David J. (David Josiah) Brewer.

Crowned masterpieces of eloquence, representing the advance of civilization, as collected in The world's best orations, from the earliest period to the present time (Volume 4) online

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were sent from you, an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice accept-
able, well-pleasing to God. For when one hath pity on the poor,
he lendeth to God '^ ; and he that gives, even to the least, gives
to God, spiritually sacrificing to God an odor of a sweet smell.



^YRiL of Jerusalem bears translation into English much bettei
than many others of the celebrated pulpit orators of the
first centuries of the Christian era. In many of the sermons
of that period eloquence, which depends primarily on profound relig-
ious conviction, scarcely survives at all when deprived of its melo-
dious expression in Greek or Latin. Cyril, however, has a poetry of
idea, which makes such sermons as that which he preached from the
second and third verses of the thirty-eighth chapter of Job, eloquent
in any language into which they are translated. He was born near
Jerusalem about 315 A, D. In 350 A. D. he succeeded to the bishop-
ric of Jerusalem, from which seven years later he was deposed as
the result of a controversy with Acacius, the Arian Bishop of Caesa-
rea. Four years later he was restored to his see and held it until
his death in 386 A. D. His works were edited by Touttee in 1720.


(From a Sermon on the Second and Third Verses of the Thirty-Eighth

Chapter of Job)

What! is there not much to wonder at in the sun, which, be-
ing small to look on, contains in it an intensity of power,
appearing from the east, and shooting his light even to
the west ? The Psalmist describes his rising at dawn, when he
says, "Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber."
This is a description of his pleasant and comely array on first
appearing to men; for when he rides at high noon we are wont
to flee from his blaze; but at his rising he is welcome to all, as
a bridegroom to look on. Behold, also, how he proceeds (or
rather not he, but one who has by his bidding determined his
course) ; how in summer time aloft in the heavens he finishes
off longer days, giving men due time for their works; while in
winter he straightens his course, lest the day's cold last too long,
and that the night's lengthening may conduce both to the rest
of men, and to the fruitfulness of the earth's productions. And



see, likewise, in what order the days correspond to each other, in
summer increasing, in winter diminishing, but in spring and au-
tumn affording one another a uniform length; and the night
again in like manner. And as the Psalmist saith concerning
them, ** Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night
showeth knowledge.*

For to those who have no ears, they almost shout aloud, and
by their orders say there is no other God save their Maker
and the appointer of their bounds, him who laid out the uni-
verse. . . .

Those persons ought to have felt astonishment and admira-
tion, not only at the sun and moon, but also at the well-ordered
choirs of the stars, their unimpeded courses, their respective risings
in due season; and how some are the signs of summer, others of
winter, and how some mark the time of sowing, others introduce
the season of sailing. And man, sitting in his ship, and sailing
on the boundless waves, looks at the stars and steers his vessel.
Well, says Scripture, concerning these bodies, " Let them be for
signs and for seasons, and for days and for years®; not for star-
gazing and vain tales of nativities. Observe, too, how consider-
ately he imparts the daylight by a gradual growth; for the sua
does not rise upon us while we gaze, all at once, but a little
light runs up before him, that by previous trial our eyeball may
bear his stronger ray; and again, how he has cheered the dark-
ness of night by the gleam of moonlight.

Who is the father of rain; and who hath given birth to the
drops of dew ? Who hath condensed the air into clouds, and bid
them carry the fluid mass of showers, at one time bringing from
the north golden clouds, at another giving these a uniform ap-
pearance, and then again curling them up into festoons and other
figures manifold ? Who can number the clouds in wisdom ? of
which Job saith, " He knoweth the balancings of the clouds, and
hath bent down the heaven to the earth; and he who numbereth
the clouds in wisdom; and the cloud is not rent under them."
For though measures of water ever so many weigh upon the
clouds, yet they are not rent, but with all order come down
upon the earth. Who brings the winds out of his treasures ?
Who, as just now said, "hath given birth to the drops of dew?
Out of whose womb cometh forth the ice,* watery in its sub-
stance, but like stone in its properties ? And at one time the
water becomes snow like wool, at another it ministers to him



who scatters the hoar-frost like ashes; at another it is changed
into a stormy substance, since he fashions the waters as he will.
Its nature is uniform, its properties manifold. Water in the
vines is wine, which maketh glad the heart of man; and in the
olives oil, to make his face to shine; and is further transformed
into bread, which strengtheneth man's heart, and into all kinds
of fruits'.

