The present volume completes the “Ninety-six Sermons,” the only authentic Sermons of Bishop Andrewes which had been so far finished under his own hand as to be considered by those to whom his papers were entrusted, Bishops Laud and Buckeridge, in a fit state for publication.
The Funeral Sermon, preached by one of these, his friend Bishop Buckeridge, is appended in the place which it has usually occupied in former editions of the Ninety-Six Sermons, being as it were the seal of their authenticity, and marking the boundary between Andrewes’s finished and authenticated and his imperfect and less authenticated Sermons and Lectures.
Of this latter class are the Sermons on the Lord’s Prayer and on the Temptation, The Exposition of the Moral Law, and the Orphan Lectures on Genesis; of which it is as certain from their matter and manner that they had no other author than Bishop Andrewes, as it is from other circumstances that they were not, strictly speaking, from his pen.
The account to be given of these publications is probably this.—In a Preface to the first edition of the work on the Moral Law, which was printed in a very negligent imperfect way in the year 1642, it is said that “he was scarce reputed a pretender to learning and piety in Cambridge (during Andrewes’s residence there) who made not himself a disciple of Bishop Andrewes by diligent resorting to his lectures, nor he a pretender to the study of divinity who did not transcribe his notes;” and that these “had ever after passed from hand to hand in many hundreds of copies.”
To the labours of these “disciples” and students, whether they were transcripts surreptitiously made from his MSS. or notes taken down in short hand from his lips as he delivered them, we owe the imperfect and unauthenticated Sermons and Lectures of Bishop Andrewes.
It is on record that King Charles the First, with his characteristic reverence for holy subjects, and a tender jealousy for the reputation of the Bishop, gave his special charge to the Bishops of London and Ely, on confiding his papers to their care, that none should be committed to the press but such as they found perfected by his accurate hand. It seems to have been his desire to put a stop perhaps to the currency of those imperfect draughts or broken notes which had already crept into print, and to prevent a style at once so striking and so familiar from becoming, in less delicate and reverent hands, unlike itself. At the same time it seems to have been evident all along, nor indeed is it denied by those most concerned, that in the “undigested chaos” put forth in 1642, there were many good materials, and those originally from the mind of Andrewes. It is only insisted upon, that they were but ruins and fragments.
With these remarks, and this caution as to the probable amount of their authenticity, it has seemed desirable to print the Sermons on the Lord’s Prayer and on the Temptation, both of which are early works, the former most probably to be assigned to the period during which Andrewes occupied the office of Catechist at Pembroke Hall. They were both appended to the above-mentioned edition of the work on the Moral Law, but had both appeared before, and had been uniformly ascribed to him.
The Sermons on the Lord’s Prayer had been published originally in a small 12mo. in 1611, under the title of “Scala Cœli,” and subsequently, in a very improved state, in 1641, an edition extremely rare.
Of those on the Temptation, there does not appear to have been more than one original edition, and that as early as 1592, marked a in the present edition.