Howard Henderson.

The ethics and etiquette of the pulpit, pew, parish, press and platform. A manual of manners for ministers and members online

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extreme correct this first in your ordinary conversa-
tion. If it be too low, converse with those that are
deaf; if too loud, with those who speak softly.

(3) The speaking in a thick cluttering manner.
Some persons mumble or swallow some words or syl-
lables, and do not utter the rest articulately or dis-
tinctly. This is sometimes owing to a natural defect,
sometimes to a sudden flutter of spirits, but oftener
to a bad habit.


To cure this accustom yourself, both in conversa-
tion and reading, to pronounce every word distinctly.
Observe how full a sound some give to every word,
and labor to imitate them. If no other way avail,
do as Demosthenes did, who cured himself of this
natural defect by repeating orations every day with
pebbles in his mouth.

(4) The speaking too fast. This is a common fault ;
but not a little one ; particularly when we speak of
the things of God. It may be cured by habituating
yourself to attend to the weight, sense and propriety
of every word you speak.

(5) The speaking too slow is not a common fault,
and when we are once warned of it, it may be easily

(6) The speaking with an irregular, desultory, and
uneven voice, raised or depressed unnaturally or
unseasonably. To cure this, you should take care
not to begin your periods either too high or too low;
for that would necessarily lead you to an unnatural
and improper variation of the voice. And remember
never either to raise or sink your voice without a
particular reason, arising either from the length of
the period or the sense or spirit of what you speak.

(7) But the greatest and most common fault of all
is the speaking with a tone ; some have a womanish,
iiqueaking tone ; some a singing or canting one ; some
a high, swelling, theatrical tone, laying too much
emphasis on every sentence ; some have an awful,
solemn tone ; others an odd, whimsical, whining
one, not to be expressed in words.


To avoid all kinds of unnatural tones the only rule
is this: Endeavor to speak in public as you do in
common conversation. Attend to your subject, and
deliver it in the same manner as if you were talking"
of it to a friend. This, if carefully observed, will
correct both this and almost all the other faults of a
bad pronunciation.

For a good pronunciation is nothing but a natural,
easy, and graceful variation of the voice, suitable to the
nature and importance of the sentiments we deliver,

4. If you would be heard with pleasure, in order
to make the deeper impression on your hearers, first,
study to render your voice as soft and sweet as possi-
ble: and the more if it be naturally harsh, hoarse, or
obstreperous; which may be cured by constant exer-
cise. By carefully using this every morning you may
in a short time wear off these defects, and contract
such a smooth and tuneful delivery as will recom-
mend whatever you speak.

5. Secondly, labor to avoid the odious custom of
coughing and spitting while you are speaking. And
if at some times you cannot wholly avoid it, yet take
care you do not stop in the middle of a sentence, but
only at such times as will least interrupt the sense of
what you are delivering.

6. Above all take care, thirdly, to vary your voice,
according to the matter on which you speak. Noth-
ing more grates the ear than a voice still in the same
key. And yet nothing is more common: although
this monotony is not only unpleasant to the ear, but
destroys the effect of what is spoken.


8. The best way to learn liow to \'ary the voice is
to observe common discourse. Take notice how you
speak yourself in ordinary conversation and how
others speak on various occasions. After the very
same manner }-ou are to vary your voice in public,
allowing for the largeness of the place and the dis-
tance of the liearers.

Section II. — General Rules for the Variation
OF THE Voice.

I . The voice may be varied three ways : First, as
to height or lowness : secondly, as to vehemence or
softness : thirdly, as to swiftness or slowness.

And, (i) As to heiglit, a medium between the
extremes is carefully to be observed. You must
neither strain your voice, by raising it always to the
highest note it can reach, nor sink it always to the
lowest note, which would be to murmur rather than
to speak.

(2) As to vehemence, have a care how you force
your voice to the last extremity. You cannot hold
this long without danger of its cracking and failing
you on a sudden. Nor yet ought }^ou to speak in too
faint and remiss a manner, which destroys all the
force and energy of what is spoken.

