In all our work more attention should be given to the culture of the voice. We may have knowledge, but unless we know how to use the voice correctly, our work will be a failure. Unless we can clothe our ideas in appropriate language, of what avail is our education? Knowledge will be of little advantage to us unless we cultivate the talent of speech; but it is a wonderful power when combined with the ability to speak wise, helpful words, and to speak them in a way that will command attention.
Students who expect to become workers in the cause of God should be trained to speak in a clear, straightforward manner, else they will be shorn of half their influence for good. The ability to speak plainly and clearly, in full, round tones, is invaluable in any line of work. This qualification is indispensable in those who desire to become ministers, evangelists, Bible workers, or canvassers. Those who are planning to enter these lines of work should be taught to use the voice in such a way that when they speak to people about the truth, a decided impression for good will be made. The truth must not be marred by being communicated through defective utterance.
The canvasser who can speak clearly and distinctly about the merits of the book he wishes to sell will find this a great help in his work. He may have an opportunity to read a chapter of the book, and by the music of his voice and the emphasis placed on the words he can make the scene presented stand out as clearly before the mind of the listener as if it could actually be seen.
The one who gives Bible readings in the congregation or in the family should be able to read with a soft, musical cadence which will charm the hearers.
Ministers of the gospel should know how to speak with power and expression, making the words of eternal life so expressive and impressive that the hearers cannot but feel their weight. I am pained as I hear the defective voices of many of our ministers. Such ministers rob God of the glory He might have if they had trained themselves to speak the word with power.
No man should regard himself as qualified to enter the ministry until by persevering effort he has overcome every defect in his utterance. If he attempts to speak to the people without knowing how to use the talent of speech, half his influence is lost, for he has little power to hold the attention of a congregation.
Whatever his calling, every person should learn to control the voice, so that when something goes wrong, he will not speak in tones that stir the worst passions of the heart. Too often the speaker and the one addressed speak sharply and harshly. Sharp, dictatorial words, uttered in hard, rasping tones, have separated friends and resulted in the loss of souls.
Instruction in vocal culture should be given in the home. Parents should teach their children to speak so plainly that the listeners can understand every word. They should teach them to read the Bible with clear, distinct utterance in a way that will honor God. And let not those who kneel around the family altar put their faces in their hands close down to the chair when they address God. Let them lift up their heads and with holy awe speak to their heavenly Father, uttering their words in tones that can be heard.
Parents, train yourselves to speak in a way that will be a blessing to your children. Women need to be educated in this respect. Even the busy mothers, if they will, can cultivate the talent of speech and can teach their children to read and speak correctly. They can do this while they go about their work. It is never too late for us to improve. God calls upon parents to bring all the perfection possible into the home circle.
In the social meeting there is special need of clear, distinct utterance, that all may hear the testimonies borne and be benefited by them. Difficulties are removed and help is given as in social meeting God's people relate their experiences. But too often the testimonies are borne with faulty, indistinct utterance, and it is impossible to gain a correct idea of what is said. Thus the blessing is often lost.
Let those who pray and those who speak pronounce their words properly and speak in clear, distinct, even tones. Prayer, if properly offered, is a power for good. It is one of the means used by the Lord to communicate to the people the precious treasures of truth. But prayer is not what it should be, because of the defective voices of those who utter it. Satan rejoices when the prayers offered to God are almost inaudible. Let God's people learn how to speak and pray in a way that will properly represent the great truths they possess. Let the testimonies borne and the prayers offered be clear and distinct. Thus God will be glorified.
Let all make the most of the talent of speech. God calls for a higher, more perfect ministry. He is dishonored by the imperfect utterance of the one who by painstaking effort could become an acceptable mouthpiece for Him. The truth is too often marred by the channel through which it passes.
The Lord calls upon all who are connected with His service to give attention to the cultivation of the voice, that they may utter in an acceptable manner the great and solemn truths He has entrusted to them. Let none mar the truth by defective utterance. Let not those who have neglected to cultivate the talent of speech suppose that they are qualified to minister, for they have yet to obtain the power to communicate.
When you speak, let every word be full and well rounded, every sentence clear and distinct to the very last word. Many as they approach the end of a sentence lower the tone of the voice, speaking so indistinctly that the force of the thought is destroyed. Words that are worth speaking at all are worth speaking in a clear, distinct voice, with emphasis and expression. But never search for words that will give the impression that you are learned. The greater your simplicity, the better will your words be understood.
Young men and young women, has God placed in your hearts a desire to do service for Him? Then by all means cultivate the voice to the utmost of your ability so that you can make plain the precious truth to others. Do not fall into the habit of praying so indistinctly and in such a low tone that your prayers need an interpreter. Pray simply, but clearly and distinctly. To let the voice sink so low that it cannot be heard is no evidence of humility.
To those who are planning to enter God's work as ministers, I would say: Strive with determination to be perfect in speech. Ask God to help you to accomplish this great object. When in the congregation you offer prayer, remember that you are addressing God, and that He desires you to speak so that all who are present can hear and can blend their supplications with yours. A prayer uttered so hurriedly that the words are jumbled together is no honor to God and does the hearers no good. Let ministers and all who offer public prayer learn to pray in such a way that God will be glorified and the hearers will be blessed. Let them speak slowly and distinctly and in tones loud enough to be heard by all so that the people may unite in saying, Amen.