By Fr. J. D. CRICHTON THE SUNDAY SERMONS OF THE GREAT FATHERS, translatvd and edited by Martin F. Tool, D.D. Vol. 1 (Pocket Edition) 16s. 6d.; Vol. H (Library Edition) :16s. (Longmans, Green and Co., Ltd.).
SOME two years ago we reviewed the first volume of these sermons that now appears in a very attractive pocket edition. In the space of 428 pages of letterpress, it covers only the Sundays from the beginning of Advent to Quinquagesima.
Now that the second volume has appeared it is possible to appreciate the grand scope of the whole work. This second volume is in any case likely to he the high point of the series as it covers Lent and
Paschaltide up to the Sunday after the Ascension.
Here we find the splendid Easter homilies of the great Fathers, St. Ambrose, St. John Chrysostom, St. Cyril of Alexandria, St. Augustine, St. Leo and many others. Here we arc led back to the genuine sources of liturgical commentary so very different from the etiolated "considerations" and ' elevations" of a later day.
Not for imitation YET there may be a danger in 1" the very abundance offered. The Fathers are not for imitation in manner, and it is to be hoped that the clergy will not copy their leisurely exuberance.
These sermons will form the mind and an occasional comment Or phrase will remain to enrich our own efforts. They need to be read with discretion, and it is a little startling to find St. John ( hrysostom preaching on drunkenness on Holy Saturday night.
It will be well to describe once again the plan of the book : the Gospel of each Sunday (with parallels) is given and then short comments from various sources on individual verses or short passages. 'I hen follow iine, two or three complete sermons. These .are followed by a few explanatory notes.
II should be emphasised too that we have here homilies on only the Sunday Gospels (by way of exception there are some sermons for the Easter Vigil), and the days of Holy Week are not covered. It is to he hoped that Dr. Toal will consider a small book consisting of homilies for Holy Week.
We regret that these books do not make very easy reading, and that Dr. Toal has chosen so archaic a style of translation. But we are surethey will do much good.