In His Image
William Jennings Bryan

Part 4 out of 4

misery and private benevolence will relieve such suffering as may come
upon the members of society without their fault and in spite of all the
government can do.

But plain as are the dangers arising from love of money, and reasonable
as seem the means of meeting them, the mad race for riches goes on all
over the world. The mind is powerless to call a halt; intellectual
processes fail--man needs a voice that can speak with authority--a voice
that must be obeyed. He needs even more--he needs to be born again. His
heart must be cleansed and his thoughts turned to higher things. It is
to such that Christ appeals when He asks: "What shall it profit a man if
he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Let man cease
to be brutish and become brotherly and he will need few restraining

If it is brutish to turn so-called legitimate business into grand
larceny, what shall be said of those forms of money-making that deprave
both parties to the transaction? The liquor traffic furnished the best
illustration of the power of the dollar to blind the eyes of greedy men
to the crime and misery produced by drink. The beneficiaries of this
wicked business formerly included high church officials--and does yet in
some countries--who swelled their incomes with the dividends collected
from vice; they included also highly respected brewers and distillers as
well as saloon-keepers of all degrees. The fact that the liquor traffic
manufactured criminals, ruined men and women, produced poverty,
disrupted families, lowered the standard of education, lessened
attendance upon worship and even afflicted little children before their
birth, was not sufficient to deter people from engaging in it--even
some calling themselves Christians. The handling of intoxicating drinks
continued openly until these centers of pollution were closed by an
emphatic expression of the nation's conscience.

Now, the fight is against the bootlegger and the smuggler. The man who
peddles liquor, like the man who sells habit-forming drugs, is an outlaw
and his trade is branded as an enemy of society. The sanction given to
prohibition by the law brings to its support all who respect orderly
government and reduces the enemies of prohibition to those whose
fondness for drink, or for the profits obtainable from its illicit sale,
is sufficient to overcome conscientious scruples and a sense of civic
duty. Those who oppose prohibition now are shameless enough to become
voluntary companions of the lawless members of society, but this number
will constantly decrease as the virtue of the country asserts itself
at the polls in the election of officials who are in sympathy with the
enforcement of the law.

The unrest which pervades the industrial world to-day also threatens the
stability of government. The members of the Capitalistic group and the
members of the Labour group are becoming more and more class-conscious;
they are solidifying as if they looked forward with a vague dread
to what they regard as an inevitable class conflict. The same plan,
Universal Brotherhood, can reconcile all class differences. Is there any
other plan? Christ died for all--the employer as well as the employee;
He is the friend of those who pay wages as well as of those who work for
wages; the children of one class are as dear to Him as the children of
the other. His creed brings man into harmony with God and then teaches
him to love his neighbour as himself. To put human rights before
property rights--the man before the dollar, is simply to put the
teachings of the Saviour into modern language and apply them to
present-day conditions.

The whole code of morals of the Nazarene is a protest against the
attitude of antagonism between capital and labour. He pleads for
sympathy and fellowship. Every worker should give to society the maximum
of his productive power--but he cannot do this unless he is a willing
worker. Every employer should give to society the maximum of his
organizing and directing ability, but he cannot do it unless he is a
satisfied employer. What plan but the plan of Christ can fill the world
with _willing workers_ and _satisfied employers?_ Capitalism, supported
by force, cannot save civilization; neither can government by any
class assure the justice that makes for permanence in government. Only
brotherly love can make employers willing to pay fair compensation for
work done and employees anxious to give fair work for their wages.

One of the first fruits of the spirit of brotherhood will be
investigation before strike or lockout, just as our nation has provided
for investigation before war. If these bloody conflicts cannot be
entirely abolished to-day the civilized nations should at least know
_why_ they are to shoot before they begin shooting. The world, too,
should know. War is not a private affair; it disturbs the commerce of
the world, obstructs the ocean's highways and kills innocent bystanders.
Neutral nations suffer as well as those at war. If peacefully inclined
nations cannot avoid loss and suffering _after_ war is begun, they
certainly have a right to demand information as to the nature and merits
of the dispute _before_ any nation begins to "shoot up" civilization.

The strike and the lockout are to our industrial life what war is
between nations, and the general public stands in much the same position
as neutral nations. The number of those actually injured by a suspension
of industry is often many times as great as the total number of
employers and employees in that industry combined.

If, for instance, ninety-five per cent, of the people are asked to
freeze while the mine owners and the mine workers (numbering possibly
five per cent.) fight out their differences, have they not a right to
demand information as to the merits of the dispute before the shivering
begins? If the home builders are asked to suspend construction while
the steel manufacturers and steel workers (but a small fraction of the
population) go to war over the terms of employment, have they not a
right to inquire why before they begin to move into tents? And so with
disputes between railroads and their employees.

Compulsory _arbitration_ of _all_ disputes between labour and capital
is as improbable as compulsory arbitration of _all_ disputes between
nations, but the compulsory _investigation_ of all disputes (before
lockout or strike) will come as soon as the Golden Rule--an expression
of brotherhood--is adopted in industry. When each man loves his
neighbour as himself all rights will be safeguarded--the rights of
employees, the rights of employers and the rights of the public--that
important third party that furnishes the profits for the employer and
the wages for the employee.

