(Augustine, Christian Doctrine. part 11)

Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all

things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of Gods elect? It is God
that justifieth; who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea,
rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who
also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of
Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or
nakedness, or peril, or sword? (As it is written, For Thy sake we are
killed all the day long, we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.)
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through Him that
loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels,
nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate
us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
  44. Again, in writing to the Galatians, although the whole epistle is
written in the subdued style, except at the end, where it rises into a
temperate eloquence, yet he interposes one passage of so much feeling
that, not withstanding the absence of any ornaments such as appear in the
passages just quoted, it cannot be called anything but powerful: "Ye
observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest
I have bestowed upon you labour in vain. Brethren, I beseech you, be as I
am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all. Ye know how,
through infirmity of the flesh, I preached the gospel unto you at the
first. And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor
rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. Where
is then the blessedness ye spake of? For I bear you record, that, if it
had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have
given them to me. Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you
the truth? They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would
exclude you, that ye might affect them. But it is good to be zealously
affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am preset with you.
My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be
formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my
voice; for I stand in doubt of you". Is there anything here of contrasted
words arranged antithetically, or of words rising gradually to a climax,
or of sonorous clauses, and sections, and periods? Yet, notwithstanding,
there is a glow of strong emotion that makes us feel the fervour of

Chap. 21.--Examples of the various styles, drawn from the teachers of the
church, especially Ambrose and Cyprian

  45. But these writings of the apostles, though clear, are yet profound,
and are so written that one who is not content with a superficial
acquaintance, but desires to know them thoroughly, must not only read and

hear them, but must have an expositor. Let us, then, study these various
modes of speech as they are exemplified in the writings of men who, by
reading the Scriptures, have attained to the knowledge of divine and
saving truth, and have ministered it to the Church. Cyprian of blessed
memory writes in the subdued style in his treatise on the sacrament of
the cup. In this book he resolves the question, whether the cup of the
Lord ought to contain water only, or water mingled with wine. But we must
quote a passage by way of illustration. After the customary introduction,
he proceeds to the discussion of the point in question. "Observe," he
says, "that we are instructed, in presenting the cup, to maintain the
custom handed down to us from the Lord, and to do nothing that our Lord
has not first done for us: so that the cup which is offered in
remembrance of Him should be mixed with wine. For, as Christ says, 'I am
the true vine,' it follows that the blood of Christ is wine, not water;
and the cup cannot appear to contain His blood by which we are redeemed
and quickened, if the wine be absent; for by the wine is the blood of
Christ typified, that blood which is foreshadowed and proclaimed in all
the types and declarations of Scripture. For we find that in the book of
Genesis this very circumstance in regard to the sacrament is
foreshadowed, and our Lord's sufferings typically set forth, in the case
of Noah, when he drank wine, and was drunken, and was uncovered within
his tent, and his nakedness was exposed by his second son, and was
carefully hidden by his elder and his younger sons. It is not necessary
to mention the other circumstances in detail, as it is only necessary to
observe this point, that Noah, foreshadowing the future reality, drank,
not water, but wine, and thus showed forth our Lord's passion. In the
same way we see the sacrament of the Lord's supper prefigured in the case
of Melchizedek the priest, according to the testimony of the Holy
Scriptures, where it says: 'And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth
bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he
blessed Abraham.' Now, that Melchizedek was a type of Christ, the Holy
Spirit declares in the Psalms, where the Father addressing the Son says,
'Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.'" In this
passage, and in all of the letter that follows, the subdued style is
maintained, as the reader may easily satisfy himself.
  46. St. Ambrose also, though dealing with a question of very great
importance, the equality of the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son,
employs the subdued style, because the object he has in view demands, not
beauty of diction, nor the swaying of the mind by the stir of emotion,
but facts and proofs. Accordingly, in the introduction to his work, we
find the following passage among others: "When Gideon was startled by the
message he had heard from God, that, though thousands of the people
failed, yet through one man God would deliver His people from their
enemies, he brought forth a kid of the goats, and by direction of the
angel laid it with unleavened cakes upon a rock, and poured the broth

