The people went to hear him even after they had ceased to believe in him. They applauded, laughed, or were silent as he pleased. But they were being entertained—nothing more. His art was still perfect, but his power over the minds and souls of men which made men believe and do was gone forever.
Believe what you say, therefore. Say what you believe. Say it simply, earnestly, as though you were pleading for all that is dearest to you on earth. For, after all, that is what you are speaking for—truth. And if the truth for which you are speaking is not dear to you, go about your other business and remain silent.
Let your brother who has “the call” utter that message which your faith is not strong enough to voice; for he, having “the call,” will “speak as one having authority,” and therefore “the common people will hear him gladly.”
To effect anything; to achieve a result; to make your words deeds, as the old Scotch thinker declared they should be or else not be uttered, you must teach. And in your teaching you must teach “as one having authority.”
To the Master we must go, after all, even for our methods of utterance, and at His feet learn that oratory is the utterance of the truth by one who knows it to be the truth. And so will your words be words of fire, and your speech have weight among your fellow men.
THE YOUNG MAN AND THE PULPIT
All who do their best, and in doing their best do a good piece of work, deserve equal credit whether the work be little or big. The architect who builds a house has wrought for humanity as truly as the statesman who builds a government. One man can make bricks well and another lead armies to victory; yet each one has fulfilled his destiny if his achievement was what he was fitted for and if he has done his best.
From one point of view all occupations that help one’s fellow men are important. Who shall say that the hod-carrier has not done as much for humanity as orator or poet. The cook is as necessary as the philosopher. Compare the blacksmith and the sculptor. The point is, that all useful labor is equally noble. It all has its place. Each of the workers of the world is required in the human cosmos.
It may not be that the worker himself sees that he is essential. It may not be that he understands the outcome of his striving. For that matter we are each and all toiling as blindly as the coral insect, and yet our labor is as much a part of a symmetrical structure as is the life and perishing of that polyp.
We are all pouring out our energies day by day without understanding what effect our spent lives will have in the general result of human effort. And some of us get heart-sick, no doubt, and weary; and discouragement whispers, “What’s the use,” and many another wily phrase of Satan.
Very well; let every man, however humble or conspicuous his place among men, understand that his work does count and will become a part of an harmonious whole. “All things work together for good.”