In submitting to the public the present collection of Illustrations for Sermons and Instructions, the editor wishes respectfully to call the attention of its readers to the fact that it does not in any sense pretend to be complete. Both as to the number of subjects touched upon, and the manner of treating these subjects. the editor is, therefore, fully aware that this compilation cannot be considered other than limited and fragmentary. The order followed in this volume and the method of arranging the quotations for the various topics herein developed may, indeed, be considered logical, at least in a general way; but even in these particulars a strict and exact sequence especially in minor details and in the number of points treated under each chapter and heading, has not been insisted on or aimed at. The compiler has simply put together under a numb"r of headings which, for the most part, naturally follow one another, a collection of notes, thoughts and Scriptural citatians gathered through years of careful reading. And as it was not at any time his intention or desire to arrange a volume for publication, these quotations, although from a large number of authors, represent only those writers and preachers whom he has been accustomed to read most frequently. This will explain why so many great preachers and writers, past and present, do not figure in this work. It is, in truth, evident that if anything approaching a complete collection of representative quotations from all the great Catholic preachers and writers on religious subjects ''''ere to be given, there would necessarily result not one, but many large volumes. Thus the work would become too cumbersome for convenient usc, and its practical value would be greatly diminished. Let it further be noted, as already hinted, that the publication of this collection of notes has been entirely due, not to the compiler's wishes or choice, but to the urgent suggestions and positive action of friends, who, knowing of the existence of the collection, have earnestly felt that, through publication, others should be given the pleasure and the benefit of reading and pondering its useful contents. Only after long and repeated urging, consequently, have friends of the compiler succeeded in obtaining the consent necessary that this collection should be published. But aside from any part that anyone has had in collecting these notes, or in arranging and editing this volume, it will be clear to the reader, from the number and high character of the authors quoted, that such a collection ought to be very useful for preaching and meditation. Assuredly the thoughts and words of great thinkers, of profound scholars, of devout and religious men and women, must at all times be profitable to all. and, in particular, to those whose state of life requires that they should give to others, by preaching and writing, that sound doctrine and spiritual nourishment which the life of the soul demands. It is thoughts and ideas that they who would speak to others need. Given the training and education that belong to each one's calling in life, it is not so much long treatises and volumes on single questions that one requires, as thoughts and ideas on the particular various questions which one desires to treat. Hence the writer or preacher on doctrinal and religious topics needs thoughts -he needs the thoughts and ideas of others to stimulate and set in motion his own stream of thought. The subjects discussed in this work are partly dogmatic, partly moral. There has been no special attempt to insist more on the one than on the other, so that fairly equal attention has been extended to both. In view, therefore, of the variety of the topics considered, and in particular of the number and quality of the authors quoted, it is the earnest hope of the compiler and of the editor that the present volume will be found servicable to a large circle of readers.
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