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ON the republication of the present Volume of
Sermons in answer to an extensive demand for it, it is well, on behalf both of the Author and of the Editor, to remind the reader of its special characteristic, as separate and distinguished from the volumes republished under the title of "PAROCHIAL AND PLAIN SERMONS."
Of the epithet "PLAIN," indeed, it may be here mentioned, by the way, that the Author always from the first publication of the series so called by its Editors, entertained a doubt whether it had been well-chosen, as being, if not in itself inappropriate, yet certainly inapplicable to some of those Sermons which he himself, as well as others, contributed to it.
A volume, however, entitled "SERMONS ON SUBJECTS OF THE DAY," warns the reader by its very title that these Sermons are to be read and understood mainly with reference to their direct or indirect bearing on the occasion and circumstances of their first publication. They have necessarily an historical and controversial aspect, though most of them treat of matters of deep and unfailing interest, and of vast practical importance.
The Advertisement, therefore, and the Notes, which call attention to the peculiarities of this volume, which are pointed out at some length in the Appendix, Note C. of the Author's "HISTORY OF HIS RELIGIOUS OPINIONS," are retained in this Edition.
In compliance with a wish expressed by various persons for the dates of all the Sermons, two lists of the whole number published, including those in this volume, are appended to it: the one an index of the Sermons in the order in which they stand in the several volumes, with the record of their dates; the
other a chronological index of the dates, with references to the Sermons.
It will be seen from this document that some of the Sermons have been re-written by which word where it occurs it is meant that the first Edition of the printed Sermon was "re-written" from the MS. as preached on the day assigned. Thus Vol. III. Sermon I. was printed as it was preached, on July 19, 1829; but Sermon II. in the volume was not printed in 1836 as preached on May 9, 1830, but "re-written" for the purpose of printing: others again, in like manner, have been enlarged, or expanded into two, or altered from the original MS. for the first Edition; and instances may be found, here and there, where a Sermon written for one season has been adapted to another.
In subsequent editions up to the end of 1845, as there are no doubt various differences observable, which are not here specified, most of them only literary, some few doctrinal, it may be here stated, once for all, that the Author was accustomed to
correct and retouch the successive editions very carefully; and it may be safely asserted that the variations which are to be found in intermediate editions are such as not to detract from the integrity, but rather to enhance the value of the document here supplied.
In Vol. II. Sermon II., for St. Thomas' Day, there is an addition, and in Sermon XXXI., for St. Simon and St. Jude, an alteration, in the last compared with the first Editions, of sufficient length and importance to be noticed here. And in Vol. IV: p. 280, "miraculous" has been substituted, with the Author's approbation, for "immaculate," written by a mistake, which he has also made in a note on the translation of the TREATISES of ST. ATHANASIUS (p. 241). Also, in the present volume (p. 28), the clause "in His own words has been inserted, to meet a criticism of Mr. Keble's at the time of its first publication.
It may be interesting to the reader to know that the text (Ps. civ. 23) which stands at the