For such wonders was the great artificer to be blasphemed,
or rather worshiped ? And, after all, I have not yet spoken of
that part of his wisdom which is not seen. Contemplate the
spring and the flowers of all kinds, in all their likeness, still
diverse from one another; the deep crimson of the rose, and the
exceeding whiteness of the lily. They come of one and the
same rain, one and the same earth. Who has distinguished, who
has formed them? Now do consider this attentively: The sub-
stance of the tree is one — part is for shelter, part for this or
that kind of fruit, and the artificer is one. The vine is one, and
part of it is for fuel, part for clusters. Again, how wondrously
thick are the knots which run round the reeds, as the artificer
hath made them! But of the one earth came creeping things,
and wild beasts and cattle and trees and food and gold and sil-
ver and brass and iron and stone. Water was but one nature;
yet of it comes the life of things that swim and of birds, and
as the one swims in the waters, so also the birds fly in the air.

And this great and wide sea, in it are things creeping innu-
merable. Who can tell the beauty of the fishes that are therein?
Who can describe the greatness of the whales, and the nature of
its amphibious animals ? how they live both on dry land and in
the waters ? Who can tell the depth and breadth of the sea, or
the force of its enormous waves ? Yet it stays within its bound-
aries, because of him who said, " Hitherto shalt thou come, and
no further; and here shall thy proud waves be stayed.** And to
show the decree imposed on it when it runs upon the land, it
leaves a plain line on the sands by its waves, declaring, as it
were, to those who see it, that it has not passed its appointed

Who can understand the nature of the fowls of the air, — how
some have with them a voice of melody, and others have their
wings enriched with all manner of painting, and others soaring
on high stay motionless in the midst of the sky, as the hawk ?
For by the Divine command, ** the hawk, having spread out her



wings, stays motionless, looking down toward the south.** Who
of men can behold the eagle ? But if thou canst not read the
mystery of birds when soaring on high, how wouldst thou read
the Maker of all things ?

Who among men knows even the names of all wild beasts,
or who can accurately classify their natures ? But if we know
not even their bare names, how should we comprehend their
Maker ? The command of God was but one, which said : <* Let
the earth bring forth wild beasts and cattle and creeping things,
after their kinds**; and distinct natures sprang from one voice,
at one command — the gentle sheep and carnivorous lion — also
the various instincts of irrational creatures, as representations of
the various characters of men. The fox is an emblem of men's
craftiness, and the snake of a friend's envenomed treachery, and
the neighing horse of wanton young men, and that busy ant to
arouse the sluggish and the dull; for when a man passes his
youth idly, then he is instructed by irrational creatures, being
reproved by that Scripture which saith, " Go to the ant, thou
sluggard; consider her ways and be wise,** for when thou be-
holdest her in due season treasuring up food for herself, do thou
copy her, and treasure up for thyself the fruits of good works
for the world to come. And again, **Go to the bee, and learn
how industrious she is ** ; how, hovering about all kinds of flow-
ers, she culls the honey for thy use, that thou, also, ranging over
Holy Scriptures, mayst lay hold on thy salvation, and, being sat-
isfied with it, mayst say : " How sweet are thy words unto my
taste; yea, sweeter than honey and the honeycomb unto my
mouth. **

Is not the Artificer, then, rather worthy to be glorified? For
what, if thou know not the nature of everything, are the things,
therefore, which he has made, without their use ? For canst
thou know the efficacy of all herbs ? or canst thou learn all the
advantage which comes of every animal ? Even from poisonous
adders have come antidotes for the preservation of men. But
thou wilt say to me : " The snake is terrible. ** Fear thou the
Lord, and it shall not be able to hurt thee. "The scorpion
stings.** Fear thou the Lord, and it shall not sting thee. "The
lion is bloodthirsty.** Fear thou the Lord, and he shall lie down
beside thee, as by Daniel. And, truly, there is whereat to won-
der, in the power even of the creatures; how some, as the scor-
pion, have their weapon in a sting, while the oower of others is



in their teeth, and others, again, get the better by means of
hoofs, and the basilisk's might is his gaze. Thus, from this va-
ried workmanship, think of the Artificer's power.