over it; and as soon as the angel of God touched it with the end of the
staff that was in his hand, there rose up fire out of the rock and
consumed the offering. Now this sign seems to indicate that the rock was
a type of the body of Christ, for it is written, 'They drank of that
spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ;' this, of
course, referring not to Christ's divine nature, but to His flesh, whose
ever-flowing fountain of blood has ever satisfied the hearts of His
thirsting people. And so it was at that time declared in a mystery that
the Lord Jesus, when crucified, should abolish in His flesh the sins of
the whole world, and not their guilty acts merely, but the evil lusts of
their hearts. For the kid's flesh refers to the guilt of the outward act,
the broth to the allurement of lust within, as it is written, 'And the
mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting; and the children of
Israel also wept again and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat?' When
the angel, then, stretched out his staff and touched the rock, and fire
rose out of it, this was a sign that our Lord's flesh, filled with the
Spirit of God, should burn up all the sins of the human race. Whence also
the Lord says, 'I am come to send fire on the earth.'" And in the same
style he pursues the subject, devoting himself chiefly to proving and
enforcing his point.
  47. An example of the temperate style is the celebrated encomium on
virginity from Cyprian: "Now our discourse addresses itself to the
virgins, who, as they are the objects of higher honour, are also the
objects of greater care. These are the flowers on the tree of the Church,
the glory and ornament of spiritual grace, the joy of honour and praise,
a work unbroken and unblemished, the image of God answering to the
holiness of the Lord, the brighter portion of the flock of Christ. The
glorious fruitfulness of their mother the Church rejoices in them, and in
them flourishes more abundantly; and in proportion as bright virginity
adds to her numbers, in the same proportion does the mother's joy
increase." And at another place in the end of the epistle, "As we have
borne," he says, "the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image
of the heavenly." Virginity bears this image, integrity bears it,
holiness and truth bear it; they bear it who are mindful of the
chastening of the Lord, who obscene justice and piety, who are strong in
faith, humble in fear, steadfast in the endurance of suffering, meek in
the endurance of injury, ready to pity, of one mind and of one heart in
brotherly peace. And every one of these things ought ye, holy virgins, to
obscene, to cherish, and fulfill, who having hearts at leisure for God
and for Christ, and having chosen the greater and better part, lead and
point the way to the Lord, to whom you have pledged your vows. Ye who are
advanced in age, exercise control over the younger. Ye who are younger,
wait upon the elders, and encourage your equals; stir up one another by
mutual exhortations; provoke one another to glory by emulous examples of
virtue; endure bravely, advance in spirituality, finish your course with

joy; only be mindful of us when your virginity shall begin to reap its
reward of honour."
  48. Ambrose also uses the temperate and ornamented style when he is
holding up before virgins who have made their profession a model for
their imitation, and says: "She was a virgin not in body only, but also
in mind; not mingling the purity of her affection with any dross of
hypocrisy; serious in speech; prudent in disposition; sparing of words;
delighting in study; not placing her confidence in uncertain riches, but
in the prayer of the poor; diligent in labour; reverent in word;
accustomed to look to God, not man, as the guide of her conscience;
injuring no one, wishing well to all; dutiful to her elders, not envious
of her equals; avoiding boastfulness, following reason, loving virtue.
When did she wound her parents even by a look? When did she quarrel with
her neighbours? When did she spurn the humble, laugh at the weak, or shun
the indigent? She is accustomed to visit only those haunts of men that
pity would not blush for, nor modesty pass by. There is nothing haughty
in her eyes, nothing bold in her words, nothing wanton in her gestures:
her bearing is not voluptuous, nor her gait too free, nor her voice
petulant; so that her outward appearance is an image of her mind, and a
picture of purity. For a good house ought to be known for such at the
very threshold, and show at the very entrance that there is no dark
recess within, as the light of a lamp set inside sheds its radiance on
the outside. Why need I detail her sparingness in food, her
superabundance in duty,--the one falling beneath the demands of nature,
the other rising above its powers? The latter has no intervals of
intermission, the former doubles the days by fasting; and when the desire
for refreshment does arise, it is satisfied with food such as will
support life, but not minister to appetite." Now I have cited these
latter passages as examples of the temperate style, because their purpose
is not to induce those who have not yet devoted themselves to take the
vows of virginity, but to show of what character those who have taken
vows ought to be. To prevail on any one to take a step of such a nature
and of so great importance, requires that the mind should be excited and
set on fire by the majestic style. Cyprian the martyr, however, did not
write about the duty of taking up the profession of virginity, but about
the dress and deportment of virgins. Yet that great bishop urges them to
their duty even in these respects by the power of a majestic eloquence.
  49. But I shall select examples of the majestic style from their
treatment of a subject which both of them have touched. Both have
denounced the women who colour, or rather discolour, their faces with
paint. And the first, in dealing with this topic, says: "Suppose a
painter should depict in colours that rival nature's the features and
form and completion of some man, and that, when the portrait had been
finished with consummate art, another painter should put his hand over
it, as if to improve by his superior skill the painting already
completed; surely the first artist would feel deeply insulted, and his
indignation would be justly roused. Dost thou, then, think that thou wilt
carry off with impunity so audacious an act of wickedness, such an insult

