Sermon on the Gospel of Matthew, In A Volume Of Works By St. Augustine And Others f.44v
Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum
Belonging in the Middle Ages to the cathedral priory of Rochester, this manuscript contains a large collection of St Augustine's sermons, mostly on parts of the New Testament. Its attractive bold handwriting is further enlivened by elaborately decorated letters beginning three sermons, while the others have large coloured first letters. Augustine (354-430) was one of the great preachers of early Christianity, his hundreds of sermons being copied many times and distributed throughout the medieval western church. This copy of his sermons may have been read from during the daily prayer services of the canons and monks--although it is not organised according to the calendar of feast days--and probably was used as a resource for the writing of sermons to be delivered at mass.
The sermons in the first section of the manuscript are on Jesus' words in the Gospel of Matthew, arranged according to their occurrence in the gospel. "If you want to enter life, obey the commandments" (Mt 19:17) is the subject of the sermon on this page. The red title (rubric) at the top of the page gives the quotation, and the large coloured letter begins the sermon itself. Most medieval manuscripts have graphic aids for the reader to identify the beginnings and ends of sections of text.