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Wendell Phillips, Theodore C. Pease, Speeches, Lectures and Letters of Wendell Phillips: Volume 2, The pulpit (1860). (search)
lizes that the pulpit has a limit which it cannot pass; that they are not seeing a man there, but the puppet of something behind; that when you have seen the performance once or twice you have gauged the extent, sounded the bottom,--men do not go more than twice, unless attracted by some rare rhetorical gift, as they crowded long ago to hear Everett read the fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians in Brattle-Street Church, the same as some hang night after night on the same words from Kean or Rachel; unless they go from the motive of example, from a sense of duty, from an idea of supporting the religious institutions of their times,--as Coleridge, you know, said he found, on inquiry, that four fifths of the people who attended his preaching attended from a sense of duty to the other fifth. Now, that is not a pulpit, in the sense of being able to keep the mind of an age. Mark me, I am not speaking in any bitterness toward the pulpit. I have no more bitterness than the municipality of