The Review and Herald


February 5, 1880

Cultivation of the Voice


Some of our most talented ministers are doing themselves great injury by their defective manner of speaking. They are intelligent men, and should know that they are not pursuing a course which God can approve. Ministers should stand erect, and speak slowly, firmly, and distinctly, letting the voice go down deep, taking a full inspiration of air at every sentence, and throwing out the words by exercising the abdominal muscles. The chest will thus become broader, and by educating the voice, the speaker need seldom become hoarse, even by constant speaking. Instead of our ministers’ becoming consumptives through speaking, they may, by proper care, overcome all tendency to that disease. RH February 5, 1880, par. 1

Ministers should stop to consider whether they are performing their life-work in such a manner as to accomplish the best and greatest results, or whether they are cutting their lives short by spasmodic efforts, without regard to the laws of health. God is pleased with men who do not think that they have attained perfection, but who are constantly trying to improve. He would have us come into connection with him, and increase in understanding, and reform our habits, ever rising higher, and approaching nearer the standard of perfection. RH February 5, 1880, par. 2

The minister of Christ should continue to search the Scriptures. He will never know so much of Bible truth that he need not search for more. A true Bible Christian will not find anything in the word of God justifying him in disregarding the laws of life and health. The Saviour of the world would have his co-laborers represent him; and the more closely a man walks with God, the more faultless will be his manner of address, his deportment, his attitude, and his gestures. Coarse and uncouth manners were never seen in our Pattern, Christ Jesus. He was a representative of Heaven, and his followers must be like him. We are to make daily improvement; our ways and manners are to become more like the ways and manners of the holy angels. Every uncouth gesture and coarse and uncultivated expression, should be put far away. Every imperfection may be overcome if we learn of Jesus and closely follow his example. RH February 5, 1880, par. 3

The manner in which the truth is presented often has much to do in determining whether it will be accepted or rejected. All who labor in the great cause of reform should study to become efficient workmen, that they may accomplish the greatest possible amount of good, and not detract from the force of the truth by their own deficiencies. All the vigor of a cultivated intellect and a well-developed body is called for to do justice to the work of God. Men of narrow minds, who feel no necessity of becoming efficient workmen, need to have this truth impressed upon them. RH February 5, 1880, par. 4

Ministers and teachers should discipline themselves to clear and distinct articulation, giving every word its full sound. Those who talk rapidly, from the throat, and who jumble their words together and raise their voices to an unnaturally high pitch, soon become hoarse, and the words spoken lose half the force which they would have if spoken slowly, distinctly, and not so loud. The sympathies of the hearers are awakened for the speaker, for they fear he is doing violence to himself, and they constantly expect him to break down. It is no evidence that a man is having a zeal for God because he works himself up into a frenzy of excitement and gesticulation. “Bodily exercise,” says the apostle, “profiteth little.” RH February 5, 1880, par. 5

Speakers and writers need much physical exercise, and abundance of pure air. The lungs need food as much as the body. The sleeping-rooms should be thoroughly ventilated, that the lungs may not be starved. This is very important to speakers, teachers, and students, and should not be neglected. Ministers should bring intelligent reason and common sense to bear upon these matters. If they will ponder upon them as they should, they will know what to do for themselves to preserve life. No minister can speak to the glory of God while he knowingly disregards the laws of life. Some do not realize the injury they are doing themselves until it is too late; then come sorrow, regret and repentance. But repentance cannot repair the broken-down lungs or the abused throat. Right habits adopted, even at the eleventh hour, will improve many cases, although persons must still suffer for the past transgressions of nature's laws. RH February 5, 1880, par. 6

Frequently a young man is sent out to labor with a more experienced minister; and if he is defective in his manner of speaking, the young man is very apt to copy his defects. Therefore, it is important that ministers who have been long in the field should reform, though it cost them much painstaking and the exercise of much patience, that their defects may not be reproduced in young and inexperienced laborers. The young preacher should copy only the admirable traits of character possessed by the more experienced laborer, while at the same time he should see and avoid his errors. When some attempt to speak calmly, without excitement and excessive gesticulation, they become embarrassed, and feel a lack of freedom, because they are restraining themselves from following their old habits. But let all such feelings, which are mere excitement, go to the four winds. That freedom of feeling that would result in your committing suicide is not sanctified. RH February 5, 1880, par. 7

Some reason that the Lord will qualify a man by his Spirit to speak as he would have him; but the Lord does not propose to do the work which he has given man to do. He has given us reasoning powers, and opportunities to educate the mind and manners. And after we have done all we can for ourselves, making the best use of the advantages within our reach, then we may look to God with earnest prayer to do by his Spirit that which we cannot do for ourselves. RH February 5, 1880, par. 8