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examine the one only real difficulty to be found in Luke iii. 23, and offers a new interpretation of that text, by which he hopes to remove it. Here, however, we think, with great deference to F. Formby, and we hope to be able to show, that he signally fails. After having observed that, as according to Mr. Scott, the mistake of the Vulgar Dionysian Era has arisen from a false interpretation, either of that passage of S. Luke (iii. 1) in which mention is made of “the fifteenth year of the empire of Tiberius Cæsar," or of that other passage of the same Gospel to which we have just alluded (Luke iii. 23), and that, as Mr. Scott has shown, the words in the former passage must be taken in their natural sense, le comes to the conclusion that the common interpretation of the latter passage must be abandoned, and that it is to this interpretation that the mistake of the Vulgar Era is due. He next offers the following interpretation in its stead :-“S. Luke,” he says, “must be supposed to speak in this passage not in any way of the age of Christ at the time of his baptism, but of His age at the time when He first bade farewell to the private life which He had led as a poor and unknown man of Nazareth, and began that work for which He came into the world, and of which He declared with a loud voice, when dying on the Cross, “It is finished.'” (p. 48.) Although most unwilling to introduce any novelty into what is commonly believed of our Lord, he thinks that if the common interpretation of this passage be retained, the Vulgar Era must also be thought to be correct, which he holds can in no way he admitted. Further on, in noticing an olujection that the Evangelist speaks of our Lord's beginning (to be) about the age of thirty years, immediately after relating the fact of His baptism, he says :-“It is easy to see that the Evangelist, after liaving finished his account of the baptism, throws into his narrative something entirely new; that is to say, a new episode about the genealogy of Christ, at the begining of which he relates in passing (obiter narrat) that Christ, when He began His work for which He had come into the world, was about thirty years old.” The word 'beginning,' therefore, refers, not to our Lord's age, but to His work. F. Formby confirms this by the reading of the Vatican Codex, και αυτός ήν 'Ιησούς αρχόμενος ώσει ετων τριάκοντα ων, which may be thus translated : “Now Jesus was beginning (that is, His work as Saviour of the world) when He was about thirty years old.” Our readers will perceive that by this interpretation it is possible to add a few more years to our Lord's public ministry, so as to make Ilim live forty years in all; but of these years thus added to His life the Evangelists are entirely silent.
Now we cannot within the narrow limits of a notice enter into a discussion about the Vulgar Era; we cannot bring forward several weighty objections to Father Formby's interpretation of this passage of S. Luke's Gospel ; we cannot even refer to all his arguments; but one thing at least we can do. We can try to show, and, as we believe, shall show, that the narrative itself of S. Luke's Gospel necessarily excludes F. Formby's interpretation; and if so, then that the reconciliation of sacred and profane chronology must be looked for in some other direction. We shall show that the words “ And Jesus was beginning (to be) about the age of thirty years," are not merely "obiter dicta" at the beginning of the genealogy,
but an integral part of the narrative, and that S. Luke in making use of these words refers to our Lord's age at the time of His baptism, and to nothing else ; at the time namely when the word of the Lord was made to John in the desert, and he came into all the country round the Jordan, preaching the baptism of penance; in other words, in the year which the Evangelist calls “the fifteenth” of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar, no matter how this "fifteenth” year is to be interpreted. We must ask F. Formby kindly to read from Luke iii. 21, to iv. 1, and he will see, we cannot doubt, that the Evangelist does not begin a new subject at ver. 23 of ch. iii., but although introducing the genealogy by way of parenthesis, still continues the narrative of the baptism. This surely is evident from ch. iv. 1: “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost,”—that is, of the Holy Ghost who had just descended upon Him (iii. 22),—"returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the desert.” Leave out the parenthesisand it is a'parenthesis, even F. Formby calls it an episode-and the whole passage will read as follows :—“Now it came to pass when all the people were baptised, that Jesus also being baptised and praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape, as a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven: Thou art my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. And Jesus Himself was beginning (to be) about the age of thirty years : being as was supposed the Son of Joseph, &c. And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the desert.” To refer the words Et Jesus erat incipiens (however they are to be interpreted) to something distinct from the baptism, seems to us arbitrarily to distort them from their true position, and utterly to confuse the whole passage ; nor can we understand how F. Formby can have passed over ch. iv. 1.