to God the great artifices? For, granting that thou art not immodest in
thy behaviour towards men, and that thou art not polluted in mind by
these meretricious deceits, yet, in corrupting and violating what is
God's, thou provest thyself worse than an adulteress. The fact that thou
considerest thyself adorned and beautified by such arts is an impeachment
of God's handiwork, and a violation of truth. Listen to the warning voice
of the apostle: 'Purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as
ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:
therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the
leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of
sincerity and truth.' Now can sincerity and truth continue to exist when
what is sincere is polluted, and what is true is changed by meretricious
colouring and the deceptions of quackery into a lie? Thy Lord says, 'Thou
can't not make one hair white or black;' and dost thou wish to have
greater power so as to bring to nought the words of thy Lord? With rash
and sacrilegious hand thou wouldst fain change the colour of thy hair: I
would that, with a prophetic look to the future, thou shouldst dye it the
color of flame." It would be too long to quote all that follows.
  50. Ambrose again, inveighing against such practices, says: "Hence
arise these incentives to vice, that women, in their fear that they may
not prove attractive to men, paint their faces with carefully-chosen
colours, and then from stains on their features go on to stains on their
chastity. What folly it is to change the features of nature into those of
a painting, and from fear of incurring their husband's disapproval, to
proclaim openly that they have incurred their own! For the woman who
desires to alter her natural appearance pronounces condemnation on
herself; and her eager endeavours to please another prove that she has
first been displeasing to herself. And what testimony to thine ugliness
can we find, O woman, that is more unquestionable than thine own, when
thou art afraid to show thyself? If thou art comely why dost thou hide
thy comeliness? If thou art plain, why test thou lyingly pretend to be
beautiful, when thou can't not enjoy the pleasure of the lie either in
thine own consciousness or in that of another? For he loves another
woman, thou desires to please another man; and thou art angry if he love
another, though he is taught adultery in thee. Thou art the evil
promptress of thine own injury. For even the woman who has been the
victim of a pander shrinks from acting the pander's part, and though she
be vile, it is herself she sins against and not another. The crime of
adultery is almost more tolerable than thine; for adultery tampers with
modesty, but thou with nature." It is sufficiently clear, I think, that
this eloquence calls passionately upon women to avoid tampering with
their appearance by deceitful arts, and to cultivate modesty and fear.
Accordingly, we notice that the style is neither subdued nor temperate,

but majestic throughout. Now in these two authors whom I have selected as
specimens of the rest, and in other ecclesiastical writers who both speak
the truth and speak it well,--speak it, that is, judiciously, pointedly,
and with beauty and power of expression,--many examples may be found of
the three styles of speech, scattered through their various writings and
discourses; and the diligent student may by assiduous reading,
intermingled with practice on his own part, become thoroughly imbued with
them all.

Chap. 22.--The necessity of variety in style

  51. But we are not to suppose that it is against rule to mingle these
various styles: on the contrary, every variety of style should be
introduced so far as is consistent with good taste. For when we keep
monotonously to one style, we fail to retain the hearer's attention; but
when we pass from one style to another, the discourse goes off more
gracefully, even though it extend to greater length. Each separate style,
again, has varieties of its own which prevent the hearer's attention from
cooling or becoming languid. We can bear the subdued style, however,
longer without variety than the majestic style. For the mental emotion
which it is necessary to stir up in order to carry the hearer's feelings
with us, when once it has been sufficiently excited, the higher the pitch
to which it is raised, can be maintained the shorter time. And therefore
we must be on our guard, lest, in striving to carry to a higher point the
emotion we have excited, we rather lose what we have already gained. But
after the interposition of matter that we have to treat in a quieter
style, we can return with good effect to that which must be treated
forcibly, thus making the tide of eloquence to ebb and flow like the sea.
It follows from this, that the majestic style, if it is to be long
continued, ought not to be unvaried, but should alternate at intervals
with the other styles; the speech or writing as a whole, however, being
referred to that style which is the prevailing one.

