What a vista these words open up! What a variety of accomplishments demanded that can only be acquired, even by the most gifted, by long study and patient practice! And since learning to speak in public is like learning to swim, or to skate, or to ride a bicycle, in this sense at least, that no amount of previous theoretical instruction will enable one to realise the initial difficulties or find out how to overcome them without actual experiment, it would be arrant folly on the part of the future priest to neglect this subject during his student years.
These questions—Culture, English, and Preaching—should occupy a foremost place in the curricula of our colleges. It is only by training the student from the start, by fostering literary, dramatic and debating societies where not alone the practical art of speaking is developed, but the social amenities of good society are practised, that the young priest can be equipped to efficiently discharge the high office awaiting him, and so reflect a lasting credit on the Church of God at home and abroad.
THE DANGER OF THE HOUR. HOW TO MEET IT
[Side note: Statement of the case]
The printing press is one of the greatest forces of the modern world. The multitude of publications sent forth on its wings each morning are messengers of light or darkness. Their influence for good or evil is more powerful than that of armies or parliaments: that influence we can no more escape than we can escape the sunlight or the air that surrounds us. It penetrates our homes; it colours our thoughts; it furnishes motives for our actions. The Press is indeed the lever that moves the world of our day, and we are but the puppets of its will.
Such being the case, is it not a question of first importance for the priest to examine its bearing on his own life, and on the lives of those committed to his care?
[Side note: A general principle]
That we may do so in a scientific manner, let us take a simple general principle. Reading is the food of the mind. Now, the body is marvellously influenced by the food it assimilates; give a man wholesome nutriment and mark the bounding vigour of his blood, the activity and healthy development of every organ; feed him on innutritious food and the most robust must fade; on poisonous food and the strongest languishes unto death.
The substance of the body is so influenced by what it assimilates that scientists assure us, young animals fed on madder will reproduce the purple dye of the plant in the very texture of the bone.
[Side note: The principle illustrated]