We all know instances of brilliant lawyers and powerful men who have thus sold their birthrights for messes of pottage. No matter how much you need money, never accept a retainer or fee of any kind from any corporation, person, or “interest” which really does not want your active service, but in that manner is purchasing your silence.
Accept no employment except real, genuine employment for actual, tangible, and honest work. Money obtained from any other kind of employment is a loss to you in every way, even financially.
Think daily of the nobility and dignity of your profession. Remember the great men that have adorned it and established the pillars of its glory. They were gentlemen, men of learning, of breeding, of honor as delicate as a woman’s blush. Be you such, or leave the profession.
Keep in mind the lords of the bar. Resolve each morning when you awake that, to the utmost of your efforts, you will strive to be one of them—in learning full and thorough, in courtesy delicate, in courage fearless, in character spotless, in all things and at all seasons the true knight of Justice.
Finally, preserve your health, preserve your health, preserve your health. Work, work, work. Cling to the loftiest ideals of your profession which your mind can conceive. Do these; keep up your nerve; never despair; and success is certain, distinction probable, and greatness possible, according to your natural abilities.
“And the common people heard him gladly,” for “he taught them as one having authority.” These sentences reveal the very heart of effective speaking. Considered from the human view-point alone, the Son of Mary was the prince of speakers. He alone has delivered a perfect address—the Sermon on the Mount.
The two other speeches that approach it are Paul’s appeal to the Athenians on Mars Hill, and the speech of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg. These have no tricks, no devices, no tinsel gilt. They do not attempt to “split the ears of the groundlings,” and yet they are addressed to the commonest of the world’s common people.
Imagination, reason, and that peculiar human quality in speech which defies analysis as much as the perfume of the rose, but which touches the heart and reaches the mind, are blended in each of these utterances in perfect proportion.
But, above all, each of these model speeches which the world has thus far produced teaches. They instruct. And, in doing this, they assert. The men who spoke them did not weaken them by suggesting a doubt of what they said. This is common to all great speeches.
Not one immortal utterance can be produced which contains such expressions as, “I may be wrong,” or, “In my humble opinion,” or, “In my judgment.” The great speakers, in their highest moments, have always been so charged with aggressive conviction that they have announced their conclusions as ultimate truths. They have spoken as persons “having authority,” and therefore “the common people have heard them gladly.”