Chap. 23.--How the various styles should be mingled

  52. Now it is a matter of importance to determine what style should be
alternated with what other, and the places where it is necessary that any
particular style should be used. In the majestic style, for instance, it
is always, or almost always, desirable that the introduction should be
temperate. And the speaker has it in his discretion to use the subdued

style even where the majestic would be allowable, in order that the
majestic when it is used may be the more majestic by comparison and may
as it were shine out with greater brilliance from the dark background.
Again, whatever may be the style of the speech or writing, when knotty
questions turn up for solution, accuracy of distinction is required, and
this naturally demands the subdued style. And accordingly this style must
be used in alternation with the other two styles whenever questions of
that sort turn up; just as we must use the temperate style, no matter
what may be the general tone of the discourse, whenever praise or blame
is to be given without any ulterior reference to the condemnation or
acquittal of any one, or to obtaining the concurrence of any one in a
course of action. In the majestic style, then, and in the quiet likewise,
both the other two styles occasionally find place. The temperate style,
on the other hand, not indeed always, but occasionally, needs the quiet
style; for example, when, as I have said, a knotty question comes up to
be settled, or when some points that are susceptible of ornament are left
unadorned and expressed in the quiet style, in order to give greater
effect to certain exuberances (as they may be called) of ornament. But
the temperate style never needs the aid of the majestic; for its object
is to gratify, never to excite, the mind.

Chap. 24.--The effects produced by the majestic style

  53. If frequent and vehement applause follows a speaker, we are not to
suppose on that account that he is speaking in the majestic style; for
this effect is often produced both by the accurate distinctions of the
quiet style, and by the beauties of the temperate. The majestic style, on
the other hand, frequently silences the audience by its impressiveness,
but calls forth their tears. For example, when at Caesarean in Mauritania
I was dissuading the people from that civil, or worse than civil, war
which they called Ceterva (for it was not fellow-citizens merely, but
neighbours, brothers, fathers and sons even, who, divided into two
factions and armed with stones, fought annually at a certain season of
the year for several days continuously, every one killing whomsoever he
could), I strove with all the vehemence of speech that I could command to
root out and drive from their hearts and lives an evil so cruel and
inveterate; it was not, however, when I heard their applause, but when I
saw their tears, that I thought I had produced an effect. For the
applause showed that they were instructed and delighted, but the tears
that they were subdued. And when I saw their tears I was confident, even
before the event proved it, that this horrible and barbarous custom
(which had been handed down to them from their fathers and their
ancestors of generations long gone by and which like an enemy was
besieging their hearts, or rather had complete possession of them) was
overthrown; and immediately that my sermon was finished I called upon

them with heart and voice to give praise and thanks to God. And, lo, with
the blessing of Christ, it is now eight years or more since anything of
the sort was attempted there. In many other cases besides I have observed
that men show the effect made on them by the powerful eloquence of a wise
man, not by clamorous applause so much as by groans, sometimes even by
tears, finally by change of life.
  54. The quiet style, too, has made a change in many; but it was to
teach them what they were ignorant of, or to persuade them of what they
thought incredible, not to make them do what they knew they ought to do
but were unwilling to do. To break down hardness of this sort, speech
needs to be vehement. Praise and censure, too, when they are eloquently
expressed, even in the temperate style, produce such an effect on some,
that they are not only pleased with the eloquence of the encomiums and
censures, but are led to live so as themselves to deserve praise, and to
avoid living so as to incur blame. But no one would say that all who are
thus delighted change their habits in consequence, whereas all who are
moved by the majestic style act accordingly, and all who are taught by
the quiet style know or believe a truth which they were previously
ignorant of.

