« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
ordinary gambling-hell is confined to one house and its frequenters. A lottery spreads through the whole nation; it reaches everywhere, and it does it by the aid of the Government. It was not for this that we built up our magnificent postal system, which is supported at such vast expense annually. Yet that postal system is the instrument to-day and might almost be called the partner or accessory of this great swindling scheme.
Without the aid of the Government through the Post-Office Department, the whole business would be cut down to a mere local gambling establishment answerable to the police powers of the local government. That is what I trust this bill will do. It broadens the present law so that'a lottery letter can be followed after it is mailed at New Orleans or Washington, which are the centers of the lottery business, and the offenders punished wherever the letter goes,
not alone in Louisiana, where juries can be readily affected by the tremendous power of the lottery company.
It will close the mails to newspapers advertising lotteries, which will be a long step toward destroying their means of reaching and deluding the victim by alluring advertisements and promises which appeal to the cupidity of the ignorant and unthinking who hasten to be rich without labor. Nor does it in the least interfere with the inviolability of the seal upon letters, which will be as sacred hereafter as they have been and always should be. It authorizes the Postmaster-General, upon satisfactory evidence, which will soon be obtained by the agents of the Department, in regard to the character of lottery letters, to stop their transmission through the mails and institute proceedings to punish those sending. We know that the Postmaster-General will faithfully and zealously perform his part if we do ours and pass this bill. Let us do it, and do it now.
ORATORY. THE PULPIT.
Subjects : It is More Blessed to Give than Christian Conduct. to Receive.
Man shall Not Live by Bread The Duty of Self-Abnegation.
The orator's success depends in no small degree upon his skill in adapting his style to his audience. A stump speaker in the backwoods will naturally adopt a very different tone from that of a legislator on the floor of Congress, even though he may be speaking on the same subject. An ignorant demagogue will hardly succeed in moving a cultivated audience, while, on the other hand, an address that is “over the heads” of the hearers is equally futile. Either extreme is to be avoided that of descending below or of rising too far above the intellectual level of those addressed. It
be sionally that an orator's end is best subserved by assuming to place his auditors on a higher plane, thus flattering their self-esteem. But if they are allowed to suspect that this is done purposely they will naturally feel insulted and withhold their sympathy. Again, it may seem best to endeavor to strike their own level, to talk to them just as they might be expected to talk themselves. The danger here is that they may realize they are being “ talked down to” and feel that their intelligence is being underrated. The story is told of Patrick Henry that in certain of his speeches in Virginia he went so far as to imitate the very dialect of the backwoodsmen. But the effect was not what he calculated upon. His hearers knew that this was only an imitation and therefore an artifice. They would have listened more respectfully and more willingly had he kept to his natural style.
Taking all these things into consideration it would seem that in general the best tone to adopt is one somewhat above the level of the audience, provided, of course, that this is natural to the speaker and not beyond
his own powers. An audience naturally assumes that a speaker has more knowledge or power than they of the kind he purposes to exhibit or they would not come to hear him. And even if he does go beyond their intelligence now and then they will hardly resent it, for it is rather gratifying than otherwise to the average man to have it assumed that he knows somewhat more than he actually does. Only, the speaker must guard against excursions and flights in which his audience will wholly fail to follow him. The intricacies of politics and theology, the technicalities of science, and the abstractions of philosophy, would clearly be out of place before a mixed assemblage.
This may be said further : In general, the higher the intelligence of the auditors the more averse will they be to rant and bombast, the more quickly will they resent any attempt to influence their judgment by emotional appeals, the more will they care for simple facts and dispassionate reason. Not that they are necessarily less emotional, or take less pleasure in giving play to their emotional natures, only they realize that action should be governed by wisdom and judgment rather than by mere impulse. If they wish to satisfy the cravings of this emotional nature they know they have other resources, the drama, for instance, and poetry, where there is little or no persuasion to positive and immediate action.
Pulpit oratory is peculiarly apt to be of the emotional type. If religion is a matter of sentiment, of the feelings purely, there certainly can be no objection to this. But people are beginning to demand a reason for everything they do, and to suspect any religious movement,
as they would suspect any political movement, which does not invite full intellectual investigation ; and so simple exhortation in the pulpit is more and more giving place to exposition and argument.
A good example of the first kind of preaching may be found in the second chapter of George Eliot's Adam Bede. The following example of pulpit oratory is taken from the opening and close of a sermon by the Rev. Dr. Talmage :
There are ten thousand ways of telling a lie. A man's entire life may be a falsehood, while with his lips he may not once directly falsify. There are those who state what is positively untrue, but afterward
say may be” softly. These departures from the truth are called white lies, but there is really no such thing as a white lie. The whitest lie that was ever told was as black as perdition. There are men high in church and state, actually useful, self-denying, and honest in many things, who, upon certain subjects and in certain spheres, are not at all to be depended upon for veracity. Indeed, there are multitudes of men who have their notion of truthfulness so thoroughly perverted that they do not know when they are lying. With many it is a cultivated sin ; with some it seems a natural infirmity. I have known people who seemed to have been born liars. The falsehoods of their lives extended from cradle to grave. Prevarication, misrepresentation, and dishonesty of speech, appeared in their first utterances and were as natural to them as any of their infantile diseases, and were a sort of moral croup or spiritual scarlatina. have been placed in circumstances where this tendency has day by day and hour by hour been called to larger development. They have gone from attainment to attainment, and from class to class, until they have become regularly graduated liars.
The air of the city is filled with falsehoods. They hang pendent from the chandeliers of our finest residences. They crowd the shelves of some of our merchant princes. They fill the sidewalk from curb-stone to brown-stone facing. They cluster
round the mechanic's hammer, and blossom from the end of the merchant's yardstick, and sit in the doors of churches. Some call them “fiction.” Some style them “fabrications." You might say that they were subterfuge, disguise, illusion, romance, evasion, pretence, fable, deception, misrepresentation ; but, as I am ignorant of anything to be gained by the hiding of a God-defying outrage under a lexicographer's blanket, I shall chiefly call them in plainest vernacular — lies.
Let us all strive to be what we appear to be, and banish from our lives everything that looks like deception, remembering that God will yet reveal to the universe what we really are.
To many, alas, this life is a masquerade ball. As at such entertainments gentlemen and ladies appear in the dress of kings and queens, mountain bandits or clowns, and at the close of the dance throw off their disguises, so many all through life move in mask. Across the floor they trip merrily. The lights sparkle along the wall or drop from the ceiling, a very cohort of fire. The feet bound, gemmed hands stretched out clasp gemmed hands, dancing feet respond to dancing feet, gleaming brow bends low to gleaming brow. On with the dance! Flash and rustle and laughter and immeasurable merrymaking ! But the languor of death comes over the limbs and blurs the sight. Lights lower ; floors hollow with selpulchral echo ; music saddens into a wail. Lights lower; the maskers can hardly now be seen ; flowers exchange their fragrance for a sickening odor, such as comes from garlands that have lain in vaults of cemeteries. Lights lower; mists fill the room; glasses rattle as though shaken by sullen thunder ; sighs seem caught among the curtains ; scarf falls from the shoulder of beauty — a shroud. Lights lower ; over the slippery boards in dance of death glide jealousies, disappointments, lust, despair ; torn leaves and withered garlands only half hide the ulcered feet; the stench of the smoking lampwicks almost quenched, choking damps, chilliness, feet still, hands folded, eyes shut, voices hushed. Lights out !