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Rhetoric and Silence

A call to silent rhetoric

The rhetorician is not safe if he imagines that anything he says can have value when it is separated from or other than the fruit of prayer.

He is a fool if he thinks he can do more than proclaim the crucified Christ as a Herald proclaims a simple message. If his words are for his advantage instead of the blessing of the listener, he is not standing beneath the cross as he speaks.

If his words are not emanations of the light of Christ he has not brought his message from the throne of the heavenly Majesty.

If his deliberations disregard the unifying radiance of the logos he has not entered the holy of holies and brought his wisdom from the shekinah glory, but only from the flickering flame of the heart of man.

If his judgments descend from his wisdom he has not gazed on Aaron’s rod or fed on the heavenly Manna or sheltered under the wings of the cherubim nor can he bring to us the testimonies or statutes of the one who sits upon the mercy seat.

He may speak with the tongues of the wisest of men; he may speak with the tongues of Plato or Demosthenes of Cicero or Isocrates – he may speak with the tongues of Angels words inspired by the Holy Spirit, but if he is not touched by fire and burning with the purifying and simplifying love of God, they profit him nothing.

The Lost Tools of Writing are tools of rhetoric, but if you use them apart from prayer, it would have been better for you not to have learned them. Learn to pray while you learn to write. Learn to repent while you learn to speak. Learn to worship while you learn to argue. Otherwise, learn to be silent.

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