Ambition has been a disturbing factor in government. The ambitions of
monarchs have overthrown governments and enslaved races. In republics,
the ambitions of aspirants for office have caused revolutions and
corrupted politics. No form of government is immune to the evils that
flow from ambition, or proof against those who plot for their own
political advancement. For this evil, too, Christ has a remedy. He
changes the point of view. It seems a simple thing, but behold the
transformation! "Let him who would be chiefest among you be servant of
all." He makes service the measure of greatness. This is one of the most
important of the many great doctrines taught by the Saviour. It puts
the accent on _giving_ instead of _getting_; it measures a life by the
_outflow_ rather than by the _income_. Men had been in the habit of
estimating their greatness by the amount of service they could coerce or
buy; Christ taught them to measure their greatness by service rendered
to others. A wonderful transformation will take place in this old world
when all are animated by a desire to contribute to the public good
rather than by an ambition to absorb as much as possible from society.

Brotherhood is easily established among those who "in honour prefer one
another"--who are willing to hold office when they are needed, but
as willing to serve under others as to command. It is impossible
to overestimate the contribution that Christ has made to enduring
government in suppressing unworthy ambition and in implanting high and
ennobling ideals.

War may be mentioned as the fourth foe of enduring government. It is the
resultant of many forces. Love of money is probably more responsible for
modern wars than any other one cause; commercial rivalries lead nations
into injustice and unfair dealing.

Wars are sometimes waged to extend trade--the blood of many being shed
to enrich a few. The supplying of battleships and munitions is so
profitable a business that wars are encouraged by some for the money
they bring to certain classes. Prejudices are aroused, jealousies are
stirred up and hatreds are fanned into flame. Class conflicts cause wars
and selfish ambitions have often embroiled nations; in fact, war is like
a boil, it indicates that there is poison in the blood. Christ is the
great physician whose teachings purify the blood of the body politic and
restore health.

In dealing with the subject of war we cannot ignore another great
foundation principle of Christianity, namely, forgiveness. The war
through which the world has recently passed is not only without a
parallel in the blood and treasure it has cost, but it was a typical war
in that nearly every important war-producing cause contributed to the
fierceness of the conflict. Personal ambition, trade rivalries, the
greed of munition-makers, race hatreds and revenge--all played a part in
the awful tragedy. Thirty millions of human lives were sacrificed; three
hundred billion dollars' worth of property was destroyed; more than two
hundred billion dollars of indebtedness was added to the burden that
the world was already carrying. The paper currency of the nations was
swollen from seven billions to fifty-six and the gold reserve dwindled
from seventy per cent. to twelve.

And, oh, the pity! nearly every great nation engaged in the war was a
Christian nation and every important branch of the Church was involved!
And this occurred nineteen hundred years after the birth of the Saviour,
at whose coming the angels sang, "on earth, peace, good-will to men."

The world is weary of war. If blood is necessary for the remission of
sins, enough has been spilled to atone for the wrong done by all who
live upon the earth; if sorrow is necessary to repentance and reform,
enough tears have been shed to wash away all the crimes of the past.
This last plague would seem to have been sufficient to release the world
from bondage to force--if so, mankind is ready to turn over a new leaf
and set about the task of finding a way to prevent war.

As Christ can remove the pecuniary cause of war by purging the heart of
that love of money which leads men into evil doings, the class-conflict
cause by stimulating brotherly love, and the ambition cause, by setting
up a new measure of greatness; so He can subdue hatred and silence the
cry for revenge.

"Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord," should be a
restraint, but Christ goes farther and commands us to love our enemies.
That was the complete cure for which the world was not ready when God
made Moses His spokesman. "Thou shalt not," came first; "Thou shalt,"
came later. Christ's creed compels positive helpfulness and love is the
basis of that creed.

Love makes money-grabbing seem contemptible; love makes class prejudice
impossible; love makes selfish ambition a thing to be despised; love
converts enemies into friends.

It may encourage us to expect Christ's teachings to bring world peace
if we consider for a moment what has already been accomplished in the
establishing of peace between individuals. Take, for instance, the
doctrine of forgiveness as applied to indebtedness. In Christ's time
debtors were not only imprisoned but members of the family could be sold
into bondage to satisfy a pecuniary obligation. In Matthew (chap. 18)
we have a picture of the cruelty which the creditor was permitted to

Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king,
which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun
to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand
talents [ten million dollars]. But forasmuch as he had not to pay,
his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and
all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell
down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and
I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with
compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same
servant went out, and found one of his fellow-servants which owed
him an hundred pence [seventeen dollars]; and he laid hands on him,
and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his
fellow-servant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have
patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but
went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when
his fellow-servants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and
came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord,
after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant,
I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest
not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow-servant, even as I
had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the
tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

If Christ were to reappear to-day he would find imprisonment for debt
abolished throughout nearly all, if not the entire, civilized world. The
law stays the hand of the creditor, or rather withholds from him the
instruments of torture which he formerly employed. Here we have the
doctrine of forgiveness applied in a very practical form. It is based on
mercy, and yet in a larger sense it rests on justice and promotes the
welfare of society.

But compassion has gone further; we have the exemption law which secures
to the debtor the food necessary for his family and the tools by which
he makes his living. Christ's doctrine has been applied further still;
we have the bankruptcy law which gives a new lease of life to an
insolvent debtor if his failure is without criminal fault on his
part. By turning over to his creditors all the property he has above
exemptions he can go forth from court free from all legal obligations
and begin business unembarrassed. Some who take advantage of these
provisions of the law may be indifferent to the Teacher whose loving
spirit has thus conquered the hard heart of the world, but the triumph
marks a step in human advance and suggests possible changes in other
directions as the principle is increasingly applied to daily life.

International law still permits greater cruelty in war than accompanied
imprisonment for debt. National obligations are enforced by killing the
innocent as well as the guilty. Ports are blockaded, cities are besieged
and even bombed, and non-combatants are starved and drowned.

