive to the hearer and injurious to the speaker. Such an orator encroaches upon the time of other people in order to make himself appear
ridi. culous. Would you invite a company of friends to dine with you, call them around the table, go through with all the preliminaries usual on such an occasion, and then ask them to help themselves, when, in fact, there was nothing before them but empty dishes? Yet that were no more inconsistent, and they would have no more reason to feel themselves imposed upon, than if you should call them together to hear you speak without premeditation, i. e., when you had nothing to say. The truth is, in order to entertain an audience you must be provided with a substratum of thought, a train of connected interesting ideas. For this there can be no substitute. No elegance of language, no pomp of rhetoric, can supply the desideratum. The more intelligent part of your auditory will discover the fraud. A hungry man will not be satisfied with flowers, nor a thirsty man with froth. And in these circumstances a speaker exhibits himself to the greatest possible disadvantage. For if he be a person of any sensibility, when conscious that his talk is mere sound without sense he will be deeply mortified and confused; and when confused, a speaker betrays all his faults in their most offensive light, while at the same time he is rendering those faults inveterate if not incurable.
The same principle will caution us against continuing to speak after our stock of ideas is exhausted, either by repeating what we have already said, or by expatiating upon what has already been made sufficiently plain. Dr. Clarke informs us that on certain occasions he occupied only a quarter of an hour in the delivery of
And if any one would wish to know the reason of his brevity, he very tersely informs them that he had said all he had to say on the subject in hand, and that he did not think it expedient to preach the sermon over again to the same congregation, and at the same time. It is said that when the celebrated E. Root, formerly a prominent member of the New-York legislature, was asked what he considered the essential requisites of a good speaker, he replied, with characteristic shrewdness, “ Chiefly two things: first, he must have something to say when he gets up, and when he has said it he must sit down!" Become familiar, then, with your subject by reading, meditation, and conversation, and you will be very sure to succeed, whether in the private debate, or in the public assembly. It was a maxim with Horace, that close observer of nature, that
“Verba provisam rem non invita sequentur.” And have not you also had frequent occasion to remark that people are always eloquent on subjects which they fully understand, and in which they feel interested? The most illiterate countryman will describe to you the manner in which he succeeded in raising his fine field of wheat in terms as appropriate as those of the Georgics. The schoolboy can sketch his ramble in the grove like Irving; or if need be, he can prefer a charge against his fellow who has trespassed upon his rights, with all the point and pathos of Cicero versus Cataline. The lady who would be very uninteresting in a conversation upon the banking system, or upon politics, will nevertheless converse upon the merits of a favorite author, or upon the virtues of an esteemed friend, with the eloquence of a Sigourney or a More. “But some speakers appear to be ready on any subject." True, but it is not for the reason that they can speak without previous study, but because of the extent of their general knowledge. They have informed themselves upon almost every subject. It is not because they are universal geniuses, but because they approximate to universal scholars.
Secondly. We would notice writing as an important means of improvement in the art in question. "Stilus optimus et præstantissimus dicendi effector et magister.” If it be advantageous to premeditate a subject thoroughly, it is equally so to commit the result of that premeditation to paper. Not that it may be committed to memory, and then publicly recited, but to give it a form by which it may be retained, for the purposes of arrangement, correction, and improvement. For though we shall take some exceptions to the practice of rehearsing sermons, yet we are not among the number of those who object to thorough pulpit preparations. We cannot subscribe to the notion that every thing spoken in the sacred desk from the impulse of the moment is therefore divinely inspired, while any thing premeditated elsewhere is necessarily of a secular origin. For that were just as absurd as to suppose that the omnipresent Spirit cannot affect the mind of his servants in one place as well as in another. What possible reason then can be assigned why a minister may not, previously to its delivery, know in substance what he is going to present before the public? It has been properly remarked that while a man's thoughts are retained in his own bosom they’are his exclusive property. But when they are once openly avowed they become the property of others. Then the public have a right to discuss them, and judge of their character. If weak, they will be despised ; if wrong, they will be condemned. The reputation of their author will suffer, and his usefulness be proportionably circumscribed. This is true of those who address the public on any subject. But besides this consideration, the herald of the cross feels himself acting under a responsibility to his divine Master infinitely more solemn than that of any other human agent. I appeal to your candor, then, whether it does not become him most carefully to weigh and examine beforehand those sentiments for the expression of which he is amenable, not only to the bar of public opinion, but also to the bar of eternal judgment !