Chap. 25.--How the temperate style is to be used

  55. From all this we may conclude, that the end arrived at by the two
styles last mentioned is the one which it is most essential for those who
aspire to speak with wisdom and eloquence to secure. On the other hand,
what the temperate style properly aims at, viz., to please by beauty of
expressions, is not in itself an adequate end; but when what we have to
say is good and useful, and when the hearers are both acquainted with it
and favourably disposed towards it, so that it is not necessary either to
instruct or persuade them, beauty of style may have its influence in
securing their prompter compliance, or in making them adhere to it more
tenaciously. For as the function of all eloquence, whichever of these
three forms it may assume, is to speak persuasively, and its object is to
persuade, an eloquent man will speak persuasively, whatever style he may
adopt; but unless he succeeds in persuading, his eloquence has not
secured its object. Now in the subdued style, he persuades his hearers
that what he says is true; in the majestic style, he persuades them to do
what they are aware they ought to do, but do not; in the temperate style,
he persuades them that his speech is elegant and ornate. But what use is
there in attaining such an object as this last? They may desire it who
are vain of their eloquence and make a boast of panegyrics, and suchlike
performances, where the object is not to instruct the hearer, or to
persuade him to any course of action, but merely to give him pleasure.

We, however, ought to make that end subordinate to another, viz., the
effecting by this style of eloquence what we aim at effecting when we use
the majestic style. For we may by the use of this style persuade men to
cultivate good habits and give up evil ones, if they are not so hardened
as to need the vehement style; or if they have already begun a good
course, we may induce them to pursue it more zealously, and to persevere
in it with constancy. Accordingly, even in the temperate style we must
use beauty of expression not for ostentation, but for wise ends; not
contenting ourselves merely with pleasing the hearer, but rather seeking
to aid him in the pursuit of the good end which we hold out before him.

Chap. 26.--In every style the orator should aim at perspicuity, beauty,
and persuasiveness

  56. Now in regard to the three conditions I laid down a little while
ago as necessary to be fulfilled by any one who wishes to speak with
wisdom and eloquence, viz. perspicuity, beauty of style, and persuasive
power, we are not to understand that these three qualities attach
themselves respectively to the three several styles of speech, one to
each, so that perspicuity is a merit peculiar to the subdued style,
beauty to the temperate, and persuasive power to the majestic. On the
contrary, all speech, whatever its style, ought constantly to aim at, and
as far as possible to display, all these three merits. For we do not like
even what we say in the subdued style to pall upon the hearer; and
therefore we would be listened to, not with intelligence merely, but with
pleasure as well. Again, why do we enforce what we teach by divine
testimony, except that we wish to carry the hearer with us, that is, to
compel his assert by calling in the assistance of Him of whom it is said,
"Thy testimonies are very sure"? And when any one narrates a story, even
in the subdued style, what does he wish but to be believed? But who will
listen to him if he do not arrest attention by some beauty of style? And
if he be not intelligible, is it not plain that he can neither give
pleasure nor enforce conviction? The subdued style, again, in its own
naked simplicity, when it unravels questions of very great difficulty,
and throws an unexpected light upon them; when it worms out and brings to
light some very acute observations from a quarter whence nothing was
expected; when it seizes upon and exposes the falsity of an opposing
opinion, which seemed at its first statement to be unassailable;
especially when all this is accompanied by a natural, unsought grace of
expression, and by a rhythm and balance of style which is not
ostentatiously obtruded, but seems rather to be called forth by the
nature of the subject: this style, so used, frequently calls forth
applause so great that one can hardly believe it to be the subdued style.
For the fact that it comes forth without either ornament or defense, and
offers battle in its own naked simplicity, does not hinder it from