As imprisonment for debt has disappeared and as duelling is giving way
to the suit at law, so war will be succeeded by courts of arbitration
and tribunals for investigation. All real progress toward peace is in
line with the teachings of the Nazarene and this progress hastens the
coming of governments that shall endure.

With the conclusion of the World War our nation confronts such an
opportunity as never came to any other nation--such an opportunity as
never came to our nation before. We were the only great nation that
sought no selfish advantage and had no old scores to settle, no spirit
of revenge to gratify. Our contributions were made for the world's
benefit--to end war and make self-government respected everywhere. We
entered the conflict at the time when we could render the maximum of
service with a minimum of sacrifice. At the peace conference we asked
nothing for ourselves--no territorial additions, no indemnities, no
reimbursements--just world peace, universal and perpetual. That was to
be our recompense.

It is not entirely the fault of other nations that they do not stand
exactly in the same position that we do. In many respects their
situations are different from ours. They have received from the past an
inheritance of race and national hostility; they have their commercial
ambitions; they have their military and naval groups with antiquated
standards of honour, not to speak of those who, feeding on war
contracts, feel that they have a vested interest in carnage. Besides
these hindrances to peace they lack several advantages which we enjoy
over any other nation of importance, viz., more complete information in
regard to other people, a more general sympathy with other nations and a
greater moral obligation to them. Our nation being made up of the best
blood of the nations of Europe, we learn to know the people at home
through the representatives who come here. Because of our intimate
connection with the foreign elements of our country our sympathy goes
out to all lands; and because we have received from other nations as no
other nation ever did, we are in duty bound to give as no other nation
has given.

We have given the world a peace plan that provides for the investigation
of all disputes before a resort to arms--a plan that gives time
for passions to subside and for reason to resume her sway. We have
substituted the maxim: "Nothing is final between friends," for the
old-fashioned diplomacy based on threats and ultimatums. We have turned
from the blood-stained precedents of the past and invoked a spirit of
brotherhood for the purpose of preventing wars. These treaties contain
a provision which, though seemingly very simple, is profoundly
significant. In former times treaties ran for a certain number of years
and then lapsed unless renewed. The thirty treaties negotiated by our
nation in 1913 and 1914 with three-quarters of the world, providing for
_investigation_ of _all_ disputes before hostilities can begin, run for
five years and then, instead of lapsing, continue until one year after
one of the parties to the treaty has formally demanded its termination.
Note the difference: the old treaties gave the presumption to war--the
new treaties give the presumption to peace. As our constitution requires
a two-thirds vote for ratification of a treaty, a minority of the Senate
(as few as one-third plus one) could prevent the renewal of a treaty;
under the new plan the treaty continues indefinitely until a majority
denounce it.

But while we have made a splendid beginning as the leader of the peace
movement in the world much remains to be done. Our nation should lead in
the crusade for disarmament; no other nation is so well qualified for
leadership in this movement so necessary for civilization. The desire
for peace, intensified by the agonies of an unprecedented war, ought to
be sufficient to bring about disarmament; it should be unnecessary
to invoke financial reasons. But national debts have increased so
enormously as to have become unbearable and the world must disarm or
face universal bankruptcy. The reaction against militarism is more
advanced, but the reaction against navalism is just as sure to come--one
cannot survive without the support of the other. Rivalry in the building
of battleships will not long be tolerated after rivalry in land forces
has been abandoned.

The United States should be the champion of the Christian method of
preserving peace--and the world is ready for it. The devil never won
a greater victory than when he persuaded statesmen to make the absurd
experiment of trying to prevent war by getting ready for it. "Arm
yourselves," he whispered, "and you will never have to use your
weapons." How his Satanic majesty must have gloated over the gullibility
of his dupes.

John Bright, Quaker statesman of Great Britain, pointed out the fallacy
of this policy. He called it, "Worshipping the scimitar" and predicted
that it would invite war instead of preventing it. But the din of the
munition factories drowned the voice of protest and the civilized
world--yes, the Christian world--went into a prepared war, each nation
protesting that it was drawn into the conflict against its will.

Permanent peace cannot rest upon terrorism; friendship alone can inspire
peace, and friendship has no swagger in its gait; it does not flourish a
sword. Our nation has invited the world to a conference to consider the
limitation of armaments; if disarmament by agreement fails we should
enter upon a systematic policy of reduction ourselves and by so doing
arouse the Christians, the friends of humanity and the toilers of the
world to the criminal folly of the brute method of dealing with this

We should also join the world in creating a tribunal before which every
complaint of international injustice can be heard. If reason is to be
substituted for force the forum instituted for the consideration of
these questions must have authority to hear all issues between nations,
in order that public opinion, based upon information, may compel such
action as may be necessary to remove discord.

It does not lessen the value of such a tribunal to withhold from it the
power to enforce its findings by the weapons of warfare. In the case of
our own nation, we have no constitutional right to transfer to another
nation authority to declare war for us, or to impair our freedom of
action when the time for action arrives.

Then, too, the judgment that rests upon its merits alone, and is not
enforceable by war, is more apt to be fair than one that can be executed
by those who render it. A persuasive plea appeals to the reason; a
command is usually uttered in an entirely different spirit.

There is another difference between a recommendation and a decree; if
the European nations could call our army and navy into their service
at any time they might yield to the temptation to use our resources
to advance their ambitions. As the man who carries a revolver is more
likely than an unarmed man to be drawn into a fight, so the European
nations would be more apt to engage in selfish quarrels if they carried
the fighting power of the United States in their hip pocket. For
their own good, as well as for our protection and for the saving of
civilization, it is well to require a clear and complete statement of
the reasons for the war and of the ends that the belligerents have in
view, before we mingle our blood with theirs upon the battle-field.