Thirdly. We may improve in speaking extempore by attention to our manner in social discourse. Whatever characterizes a man's common conversation will also distinguish his public performances. He is the same person in the latter situation as in the former. The same habits which he forms there will cleave to him here. They are as natural to him as his features. They are as inseparable from him as his complexion. Does he in common conversation violate the rules of grammar? does he employ low and vulgar expressions? is he incorrect and barbarous in his pronunciation? The same faults will expose him to ridicule in the senate or upon the missionary platform. On the other hand, let him be careful in the selection of his language and in the construction of his sentences in ordinary discourse; let him habituate himself to a wide command of words, and an easy
and graceful elocution; and he will be able to instruct and please a public congregation almost without an effort.
Before leaving this point it may not be out of place to remark that the practice of translating from other languages into our own, may in a similar way be rendered highly beneficial to the extemporaneous speaker. In fact, translating is little else than extemporizing. The chief difference is this: in the latter we clothe our own thoughts in words; while in the former we do the same to the thoughts of others. But so far as the acquiring a facility in the use of language is concerned, the two exercises are entirely analogous. If proper attention be paid, therefore, to the manner of translating, to the kind of terms, and the style of expression employed, that exercise cannot but bé decidedly advantageous to the young speaker. So thought Cicero, the prince of Roman orators. So he practised, and this practice he expressly recommends to others. But to proceed.
We would, in the fourth place, direct your attention to the importance of cultivating the voice. It is apprehended that in our country the importance of this subject has not been duly appreciated either by individual speakers or by our institutions of learning. True, some common-place rules for modulation and emphasis have been transmitted from one generation of compilers to another; but they are little more than the fancies of rhetoricians, or the superficial teachings of dull grammarians. They are not commensurate with the improvements made in other departments of science. They do not comport with the interesting nature of the human voice, its invaluable purposes, and its unbounded capacity for improvement. That our practice should be better than our theory was not to be expected. Hence the defective elocution of our public speakers— the indistinctness of some, the monotony of many, and the want of proper inflection, emphasis, and melody, in almost all. Of how many of our seminary and college orators may it be said that “their eloquence is noise"--a rapid current of uncouth and unedifying, not to say unintelligible sound! And the case of many who, to use the phrase in a sarcastic sense, “have finished their education,” is not much better. The improper intonations marking the performances of some of our modern Massillons is strikingly illustrated in the instance of a clergyman who, according to the testimony of one of his hearers, went through with an address of fifteen minutes without once making a cadence,—no, not even at the closing period ! His audience were notified of the close of the discourse by the accustomed “Amen!” not by any peculiar change in his voice. Or of another, who, having lulled one of his auditors to sleep by his monotony, awoke him about the close of the service hour with a sen. tence so marked with emphatic stress, and in a tone so pathetic, that the hearer at first imagined him in the height of some affecting passage; but upon the more perfect recovery of his faculties he perceived that the preacher was merely giving notice of an appointment.
We rejoice, however, in the approach of a brighter era in the history of elocution. The indefatigable labors of Dr. Rush, of Philadelphia, have resulted in the production of a work which, while it places him at the head of this science in this country, if not in the world, has laid a broad, original, and permanent foundation for the future cultivation and improvement of the speaking voice. The peculiar excellence of this author arises from the fact, that, instead of retailing the trite and arbitrary dogmas of his predecessors, he refers all his principles to nature; and discarding conjecture and hypothesis, he advances in all his investigations by the sure process of inductive philosophy. The truths he has thus developed are invaluable, and these truths or principles are so explained and illustrated as to render them obvious to every mind of ordinary perception and perseverance. This is an advancement in science in which community in general, though not sufficiently aware of the fact, are greatly interested; but students more than any others. Rush on the Voice should be their constant and familiar companion; and especially if they are candidates for the legal or the clerical profession.
Finally. Gentlemen, permit me to recommend the frequent practice of extemporaneous debate. For though you should make an occasional preparation with great care, though you should acquire great facility in composing, though you should render your language in common conversation chaste and classical, and the qualities of your voice highly attractive, yet you never can become successful public speakers without practice. It has been well remarked that the most renowned of all the heroes that went to the siege of Troy was not the one who possessed by nature the greatest muscular strength, or who carried the heaviest bow, but it was he whom practice and self-discipline had best taught how to bend it. But that practice makes perfect, is no more true in war than in the art