crushing its adversary by weight of nerve and muscle, and overwhelming
and destroying the falsehood that opposes it by the mere strength of its
own right arm. How explain the frequent and vehement applause that waits
upon men who speak thus, except by the pleasure that truth so
irresistibly established, and so victoriously defended, naturally
affords? Wherefore the Christian teacher speaker ought, when he uses the
subdued style, to endeavour not only to be clear and intelligible, but to
give pleasure and to bring home conviction to the hearer.
  57. Eloquence of the temperate style, also, must, in the case of the
Christian orator, be neither altogether without ornament, nor unsuitably
adorned, nor is it to make the giving of pleasure its sole aim, which is
all it professes to accomplish in the hands of others; but in its
encomiums and censures it should aim at inducing the hearer to strive
after or hold more firmly by what it praises, and to avoid or renounce
what it condemns. On the other hand, without perspicuity this style
cannot give pleasure. And so the three qualities, perspicuity, beauty,
and persuasiveness, are to be sought in this style also; beauty, of
course, being its primary object.
  58. Again, when it becomes necessary to stir and sway the hearer's mind
by the majestic style (and this is always necessary when he admits that
what you say is both true and agreeable, and yet is unwilling to act
accordingly), you must, of course, speak in the majestic style. But who
can be moved if he does not understand what is said? And who will stay to
listen if he receives no pleasure? Wherefore, in this style, too, when an
obdurate heart is to be persuaded to obedience,  you must speak so as to
be both intelligible and pleasing, if you would be heard with a
submissive mind.

Chap. 27.--The man whose life is in harmony with his teaching will teach
with greater effect

  59. But whatever may be the majesty of the style, the life of the
speaker will count for more in securing the hearer's compliance. The man
who speaks wisely and eloquently, but lives wickedly, may, it is true,
instruct many who are anxious to learn; though, as it is written, he "is
unprofitable to himself." Wherefore, also, the apostle says: "Whether in
pretence or in truth Christ is preached." Now Christ is the truth; yet we
see that the truth can be preached, though not in truth, that is, what is
right and true in itself may be preached by a man of perverse and
deceitful mind. And thus it is that Jesus Christ is preached by those
that seek their own, and not the things that are Jesus Christ's. But
since true believers obey the voice, not of any man, but of the Lord

Himself, who says, "All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that
observe and do: but do not ye after their works; for they say and do
not;" and therefore it is that men who themselves lead unprofitable lives
are heard with profit by others. For though they seek their own objects,
they do not dare to teach their own doctrines, sitting as they do in the
high places of ecclesiastical authority, which is established  on sound
doctrine. Wherefore our Lord Himself, before saying what I have just
quoted about men of this stamp, made this observation: "The scribes and
the Pharisees sit in Moses's seat." The seat they occupied then, which
was not theirs but Moses', compelled them to say what was good, though
they did what was evil. And so they followed their own course in their
lives, but were prevented by the seat they occupied, which belonged to
another, from preaching their own doctrines.
  60. Now these men do good to many by preaching what they themselves do
not perform; but they would do good to very many more if they lived as
they preach. For there are numbers who seek an excuse for their own evil
lives in comparing the teaching with the conduct of their instructors,
and who say in their hearts, or even go a little further, and say with
their lips: Why do you not do yourself what you bid me do? And thus they
cease to listen with submission to a man who does not listen to himself,
and in despising the preacher they learn to despise the word that is
preached. Wherefore the apostle, writing to Timothy, after telling him,
"Let no man despise thy youth," adds immediately the course by which he
would avoid contempt: "but be thou an example of the believers, in word,
in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity."

Chap. 28.--Truth is more important than expression. What is meant by
strife about words

  61. Such a teacher as is here described may, to secure compliance,
speak not only quietly and temperately, but even vehemently, without any
breach of modesty, because his life protects him against contempt. For
while he pursues an upright life, he takes care to maintain a good
reputation as well, providing things honest in the sight of God and men,
fearing God, and caring for men. In his very speech even he prefers to
please by matter rather than by words; thinks that a thing is well said
in proportion as it is true in fact, and that a teacher should govern his
words, not let the words govern him. This is what the apostle says: "Not
with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none
effect." To the same effect also is what he says to Timothy: "Charging
them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but
to the subverting of the hearers." Now this does not mean that, when
adversaries oppose the truth, we are to say nothing in defense of the
truth. For where, then, would be what he says when he is describing the
sort of man a bishop ought to be: "that he may be able by sound doctrine
both to exhort and convince the gainsayers?" To strive about words is not

to be careful about the way to overcome error by truth, but to be anxious
that your mode of expression should be preferred to that of another. The
man who does not strive about words, whether he speak quietly,
temperately, or vehemently, uses words with no other purpose than to make
the truth plain, pleasing and effective; for not even love itself, which
is the end of the commandment and the fulfilling of the law, can be
rightly exercised unless the objects of love are true and not false. For
as a man with a comely body but an ill-conditioned mind is a more painful
object than if his body too were deformed, so men who teach lies are the
more pitiable if they happen to be eloquent in speech. To speak
eloquently, then, and wisely as well, is just to express truths which it
is expedient to teach in fit and proper words,--words which in the
subdued style are adequate, in the temperate, elegant, and in the
majestic, forcible. But the man who cannot speak both eloquently and
wisely should speak wisely without eloquence, rather than eloquently
without wisdom.