Our nation is in an ideal position; it has financial power and moral
prestige; it has disinterestedness of purpose and far-reaching sympathy.
When to these qualifications for leadership independence of action is
added we can render the maximum of service to the world.

It matters not what name is given to the cooperative body; it may be a
League of Nations or an Association of Nations or anything else. The
name is a mere form; the tribunal should be the greatest that has ever
assembled. Our delegates should be chosen by the people _directly_, as
our senators, our congressmen, our governors, and our legislators are,
and as our President virtually is. Representatives chosen to speak for
the American people on such momentous themes as will be discussed in
that body should have their commissions signed by the sovereign voters
themselves. We cannot afford to intrust the selection of these delegates
to the President or to Congress. The members of our delegation should
not be discredited by any flavour of presidential favouritism or by any
taint of Congressional log-rolling.

Delegates, selected by popular vote in districts, would reflect the
sentiment of the entire country, and their power would be enhanced
rather than decreased if they were compelled to seek endorsement of
their views on vital questions at a referendum vote. Their authority to
cast the nation's vote for war ought to be subject to the approval of
the people, expressed at the ballot box. Those who are to furnish the
blood and take upon themselves the burden of war-debts ought to be
consulted before the solemn duties and the sacrifices of war are
required of them.

Our nation can, by its example, teach the world the true meaning of that
democracy which was to be made safe throughout the world. The essence of
democracy is found in the right of the people to have what they want,
and experience shows that the best way to find out what the people want
is to ask them. There is more virtue in the people themselves than can
be found anywhere else; the faults of popular government result chiefly
from the embezzlement of power by representatives of the people--the
people themselves are not often at fault. But, suppose they make
mistakes occasionally: have they not a right to make _their own
mistakes_? Who has a right to make mistakes for them?

The Saviour not only furnished a solution for all of life's problems,
individual and governmental, national and international, but He also
called His followers to the performance of the duties of citizenship:
"Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things
that are God's," was the answer that Christ made to those who were
quibbling about the claims of the government under which they lived.

The citizen is a unit of the community in which he lives and a part of
his government. Our government derives its power from the consent of the
governed; what kind of a government would we have if all Christians were
indifferent to its claims? No rule can be laid down for one citizen that
does not apply to all; each citizen, therefore, should bear his share of
the burden if he is to claim his share of the government protection. The
teachings of Christ require that we should respect the rights of others
as well as insist upon the recognition of our own rights. In fact, the
recognition of the rights of others is a higher form of patriotism than
mere insistence upon that which is due us and the spirit of brotherhood
is calculated to create just such a community of interest. Each will
find his security in the safety of all--the welfare of each being the
concern of the whole group.

In a government like ours the Christian is compelled by conscience to
avoid sins of omission as well as sins of commission; he must not only
avoid the doing of evil, but he must not permit wrong-doing by law if
he can prevent it. In other words, the conscientious citizen must
understand the principles of his government, the methods employed by his
government and the policies that come before the government for
adoption or rejection. He is a partner in a very important business--a
stockholder in the greatest of all corporations. If the good people of
the land do not do their duty as citizens they may be sure that bad
people will use the power and instrumentalities of government for their
own advantage and for the injury of the many.

An indifferent Christian? It is impossible. A Christian cannot be
indifferent without betraying a sacred trust. And yet every bad law, and
every bad condition that can be remedied by a good law, proclaims an
indifferent citizenship or a citizenship lacking in virtue, for popular
government is merely a reflection of the character of its active

The charitable view to take of a nation's failure to have the best
government, the best laws and the best administration possible, is not
that the citizenship is lacking in virtue and good intent, but that
it is lacking in information. It is the business of the good citizen,
therefore, to encourage the spread of accurate information--the
dissemination of light--in order that those who "love darkness rather
than light because their deeds are evil" may not be able to work under
cover. No evil can stand long against a united Christian citizenship;
witness how prohibition came as soon as the churches united against the

Having faith in the power of truth to win its way when understood,
Christians believe in publicity and are not afraid to call every evil
before the bar of public judgment. Believing in the superhuman wisdom of
Christ, as well as in the saving power of His blood, they are bold to
apply His code of morals to every problem. His is a name that will
increasingly arouse the hosts of righteousness to irresistible attacks
on the brutishness that endangers government, society and civilization.

I am so confident that the Christian citizenship of this country will
prove faithful to every trust and rise to the requirements of every
emergency that I venture to repeat a forecast of our nation's future,
made more than twenty years ago:

I can conceive of a national destiny which meets the responsibilities
of to-day and measures up to the possibilities of to-morrow. Behold
a republic, resting securely upon the mountain of eternal truth--a
republic applying in practice and proclaiming to the world the
self-evident propositions that all men are created equal; that they are
endowed with inalienable rights; that governments are instituted among
men to secure these rights; and that governments derive their just
powers from the consent of the governed. Behold a republic, in which
civil and religious liberty stimulate all to earnest endeavour and in
which the law restrains every hand uplifted for a neighbour's injury--a
republic in which every citizen is a sovereign, but in which no one
cares to wear a crown. Behold a republic, standing erect, while empires
all around are bowed beneath the weight of their own armaments--a
republic whose flag is loved while other flags are only feared. Behold
a republic, increasing in population, in wealth, in strength and in
influence; solving the problems of civilization, and hastening the
coming of an universal brotherhood--a republic which shakes thrones
and dissolves aristocracies by its silent example and gives light and
inspiration to those who sit in darkness. Behold a republic, gradually
but surely becoming the supreme moral factor to the world's progress and
the accepted arbiter of the world's disputes--a republic whose history
like the path of the just--"is as the shining light that shineth more
and more unto the perfect day."



