HOBHOUSE, Stephen. Selected Mystical Writings of William Law
London, The C. W. Daniel Company, 1938.
FIRST EDITION. 8vo, pp. xvi, 395, with frontispiece facsimile plate. From the Golders Green P. M. Library, presented by “…”. Some light foxing on title page. Text clean and fresh. Publisher’s blue cloth and title to spine. An excellent copy.
PALMERSTON, Henry J. T..Speech of Viscount Palmerston, in the House of Commons, on Wednesday, the 18th of March, 1829, upon the second reading of the Roman Catholic Relief Bill.
London, Published by Simpkin and Marshall, Stationer’s Court.
8vo, pp. 32. With head of the half title inscribed in black ink by Palmerston: “With Lord Palmerston’s Comp.ts”. Bound in contemporary rhombus-shaped pattern buckram gilt, gilt fore-edges and turn-ins. Marbled pastedowns. Fresh and clean. A fine copy.
ORIGEN (SPENCER, William, Tr.). Origenis contra Celsum libri octo: ejusdem Philocalia
Cambridge, Excudebat Joan. Hayes, 1677.
4to, pp. , 428, , 110, , 98, . Title page in red and black within double-fillet border in black ink. Additional title, dated 1676, for Philocalia: de Obscuris Sacrae Scripturae locis (recto of leaf Iii4). Text in Greek and Latin in parallel columns. Floriated woodcut initials. First 9 words of title in Greek characters. First leaf and leaf Iii3 are blank. Includes index. Generally clean, fresh and crisp, only a few quires slightly foxed. Very light age yellowing on margins, negligible single worm track throughout some leaves, starting short before the beginning of Philocalia (past the first half of the book) and ending some gatherings afterwards. Early autograph on front free flyleaf. Bookplate of the Society of the Sacred Mission at Kelham on front pastedown. Worn contemporary mottled calf with gilt-stamped library number on lower left corner of front cover. Skilfully rebacked preserving most of original elaborate spine gilt. Title on label to spine. A fine copy.
ORIGEN (SPENCER, William, Tr.). Origenis contra Celsum libri octo: ejusdem Philocalia
Cambridge, Excudebat Joan. Hayes, 1677.
4to, pp. , 428, , 110, , 98, . Title page in red and black within double-fillet border in black ink. Additional title, dated 1676, for Philocalia: de Obscuris Sacrae Scripturae locis (recto of leaf Iii4). Text in Greek and Latin in parallel columns. Floriated woodcut initials. First 9 words of title in Greek characters. First leaf and leaf Iii3 are blank. Includes index. Tear to upper margin of V4, slightly affecting the text. Generally clean, fresh and crisp. Very light age yellowing on margins, a few early Latin marginalia. Worn contemporary English calf with blind-tooled central decorative panels on covers. Skilfully restored to spine, modern red morocco label with gilt lettering. A fine copy.
IAMBLICHUS (GALE, Thomas, Tr.). De Mysteriis Liber
Oxford, E Theatro Sheldoniano, 1678.
Folio. pp. (40), 316, (8). Title page with engraved vignette, double-column text (Latin and Greek). Title slightly soiled, very light age yellowing throughout. Generally clean and fresh. Marbled pastedowns and fore-edge. Bookplates of Richard Fort, Read Hall, and of C. E. De M. K. (initials). Contemporary full calf gilt, decorated turn-ins, spine richly decorated with floral motif and divided in 6 compartments. Red morocco label. Some slight wear on covers and corners.
THE CATHOLIC GOSPELS MEANT TO COUNTER LUTHER’S BIBLE, IN VAIN
EMSER, Hieronymus (ed.). Das new Testament durch hochgelerten Hieronymum Emser seligen verteutscht.
Freiburg, durch Stephann Graff, 1551.
8vo. Text in Gothic, glosses in Italic. Title-page, ff. 16, 399 (=407), 7; lacking initial blank. Woodcut vignette on title showing Christ at the Column with the Instruments of the Passion relating to his flagellation and the editor Emser kneeling before him, with his coat of arms at his feet. Between Jesus and the theologian, a cartouche with a motto made up of two verses from the Book of Psalms (Nos 118 and 26): “iniquos odio habui, lege[m] aut[em] tua[m] dilexi. Odi[vi] eccla[siam] malignantium, etcu[m] impiis no[n] sedebo”. Several charming woodcuts by Anton Woensam of Worms throughout, at least one for each Gospel, illustrating the Evangelists, and any other epistolary section. Decorated initials in 3 sizes, the largest ones particularly beautiful. Capital spaces with guide-letter, many printed maniculae and side-notes. Printer’s mark on colophon; without the final blanks, a few marginal repairs in first quire, some waterstains at beginning and light spotting at end. Bound in contemporary blind-stamped pigskin over bevelled wooden boards, later metal clasps, remains of leather tabs (upper joint split at head, tail of spine slightly defective, some light stains). A very good, clean copy of this scarce edition.
