American Rhetoric: Movie Speech

"Chariots of Fire" (1981)


Eric Liddell Evangelical Speech at the Scotland vs. Ireland Races

Audio mp3 delivered by Ian Charleson


Liddell: You came to see a race today. See someone win. Happened to be me. But I want you to do more than just watch a race. I want you to take part in it.

I want to compare faith to running in a race. It's hard, requires concentration of will, energy of soul. You experience elation when the winner breaks the tape -- 'specially if you've got a bet on it. But how long does that last? You go home. Maybe your dinner's burnt. Maybe, maybe you haven't got a job. So who am I to say, "believe," "have faith," in the face of life's realities?

I would like to give you something more permanent, but I can only point the way. I have no formula for winning the race. Everyone runs in her own way, or his own way.

And where does the power come from to see the race to its end?

From within.

Jesus said, "Behold, the kingdom of God is within you." "If, with all your hearts ye truly seek Me, ye shall ever surely find Me"1 -- if you commit yourself to the love of Christ.

And THAT is how you run the straight race.

1 The three clauses comprising the attribution to Jesus may have been pieced together from several different Scriptural verses and versions (and across both Old and New Testaments), including Luke 17:21 -- "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you" (KJV); Deuteronomy 4:29 -- "But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul." (ESV); and Jeremiah 29:13 -- "And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." (KJV). The latter two clauses are found verbatim in Mendelssohn's oratorio Elijah, lyrics by Julius Schubring.

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