Some have prophesied that with the spread of the newspaper public
speaking would decline--but the prediction has not been fulfilled and
its failure is easily explained. In the first place, the written
page can never be a substitute for the message delivered orally. The
newspaper vastly multiplies the audience but they hear only the echo,
not the speech itself. One cannot write as he speaks because he lacks
the inspiration furnished by an audience. Gladstone has very happily
described the influence exerted by the audience upon the speaker,
an influence which returns to the audience stamped with his own
personality. He says that the speaker draws inspiration from the
audience in the form of mist and pours it back in a flood. It need
hardly be added that this refers to speaking without manuscript, but
reading, while always regrettable, is sometimes necessary--especially
when accuracy is more important than the immediate effect.

In order to secure both accuracy and animation it is well to prepare the
speech in advance and then revise it after delivery.

With increased intelligence a larger percentage of the population are
able to think upon their feet, to take part in public discussions and
to give their community and country the benefit of their conscience and
judgment. The fraternities and labour and commercial organizations have
largely aided in the development of speaking by the exchange of views at
their regular meetings. The extension of popular government naturally
increases public speaking as it brings the masses into closer relation
to the government and makes them more and more a controlling force in

The newspapers, instead of making the stump unnecessary, often increase
the necessity for face to face communication in order that both sides
may be represented and, sometimes, in order that misrepresentations may
be exposed.

No substitute can be found for the pulpit. Earnestness which finds
expression through the voice cannot be communicated through the printed
page. If we are thrilled by what we read it gives us only a glimpse of
the power of speech to stir the soul. If the spoken word is to continue
to play an important part in the communication of information and in the
compelling of thought it is worth while to consider some of the rules
that contribute to the effectiveness of the pulpit and the platform.

Sometimes I receive a letter from a young man who informs me that he is
a born orator and asks what such an one should do to prepare him for his
life-work. I answer that while an orator must be born like others his
success will not depend on inheritance, neither will a favourable
environment in youth assure it. An ancestor's fame may inspire him to
effort and the associations of the fireside may stimulate, but ability
to speak effectively is an acquirement rather than a gift.

Eloquence may be defined as the speech of one who _knows what he is
talking about_ and _means what he says_--it is _thought on fire_. One
cannot communicate information unless he possesses it. There is quite a
difference in people in this respect; we say of one that he knows more
than he can tell and, of another, that he can tell all he knows, but it
is a reflection upon a man to say that he can tell more than he knows.

The first thing, therefore, is to know the subject. One should know his
subject so well that a question will aid rather than embarrass him. A
question from the audience annoys one only when the speaker is _unable_
to answer it or does not _want_ to answer it. Many a speaker has
been brought into ridicule by a question that revealed his lack of
information on the subject; and a speaker has sometimes been routed by
a question that revealed something he intended to conceal. Before
discussing a subject one should go all around it and view it from every
standpoint, asking and answering all the questions likely to be put by
his opponents. Nothing strengthens a speaker more than to be able
to answer every question put to him. His argument is made much more
forcible because the question focuses attention on the particular point;
a ready answer makes a deeper impression than the speaker could make
by the use of the same language without the benefit of the question to
excite interest in the proposition.

But knowledge is of little use to the speaker without earnestness.
Persuasive speech is from heart to heart, not from mind to mind. It is
difficult for a speaker to deceive his audience as to his own feelings;
it takes a trained actor to make an imaginary thing seem real. Nearly
two thousand years ago one of the Latin poets expressed this thought
when he said, "If you would draw tears from others' eyes, yourself the
signs of grief must show."

If one is master of an important subject and feels that he has a message
that must be delivered he will not lack a hearing. As there are always
important subjects before the country for settlement there will always
be oratory. In order to speak eloquently on one subject a man need not
be well informed on a large number of subjects, although information on
all subjects is of value. One who can in a general way discuss a large
number of subjects may be entirely outclassed by one who knows but one
subject but knows it well and _feels_ it.

The pulpit has developed many great orators because it furnishes the
largest subject with which one can deal. The preacher who knows the
Bible and feels that every human being needs the message that the Bible
contains cannot fail to reach the hearts of his hearers. Dr. E. Benjamin
Andrews, once the President of Brown University and later Chancellor
of Nebraska University, told me of a sermon that he heard Jasper, the
coloured preacher of Richmond, deliver late in life on an anniversary
occasion. Jasper claimed nothing for himself but attributed his long
pastorate and whatever influence he had to the fact that he preached
from only one book--the Bible.

When I was in college I heard a visitor draw a contrast between Cicero
and Demosthenes. I am not sure that it is fair to Cicero but it brings
out an important distinction. As I recall it, the speaker said, "When
Cicero spake the people said, 'How well Cicero speaks'; when Demosthenes
spake his hearers cried, 'Let us go against Philip.'" One impressed
himself upon his audience while the other impressed his subject. It need
hardly be said that in all effective oratory the speaker succeeds in
proportion as he can make his hearers forget him in their absorption
in the subject that he presents. I may add that there is a practical
advantage in the speaker's diverting attention from himself. There is
only one of him and he would soon become monotonous if he continually
thrust himself forward; but, as subjects are innumerable, he can give
infinite variety to his speech by putting the emphasis upon the theme.

