Quickly or Not at All

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“That is something the conscientious Christian preacher needs to learn, but the place to learn it is in the schools. On the other hand, the art of public speaking is a talent; some people have a natural inclination for it and some do not. Augustine quotes a saying of Cicero’s that people learn rhetoric quickly or not at all. As a matter of fact, Augustine insists that one learns the arts of eloquence not so much from teachers and lessons as from hearing the addresses of eloquent speakers. Eloquence begets eloquence. Those who have the talent can pick it up by observation” (Hughes Oliphant Old, The Reading and Preaching of the Scriptures, Vol. II, p. 394).

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