Born of a prominent family at Ulm, Hieronymus Emser (1478-1527) was the most ardent literary opponent of Luther’s “pestilential heresy”, as Protestantism is defined in the present volume. George “The Bearded”, who was the very Catholic Duke of Saxony, encouraged the churchman and theologian Emser to undertake this German translation of the New Testament in order to counter the fast-spreading success of Luther’s vernacular Bible. The present book is an uncommon edition of Emser’s work, which was first published in 1527 (ABPC/RBH list just one copy in auction records). Emser compares Luther’s so-called “September Testament” (1522), which was his first translation of the Gospels from Greek, with the 1527 edition of the Reformer’s Bible, in order to prove the arbitrariness of his interpretation.
Anton Woensam was a German painter and graphic artist specialising in woodcuts. Forty-five paintings and over 500 woodcuts are attributed to him. He was a contemporary of the great artist Albrecht Dürer. Woesam’s woodcuts depict the four Evangelists (Merlo 1016, 338-341) the suffering Saviour, worshiped by the priest Emser (Merlo 1014, 330), and the authors of the Apostolic Letters.
Provenance: Bavaria, Rottenbuch Abbey (early inscription on title) – Schweinfurt, Otto Schäfer (pencil monogram on rear pastedown with library no.).
EARLY GERMAN MYSTICISM FROM THE LIBRARY OF PRESIDENT HEUSS
TAULER, Johannes [with] Meister ECKHART. Sermonen und Historia
Leipzig, Conrad Kachelofen, 17 March 1498.
FIRST EDITION. 4to. Gothic letter in three sizes. Double-column text preceded by the “Registrum” with the list of contents. A total of 290 leaves: 281 (=282) leaves numbered in Roman numerals (“folium”…) on top recto of each leaf, plus 8 preliminary leaves (title-page and register). Long 8-line opening title on upper half of first leaf (“Sermon des gross gelarten in gnade[n] erlauchte[n] Doctoris Johannis Thauleri Predigerr Ordens : weisende auff den neheste[n] waren wegk : yn Geiste czu wa[n]dern durch vberschwebe[n]den syn. vnuoracht vo[n] Geistes ynnige[n] vorwa[n]delt i[n] deutsch ma[n]che[n] Me[n]sche[n] zu selikeit.”), 7-line capital space with a large rubricated initial at the beginning of the first sermon, several 3-line capital spaces with small printed guide-letter. Rubricated throughout with numerous painted Lombard initials added on top of the printed guide-letters in bright red ink. Some occasional offsetting of red ink. Very occasional early marginalia. Bound in contemporary blind-stamped pigskin over wooden boards, spine with three low-raised bands covering thick double sewing supports. Original brass clasp and catch, closing on the left board, both decorated with etched sphinxes. Geometrical frames on covers, lines arranged in a hatched or lozenge design within central panels, and imperial eagles tooled within the four square sections formed at the corners. A nicely rubricated and clean incunabulum, only two small repairs to blank foot margins of title and second leaf. A fine copy.
FIRST EDITION of both text, published in German. This incunabulum contains 80 sermons by Johannes Tauler (c.1300-1361) and 4 sermons by Meister Eckhart (c.1260-1327), these the first works of Eckhart in print.
Eckhart and Tauler were great Christian mystics. The latter preached constant striving for knowledge of the divine, attainable in this world through perfection. Luther praised him and he was even known as a “reformer before the Reformation”. “The sermons are among the finest monuments of the German language, of German fervour of belief, and of profound spiritual feeling. The language is quiet and measured, yet warm, animated, and full of imagery. Tauler is not so speculative as his teacher Eckhart but he is clearer, more practical, and more adapted to the common people … The centre of Tauler’s mysticism is the doctrine of the visio essentiœ Dei, the blessed contemplation or knowledge of the Divine nature. He takes this doctrine from Thomas Aquinas, but goes further than the latter in believing that the Divine knowledge is attainable in this world also by a perfect man, and should be sought by every means. God dwells within each human being. … The way to God is through love; God replies to its highest development by His presence. Tauler gives advice of the most varied character for attaining that height of religion in which the Divine enters into the human subject.” (Catholic Encyclopedia)
“[Eckhart] he has left us in his sermons specimens of the beautiful German prose of which he was a master. In these sermons, really short catacheses, we find frequent citations from such writers as Seneca and Avicenna, as well as from the theologians and Fathers. His discourses are directed to the intellect rather than to the will and are remarkable for their depth of mystical teaching … His favourite themes are the Divine essence, the relations between God and man, the faculties, gifts, and operations of the human soul, the return of all created things to God.” (Catholic Encyclopedia)
The historia, which is Tauler’s biography, includes the anecdote of Tauler’s conversion. However, it is today considered an abridgement of Rulman Merswin’s Meisterbuch of the Basel Gottesfreunde (“Friends of God”), of which Tauler had been a central figure. Falsely thought to be either by Tauler or Nicolaus de Basilea, this “History” has been attributed to Merswin by A. Chiquot (Jean Tauler et le “Meisters-Buoch”, Strasbourg 1922, p. 27-8)
Provenance: 1) Early inscription erased on title. 2) Stamp removed from second leaf – we believe it was of Theodor Heuss (1884-1963, first President of the Federal Republic of Germany), based on subsequent owner’s statement.