It is better that the audience, when it breaks up, should gather into
groups and discuss what the speaker said than to go away saying, "What a
delightful speech it was," and yet not remember the things said. Whether
the statements made are true or not it does no harm to have them
challenged; if some dispute what has been said and others defend the
speaker it is certain that thought has been aroused, and thinking leads
to truth. That is why freedom of speech is so essential in a republic;
it is the only process by which truth can be separated from error and
made to stand forth in all its strength. We should, therefore, invite

While acquaintance with the subject and heartfelt interest in it are the
first essentials of convincing speech, there are other qualities that
greatly strengthen discourse. First among these I would put _clearness
of statement_. Jefferson declared in the Declaration of Independence
that _certain_ truths are self-evident. It is a very conservative
statement of an important fact; it could be made stronger: _all truth is
self-evident_. The best service one can render a truth, therefore, is to
state it so clearly that it can be understood. This does not mean that
every self-evident truth will be immediately accepted because there are
many things that interfere with the acceptance of truth.

First, let us consider depth of conviction. Some people take their
convictions more seriously than others. In India I heard a missionary
speak of another person as having "no opinions--nothing but
convictions"; while one of the enemies of Gladstone described him as
being the only person he ever knew who "could improvise the convictions
of a lifetime." Depth of conviction gives great force to an individual
when he is going in the right direction, but he is difficult to change
if he is going in the wrong direction. When I visited the Hermitage for
the first time they told me of an old coloured man, formerly a slave of
Jackson's, who survived his master many years. He was, of course, an
object of interest and many questions were asked in regard to Jackson's
characteristics. One visitor inquired of him if he thought Andrew
Jackson went to heaven. He quickly responded, "If he sot his head that
way, he did."

Prejudice also delays the spread of truth. People sometimes brace
themselves against arguments. If I may be pardoned a personal
illustration I will cite a case of political prejudice that came under
my own observation. I was speaking in a town in western Nebraska, an
out-of-the-way place that I had seldom visited. A friend heard a man
say, "Well, I never heard him and I thought I would come and see what he
has to say." And then, with a determined look upon his face he added,
"But he will not convince me." Political prejudice is not so hard to
overcome as race prejudice and race prejudice is not so deep-seated as
religious prejudice; but prejudice of any kind, whether it be personal,
political, race, or religious, seriously interferes with the progress of

Narrowness of vision often obstructs acceptance of truth. One must be
made to feel interested in the subject before he will listen to that
which is said about it. Aristotle has suggested a means by which each
one can measure himself. "If he is interested in himself only he is
very small; if he is interested in his family he is larger; if he is
interested in his community he is larger still." Thus he grows in size
as his sympathies expand--the largest person being the one whose heart
takes in the whole world. In proportion as we can enlarge the horizon of
the hearer we can increase the number of subjects to which he will give
attention. The minister has an advantage in that he deals with the one
subject about which all mankind thinks. The soul yearns for God: it is
man's highest aspiration and his most enduring concern. When one's
heart is changed--when he is born again--he listens to, understands and
accepts arguments that he rejected before.

Selfish interest is one of the most common obstructions to the advance
of truth. Very often this difficulty can be overcome by showing that
the party is mistaken as to the effect of the proposed measure upon his
interests. Fortunately in matters of government a large majority of the
people have interests on the same side and the real task is to make this
plain. Where there is a real opposing interest, argument is of little
use unless it can be shown that the public welfare outweighs the
personal interest--that is, that a public interest is large enough to
swallow up the interest that is private and personal.

Whenever one refuses to admit such a self-evident truth, for instance,
as that it is wrong to steal, don't argue with him--search him; the
reason may be found in his pocket.

Next to clearness of statement, I would put conciseness--the condensing
of much into a few words. This is a great asset to a speaker. The
moulder of public opinion does not manufacture opinion; he simply puts
it into form so that it can be remembered and repeated; just as my
father used bullet-moulds to make bullets when he was about to go
squirrel hunting. The moulds did not create the lead, they simply put
it into effective form. Jefferson was the greatest moulder of public
opinion in the early days of this country. He did not create Democratic
sentiment; he simply took the aspirations that had nestled in the
hearts of men from time immemorial and put them into appropriate and
epigrammatic language, so that the nation thought his thoughts after
him, as the world is now doing. The proverbs of Solomon are priceless
for the same reason; they are full of wisdom--wisdom so expressed that
it can be easily comprehended.

When I was a boy my father would call me in from work a little before
noon, read to me from Proverbs and comment on the sayings of the Wise
Man. After his death (when I was twenty) I recalled his fondness for
Proverbs and read the thirty-one chapters through each month for a year.
I was increasingly impressed with their beauty and strength. I have used
many of them in speeches. The one I have most frequently used in the
advocacy of reforms reads: "A prudent man foreseeth the evil and hideth
himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished."

I have often used a story to illustrate how much can be said in a few
words. A man said to another, "Do you drink?" The man to whom the
question was addressed, replied rather indignantly, "That is my
business, sir." "Have you any other business?" asked the first man. The
story is not only valuable as an illustration of brevity but it has a
moral side; if a man drinks much he soon has no other business.

In this connection I will speak of the words to be employed. Our use of
big words increases from infancy to the day of graduation. I think it is
safe to say that with nearly all of us the maximum is reached on the day
when we leave school. We use more big words that day than we have
ever used before or will ever use again. When we go from college into
every-day life and begin to deal with our fellowmen we drop the big words
because we are more interested in making people understand us than we
are in parading our learning. The more earnest one is the smaller the
words used. If a young man used big words to assure his sweetheart of
his affection she would never understand him, but the word love has but
one syllable, just as the words life, faith, hope, home, food, and work
are one-syllable words. Remember that nearly every audience is made up
of people who differ in the amount of book learning they have received.
If you speak only to those best educated you will speak over the heads
of those less educated. A story is told on a great scientist who made
two holes in the back fence and showed them to his wife, explaining that
the big hole was for the cat and the small hole for the kitten. "But
cannot the kitten go through the same hole as the cat?" inquired his
wife. If you use little words you can reach not only the least learned,
but the most learned as well.