Wedo not think we need say anything more; for, although we should much like to enter more fully into the subject, if F. Formby's interpretation of Luke iii. 23, is untenable, all his other arguments fall to the ground together with it, and indeed we have already far exceeded our space. We do not however mean to say that F. Formby may not be able in some way or other, to us as yet unknown, to make good his case-many will hope that he may ; for the forty years of our Lord's life on earth seem at first sight more in harmony with the prophecies, types, and figures of the Old Testament, than the thirty-three years usually assigned to it. On the other hand, it may be argued that to give ten years to our Lord's public ministry is to destroy the force of Daniel's “time and times and half a time” (vii. 25) as well as of the three years and a half during which Elias closed the heavens (3 Kings xvii. 1; S. James v. 17), both of which passages are usually interpreted as prophetical or typical of Antichrist's counterfeit of the three years and a half of our Lord's public ministry. But, for the present, our verdict must be “not proven.”
The Spoken Word; or, the Art of Extempore Preaching : its Utility, its
Danger, and its True Idea. By the Rev. Tuomas J. Potter, Professor of Sacred Eloquence in the Missionary College of All-Hallows.
Dublin : M‘Glashan & Gill. WHIS is a most valuable work, and to priests especially cannot fail to
be welcome. We cannot too strongly recommend it. It treats upon a subject the importance of which is daily becoming more felt, while it has the immense advantage of having been written by one who has made sacred eloquence the study of many years, and has also already had the happiness of seeing his own teaching bear much fruit. We have not even yet exhausted the good points of this book, for we must add that, like all Father Potter's other works, it not only contains a great deal of useful information, but is also interestingly and agreeably written. Even after a hard day's work, spent in attending to sick-calls and in visiting his schools, the missionary priest may take up this work, and while meeting with many a valuable hint which may serve to render his preaching more beneficial to souls, may also find amusement and relaxation.
Father Potter is especially good in showing what extempore preaching is not, namely, preaching without preparation, as is too often taken for granted, and that “extemporization regards only the words and not the matter of the discourse."
“An extemporary preacher is one,” he says, “who, having previously and carefully studied and arranged the substance of his sermon, trusts to the inspiration of the moment to supply him with the spoken words in which to give expression to ideas which are the fruit of much earnest study, and of much patient and thoughtful labour.” (ch. i. p. 10.)
Father Potter points out certain qualifications which are indispensable to success in the extemporary preacher, treats of the selection of the subject and the conception of the subject, and notices especially how unity of thought and conception is doubly necessary in this kind of preaching, and that therefore every discourse should be the development of one great leading idea. He enforces upon the reader that want of thought is a great deficiency of modern sermons, and shows how the subject should be meditated, how the matter of the discourse should be arranged, how the subject itself should be presented, how all-important it is to seize the audience; in other words, how to teach and to move, how to appeal to the intellect, and to touch the heart. The use and abuse of word-painting are also considered. The whole work is illustrated by the opinions and examples of great saints and great preachers, as well as, from time to time, by amusing anecdotes. We extract the following striking passage from Chapter XV., “How to Seize the Audience.” Father Potter is speaking of those preachers who fail in this respect :
“By their most brilliant phrases and their most ingenious figures of speech, they never succeed in disguising the innate and repulsive deformity of the dead body which they labour to clothe in these gaudy garments. They never succeed in making these dry bones live ; probably they never even succeed in galvanizing and imparting to them a momentary semblance of life and utility. They never succeed in breathing the breath of life into that lifeless frame. Spite of their ill-directed efforts to animate and give it being, it remains cold and dead to the end. These are the men of whom it has been bitterly written, that they have nothing to say, and they say it. And what, perhaps, is most painful of all is, that many men who were destined by God and nature to become true orators-men who begin well, and whose after-career promises to be great and glorious,-end in this uniserable way, simply because, when they have once acquired that gift, which is too often fatal to its possessor,-a great facility of speech,they give up the habit of study,--the habit of careful and studious reading, without which no man, low great soever his talents or his natural gifts may be, will ever continue to be really and truly eloquent, will ever be able to speak with force and effect to a body of intelligent, educated, and thoughtful men.”
