Four faulty pronunciations in less than half an hour, three misreadings in a single paragraph read from the Spirit of prophecy as an introduction to the study—all this I heard at a recent general meeting.
There were nearly two thousand people in the congregation. The speaker was a man of merit. He was presenting a general study of the Sabbath school lesson for the day. But before such a congregation and on such an auspicious occasion, he mispronounced four common words: brethren became bruthren, (as if the first syllable were brother); miracle was mericle (the first syllable to rhyme with hair); thought was thah,t (with a broad ah-sound) ; and endure was en-dur (with no suggestion of the y-sound after d—the word is en-dyur).
And he misread two words and omitted the article "the" in reading a paragraph less than ten lines long. "History" became stories, a change which utterly distorted the thought of the quotation; "impassioned" became passionate —surely there is a difference in the meaning of these two fine words. Incidentally, I may say that the quotation was read from the Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, many of the hearers following the reading.
In the face of such faults, the speaker presented as one of the leading texts in his study the verse, "We pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." Think of it! He was standing in Christ's stead, and yet thoughtlessly misrepresenting Him at whose "gracious words" the people of Nazareth wondered. I say thoughtlessly, for I am constrained to believe that if we bearers of the word of God were to take more time thoughtfully to prepare our public messages, thoughtfully to polish the tools of speech with which we deliver these messages, we might receive the miraculous gift of the Spirit as at Pentecost. Of that time "The Acts of the Apostles" says: "From this time forth the language of the disciples was pure. simple, and accurate, whether they spoke in their native tongue or in a foreign language." --Page 40.
Such a worthy goal should impel us to be sure of every pronunciation that we intend to use in public address, and to polish the reading of every quotation until we are certain that we can at least read it accurately.
"Let us study to show ourselves approved."