(3) As to swiftness, you ought to moderate the
voice so as to avoid all precipitation ; otherwise you
give the hearers no time to think, and so are not
likely either to convince or to persuade them. Yet
neither should }'ou speak slower than men generally
do in common conversation. It is a fault to draw out


your words too slow or to make needless breaks or
pauses. Nay, to drawl is (of the two) worse than to
hurry. The speech ought not to drop, but to flow
along. But then it ought to flow like a gliding stream,
not as a rapid torrent.

2. Yet let it be observed that the medium I recom-
mend does not consist in an indivisable point. It
admits of a considerable latitude. As to the height
or lowness of the voice, there are five or six notes
whereby it may be varied between the highest and
the lowest; so here is abundant room for variation
without falling into either extreme. There is also
sufficient room between the extremes of violence and
of softness to pronounce either more vehemently or
more mildly, as different subjects may require. And
as to swiftness or slowness, though you avoid both
extremes, you may nevertheless speak faster or
slower, and that several degrees, as best answers the
subject and passions of your discourse.

3. But it should likewise be observed that the
voice ought not to be varied too hastily in any of
these respects ; but the difference is to be made by
degrees, and almost insensibly; too sudden a change
being unnatural and affected, and consequently disa-
greeable to the hearers.

Section III. — Particular Rules for Varying
THE Voice.

I. If you speak of natural things, merely to make
the hearers understand them, there needs only a clear
and distinct voice. But if you would display the


wisdom and power of God therein, do it with a
stronger and more solemn accent.

2. The good and honorable actions of men should
be described with a full and lofty accent ; wicked and
infamous actions with a strong and earnest voice, and
such a tone as expresses horror and detestation.

3. In congratulating the happy events of life we
speak with a lively and cheerful accent ; in relating
misfortunes (as in funeral orations,) with a slow and
mournful one.

4. The voice should also be varied according to the
greatness or importance of the subject ; it being-
absurd either to speak in a lofty manner where the
subject is of little concern, or to speak of great and
important affairs with a low, unconcerned, and famil-
iar voice.

5. On all occasions let the thing you are to speak
be deeply imprinted on your own heart ; and when
you are sensibly touched yourself you will easily
touch others, by adjusting your voice to every pas-
sion which you feel.

6. Love is shown by a soft, smooth, and melting
voice ; hate by a sharp and sullen one ; joy by a full
and flowing one ; grief by a dull, languishing tone,
sometimes interrupted by a sigh or groan ; fear is
expressed by a trembling and hesitating voice ; bold-
ness by speaking loud and strong ; anger is shown by
a sharp and impetuous tone, taking the breath often
and speaking short ; compassion requires a soft and
submissive voice.

7. After the expression of any violent passion you
should gradually lower your voice again. Readiness


in varying it on all kinds of subjects, as well as pas-
sions, is best acquired by frequently reading or repeat-
ing aloud either dialogues, select plays, or such
discourses as come nearest to the dramatic style.

8. You should begin a discourse low, both as it
expresses modesty and as it is best for your voice and
strength ; and yet so as to be heard by all that are
present. You may afterward rise as the matter shall
require. The audience likewise, being calm and
unmoved at first, are best suited by a cool and dispas-
sionate address.

9. Yet this rule admits of some exceptions ; for on
some extraordinary occasions you may begin a dis-
course abruptly and passionately, and consequently
with a warm and passionate accent.

10. You may speak a little louder in laying down
what you design to prove, and explaining it to your
hearers. But you need not speak with any warmth
or emotion yet; it is enough if you speak articulately
and distinctly.

11. When you prove your point, and refute your
adversary's objections, there is need of more earnest-
ness and exertion of voice. And here chiefly it is
that you are to vary your voice, according to the rules,
above recited.

12. A little pause may then precede the conclusion,
in which you may gradually rise to the utmost
strength of pronunciation ; and finish all with a lively,
cheerful voice expressing joy and satisfaction.