But these things, perchance, thou art not acquainted with;
thou hast nothing in common with the creatures which are with-
out thee. Now, then, enter into thyself and consider the Artificer
of thine own nature. What is there to find fault with in the
framing of thy body ? Master thine own self, and there shall
nothing evil proceed from any of thy members. At the first,
Adam, in Paradise, was without clothing, as was Eve; but it was
not because of aught that he was that he was cast out. Naught
that we are, then, is the cause of sin, but they who abuse what
they are; but the Maker is wise. Who hath *^ fenced us with sin-
ews and bones, and clothed us with skin and flesh *' ; and, soon
as the babe is born, brings forth fountains of milk out of the
breast? And how doth the babe grow to be a child, and the
child to be a youth, and then to be a man, and is again changed
into an old man, no one the while discerning exactly each day's
change ? How, also, does part of our food become blood, while
another part is separated for the draught, and another is changed
into flesh ? Who is it that gives the never-ceasing motion to the
heart ? Who hath wisely guarded the tenderness of the eyes
with the fence of the eyelids ? for, concerning the complicated
and wonderful contrivance of the eyes, scarcely do the ample
rolls of physicians sufficiently inform us. Who, also, hath sent
each breath we draw, through the whole body ? Thou seest, O
man, the Artificer; thou seest the wise Contriver.



[Eorge Mifi^LiN Dallas, of Philadelphia, Vice-President of the
United States under the Polk administration (1845-49), rep-
resents in American history the practical politics of the period
during which Pennsylvania was the "Keystone State." After Jackson,
with the Southwest behind him, had destroyed the balance between
Virginia and New England, there was a period of twenty years or
more, ending with Buchanan and the Civil War, during which the
question of the balance of power in American politics was between New
York and Pennsylvania, with the advantage in favor of the latter State.
In 1832 when Dallas spoke in the Senate against the position of South
Carolina on the tariff, he defined the "Pennsylvania Idea" of his day by
saying, "I am inflexible, sir, for nothing but adequate protection." Yet
such are the compromises of politics that he was nominated for Vice-
President on the ticket with Polk, of Tennessee, while it was under
Buchanan, of Pennsylvania, that the country made its nearest approach
to free trade.

Dallas was born in Philadelphia, July loth, 1792. He was a grad-
uate of Princeton, and his speeches show him to have been a man of
superior education. His first political service was in Russia as an
attache of the American legation under Gallatin. Most of his life was
spent in the public service. He was Mayor of Philadelphia, 1825 ;
United States District- Attorney under Jackson, 1829; United States
Senator, 1831-33; Ambassador to Russia under Van Buren, 1837-39;
Vice-President of the United States, 1845-49; and Minister to England,
1856-61. He died at Philadelphia, December 31st, 1864.


(From the Speech against South Carolina's Position on the Tariff, Deliv-
ered in the United States Senate, Monday, February 27th, 1832)

Fif'TY-six years have ripened this confederated nation to a con-
dition of unprecedented and incontestable greatness; great-
ness in extent; greatness in resources; greatness in moral
and intellectual character; greatness in political structure and
jurisprudence; greatness in the renown which follows just and
successful wars; and greatness which results from the acquisition




of a before tmknown sum of human contentment and freedom.
Providence has smiled upon the work of our progenitors, and has
blessed its progress. The whole civilized world has marked, with
reiterated astonishment, the rapidity of our advancement; and, at
this moment, from the Pisgah of Eastern eminence, exulting and
longing myriads are pointing to our Western institutions as the
objects towards which they have yet fruitlessly journeyed through
a wilderness of ages and of wretchedness.

