In these debates Douglas, the champion of his party, was over-matched in clearness and force of reasoning, and lacked the great moral earnestness of his opponent; but he dexterously extricated himself time and again from difficult argumentative positions, and retained sufficient support to win the immediate prize.
It has been well said that the old heroes of the republic were unconscious Stoics, fitted by their narrowness, their stern simplicity and devotion to duty for the almost Semitic earnestness of the new doctrine.
But by this time Tennyson was writing lyrics of still higher promise, and, as Arthur Hallam early perceived, with an extraordinary earnestness in the worship of beauty.
Its merit lies in the furious earnestness with which it is written, which gives it a force and reality sometimes wanting in the more elaborate books written for publication.
The swift, unhesitating charge was more than unusual in the wars of the time, and was possible only because of the peculiar earnestness of the men who fought the English war.
His commanding stature, the symmetry of his form, the dark and melancholy beauty of his countenance, rather rendered piquant than impaired by an obliquity of vision, produced an imposing impression even before his deep and powerful voice had given utterance to its melodious thunders; and harsh and superficial half-truths enunciated with surpassing ease and grace of gesture, and not only with an air of absolute conviction but with the authority of a prophetic messenger, in tones whose magical fascination was inspired by an earnestness beyond all imitation of art, acquired a plausibility and importance which, at least while the orator spoke, made his audience entirely forgetful of their preconceived objections against them.
Among all the fathers of the first three centuries Tertullian has given the most powerful expression to the terrible earnestness of the Gospel.
In oral exposition the vigour of thought and moral intensity of the man were most of all apparent, while his practical earnestness completely captivated his hearers.
The double want of the age, the want of spiritual earnestness and the want of organized coherence, would find satisfaction in many ways which would have seemed strange to Wesley, but which were, nevertheless, a continuance of the work which he began.
He wandered from village to village and town to town, preaching to enormous audiences, always in the open air; the earnestness and straightforward eloquence with which he insisted that true repentance came from the heart, that pious pilgrimages and the absolution of the Church were mere outward symbols, appealed to all classes.