Public Exercises 579
three educational institutions of Virginia, Richmond College, the
University, and William and Mary. In October, 1853, he was elected
to the presidency of Wake Forest College, but did not accept the
position. A few years later he was also elected president of Mercer
University, but again did not accept. After the Civil War he was
president of Richmond College for a few years, but resigned that
place to return to the ministry, and became pastor of the First Baptist
Church of Nashville, Tennessee; he was regarded as one of the finest
pulpit orators of the country, and was possessed of rare dignity of
manners and fine scholarship. His address at Wake Forest reveals the
great orator. It shows that he had an easy familiarity with the
masterpieces of classical literature and those of his own tongue, was
well read in the productions of contemporary American writers, and
had a great wealth of historical and general information ready for use
as required. His subject was "The True Man." It was an analytic study
presented in a most attractive way and in the best of style. To
illustrate his versatility I have chosen the following from his
delineation of the qualities of the "True Man":
The true man is an ardent lover of truth. All forms of deception and hypocrisy
are abhorrent to him. He may have the politeness, but he is incapable of the
duplicity commended by Lord Chesterfield. If he speak a word, it is true, or else he
thinks it true. He makes no mental reservations. That memorable saying of
Tallyrand that "the tongue was given, not to reveal the thoughts and feelings but to
conceal them," is not true of him, however true of the author of the saying. He deals
in no ambiguities or equivocations, like lying oracles of old. He makes no words of
promise to the ear, to break it to the hope, like the witches of Macbeth. Nor does he
violate the truth in deep perversions of its holiest symbols. He betrays not with a
kiss like Judas. No smile indicative of love lights up his face, while hate is rankling
in his heart. He does not give a cordial pressure of the hand and call the name of a
friend while plotting evil. No Joab is he, with affected tenderness inquiring, "Is it
well with thee, my brother?" and then plunging his murderous blade into the
Abner's unsuspecting and already sorely-stricken heart.
There are many fine paragraphs in this oration, all of them are
exactly in place; especially fine is his close which is an exhor-
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