Chap. 29.--It is permissible for a preacher to deliver to the people what
has been written by a more eloquent man than himself

  If, however, he cannot do even this, let his life be such as shall not
only secure a reward for himself, but afford an example to others; and
let his manner of living be an eloquent sermon in itself.
  63. There are, indeed, some men who have a good delivery, but cannot
compose anything to deliver. Now, if such men take what has been written
with wisdom and eloquence by others, and commit it to memory, and deliver
it to the people, they cannot be blamed, supposing them to do it without
deception. For in this way many become preachers of the truth (which is
certainly desirable), and yet not many teachers; for all deliver the
discourse which one real teacher has composed, and there are no divisions
among them. Nor are such men to be alarmed by the words of Jeremiah the
prophet, through whom God denounces those who steal His words every one
from his neighbour. For those who steal take what does not belong to
them, but the word of God belongs to all who obey it; and it is the man
who speaks well, but lives badly, who really takes the words that belong
to another. For the good things he says seem to be the result of his own
thought, and yet they have nothing in common with his manner of life. And
so God has said that they steal His words who would appear good by
speaking God's words, but are in fact bad, as they follow their own ways.
And if you look closely into the matter, it is not really themselves who
say the good things they say. For how can they say in words what they
deny in deeds? It is not for nothing that the apostle says of such men:
"They profess that they know God, but in works they deny Him." In one
sense, then, they do say the things, and in another sense they do not say
them; for both these statements must be true, both being made by Him who
is the Truth. Speaking of such men, in one place He says, "Whatsoever

they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their
works; "that is to say, what ye hear from their lips, that do; what ye
see in their lives, that do ye not;--"for they say and do not." And so,
though they do not, yet they say. But in another place, upbraiding such
men, He says, "O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good
things?" And from this it would appear that even what they say, when they
say what is good, it is not themselves who say, for in will and in deed
they deny what they say. Hence it happens that a wicked man who is
eloquent may compose a discourse in which the truth is set forth to be
delivered by a good man who is not eloquent; and when this takes place,
the former draws from himself what does not belong to him, and the latter
receives from another what really belongs to himself. But when true
believers render this service to true believers, both parties speak what
is their own, for God is theirs, to whom belongs all that they say; and
even those who could not compose what they say make it their own by
composing their lives in harmony with it.

Chap. 30.--The preacher should commence his discourse with prayer to God

  63. But whether a man is going to address the people or to dictate what
others will deliver or read to the people, he ought to pray God to put
into his mouth a suitable discourse. For if Queen Esther prayed, when she
was about to speak to the king touching the temporal welfare of her race,
that God would put fit words into her mouth, how much more ought he to
pray for the same blessing who labours in word and doctrine for the
eternal welfare of men? Those, again, who are to deliver what others
compose for them ought, before they receive their discourse, to pray for
those who are preparing it; and when they have received it, they ought to
pray both that they themselves may deliver it well, and that those to
whom they address it may give ear; and when the discourse has a happy
issue, they ought to render thanks to Him from whom they know such
blessings come, so that all the praise may be His "in whose hand are both
we and our words."

Chap. 31.--Apology for the length of the work

  64. This book has extended to a greater length than I expected or
desired. But the reader or hearer who finds pleasure in it will not think
it long. He who thinks it long, but is anxious to know its contents, may
read it in parts. He who does not care to be acquainted with it need not
complain of its length. I, however, give thanks to God that with what
little ability I possess I have in these four books striven to depict,
not the sort of man I am myself (for my defects are very many), but the
sort of man he ought to be who desires to labour in sound, that is, in
Christian doctrine, not for his own instruction only, but for that of
others also.

        End of - On Christian Doctrine

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