The Company of Preachers: Wisdom on Preaching, Augustine to the Present

Lischer, Richard, ed.

Eerdmans, 2002

p. 279

Augustine highlights the need for those who would be eloquent in the service of truth to listen to those who are already eloquent: “The fact is that, given a bright and eager disposition, eloquence will come more readily to those who read and listen to eloquent speakers than to those who pore over the rules of eloquence.” Aug adds that it is impossible simultaneously to speak eloquently and dwell upon the rules for eloquence. “We know a great many people, quite innocent of the rules of rhetoric, who are much more eloquent than a great many people that have learned them; but we don’t know anybody like this who has not read and heard the debates and the style of eloquent speakers.”