13. An exclamation requires a loud and strong
voice ; and so does an oath or strong asseveration ;



as, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom
and knowledge of God!" "I call God to record
aipon my soul ! "

, J 4. In a prosopopoeia the voice should be varied
according to the character of the persons introduced;
in an apostrophe, according to the circumstances of
the person or thing to which you address your speech ;
which, if directed either to God, or to inanimate
things ought to be louder than usual.

15. In reciting and answering objections the voice
should be varied as if two persons were speaking.
And so in dialogues, or whenever several persons are
introduced, as disputing or talking together.

16. In a climax the voice must be gradually raised
to answer every step of the figure. In an aposiopesis
the voice, which was raised to introduce it, must be
lowered considerably. In an antithesis the points are
±0 be distinguished, and the former to be pronounced
with a stronger tone than the latter; but in an anadi-
plosis the word repeated is pronounced the second
time louder and stronger than the first.

17. Take care never to make a pause in the middle
of a word or sentence ; but only where there is such
a pause in the sense as requires, or at least allows, of
it. You may make a short pause after every period,
and begin the next generally a little lower than you
concluded the last; but on some occasions a little
higher, which the nature of the subject will easily

18. I would likewise advise every speaker to
observe those who speak well, that he may not pro-

l'UJ,Pir ORATOR V. 179

nounce any word in an improper manner ; and in
case of doubt let him not be ashamed to ask how
such a word is to be pronounced ; as neither to desire
others that they would inform him whenever they
hear him pronounce any word improperly.

19, Lastly. Take care not to sink your voice too
much at the conclusion of a period ; but pronounce
the very last words loud and distinct, especially if
they have but a weak and dull sound of themselves.

Section IV. — Of Gesture.

1. That this silent language of your face and hands
may move the affections of those that see and hear
you it must be well adjusted to the subject, as well as
to the passion, which you desire either to express or
to excite. It must likewise be free from all affecta-
tion, and such as appears to be the mere natural
result, both of the things you speak and of the affec-
tion that moves you to speak them. And the whole
is so to be managed that there may be nothing in all
the dispositions and motions of your body to offend
the eyes of the spectators.

2. But it is more difficult to find out the faults of
your own gesture than those of your pronunciation.
For a man may hear his own voice, but he cannot see
his own face; neither can he observe the several
motions of his own body; at least but imperfectly.
To remedy this you may use a large looking-glass,
as Demosthenes did, and thereby observe and learn
to avoid every disagreeable or unhandsome gesture.

3. There is but one way better than this, which is
to have some excellent pattern as often as may be


before your eyes ; and to desire some skillful and
faithful friend to observe all your motions, and inform
you which are proper and which are not,

4. As to the motion of the bod}', it ought not to
change its place or posture every moment ; neither
on the other hand, to stand like a stock, in one fixed
and immovable posture ; but to move in a natural
and graceful manner, as various circumstances may

5. The head ought not to be held up too high, nor
clownishly thrust forward ; neither to be cast down,
and hang, as it were, on the breast ; nor to lean
always on one or the other side; but to be kept
modestly and decently upright in its natural state and
position. Farther, it ought neither to be kept
immovable, as a statue, nor to be continually moving
or throwing itself about. To avoid both extremes it
should be turned gently, as occasion is, sometimes
one way, and sometimes the other ; and at other
times remain looking straight forward to the middle
of the auditory. Add to this that it ought always to
be turned on the same side with the hands and body;
only in refusing a thing, for this we do with the right
hand, turning the head at the same time to the left.

6. But it is the face which gives the greatest life
to action ; of this, therefore, you must take the
greatest care, that nothing may appear disagreeable
in it, since it is continually in the view of all but your-
self. And there is nothing can prevent this but the
looking-glass, or a friend who will deal faithfully with
you. You should adapt all its movements to the


subject you treat of, the passions you would raise,
and the person to whom you speak. Let love or joy
spread a cheerfulness over your face ; hatred, sorrow
or fear a gloominess. Look with gravity and author-
ity on your inferiors ; on your superiors with boldness
mixed with respect.

7. You should always be casting your eyes upon
some or other of your auditors, and moving them
from one side to the other with an air of affection
and regard ; looking them decently in the face, one
after another, as we do in familiar conversation.
Your aspect should always be pleasant and your
looks direct, neither severe nor askew; unless you
design to express contempt or scorn, which may
require that particular aspect.

