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FLEMING H. REVELL COMPANY
New York : 158 Fifth Avenue
SELECTION of really great sermons, like an anthology of poetry, is a treasure
store of sentiment and thought. Both the lay reader and the student of homiletics may profit by the reading. Here are perfect models open to analysis and review, and the reader may glance before and after in the pursuit of the author's thoughts and inspirations. These models represent not the great sermons of yesterday, but of to-day.
No such volume of representative character has thus far appeared, though there are numerous collections of sermons of the decades past. One must keep up with the changing trend of style in rhetoric and composition. For example, the sermons of the past depended on form and technical composition, whereas the sermon of to-day tends toward directness and simplicity as the route to power. We have in this volume made the humble venture to collect what is representative of the best in modern homiletics, as opposed to the formal, well-divided, and sometimes laborious classic of the older school.
Although the editor has exercised his own judgment in the selection of preachers who have made their contributions, he has, in most instances, permitted each contributor to choose the sermon representative of his best pulpit efforts. In several cases a number of manuscripts were submitted by contributors and the choice lay entirely with the editor.
No two editors would probably agree as to the list of the ten or twelve supreme preachers of this generation. But to produce the selection a decision had to be made. The basis of choice has been laid upon the consensus of opinion, the verdict of scholars, and of a world that loves inspired preaching. No formal rhetoric or other rule of homiletic art will have half as much force as the power of example, of good models. These splendid creations of our modern preachers are not intended to dazzle or to be slavishly imitated or to submerge one's individuality. They are meant rather to create new thought and fresh devotion to the ministry, and to stimulate to a higher order of effort. The compiler will be well rewarded if this object is fulfilled, even in small degree.
Regret is recorded that Dr. William Lonsdale Watkinson, the greatest surviving preacher of the Victorian era, owing to advanced age and illness, has been unable to prepare and submit the manuscript of sermon which we intended to include in this volume. Thanks are due my esteemed friend, Rev. S. Parkes Cadman, D. D., who consulted Dr. Watkinson personally, and reported his inability to
make a contribution. Dr. Watkinson's sermons offer almost incomparable models, and we can do no better than commend to the reader his latest volume, “ The Shepherd of the Sea” (Revell).
HOBART DEITRICH MCKEEHAN. Dallastown, Pa.