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THE present volume is made up of a collection of Sermons, which were written and preached at various times and with long intervals between them. The first, the second, the third, the tenth, and the seventeenth, were preached in the December of 1868, and have already been published in the first volume of the Sermons by Fathers of the Society of Jesus, which has long been out of print. The fourth, fifth, sixth, eighth, and ninth were preached in the Advent of 1881, and the twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth, in the Advent of 1882. The seventh, which was partly occasioned by a particular attack on the Church, was preached on the Sunday before Advent, 1874, and was published at the time; the eleventh was preached on the same Sunday a few years later: and the four Sermons which close the volume were preached on the Sunday afternoons in February, 1879.
The reader, therefore, must not expect to find in these Sermons that connected and systematic
treatment of the great subject to which they refer, which would be natural in the successive chapters of a well-planned work on that subject. The Sermons have now been arranged in the order of ideas, and they have the unity and continuity which will usually belong to the productions of the same mind on the same subject. Nor is there any great department of the subject which has been altogether left untouched.
I fear also that it has been impossible to free them from occasional repetitions, such as would be inevitable under the circumstances of their composition and delivery. I have in two cases separated a single sermon into two parts, and I have supplied here and there some connecting paragraphs, for the sake of giving the whole more cohesion. But the same ideas will still be found recurring here and there, to an extent greater than might be the case if I had had the time to recast the whole series, and for this defect I must apologize beforehand.
London, Feast of the Patronage of St. Joseph, 1883.
H. J. C.