« FöregåendeFortsätt »
PROFESSOR OF CHURCH HISTORY IN THE UNION THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, NEW YORK.
IN CONNECTION WITH A NUMBER OF PATRISTIC SCHOLARS OF EUROPE
THE HOMILIES OF SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE,
EPISTLES OF PAUL TO THE CORINTHIANS.
THE OXFORD TRANSLATION
• REV. TALBOT W. CHAMBERS, D. D., PASTOR OF THE COLLEGIATE REFORMED DUTCH CHURCH, NEW YORK.
The British edition of this translation has a preface in which is given a short “ sketch” of Chrysostom's history. As a fuller outline has been given in the course of the present re-production of the Homilies, it is considered advisable to omit this sketch here. (See Vol. ix. Pp. 3–23.) The remainder of the English editor's preface is as follows:
“ The history and remains of St. Chrysostom are in one respect more interesting perhaps to the modern reader, than most of the monuments of those who are technically called the Fathers. At the time when he was raised up, and in those parts of the Christian world to which he was sent, the Patriarchates, namely, of Antioch and Constantinople, the Church was neither agitated by persecution from without, nor by any particular doctrinal controversy within, sufficient to attract his main attention, and connect his name with its history, as the name of St. Asthanasius, e. g., is connected with the Arian, or that of St. Augustine with the Pelagian, controversy. The labours of St. Athanasius and St. Basil, and their friends and disciples, had come to a happy issue at the second (Ecumenical Council; the civil power favoured orthodox doctrine, and upheld Episcopal authority. The Church seemed for the time free to try the force of her morals and discipline against the ordinary vices and errors of all ages and all nations. This is one reason why the Homilies of St. Chrysostom have always been considered as eminently likely among the relics of Antiquity, to be useful as models for preaching, and as containing hints for the application of Scripture to common life, and the consciences of persons around us.
Another reason undoubtedly is the remarkable energy and fruitfulness of the writer's mind, that command of language and of topics, and above all, that depth of charitable and religious feeling, which enabled him, to a very remarkable extent, to carry his hearers along with him, even when the things he recommended were most distasteful to their natures and prejudices. It is obvious how much of the expression of this quality must vanish in translation : the elegance and fluency of his Greek style, the flow of his periods, the quickness and ingenuity of his turns, all the excellencies to which more especially his surname was owing, must in the nature of things be sacrificed, except in cases of very rare felicity, on passing into a modern language. His dramatic manner indeed, which was one of the great charms of his oratory among the Greeks, and his rapid and ingenious selection and variation of topics, these may in some measure be retained, and may serve to give even English readers some faint notion of the eloquence which produced so powerful effects on the susceptible people of the East. “However, it is not of course as compositions that we desire to call attention to these or any other of the remains of the Fathers. Nor would this topic have been so expressly adverted to, but for the two following reasons. First, it is in such particulars as these, that the parallel mainly subsists, which has more than once been observed, between St. Chrysostom and our own