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This review is taken from PN Review 3, Volume 4 Number 3, April - June 1978.

63 SERMONS The English Sermon, 3 vols., Carcanet. Vol. 1, 1550-1650, ed. Martin Seymour-Smith, £7.90; Vol. 2, 1650-1750, ed. C. H. Sisson, £6.90; Vol. 3, 1750-1850, ed. Robert Nye, £6.90.

At a time of high inflation and in an age when sermon tasting is very much out of fashion, it is a bold venture to publish these large attractively produced volumes of some 1200 pages in all, containing 63 sermons, the work of 47 preachers from Cranmer to Newman. Each volume, in addition to the sermons, contains a calendar giving the dates of significant events during the century, a general introduction, a short biography of each preacher and an introduction to each sermon which tells us something of the context in which the sermon was originally delivered. In addition Volume 1 adds a few historical notes (some of which are too brief to be much help, for example p. 200 the note on Bonaventure) and also notes on archaic and unusual words. Volume 3, besides notes, also provides bibliographies. Volume 2 provides neither notes nor bibliographies, even when, as for example in Bingham's sermon on the Trinity, notes would have been helpful-for few today have even a nodding acquaintance with Arianism, still less with Sabellianism. None of the editors attempts to translate quotations from the Fathers or Schoolmen, which, in these days of little Latin and even less Greek, is a pity.

As with any anthology, several items select themselves. As expected, we find Latimer's 'Sermon of the Plough', Donne's 'Death's Duel', Wesley's 'The Almost Christian' and 'Catholic Spirit', and Newman's 'Peace in Believing' and 'Parting of Friends'. Jeremy Taylor we would also expect but perhaps represented ...


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