Tongues of Angels Tongues of Men
"Are Not My Words as a Fire? Saith the Lord, and as a Hammer That Breaketh the Rock in Pieces?" The Apostolic Era Jesus of Nazareth 4 b.c.-ca. a.d. 32 As the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins would put it eighteen...
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"Are Not My Words as a Fire? Saith the Lord, and as a Hammer That Breaketh the Rock in Pieces?" The Apostolic Era Jesus of Nazareth 4 b.c.-ca. a.d. 32 As the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins would put it eighteen centuries later, "Nowhere in literature is there anything to match the Sermon on the Mount: if there is let men bring it forward." Its grandeur and its epitomization of an entire faith are astonishing, yet this Sermon is in some ways an anomalous inspiration for the very sermon form. In Matthew's version (there is another to be found in Luke 6:17-49) Jesus speaks outdoors, apparently to his disciples, even though multitudes surround them; he is not speaking while conducting any religious ceremony but is rather teaching these twelve men who have given up their former lives and have now become his followers. That this teaching will lead to the cross is hinted at when he speaks to them directly in the last of the eight Beatitudes: "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake." (5:11.) Of the new ways in which they were being taught to stand in relation to God, perhaps none is so startling as the command to "love your enemies," meaning we are no longer to have enemies and indeed are to give love in return for any hatred we may receive. The reaction of his listeners to this radical injunction-and to the rest of his teaching-was astonishment. But it was the astonishment of those whose minds had been opened to a new reality by the uncanny authority (see 7:29) with which he taught. This sermon of sermons, never after surpassed, remains for men and women of faith a standard by which all religious speech may be measured. The Sermon on the Mount Matthew 5-8:1 (King James Version) And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: and he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye
"Tongues of Angels, Tongues of Men: A Book of Sermons" is a one-volume collection of the world's great sermons from the Judeo-Christian tradition. Resonant with promise, here are the speeches that have echoed down the centuries. From the Sermon on the Mount to Savonarola's attack on Renaissance Florence's excesses, from the anti-Nazi preaching of Bonhoeffer to Merton's awareness of the everyday in spiritual life, there is no issue or dilemma the pulpit has not addressed. ^This engaging collection combines a myriad of topics, individuals, eras, and controversies to achieve a balance of the human, the moral, and the theological. Jewish readers will be moved by the Hasidic exhortation to faith and joy, and Christian readers will appreciate the pulpits use as a forum for debate. ^Edited, annotated, and abridged by two experts, here are nearly one hundred famed sermons from preachers as diverse as Paul, Augustine, Benedict, Cure d'Ars, John Donne, Hildegard of Bingen, Girolamo Savona