HC *15346; GW M45246; BMC III, 628 (IA. 12345); Goff T-48; BSB-Ink T-62; ISTC it00048000.
MEAD, Richard. Medica Sacra : sive, de morbis insignioribus, qui in Bibliis memorantur, commentarius.
London, Prostant apud Joannem Brindley, 1749.
FIRST EDITION. 8vo, ff. 2 (half title and title), pp. xix (preface), (3, i.e. capitum argumenta), 108 (text). Roman letter, some Italic, sporadic Greek. Head and tail pieces. C19th armorial bookplate of the Earls of Macclesfield’s “South Library” at Shirburn Castle with the motto: “Sapere aude” and press mark in ink (152. D. 15.) on left pastedown, dated 1860; partially covering older library number in pen. “From the Author” written in pen on verso of left endpaper. Printed on thick high quality paper in elegant type; a fresh, clean and crisp copy. Bound in contemporary beige calf over boards, single gilt-tooled along edges with stamped angular gilt fleurons. Gilt spine in seven compartments with suns in splendour tooled on the centre, plus four stars at corners of each section, raised bands. Orange morocco label with gilt lettering. Upper extremity of joints a bit tender, very minor rubbing on edges. A.e.r., a fine copy.
Richard Mead (1673-1754) was an English physician. His work, “A Short Discourse concerning Pestilential Contagion, and the Method to be used to prevent it” (1720), was of historic importance in the understanding of contagious epidemics. He was admitted to the Royal Society, to whose “Transactions” he contributed, writing on the parasitic nature of scabies. In 1714, Mead became the recognised head of his profession; he attended Queen Anne on her deathbed, and in 1727 was appointed physician to George II, having previously served him in that capacity when he was prince of Wales. In this work, Mead argued that pagan ideas regarding demons had entered Christianity. The book was translated from Latin into English by Thomas Stack in 1755. Mead understood those afflicted by demons in the New Testament to refer simply to those suffering from a variety of illnesses: “That the Daemoniacs, daimonizomenoi, mentioned in the gospels, laboured under a disease really natural, though of an obstinate and difficult kind, appears to me very probable from the accounts given of them.” Contemporaries such as Isaac Newton, Joseph Mede, and Arthur Ashley Sykes shared Mead’s opinion on the subject.
[POUILLY, Louis Jean Levesque de]. The Theory of Agreeable Sensations : in which the Laws observed by Nature in the distribution of Pleasure are investigated ; and the Principles of Natural Theology and Moral Philosophy are established…A dissertation upon Harmony of Stile.
London, Printed for W. Owen, 1774.
8vo, pp. x (half title, title, preface), ff. 3 (contents and errata), pp. 216. Early nineteenth-century ink autograph of “L. Ritchie” on verso of half title. Bound in contemporary calf over boards, restoration to corners. Recently skilfully rebacked. An excellent copy.
An excellent and unsullied copy of this treatise demonstrating that happiness, which, according to the author, is the end of moral theology, can be reached by pursuing virtuous behaviour and the law of nature. The French philosopher Pouilly (1691-1751) illustrates the theory of agreeable sensations, which are those sensations provoked in men by a righteous moral conduct. Only these, according to the author, can lead man towards the fullest happiness and respect of God. He also interpreted and commented on Newton’s Principia.
Vida de la V. Sierva de Dios Sor Úrsula de San Basilio
Cordoba, En la oficina de Diego, y Juan Rodriguez, 1763.
FIRST EDITION. 4to; pp. (xxviii), one leaf with engraved portrait of the nun by Juan Diaz on recto, 674, (vi). Roman letter, sporadic Italic. Attractive large head- and tail-pieces, decorated woodcut initials. Rebound in modern red velvet over wooden boards, as it was originally, preserving its silver corner- and centre-pieces with the Sacred Heart of Jesus etched on, clasps and catches, edges gilt and gauffered. Text clean and crisp. An extremely fresh and lovely copy.
First and only edition of this biography of Ursula of Saint Basil (1733-1761). Ursula was a nun in the Cistercian Monastery of the Immaculate Conception born in Pozoblanco, who died at the age of twenty-eight. The author of the book was Girolamo de Vilches, a monk of the monastery of San Basil in Cordoba, who refers to her devotion as a “multitude of proofs of the most virtuous virtue” and “giving an account of her death show the great sentiment that caused the loss of a religious so exemplary and so holy in Cordoba.”
From the prestigious library of Camille Aboussouan, Lebanese ambassador to UNESCO. “The quality of this large collection was various, some good, others less so, others again rather spoiled by the owner’s conspicuous device stamped on bindings and title pages… The top price was £26,000, paid for a set of drawings of the Levant, made c. 1839 for the Prince de Joinville, serving in the escadre de l’est of the French navy” (from a saleroom report in The Book Collector, Autumn 1993, p.401).