BLTC Press Titles


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Vanity Fair

William Thackery


The Worm Ouroboros

E. R. Eddison


Further Adventures of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross


Through the Looking Glass

Lewis Carroll


Meditations and devotions of the late Cardinal Newman

by John Henry Newman

Excerpt:

PREFATORY
NOTICE

'THE Papers by the late Cardinal Newman contained in this collection were likely, most of them, to have formed part of what he proposed to call a ' YearBook of Devotion' for reading and meditation according to the Seasons and the Feasts of the year. The intention of composing such a book had been in the Cardinal's mind as far back as the early years of his Catholic life, but, though it was never abandoned, various circumstances hindered him from pursuing it, and no portion of this volume was put together with this idea. The book would have varied greatly in the matter of its subjects and in their treatment. For instance, some papers on the Notes of the Church would have formed one subject; of these, excepting some mere preparatory fragments, nothing was written. Again, some sermons would also have formed a part of the readings. A scheme, drawn out by him, of Litanies to run through the whole year shows what he had thought of in that respect, though only the few here printed were put together by him. ' The Sayings of the Saints of the Desert' would have been extended over the whole year instead of covering only the few months for which he had prepared them. The ' Meditations for Eight Days' were intended to be carried through at least five weeks, and a scheme of them was drawn out for that purpose. The ' Dream of Gerontius,' if not written expressly for the volume, was to have been added as a November reading, and ' Gerontius' was likely not to have stood alone as a poem. Indeed, the book would have become a repository of the Cardinal's thoughts on the various devotional subjects which occupied his mind. But there are not the materials for such a book. All, then, that has been possible towards carrying out the Cardinal's intention has been to put together such papers as, from what was said by the Cardinal, are considered as likely to have come within the compass of the contemplated volume. It is hoped that this will gratify many of the late Cardinal's friends, some of whom have expressed a strong desire to have some examples of his devotions, or to know the devotions which most attracted him, and which they might make their own. The Meditations on Christian Doctrine would probably have been more numerous, but that the Cardinal destroyed many such writings of his upon the death of his great friend Father St. John, to whose discretion he had intended to commit them. There are here included, therefore, it is believed, nearly all of the Cardinal's devotional papers which are likely to be forthcoming.

That the papers can be presented at all, especially the majority of the Meditations, is owing, it is believed, to the circumstances which accompanied their origin. It was the Cardinal's custom to note down, in the roughest way, any thought that particularly struck him while meditating, that he might reflect upon it during the day or pursue it in the future ; and thus he was led on to enlarge such thoughts, and write out the notes and re-write them carefully (for he always, he said, could meditate best with a pen in his hand). It is chiefly to this custom of the Cardinal's, of keeping the current of holy thoughts within his easy reach, that we owe, it is believed, the preservation of the greater part of this volume.

The headings of the different subjects, and their parts and chapters have all, with one or two exceptions, been carefully written by their author, but their order evidently had not always been fully determined. It is to Father Ryder and to Father Eaglesim that this volume is especially indebted .. to the former for some important suggestions and curtailments, for the sake of greater clearness ; and to the latter for the present order and the supply of the few headings wanted, as well as in other respects.


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