(Augustine, Christian Doctrine. part 8)

add words that make it plain we mean the opposite of what we say, as in
the expression, "Beware of him, for he is a good man." And what
illiterate man is there that does not use such expressions, although he
knows nothing at all about either the nature or the names of these
figures of speech? And yet the knowledge of these is necessary for
clearing up the difficulties of Scripture; because when the words taken
literally give an absurd meaning, we ought forthwith to inquire whether
they may not be used in this or that figurative sense which we are
unacquainted with; and in this way many obscure passages have had light
thrown upon them.

Chap. 30.--The rules of Tichonius the Donatist examined

  42. One Tichonius, who, although a Donatist himself, has written most
triumphantly against the Donatists (and herein showed himself of a most
inconsistent disposition, that he was unwilling to give them up
altogether), wrote a book which he called the Book of Rules, because in
it he laid down seven rules, which are, as it were, keys to open the
secrets of Scripture. And of these rules, the first relates to the Lord
and His body, the second to the twofold division of the Lord's body, the
third to the promises and the law, the fourth to species and genus, the
fifth to times, the sixth to recapitulation, the seventh to the devil and
his body. Now these rules, as expounded by their author, do indeed, when
carefully considered, afford considerable assistance in penetrating the
secrets of the sacred writings; but still they do not explain all the
difficult passages for there are several other methods required which are
so far from being embraced in this number of seven, that the author
himself explains many obscure passages without using any of his rules;
finding, indeed, that there was no need for them, as there was no
difficulty in the passage of the kind to which his rules apply. As, for
example, he inquires what we are to understand in the Apocalypse by the
seven angels of the churches to whom John is commanded to write; and
after much and various reasoning, arrives at the conclusion that the
angels are the churches themselves. And throughout this long and full
discussion, although the matter inquired into is certainly very obscure,
no use whatever is made of the rules. This is enough for an example, for
it would be too tedious and troublesome to collect all the passages in
the canonical Scriptures which present obscurities of such a kind as
require none of these seven rules for their elucidation.
  43. The author himself, however, when commending these rules,
attributes so much value to them that it would appear as if, when they
were thoroughly known and duly applied, we should be able to interpret
all the obscure passages in the law--that is, in the sacred books. For he

thus commences this very book: "Of all the things that occur to me, I
consider none so necessary as to write a little book of rules, and, as it
were, to make keys for, and put windows in, the secret places of the law.
For there are certain mystical rules which hold the key to the secret
recesses of the whole law, and render visible the treasures of truth that
are to many invisible. And if this system of rules be received as I
communicate it, without jealousy, what is shut shall be laid open, and
what is obscure shall be elucidated, so that a man travelling through the
vast forest of prophecy shall, if he follow these rules as pathways of
light, be preserved from going astray." Now, if he had said, "There are
certain mystical rules which hold the key to some of the secrets of the
law," or even "which hold the key to the great secrets of the law," and
not what he does say, "the secret recesses of the whole law;" and if he
had not said "What is shut shall be laid open," but, "Many things that
are shut shall be laid open," he would have said what was true, and he
would not, by attributing more than is warranted by the facts to his very
elaborate and useful work, have led the reader into false expectations.
And I have thought it right to say thus much, in order both that the book
may be read by the studious (for it is of very great assistance in
understanding Scripture), and that no more may be expected from it than
it really contains. Certainly it must be read with caution, not only on
account of the errors into which the author falls as a man, but chiefly
on account of the heresies which he advances as a Donatist. And now I
shall briefly indicate what these seven rules teach or advise.

Chap. 3i.--The first rule of Tichonius

  44. The first is about the Lord and His body, and it is this, that,
knowing as we do that the head and the body--that is, Christ and His
Church--are sometimes indicated to us under one person (for it is not in
vain that it is said to believers, "Ye then are Abraham's seed," when
there is but one seed of Abraham, and that is Christ), we need not be in
a difficulty when a transition is made from the head to the body or from
the body to the head, and yet no change made in the person spoken of. For
a single person is represented as saying, "He has decked me as a
bridegroom with ornaments, and adorned me as a bride with jewels;" and
yet it is, of course, a matter for interpretation which of these two
refers to the head and which to the body, that is, which to Christ and
which to the Church.