One of the great difficulties of extempore preaching, and indeed of all extempore speaking, seems to be to know when to end. We must all of us remember more than one good sermon or speech utterly spoilt, because the preacher or speaker did not know how to stop. Very often, as Father Potter remarks, after having neglected to conclude at the favourable moment, when the crisis of his discourse has been secured, “the preacher flounders along for a little while longer, heaping word upon word, and phrase upon phrase, till in the end, with the recklessness of despair, he winds up with the well-used text, 'Come, ye blessed of My Father' (or with that perhaps still more familiar one, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant : enter thou into the joy of thy Lord'), and descends crowned, if not with laurels, at least with the gratitude of his audience, for having seen fit to conclude at last.” (ch. xvii. p. 242.)
Father Potter points out very clearly the way in which to guard against this unpleasant result, namely, by marking out distinctly in the plan of the discourse the leading ideas which are to be dwelt upon in the conclusion, the manner in which they are to be developed, and to some extent the very words in which they are to be expressed. We consider this advice most judicious, and we believe that in practice it will be found that those extempore sermons are the most telling whose concluding words have been carefully prepared beforehand. One of the great advantages of extempore preaching—that is, of course, of extempore preaching as understood hy Father Potter, for none other is worthy of the name, -over sermons written and committed to memory, is, that it allows the preacher to keep his mind open to those inspirations of God's Holy Spirit which can surely never be wanting to any of His servants when engaged in preaching His Word. But the crisis of the sermon once reached, the object of the discourse once gained, the same reason no longer exists, and a conclusion carefully prepared beforehand will strike home at once to the hearts of the hearers, and prevent the full current of thought already presented to them from losing itself in mere deserts of sand. “Nor will this be sufficient,” says l'ather Potter. The preacher must also foresee how his conclusion is to be arranged " with that lucid brevity, that vigorous point, that warmth, carnest and real just in proportion as it is brief,
which alone render the conclusion of a discourse all that it ought to be, the most telling and effective portion of it.” The reader will also find examples of perorations employed by such well-known preachers as S. Alfonso Liguori, Massillon, Father Segneri, who to our mind is one of the most vigorous of Italian preachers, his Grace the Archbishop of Westminster, and Dr. Newman. Of the two last-mentioned Father Potter, quoting the author of “ Lamps, Pitchers, and Trumpets,” observes that “their writings contain fountains for many sermons for years of consolation and light.”
We should have been glad to make a few remarks upon the two great methods of presenting the subject of a discourse by“ plan” and by“ view,” and to express our hearty concurrence with ihe Abbé Bautain and the Abbé Mullois, quoted by Father Potter, when they say that the fault of sermons at the present day “lies in the absence or deficiency of all method.” 6. The composition of the ordinary man,” says Father Potter-for, we repeat, we do not lay down rules for a Lacordaire or a Felix—“who proposes to himself to take views,' is almost certain to lack that strict and logical sequence of ideas, of proofs, of arguments, without which, resting upon the authority of S. Augustine (1 Ep. xviii.), we have no hesitation in saying that a sermon is essentially faulty. Such a preacher is as likely as not to say at the commencement of his discourse that which he should have reserved for the conclusion.” (ch. viii. p. 82.) But we must refer our readers for further information to the work itself.
We will only, in conclusion, repeat that we cannot doubt that this book will be warmly received by the clergy, most of whom in the midst of their missionary labour find it quite impossible to prepare the words of their sermons, and who, therefore, cannot fail to feel grateful for so many useful hints, how to make their extempore preaching really fruitful. We trust also that Father Potter's work will be in the hands of all ecclesiastical students, for whose information we may add that at pages 20, 21, 97, they will find how this accomplished and experienced professor of sacred eloquence himself trains the students of All-Hallows College to prepare for extempore preaching. The continual practice of writing sermons during their college course, and of making a careful and accurate synopsis of every sermon thus composed, forms the chief feature of this training. There can be nothing better. The work has been excellently brought out by Messrs. McGlashan & Gill, of Dublin, whose many beautiful publications clearly show that in excellence of typography and finish of binding the Irish capital can more than hold her place with any rival.
The Russian Clergy. Translated from the French of Father GAGARIN, S.J.,
by Ch. Du Gard MAKEPEACE, M.A. London : Burns & Oates. 1872. THE HE state of the schismatical clergy of Russia seems, if we may judge of
it by the number of books even recently published, to be exciting very considerable interest in the minds of men who have little in common with that fallen body. Father Gagarin, however, had a natural attraction to the VOL. XIX.-NO. XXXVII. [New Series.]