Who is there, sir, that, seeing this great result of our councils
and forecast, can desire a change in the organic structure or
practical legislation by which it has been effected ? I have heard
much on this floor of sectional divisions, sectional interests, sec-
tional doctrines, sectional feelings, and sectional parties; of the
East, the South, and the West; but I cannot adopt the language,
and will not entertain the sentiments by which it is prompted.
I claim no peculiar merit for the noble Commonwealth whose
representative I am, for her uniform devotion to the union and
democracy of these States, for her unwavering co-operation in
all the efforts which have carried the nation to its present ex-
altation; she has done no more and no less than other portions
of our Republic. But I will not recognize the right, claimed
from what quarter it may be, to mar and deface the monument
of our common labors; to tear down piecemeal, or at a blow, the
structure which every hand has equaled and simultaneously con-
tributed to erect; to prostrate and crumble into dust the fairest
fabric ever yet reared by the energies and virtues of confeder-
ated freemen.

If, sir, in the picture I have sketched of the condition of
our country, shades have been omitted which really exist, they
ought to be introduced, they ought to be frankly met, and the
assembled wisdom of the legislative bodies should anxiously de-
vise remedies and relief. The impressive and gloomy descrip-
tion of the Senator from South Carolina [Mr. Hayne] as to the
actual state and wretched prospects of his immediate fellow-
citizens, awakens the liveliest sympathy and should command
.our attention. It is their right; it is our duty. I cannot feel
indifferent to the sufferings of any portion of the American
people; and esteem it inconsistent with the scope and purpose
of the Federal Constitution that any majority, no matter how
large, should connive at, or protract, the oppression or misery of
any minority, no matter how small. I disclaim and detest the



idea of making one part subservient to another; of feasting upon
the extorted substance of my countrymen; of enriching my own
region by draining the fertility and resources of a neighbor; of
becoming wealthy with spoils which leave their legitimate owners
impoverished and desolate. But, sir, I want proof of a fact,
whose existence, at least as described, it is difficult even to con-
ceive; and, above all, I want the true causes of that fact to be
ascertained; to be brought within the reach of legislative remedy,
and to have that remedy of a nature which may be applied
without producing more mischiefs than those it proposes to cure.
The proneness to exaggerate social evils is greatest with the
most patriotic. Temporary embarrassment is sensitively appre-
hended to be permanent. Every day's experience teaches how
apt we are to magnify partial into universal distress, and with
what difficulty an excited imagination rescues itself from de-
spondency. It will not do, sir, to act upon the glowing or
pathetic delineations of a gifted orator; it will not do to become
enlisted, by ardent exhortations, in a crusade against established
systems of policy; it will not do to demolish the walls of our
citadel to the sounds of plaintive eloquence, or fire the temple
at the call of impassioned enthusiasm.

What, sir, is the cause of Southern distress ? Has any gentle-
man yet ventured to designate it ? Can any one do more than
suppose, or argumentatively assume it? I am neither willing nor
competent to flatter. To praise the honorable Senator from
South Carolina would be —

<< To add perfume to the violet —
Wasteful and ridiculous excess.*

But if he has failed to discover the source of the evils he de-
plores, who can unfold it ? Amid the warm and indiscriminating
denunciations with which he has assailed the policy of protecting
domestic manufactures and native produce, he frankly avows that
he would not " deny that there are other causes besides the tariff,
which have contributed to produce the evils which he has de-
picted.'^ What are those « other causes*'? In what proportion
have they acted? How much of this dark shadowing is ascrib-
able to each singly, and to all in combination ? Would the tariff
be at all felt, or denounced, if these other causes were not in
operation ? Would not, in fact, its influence, its discriminations,
its inequalities, its oppressions, but for these ^* other causes,'' be


shaken by the elasticity and energy and exhaustless spirit of the
South, as " dewdrops from the lion's mane ^* ? These inquiries,
sir, must be satisfactorily answered before we can be justly re-
quired to legislate away an entire system. If it be the root of
all evil, let it be exposed and demolished. If its poisonous ex-
halations be but partial, let us preserve such portions as are in-
noxious. If, as the luminary of day, it be pure and salutary in
itself, let us not wish it extinguished, because of the shadows,
clouds, and darkness, which obscure its brightness or impede its
vivifying power.

