A Doctor of the Church in the pulpit
NINE SERMONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE ON THE PSALMS. translated and introduced by Edmund Hill, 0.1'., S.T.L., M.A. (Longmans: library edition 18s., pocket edition 9s. 6d.).
THAT man of mighty intellect, and in fairly early life a convert from both heresy and sin-St. Augustine of Hippowrote some 70 works, almost all of which are referred to by St. Thomas in the Summa Theologica. In the present book we are introduced to Augustine as a preacher and one of the greatest preachers in history.
"It was his one fault as a preacher," writes Fr. Hill, "that he did tend to run on, a fault of which lie was well aware himself." A fault not unknown in a few others since Augustine; sometimes with the added fault of failure to realise the running on.
This hook is really two books in one: for of its 172 pages, 32 are occupied by the translator's note
and his introduction. The latter is a valuable contribution: it pictures "the social and religious background against which St. Augustine exercised his pastoral office". It has notes on the paganism, the Manichees, the Pelagians and other heretics of Augustine's time; on the Catholic Church in Africa, both as to the clergy and the laity: and on St. Augustine's method of interpreting Scripture.
THE nine sermons concern psalms 18, 21, 25, 26, 29, 30 (three sermons on this psalm), and 31. The psalm of the sermon is given in advance-in Fr. Hill's own translation. Regarding the translation of Augustine's text and of the psalms, Fr. Hill writes: "The translation is deliberately very free, expanded where Augustine's concise Latin is a little obscure, and abridged where his prolixity becomes a little tedious . . . For the same reasons I could not use any standard English version of the psalms."
Despite the passing of centuries, the ancient preachers can sound amazingly modern-as we have previously noted in regard to St. John Chrysostom; in fact this applies from the Old Testament prophets onwards.
A book, this, which the serious student can scarcely afford to miss; it also provkies much instruction and enjoyment for the general reader. The pocket edition will appeal to the travelling reader (if not strap-hanging).
Recusant wife A VALIANT WOMAN: Mary Tregian, a Cornish wife and mother in Penal Times, by P. A. Boyan (The Catholic Presbytery, St. Ives, Cornwall: 3s. per doz., post free; single copy, 5d.).
THOUGH a slender pamphlet,
this account by Mrs. P. A. Boyan of Mrs. Mary Tregian (pronounced Trudgeon) during the penal times of Elizabeth I is a tensely interesting contribution to Catholic history; a poignant and moving story of the "white martyrdom" of suffering for the Faith.
Francis Tregian, her husband, was a Cornish recusant who stood steadfast for the Faith, who had sheltered Cuthbert Mayne (the first of the martyrs from the seminaries abroad and eventually, with others, beatified); he was sentenced to lifelong imprisonment and confiscation of all lands and goods in 1579; after Elizabeth's death in 1603 he was released on condition of leaving the country; he died in the Jesuit house at Lisbon in 1608.