Rhetoric Determined And Applied -- By: Laurens P. Hickok

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 011:41 (Jan 1854)
Article: Rhetoric Determined And Applied
Author: Laurens P. Hickok


Rhetoric Determined And Applied1

Laurens P. Hickok

An orator has ceased speaking. The audience are just recovering themselves from the spell in which for hours they have been bound, and are now slowly and thoughtfully passing away from the place of concourse. Every countenance expresses the power which the speaker has had over the emotions of the soul, for the whole retiring audience carry away the impress given by his eloquence.

Here, then, is just the point for the philosophic observer coolly to take in the whole scene, and determine that which is the radical peculiarity in it. Within a few hours, at the most) all this effect has been produced. This mass of mind came together various and isolate; it has gone away assimilated and fused into one. Every mind knows that its whole transformation during this period has been by the power of eloquence, and yet probably few of that audience can say precisely what that wonderful power is. It is not many things, but one thing; not a composite, but a simple. Like the force which unites nature, it is one, though everywhere diffused; like the life Of the body, it ener-

gizes in every part and yet is everywhere a unit. What is it? How shall we attain it and express it?

The theme which we propose in this Article is: Rhetoric determined and applied; and the first part of the design demands a direct answer to these inquiries. It must be determined, What is that simple force which is the whole life of eloquence? The way to the answer lies through a careful analysis, and we have no choice but to attempt leading you by that path, even though it shall prove somewhat arduous and dry.

There has manifestly been the presence of pure logic. Every judgment has had its logical form, and has been attained according to a necessary and universal law which must regulate all thinking. No mind can connect its conceptions into propositions in an arbitrary manner. All intelligence has its conditioning law, and mind must think, if it think at all, according to fixed processes of concluding in judgments. It cannot conceive of phenomena but in spaces and times; it cannot combine qualities but in their substances, nor connect events but in their causes. Thinking is what it is, and not feeling nor willing, not walking nor eating, in virtue of the necessary forms which determine it. Quite irrespective of the thought itself, as a judgment formed, there must be the antecedent pure form which conditioned it in its connections and conclusions.

But all thinking is not in one order. Conceptions are connected in various ways and come out to their...

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