Chap. 32.--The second rule of Tichonius

  45. The second rule is about the twofold division of the body of the
Lord; but this indeed is not a suitable name, for that is really no part
of the body of Christ which will not be with Him in eternity. We ought,
therefore, to say that the rule is about the true and the mixed body of

the Lord, or the true and the counterfeit, or some such name; because,
not to speak of eternity, hypocrites cannot even now be said to be in
Him, although they seem to be in His Church. And hence this rule might be
designated thus: Concerning the mixed Church. Now this rule requires the
reader to be on his guard when Scripture, although it has now come to
address or speak of a different set of persons, seems to be addressing or
speaking of the same persons as before, just as if both sets constituted
one body in consequence of their being for the time united in a common
participation of the sacraments. An example of this is that passage in
the Song of Solomon, "I am black, but comely, as the tents of Cedar, as
the curtains of Solomon." For it is not said, I *was* black as the tents
of Cedar, but am *now* comely as the curtains of Solomon. The Church
declares itself to be at present both; and this because the good fish and
the bad are for the time mixed up in the one net. For the tents of Cedar
pertain to Ishmael, who "shall not be heir with the son of the free
woman." And in the same way, when God says of the good part of the
Church, "I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead
them in paths that they have not known; I will make darkness light before
them, and crooked things straight: these things will I do unto them, and
not forsake them;" He immediately adds in regard to the other part, the
bad that is mixed with the good, "They shall be turned back." Now these
words refer to a set of persons altogether different from the former; but
as the two sets are for the present united in one body, He speaks as if
there were no change in the subject of the sentence. They will not,
however, always he in one body; for one of them is that wicked servant of
whom we are told in the gospel, whose lord, when he comes, "shall cut him
asunder and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites."

Chap. 33.--The third rule of Tichonius

  46. The third rule relates to the promises and the law, and may be
designated in other terms as relating to the spirit and the letter, which
is the name I made use of when writing a book on this subject. It may be
also named, of grace and the law. This, however, seems to me to be a
great question in itself, rather than a rule to be applied to the
solution of other questions. It was the want of clear views on this
question that originated, or at least greatly aggravated, the Pelagian
heresy. And the efforts of Tichonius to clear up this point were good,
but not complete. For, in discussing the question about faith and works,
he said that works were given us by God as the reward of faith, but that
faith itself was so far our own that it did not come to us from God; not
keeping in mind the saying of the apostle: "Peace be to the brethren, and
love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." But he
had not come into contact with this heresy, which has arisen in our time,

and has given us much labour and trouble in defending against it the
grace of God which is through our Lord Jesus Christ and which (according
to the saying of the apostle, "There must be also heresies among you,
that they which are approved may be made manifest among you" has made us
much more watchful and diligent to discover in Scripture what escaped
Tichonius, who, having no enemy to guard against, was less attentive and
anxious on this point, namely, that even faith itself is the gift of Him
who "has dealt to every man the measure of faith." Whence it is said to
certain believers: "Unto you it is given, in the behalf of Christ, not
only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake." Who, then, can
doubt that each of these is the gift of God, when he learns from this
passage, and believes, that each of them is given? There are many other
testimonies besides which prove this. But I am not now treating of this
doctrine. I have, however, dealt with it, one place or another, very

Chap. 34.--The fourth rule of Tichonius

  47. The fourth rule of Tichonius is about species and genus. For so he
calls it, intending that by species should be understood a part, by genus
the whole of which that which he calls species is a part: as, for
example, every single city is a part of the great society of nations: the
city he calls a species, all nations constitute the genus. There is no
necessity for here applying that subtilty of distinction which is in use
among logicians, who discuss with great acuteness the difference between
a part and a species. The rule is of course the same, if anything of the
kind referred to is found in Scripture, not in regard to a single city,
but in regard to a single province, or tribe, or kingdom. Not only, for
example, about Jerusalem, or some of the cities of the Gentiles, such as
Tyre or Babylon, are things said in Scripture whose significance
oversteps the limits of the city, and which are more suitable when
applied to all nations; but in regard to Judea also, and Egypt, and
Assyria, or any other nation you choose to take which contains numerous
cities, but still is not the whole world, but only a part of it, things
are said which pass over the limits of that particular country, and apply
more fitly to the whole of which this is a part; or, as our author terms
it, to the genus of which this is a species. And hence these words have
come to be commonly known, so that even uneducated people understand what
is laid down specially, and what generally, in any given Imperial
command. The same thing occurs in the case of men: things are said of
Solomon, for example, the scope of which reaches far beyond him, and
which are only properly understood when applied to Christ and His Church,
of which Solomon is a part.
  48. Now the species is not always overstepped, for things are often

