Here, too, a man needs a loftiness of mind far beyond my own littleness of spirit, if he is to correct this disorderly and unprofitable delight that ordinary people enjoy. He must try to divert their attention to something more useful, so that church people will follow and defer to him. He should not be governed by their desires. It is impossible to acquire this power except by these two qualities: contempt of praise and the force of eloquence. If either is lacking, the one left is made useless by the divorce from the other. If a preacher despises praise yet does not produce the kind of teaching which is “with grace, seasoned with salt,” he is despised by the people, and his sublime words accomplish nothing. And if he is eloquent but is a slave to the sound of applause, again an equal damage threatens both him and the people, because through his passion for praise he aims to speak more for the pleasure than the profit of his hearers.
Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt; that is, that this graciousness may not lapse into indifferentism. For it is possible to be simply agreeable, it is possible also to be so with due seemliness. That ye may know how ye ought to answer each one. So that one ought not to discourse alike to all, Greeks, I mean, and Brethren. By no means, for this were the very extreme of senselessness.