Illustration is one of the most potent forms of argument; we understand
new things by comparing them with what we know. Christ was a master of
illustrations--the master. No one of whom history tells us has ever used
the illustration as effectively as He. He took the objects of every-day
life and made them mirrors which reflected truth. His parables give us a
wide range of illustration--the Sower going forth to sow, the Wheat and
the Tares, the Prodigal Son, the Wise and Foolish Virgins--in fact, all
the illustrations that He used might be cited to prove the power of this
form of argument.

The question has been used throughout history; at every great crisis the
orators of the day have used the question form of argument. Its strength
depends upon the completeness with which the speaker includes all of the
essentials involved in summing up the situation. The greatest question
ever presented as an argument was that in which Christ concentrated
attention upon the value of the soul. No one will ever place a higher
estimate upon the soul than Christ did when He asked, "What shall it
profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?"
No greater question was ever asked, or can be asked. (See Lecture, "The
Value of the Soul.")

Courage is the last attribute to which I shall invite your attention.
The speaker must possess moral courage, and to possess it he must have

Faith exerts a controlling influence over our lives. If it is argued
that works are more important than faith, I reply that faith comes
first, works afterward. Until one believes, he does not act, and in
accordance with his faith, so will be his deeds.

Abraham, called of God, went forth in faith to establish a race and a
religion. It was faith that led Columbus to discover America, and faith
again that conducted the early settlers to Jamestown, the Dutch to New
York and the Pilgrims to Plymouth Rock. Faith has led the pioneer across
deserts and through trackless forests, and faith has brought others in
his footsteps to lay in our land the foundations of a civilization the
highest that the world has known.

I might draw an illustration from the life of each one of you. You have
faith in education, and that faith is behind your study; you have faith
in this institution, and that faith brought you here; your parents
and friends have had faith in you and have helped you to your present
position. And back of all these manifestations of faith is your faith in
God, in His Word and in His Son. We are told that without faith it
is impossible to please God, and I may add that without faith it is
impossible to meet the expectations of those who are most interested in
you. Let me present this subject under four heads:

First--You must have faith in yourselves. Not that you should carry
confidence in yourselves to the point of displaying egotism, and yet,
egotism is not the worst possible fault. My father was wont to say that
if a man had the big head, you could whittle it down, but that if he had
the little head, there was no hope for him. If you have the big head
others will help you to reduce it, but if you have the little head, they
cannot help you. You must believe that you can do things or you will
not undertake them. Those who lack faith attempt nothing and therefore
cannot possibly succeed; those with great faith attempt the seemingly
impossible and by attempting prove what man can do.

But you cannot have faith in yourselves unless you are conscious that
you are prepared for your work. If one is feeble in body, he cannot have
the confidence in his physical strength that the athlete has, and, as
physical strength is necessary, one is justified in devoting to exercise
and to the strengthening of the body such time as may be necessary.

Intellectual training is also necessary, and more necessary than it used
to be. When but few had the advantages of a college education, the
lack of such advantages was not so apparent. Now when so many of the
ministers, lawyers, physicians, journalists, and even business men, are
college graduates, one cannot afford to be without the best possible
intellectual preparation. When one comes into competition with his
fellows, he soon recognizes his own intellectual superiority, equality
or inferiority as compared with others. In China they have a very
interesting bird contest. The singing lark is the most popular bird
there, and as you go along the streets of a Chinese city you see
Chinamen out airing their birds. These singing larks are entered in
contests, and the contests are decided by the birds themselves. If, for
instance, a dozen are entered, they all begin to sing lustily, but as
they sing, one after another recognizes that it is outclassed and gets
down off its perch, puts its head under its wing and will not sing any
more. At last there is just one bird left singing, and it sings with
enthusiasm as if it recognized its victory.

So it is in all intellectual contests. Put twenty men in a room and let
them discuss any important question. At first all will take part in the
discussion, but as the discussion proceeds, one after another drops out
until finally two are left in debate, one on one side and one on the
other. The rest are content to have their ideas presented by those who
can present them best. If you are going to have faith, therefore, in
yourselves, you must be prepared to meet your competitors upon an equal
plane; if you are prepared, they will be conscious of it as well as you.

A high purpose is also a necessary part of your preparation. You cannot
afford to put a low purpose in competition with a high one. If you go
out to work from a purely selfish standpoint, you will be ashamed
to stand in the presence of those who have higher aims and nobler
ambitions. Have faith in yourselves, but to have faith you must
be prepared for your work, and this preparation must be moral and
intellectual as well as physical. The preacher should be the boldest of
men because of the unselfish character of his work.

