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ORATORY.— THE PLATFORM.
- Sweetness and Light.”
On the public lecture platform oratory finds perhaps its broadest scope. Here subjects are drawn from every possible field, appeals are made to every conceivable motive, and the style ranges from the humorous to the pathetic and the sublime. Here then the orator has full play of his powers and may be expected to use every resource at his command.
The object of a public lecture is not in general to arouse people to any particular or hasty action ; oftener this would seem to be very far from its purpose. And no doubt the people are inclined to look upon it solely as a means for their instruction or entertainment. But it is more than that. The lecture platform is a means for bringing the great leaders of the world's thought and action into closer touch with the masses whom they lead. The true public orator realizes this. He knows that while he may instruct and amuse he does it to better purpose than that. He knows that his responsibility is great because his opportunity is great and his influence incalculable. He knows that the fitly and fervently spoken word shall fall as a seed into the
hearts of his hearers to germinate in due season and blossom into lovely or unlovely characters and bear fruit in deeds that shall be a curse or a blessing to all humanity. With this realization full upon him he may well feel that there is no dignity or sincerity or, wisdom or strength that he should not strive to attain.