said of such a kind as evidently apply to it also, or perhaps even to it
exclusively. But when Scripture, having up to a certain point been
speaking about the species, makes a transition at that point from the
species to the genus, the reader must then be carefully on his guard
against seeking in the species what he can find much better and more
surely in the genus. Take, for example, what the prophet Ezekiel says:
"When the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by
their own way, and by their doings: their way was before me as the
uncleanness of a removed woman. Wherefore I poured my fury upon them for
the blood that they had shed upon the land, and for their idols wherewith
they had polluted it: and I scattered them among the heathen, and they
were dispersed through the countries: according to their way, and
according to their doings, I judged them." Now it is easy to understand
that this applies to that house of Israel of which the apostle says
"Behold Israel after the flesh;" because the people of Israel after the
flesh did both perform and endure all that is here referred to. What
immediately follows, too, may be understood as applying to the same
peep]e. But when the prophet begins to say, "And I will sanctify my great
name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the
midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord," the reader
ought now carefully to observe the way in which the species is
overstepped and the genus taken in. For he goes on to say: "And I shall
be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among
the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into
your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be
clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse
you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within
you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and I will
give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause
you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my commandments, and do
them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye
shall be my people, and I will be your God. I will also save you from all
your uncleannesses." Now that this is a prophecy of the New Testament, to
which pertain not only the remnant of that one nation of which it is
elsewhere said, "For though the number of the children of Israel be as
the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall be saved," but also the
other nations which were promised to their fathers and our fathers; and
that there is here a promise of that washing of regeneration which, as we
see, is now imparted to all nations, no one who looks into the matter can
doubt. And that saying of the apostle, when he is commending the grace of
the New Testament and its excellence in comparison with the Old, "Ye are
our epistle ... written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living
God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart," has an
evident reference to this place where the prophet says, "A new heart also

will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take
away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of
flesh." Now the heart of flesh from which the apostle's expression, "the
fleshy tables of the heart," is drawn, the prophet intended to point out
as distinguished from the stony heart by the possession of sentient life;
and by sentient he understood intelligent life. And thus the spiritual
Israel is made up, not of one nation, but of all the nations which were
promised to the fathers in their seed, that is, in Christ.
  49. This spiritual Israel, therefore, is distinguished from the carnal
Israel which is of one nation, by newness of grace, not by nobility of
descent, in feeling, not in race; but the prophet, in his depth of
meaning, while speaking of the carnal Israel, passes on, without
indicating the transition, to speak of the spiritual, and although now
speaking of the latter, seems to be still speaking of the former; not
that he grudges us the clear apprehension of Scripture, as if we were
enemies, but that he deals with us as a physician, giving us a wholesome
exercise for our spirit. And therefore we ought to take this saying "And
I will bring you into your own land," and what he says shortly
afterwards, as if repeating himself, "And ye shall dwell in the land that
I gave to your fathers," not literally, as if they referred to Israel
after the flesh but spiritually, as referring to the spiritual Israel.
For the Church, without spot or wrinkle, gathered out of all nations, and
destined to reign forever with Christ, is itself the land of the blessed,
the land of the living; and we are to understand that this was given to
the fathers when it was promised to them in the sure and immutable
purpose of God; for what the fathers believed would be given in its own
time was to them, on account of the unchangeableness of the promise and
purpose, the same as if it were already given; just as the apostle,
writing to Timothy, speaks of the grace which is given to the saints:
"Not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace,
which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began; but is now
made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour." He speaks of the grace as
given at a time when those to whom it was to be given were not yet in
existence; because he looks upon that as having been already done in the
arrangement and purpose of God, which was to take place in its own time,
and he himself speaks of it as now made manifest. It is possible,
however, that these words may refer to the land of the age to come, when
there will be a new heaven and a new earth, wherein the unrighteous shall
be unable to dwell. And so it is truly said to the righteous, that the
land itself is theirs, no part of which will belong to the unrighteous;
because it is the same as if it were itself given, when it is firmly

settled that it shall be given.

