- ISBN-13: 9781502525574
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
- Release Date: Oct 11, 2014
- Pages: 398 pages
- Dimensions: 0.9 x 9.0 x 6.0 inches
The reading public, especially in Ireland, will readily admit that the world has grown very lonesome since Canon Sheehan died. The newspaper announcement, “A new work by Canon Sheehan," always filled us with pleasant anticipations. Those pages of polished, elevated thought and racy humor; those pictures of national life where as a critic beautifully remarks, he showed the power "of twisting the charm of Irish character out of his paragraphs like the odor of thyme when it is rolled between the fingers": these, so far from satisfying, but whetted our appetites for more. Hence we have good reason to thank his executor for giving us an opportunity of once more enjoying the society of a man who charmed while he raised us up. With the novelist, the essayist, and the poet, we are already acquainted; in this volume we meet him in a character entirely new: Canon Sheehan the preacher. The modest pastor of Doneraile would be the last to claim the title: "orator." Yet his readers must have observed how often the pent-up tide of genuine eloquence burst forth and overflowed his pages. Instances of this may be seen in "The Intellectuals," page 359, where he makes a whole-hearted defense of the Gaelic revival and a withering onslaught on the curses of anglicization, in the sublime apostrophe of Geoffrey Austin in "The Triumph of Failure," page 333, and the immortal sermon he puts into the mouth of Doctor Grey. The same loosened tide frequently breaks through the surface in the pages now before the reader. The public need not be told that his leading feature was his priestly character and cast of mind; as a priest alone he speaks here, hence the unaffected outpouring of his inmost heart. He never strains after effect or turns aside to pursue a flight of imagery or a musical cadence; from first to last his sole concern is to send home the sacred truth with which he is charged. From his manuscripts it is evident he carefully wrote his sermons from the very first, and the minute exactness and care so characteristic of the man are evident in every page. It was a happy accident that sent him for the first years on the English mission. The presence of Protestants, converts and critics amongst his audience made him cautious and laborious, and helped to bring out all that was best in him. Yet his early efforts, while smooth and graceful, are timid, and want that courage that comes with conscious mastery of the subject. The keen analysis of the human heart, the wealth of knowledge, the fecundity of ideas, and, more remarkable still, the richness of imagination, lingered tardily in their early growth, but finally came with a rush as he approached middle life. Hence in making selections for publication many of his earlier sermons are omitted. While this book is going through the press it has been discovered that many more of his sermons are scattered through the Homiletic Monthly; steps ·will be taken to include the best of these in the second volume. In presenting this collection of Canon Sheehan's sermons to his numerous admirers a debt of gratitude and a labor of love is discharged by his devoted friend-the Editor.
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