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A Book About the Clergy

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Pages: 350

Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Publisher: Date:8/4/2009 - General Books LLC

By: John Cordy Jeaffreson

Excerpt from book: CHAPTER VIII. POSTILS, HOMILIES, AND SERMONS. THE pulpit oratory of the English clergy comprised in former times three distinct kinds of addresses,—the postil, the homily, and the sermon. The signification of each of these terms varied from time to time so much, that at some periods we find each of them used as applicable to any kind of scriptural discourse, uttered by a preacher to a congregation. The Book of Homilies uses the words homily and sermon as synonymous: and in Catholic days ecclesiastical writers often applied the same signification to postil and homily. In strict language, however, the three names designate three very different varieties of lecture. The postiller was a preacher who explained a considerable passage of Scripture—a chapter, or even more than a chapter— to his auditors: reading a few verses of the part of the sacred writings taken, under consideration, and then post ilia (verba) making comment upon them before he read out another passage, which he explained or postillized in the same way. In fact, the postiller discharged simultaneously the functions of the old Scripture-reader and the modern sermon-preacher,— doing to a numerous assembly nearly what the Scripture-reader of the present day does to a single hearer, or to a group of a few persons in the ordinary performance of his duty. The term ' homily,' though there is abundant authority for applying the word to any kind of sermon, was at first the peculiar designation of a moral discourse, uttered in illustration of the nature of any particular department of Christian duty rather than in elucidation of a special passage of Scripture: whereas f sermon,' in its narrowest sense, meant an address, the main object of which was to demonstrate the teaching of a particular portion of holy writ, called...  

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