8. If you speak of heaven or things above, lift
your eyes; if of things beneath, cast them down;
and so if you speak of things of disgrace ; but raise
them in calling God to witness, or speaking of things
wherein you glory.

9. The mouth must never be turned awry ; neither
must you bite or lick your lips, or shrug your shoul-
ders, or lean upon your elbow ; all which give just
offense to the spectators.

10. We make use of the hand a thousand different
ways ; only very little at the beginning of a discourse.
Concerning this you may observe the rules following:
(i) Never clap your hands nor thump the pulpit.
(2) Use the right hand most, and when you use the
left let it be only to accompany the other. (3) The
right hand may be gently applied to the breast when


you speak of your own faculties, heart or conscience.
(4) You must begin your action with your speech,
and end it when you make an end of speaking. (5)
The hands should seldom be lifted higher than the
eyes, nor let down lower than the breast. (6) Your
eyes should always have your hands in view, so that
they )'ou speak to may see your eyes, your mouth,
and your hands, all moving in concert with each
other and expressing the same thing. (7) Seldom
stretch out your arms sideways more than half a foot
from the trunk of your body. (8) Your hands are
not to be in perpetual motion ; this the ancients
called the babbling of the hands.

1 1. There are many other things relating to action,
us well as utterance, which can not easily be expressed
in writing. These you must learn by practice, by
hearing a good speaker, and speaking often before

12. But remember while you are actually speaking
you must not be studying any other motions, but use
those that naturally arise from the subject of your
discourse, from the place where you speak, and the
characters of the persons whom you address.

13. I would advise you, lastly, to observe these
rules, as far as things permit, even in your common
conversation, till you have got a perfect habit of
observing them, so that they are, as it were, natural
to you. And whenever you hear an eminent speaker,
observe with the utmost attention what conformity
there is between his action and utterance and these
rules. You may afterward imitate him at home


till you have made his graces your own. And when
once, by such assistances as these, you have acquired
a good habit of speaking, you will no more need any
tedious reflections upon this art, but will speak as
easily as gracefully.

The young speaker will find "Ware's Hints on
Extemporaneous Speaking," very suggestive.





The Lord is my Light and my Salvation ; whom
shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life ;
of whom shall I be afraid? Ps. xxvii ! i.

* * In the time of trouble He shall hide me in
His pavilion ; in the secret of His tabernacle shall
He hide me; He shall set me upon a Rock. Ps.
xxvii: 5.

* * My grace is sufficient for thee. 2 Cor.
xii : 9.

* * I love the Lord, because He hath heard my
voice and my supplications. I was brought low, and
He helped me. Return unto thy rest, my soul;
for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee. What
shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits
toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and
call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my
vows unto the Lord in the presence of all His people.
Ps. cxvi: I, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14.

* * The Lord is my Shepherd : I shall not
want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures :
He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth
my soul ; He leadeth me in the paths of Righteous-


ness for His name's sake. Yea, though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death, I will
fear no evil ; for thou art with me ; thy rod and thy
staff they comfort me. ^ * Surely goodness and
mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I
will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Ps.
jcxiii: 1-4, 6.


Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy
laden, and I will give you rest. Matt, xi : 28.

Look unto me, and be ye saved ; for I am God
and there is none else. Is. xiv: 22.

He that covereth his sins shall not prosper; but
whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have
mercy. Prov. xxviii: 13.

The Spirit and the bride say, Come ! And
whosoever will, let him take of the water of life
freely. Rev. xxii: 17.

Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
John vi : 37.

He that spared not His own Son, but delivered
Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also
freely give us all things ? Rom. viii: 32.

For God sent not His Son into the world to con-
demn the world ; but that the world through Him
might be saved. John iii: 17.

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt
be saved. Actf xvi : 31.


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Online LibraryHoward HendersonThe ethics and etiquette of the pulpit, pew, parish, press and platform. A manual of manners for ministers and members → online text (page 11 of 12)