Chap. 35.--The fifth rule of Tichonius

  50. The fifth rule Tichonius lays down is one he designates of
times,--a rule by which we can frequently discover or conjecture
quantities of time which are not expressly mentioned in Scripture. And he
says that this rule applies in two ways: either to the figure of speech
called synecdoche, or to legitimate numbers. The figure synecdoche either
puts the part for the whole, or the whole for the part. As, for example,
in reference to the time when, in the presence of only three of His
disciples, our Lord was transfigured on the mount, so that His face shone
as the sun, and His raiment was white as snow, one evangelist says that
this event occurred "after eight days," while another says that it
occurred "after six days." Now both of these statements about the number
of days cannot be true, unless we suppose that the writer who says "after
eight days," counted the latter part of the day on which Christ uttered
the prediction and the first part of the day on which he showed its
fulfilment as two whole days; while the writer who says "after six days,"
counted only the whole unbroken days between these two. This figure of
speech, which puts the part for the whole, explains also the great
question about the resurrection of Christ. For unless to the latter part
of the day on which He suffered we join the previous night, and count it
as a whole day, and to the latter part of the night in which He arose we
join the Lord's day which was just dawning, and count it also a whole
day, we cannot make out the three days and three nights during which He
foretold that He would be in the heart of the earth.
  51. In the next place, our author calls those numbers legitimate which
Holy Scripture more highly favours, such as seven, or ten, or twelve, or
any of the other numbers which the diligent reader of Scripture soon
comes to know. Now numbers of this sort are often put for time universal;
as, for example, "Seven times in the day do I praise Thee," means just
the same as "His praise shall continually be in my mouth." And their
force is exactly the same, either when multiplied by ten, as seventy and
seven hundred (whence the seventy years mentioned in Jeremiah may be
taken in a spiritual sense for the whole time during which the Church is
a sojourner among aliens); or when multiplied into themselves, as ten
into ten gives one hundred, and twelve into twelve gives one hundred and
forty-four, which last number is used in the Apocalypse to signify the
whole body of the saints. Hence it appears that it is not merely
questions about times that are to be settled by these numbers, but that
their significance is of much wider application, and extends to many
subjects. That number in the Apocalypse, for example, mentioned above,
has not reference to times, but to men.

Chap. 36.--The sixth rule of Tichonius

  52. The sixth rule Tichonius calls the recapitulation, which, with

sufficient watchfulness, is discovered in difficult parts of Scripture.
For certain occurrences are so related, that the narrative appears to be
following the order of time, or the continuity of events, when it really
goes back without mentioning it to previous occurrences, which had been
passed over in their proper place. And we make mistakes if we do not
understand this, from applying the rule here spoken of. For example, in
the book of Genesis we read, "And the Lord God planted a garden eastwards
in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the
ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the
sight, and good for food." Now here it seems to be indicated that the
events last mentioned took place after God had formed man and put him in
the garden; whereas the fact is, that the two events having been briefly
mentioned, viz., that God planted a garden, and there put the man whom He
had formed, the narrative goes back, by way of recapitulation, to tell
what had before been omitted, the way in which the garden was planted:
that out of the ground God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to
the sight, and good for food. Here there follows "The tree of life also
was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and
evil." Next the river is mentioned which watered the garden, and which
was parted into four heads, the sources of four streams; and all this has
reference to the arrangements of the garden. And when this is finished,
there is a repetition of the fact which had been already told, but which
in the strict order of events came after all this: "And the Lord God took
the man, and put him into the garden of Eden." For it was after all these
other things were done that man was put in the garden, as now appears
from the order of the narrative itself: it was not after man was put
there that the other things were done, as the previous statement might be
thought to imply, did we not accurately mark and understand the
recapitulation by which the narrative reverts to what had previously been
passed over.
  53. In the same book, again, when the generations of the sons of Noah
are recounted, it is said: "These are the sons of Ham, after their
families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations."
And, again, when the sons of Shem are enumerated: "These are the sons of
Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after
their nations." And it is added in reference to them all: "These are the
families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations;
and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood. And
the whole earth was of one language and of one speech." Now the addition
of this sentence, "And the whole earth was of one language and of one
speech," seems to indicate that at the time when the nations were
scattered over the earth they had all one language in common; but this is
evidently inconsistent with the previous words, in their families, after
their tongues." For each family or nation could not be said to have its