Second: Have faith in mankind. The great fault of our scholarship is
that it is not sufficiently sympathetic. It holds itself aloof from the
struggling masses. It is too often cold and cynical. It is better to
trust your fellowmen and be occasionally deceived than to be distrustful
and live alone. Mankind deserves to be trusted. There is something good
in every one, and that good responds to sympathy. If you speak to the
multitude and they do not respond, do not despise them, but rather
examine what you have said. If you speak from your heart, you will
speak to their hearts, and they can tell very quickly whether you are
interested in them or simply in yourself. The heart of mankind is sound;
the sense of justice is universal. Trust it, appeal to it, do not
violate it. People differ in race characteristics, in national
traditions, in language, in ideas of government, and in forms of
religion, but at the heart they are very much alike. I fear the
plutocracy of wealth; I respect the aristocracy of learning; but I thank
God for the democracy of the heart. You must love if you would be loved.
"They loved him because he first loved them"--this is the verdict
pronounced where men have unselfishly laboured for the welfare of the
whole people. Link yourselves in sympathy with your fellowmen; mingle
with them; know them and you will trust them and they will trust you.
If you are stronger than others, bear heavier loads; if you are more
capable than others, show it by your willingness to perform a larger

Third: If you are going to accomplish anything in this country, you must
have faith in your form of government, and there is every reason why
you should have faith in it. It is the best form of government ever
conceived by the mind of man, and it is spreading throughout the world.
It is best, not because it is perfect, but because it can be made as
perfect as the people deserve to have. It is a people's government, and
it reflects the virtue and intelligence of the people. As the people
make progress in virtue and intelligence, the government ought to
approach more and more nearly to perfection. It will never, of course,
be entirely free from faults, because it must be administered by human
beings, and imperfection is to be expected in the work of human hands.

Jefferson said a century ago that there were naturally two parties in
every country, one which drew to itself those who trusted the people,
the other which as naturally drew to itself those who distrusted the
people. That was true when Jefferson said it, and it is true to-day.
In every country there are those who are seeking to enlarge the
participation of the people in government, and that group is growing. In
every country there are those who are endeavouring to obstruct each
step toward popular government, and that group is diminishing. In this
country the tendency is constantly toward more popular government, and
every effort which has for its object the bringing of the government
into closer touch with the people is sure of ultimate triumph.

Our form of government is good. Call it a democracy if you are a
democrat, or a republic if you are a republican, but help to make it a
government of the people, by the people, and for the people. A democracy
is wiser than an aristocracy because a democracy can draw from the
wisdom of the people, and all of the people know more than any part of
the people. A democracy is stronger than a monarchy, because, as the
historian, Bancroft, has said: "It dares to discard the implements of
terror and build its citadel in the hearts of men." And a democracy is
the most just form of government because it is built upon the doctrine
that men are created equal, that governments are instituted to protect
the inalienable rights of the people and that governments derive their
just powers from the consent of the governed.

We know that a grain of wheat planted in the ground will, under the
influence of the sunshine and rain, send forth a blade, and then a
stalk, and then the full head, because there is behind the grain of
wheat a force irresistible and constantly at work. There is behind moral
and political truth a force equally irresistible and always operating,
and just as we may expect the harvest in due season, we may be sure of
the triumph of these eternal forces that make for man's uplifting. Have
faith in your form of government, for it rests upon a growing idea, and
if you will but attach yourself to that idea, you will grow with it.

Fourth, the subject presents itself in another aspect. You must not only
have faith in yourselves, in humanity and in the form of government
under which we live, but if you would do a great work, you must have
faith in God. I am not a preacher; I am but a layman; yet, I am
not willing that the minister shall monopolize the blessings of
Christianity, and I do not know of any moral precept binding upon the
preacher behind the pulpit that is not binding upon the Christian and
whose acceptance would not be helpful to every one. I am not speaking
from the minister's standpoint but from the observation of every-day life
when I say that there is a wide difference between the desire to live
so that men will applaud you and the desire to live so that God will be
satisfied with you. Man needs the inner strength that comes from faith
in God and belief in His constant presence.

Man needs faith in God, therefore, to strengthen him in his hours of
trial, and he needs it to give him courage to do the work of life. How
can one fight for a principle unless he believes in the triumph of
right? How can he believe in the triumph of the right if he does not
believe that God stands back of the truth and that God is able to bring
victory to His side? He knows not whether he is to live for the truth or
to die for it, but if he has the faith he ought to have, he is as ready
to die for it as to live for it.

Faith will not only give you strength when you fight for righteousness,
but your faith will bring dismay to your enemies. There is power in the
presence of an honest man who does right because it is right and dares
to do the right in the face of all opposition. That is true to-day, and
has been true through all history.

If your preparation is complete so that you are conscious of your
ability to do great things; if you have faith in your fellowmen and
become a colabourer with them in the raising of the general level of
society; if you have faith in our form of government and seek to purge
it of its imperfections so as to make it more and more acceptable to our
own people and to the oppressed of other nations; and if, in addition,
you have faith in God and in the triumph of the right, no one can set
limits to your achievements. This is the greatest of all ages in which
to live. The railroads and the telegraph wires have brought the corners
of the earth close together, and it is easier to-day for one to be
helpful to the whole world than it was a few centuries ago to be
helpful to the inhabitants of a single valley. This is the age of great
opportunity and of great responsibility. Let your faith be large, and
let this large faith inspire you to perform a large service.

Because the preacher has consecrated himself to God's service and seeks
divine guidance from the Bible and through prayer, he is able to speak
with absolute confidence. His trust is the measure of his strength;
because he _knows_ what Christ has done for him he knows what Christ can
do for others. His own experience is the foundation of his trust in the
Gospel that he preaches. Because a miracle was wrought in his own life
he knows that the day of miracles is not past; because one heart has
been regenerated he knows that all hearts can be, and that Christ,
through His power to transform the life of each individual, can
transform a world.

I beg you to prepare yourselves to proclaim the Word of God by voice
as well as with pen. You have a mighty message for a waiting world--a
message worthy of all your powers of heart and mind and tongue.


_P. WHITWELL WILSON Author of the "Christ We Forget_"

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