On the Good Life
You Are God

On the Orator

Taking advantage of a snow day and the slowing down of congregational life (at least on the business side) as the holiday approaches, I am catching up on reading and completing a few books which have lingered this autumn as I had to read for various classes I was teaching and sermons I was preparing.

In my reading of Cicero, there appeared this bit from On the Orator, in which Crassus is speaking and delivering his view (not the only perspective highlighted in the dialogue).  I found this paragraph most enjoyable.

Even on the field of battle the practitioner of oratory is able to remain unharmed--his ability to speak is more effective than a herald's staff.  His eloquence also gives him the power to throw culpable and guilty men to the wrath of their own fellow-countrymen: to suppress crime, by ensuring that it is punished.  The protection his talent affords others can bring salvation to the innocent by rescuing them from condemnation in the courts.  It is even within his capacity to transfigure a spiritless and misguided nation, to revive its sense of honour, to reclaim a whole people from its errors.  He can stir up anger against evil men, or, when such anger has attacked innocent people, he can calm it down.  Indeed his might as an orator will give him the power to instil or eradicate within the hearts of mankind any and every passion that circumstances and occasions may demand.

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