own language if all had one language in common. And so it is by way of
recapitulation it is added, "And the whole earth was of one language and
of one speech," the narrative here going back, without indicating the
change, to tell how it was, that from having one language in common, the
nations were divided into a multitude of tongues. And, accordingly, we
are forthwith told of the building of the tower, and of this punishment
being there laid upon them as the judgment of God upon their arrogance;
and it was after this that they were scattered over the earth according
to their tongues.
  54. This recapitulation is found in a still more obscure form; as, for
example, our Lord says in the gospel: "The same day that Lot went out of
Sodom it rained fire from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall
it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. In that day, he which
shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come
down to take it away; and he that is in the field, let him likewise not
return back. Remember Lot's wife." Is it when our Lord shall have been
revealed that men are to give heed to these sayings, and not to look
behind them, that is, not to long after the past life which they have
renounced? Is not the present rather the time to give heed to them, that
when the Lord shall have been revealed every man may receive his reward
according to the things he has given heed to or despised? And yet because
Scripture says, "In that day," the time of the revelation of the Lord
will be thought the time for giving heed to these sayings, unless the
reader be watchful and intelligent so as to understand the
recapitulation, in which he will be assisted by that other passage of
Scripture which even in the time of the apostles proclaimed: "Little
children, it is the last time." The very time then when the gospel is
preached, up to the time that the Lord shall be revealed. is the day in
which men ought to give heed to these sayings: for to the same day, which
shall be brought to a close by a day of judgment, belongs that very
revelation of the Lord here spoken of.

Chap. 37.--The seventh rule of Tichonius

  55. The seventh rule of Tichonius and the last, is about the devil and
his body. For he is the head of the wicked, who are in a sense his body,
and destined to go with him into the punishment of everlasting fire, just
as Christ is the head of the Church, which is His body, destined to be
with Him in His eternal kingdom and glory. Accordingly, as the first
rule, which is called of the Lord and His body, directs us, when
Scripture speaks of one and the same person, to take pains to understand
which part of the statement applies to the head and which to the body; so
this last rule shows us that statements are sometimes made about the

devil, whose truth is not so evident in regard to himself as in regard to
his body; and his body is made up not only of those who are manifestly
out of the way, but of those also who, though they really belong to him,
are for a time mixed up with the Church, until they depart from this
life, or until the chaff is separated from the wheat at the last great
winnowing. For example, what is said in Isaiah, "How he is fallen from
heaven, Lucifer, son of the morning! " and the other statements of the
context which, under the figure of the king of Babylon, are made about
the same person, are of course to be understood of the devil; and yet the
statement which is made in the same place, "He is ground down on the
earth, who sendeth to all nations," does not altogether fitly apply to
the head himself. For, although the devil sends his angels to all
nations, yet it is his body, not himself, that is ground down on the
earth, except that he himself is in his body, which is beaten small like
the dust which the wind blows from the face of the earth.
  56. Now all these rules, except the one about the promises and the law,
make one meaning to be understood where another is expressed, which is
the peculiarity of figurative diction; and this kind of diction, it seems
to me, is too widely spread to be comprehended in its full extent by any
one. For, wherever one thing is said with the intention that another
should be understood we have a figurative expression, even though the
name of the trope is not to be found in the art of rhetoric. And when an
expression of this sort occurs where it is customary to find it, there is
no trouble in understanding it; when it occurs, however, where it is not
customary, it costs labour to understand it, from some more, from some
less, just as men have got more or less from God of the gifts of
intellect, or as they have access to more or fewer external helps. And,
as in the case of proper words which I discussed above, and in which
things are to be understood just as they are expressed, so in the case of
figurative words, in which one thing is expressed and another is to be
understood, and which I have just finished speaking of as much as I
thought enough, students of these venerable documents ought to be
counselled not only to make themselves acquainted with the forms of
expression ordinarily used in Scripture, to observe them carefully, and
to remember them accurately, but also, what is especially and before all
things necessary, to pray that they may understand them. For in these
very books on the study of which they are intent, they read, "The Lord
giveth wisdom: out of His mouth comets knowledge and understanding;" and
it is from Him they have received their very desire for knowledge, if it
is wedded to piety. But about signs, so far as relates to words, I have
now said enough. It remains to discuss, in the following book, so far as
God has given me light, the means of communicating our thoughts to