Sir, there are ^^ other causes* than the policy of protection, to
which our Southern JDrethren might, and, in my opinion, ought
to impute the deplored evils under which they suffer. Some of
these are adequate to produce, and, if not providentially arrested
in their progress, will unavoidably produce calamities far more
extensive and desolating than any yet experienced. Every day,
every hour, augments their force, enlarges their sphere, and
manifests their agency. Nor is their onward march a sketch of
fancy, or the conclusion of plausible argument; it is a fact, dis-
cernible to every eye, known to every well-informed man in the
country, appreciated by every candid one, and disputed by none.
The delusion and mistake lie in considering these ^^ other causes*
as secondary and slight, instead of primary and powerful; in
visiting upon a subject of political dislike, consequences fairly
and obviously attributable to specific, natural, social, or moral
agencies; in fastening upon the tariff, as fanatics are apt to fasten
upon their reputed conjurer or wizard, the storm of the elements,
the barrenness of plantations, the debility arising from constitu-
tional disease, and the mysterious operations of decay.

I am inflexible, sir, as to nothing but adequate protection.
The process of attaining that may undergo any mutation. Se-
cure that to the home labor of this country, and our opponents
shall have, as far as my voice and suffrage can give it to them,
a carte blaficke whereon to settle any arrangement or adjustment
their intelligence may suggest. It might have been expected,
not unreasonably, that they who desired change should tender
their project; that they would designate noxious particulars, and
intimate their remedies; that they would invoke the skill and as-
sistance of practical and experienced observers on a subject with
which few of us are familiar; and point with precision to such
parts of the extensive system as can be modified without weak-


ening or endangering the whole structure. They have forborne
to do this. They demand an entire demoHtion. Free trade is
the burden of their eloquence, the golden fleece of their adven-
turous enterprise, the goal short of which they will not pause
even to breathe. I cannot join their expedition for such an
object. An established policy, coeval, in the language of Presi-
dent Jackson, with our Government; believed by an immense
majority of our people to be constitutional, wise, and expedient,
may not be abruptly abandoned by Congress without a treach-
erous departure from duty, a shameless dereliction of sacred trust
and confidence. To expect it is both extravagant and unkind.
But show us your scheme; call it one of revenue exclusively, if
fon will; names and epithets are immaterial; let it accommodate
Dur policy with the new fiscal attitude of the nation and with
/our wishes; and, for one, I will give it the favorable hearing
land consideration to which the purity of your motives and your
alleged sufferings certainly entitle it. It is not impossible, sir
(though I confess myself a very feeble instructor on this vast
business), that some rational project may spring from sober and
analytical inquiry to reconcile us all. I have heard intimated
that new regulations in collecting the revenue might make the
protection to manufactures even more effectual than it now is,
and yet remove every cause of complaint. Let gentlemen set
them forth for candid scrutiny. Shall it be by exacting the pay-
ment of duties in cash ? By a system of licenses to auctioneers ?
By abolishing the assessment of duties on minimum values ?
Develop the scheme and enable us to judge. Do you prefer at-
taining your purpose by specific reductions of duty ? On what
articles, then ? to what extent ? by what gradual decrease ? All
we desire to enable us to prove our readiness to accommodate
this entangling and distracting theme of legislation is that gen-
eralities may be relinquished; that an unconditional surrender to
the Utopian theory of free trade may not be invoked; and that
such modifications of the existing policy may be chalked out as
will be useful to our opponents without being destructive to the
policy itself.

I lament, Mr. President, having been obliged, in the discharge
of a supposed duty, to trespass so long upon the indulgent atten-
tion of the Senate. I would close cheerfully, and forbear, in con-
formity with my original determination, adverting to any topic
not directly connected with the subject of discussion. One mat-



ter, however, has been incidentally introduced, and has, in truth,
been often vehemently urged upon our reflection, as to which I
might be deemed a faithless and unfeeling representative were
I to abstain from expressing the decided sense and anxious sen-
timents of the patriotic community who sent me here.

Sir, I have nothing so much and so deeply at heart as the
maintenance of the harmony and perpetuity of this Union.
Whatever may be the contrary and irreconcilable appearance of
opinions, no danger is to be apprehended, and no difference can
be contemned, while the preservation of our Constitution and the
good of the country are the leading and paramount objects of
us all. If there be any — certainly there are none upon this

Online LibraryDavid J. (David Josiah) BrewerCrowned masterpieces of eloquence, representing the advance of civilization, as collected in The world's best orations, from the earliest period to the present time (Volume 4) → online text (page 36 of 39)