Lot n° 8
800 - 1000
Jean Sifrein MAURY (1746-1817), ecclésiastique et homme politique, prêtre, cardinale, archevêque, puis évêque et Académicien
Two autographed handwritten sermons. Sermon of 1781, title and 30 pages and sermon of 1783, title and 36 pages, in-4, bound with cloth cords. Manuscripts written mostly in two columns, with important annotations, some in Latin, indexes and erasures. Sermons entitled "Last copy put in the net (in preparation for publication) on the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, preached at Versailles in the presence of King Louis XVI on Good Friday 1781 and 1783". Afterwards, a warning on the title page of the first sermon: "The two sermons on the mystery were at first only a discourse; but then the subject was so enlarged by the fruitfulness of the plan, that its extent obliged me to preach it in two sessions, in the evening of a Thursday and in the morning of Good Friday, sometimes even in two consecutive evenings. This is the form in which I publish the two separate parts. No matter how fast the oratory flow from the pulpit may be, each of these two points will still equal the ordinary length of a sermon on passion. N.B. (nota bene). This warning shall be printed in italics on the back of the title". Thus begins the first sermon on passion "Sire. Where should I stand today to be heard?
Is it to heaven, is it to earth that I will speak? Everything becomes new to me, everything around me is changed. It seems to me that I am entering the house of the Lord for the first time; and I no longer recognize myself in the midst of the spectacle that is presented to me there. This church is no longer a temple, it is the holy mountain of Calvary ..."
These two rare manuscripts are less sermons than lectures of a certain eloquent boldness. King Louis
XVI said after his sermons, if Abbé Maury had told us a little about religion, he would have told us about everything.
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