Passing to the second part of his work, that which treats of expression,
the author premises that it is no part of his intention to write a
treatise on the laws of rhetoric. These can be learned elsewhere, and
ought not to be neglected, being indeed specially necessary for the
Christian teacher, whom it behoves to excel in eloquence and power of
speech. After detailing with much care and minuteness the various
qualities of an orator, he recommends the authors of the Holy Scriptures
as the best models of eloquence, far excelling all others in the
combination of eloquence with wisdom. He points out that perspicuity is
the most essential quality of style, and ought to be cultivated with
especial care by the teacher, as it is the main requisite for
instruction, although other qualities are required for delighting and
persuading the hearer. All these gifts are to be sought in earnest prayer
from God, though we are not to forget to be zealous and diligent in
study. He shows that there are three species of style,--the subdued, the
elegant, and the majestic; the first serving for instruction, the second
for praise, and the third for exhortation: and of each of these he gives
examples, selected both from Scripture and from early teachers of the
Church, Cyprian and Ambrose. He shows that these various styles may be
mingled, and when and for what purposes they are mingled; and that they
all have the same end in view, to bring home the truth to the hearer, so
that he may understand it, hear it with gladness, and practice it in his
life. Finally, he exhorts the Christian teacher himself, pointing out the
dignity and responsibility of the office he holds, to lead a life in
harmony with his own teaching, and to show a good example to all.

Chap. 1.--This work not intended as a treatise on rhetoric

  1. This work of mine, which is entitled On Christian Doctrine, was at
the commencement divided into two parts. For, after a preface, in which I
answered by anticipation those who were likely to take exception to the
work, I said, "There are two things on which all interpretation of
Scripture depends: the mode of ascertaining the proper meaning, and the
mode of making known the meaning when it is ascertained. I shall treat
first of the mode of ascertaining, next of the mode of making known the
meaning." As, then, I have already said a great deal about the mode of
ascertaining the meaning, and have given three books to this one part of
the subject, I shall only say a few things about the mode of making known
the meaning, in order if possible to bring them all within the compass of

one book, and so finish the whole work in four books.
  2. In the first place, then, I wish by this preamble to put a stop to
the expectations of readers who may think that I am about to lay down
rules of rhetoric such as I have learnt, and taught too, in the secular
schools, and to warn them that they need not look for any such from me.
Not that I think such rules of no use, but that whatever use they have is
to be learnt elsewhere; and if any good man should happen to have leisure
for learning them, he is not to ask me to teach them either in this work
or any other.

Chap. 2.--It is lawful for a Christian teacher to use the art of rhetoric

  3. Now, the art of rhetoric being available for the enforcing either of
truth or falsehood, who will dare to say that truth in the person of its
defenders is to take its stand unarmed against falsehood? For example,
that those who are trying to persuade men of what is false are to know
how to introduce their subject, so as to put the hearer into a friendly,
or attentive, or teachable frame of mind, while the defenders of the
truth shall be ignorant of that art? That the former are to tell their
falsehoods briefly, clearly, and plausibly, while the latter shall tell
the truth in such a way that it is tedious to listen to, hard to
understand, and, in fine, not easy to believe it? That the former are to
oppose the truth and defend falsehood with sophistical arguments, while
the latter shall be unable either to defend what is true, or to refute
what is false? That the former, while imbuing the minds of their hearers
with erroneous opinions, are by their power of speech to awe, to melt, to
enliven, and to rouse them, while the latter shall in defense of the
truth be sluggish, and frigid, and somnolent? Who is such a fool as to
think this wisdom? Since, then, the faculty of eloquence is available for
both sides, and is of very great service in the enforcing either of wrong
or right, why do not good men study to engage it on the side of truth,
when bad men use it to obtain the triumph of wicked and worthless causes,
and to further injustice and error?

Chap. 3.--The proper age and the proper means for acquiring rhetorical

  4. But the theories and rules on this subject (to which, when you add a
tongue thoroughly skilled by exercise and habit in the use of many words
and many ornaments of speech, you have what is called eloquence or
oratory) may be learnt apart from these writings of mine, if a suitable

(continued in part 9...)

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