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“ Then, were they not very dear, as it would take a great while, you know, to write out a book ?"
“ They were. In the reign of our Alfred, in the ninth century, a bishop was obliged to go to Rome to buy books; for one of which the king gave him eight hides of land, or as much land as eight ploughs could till.” Stow informs us, that, in 1274, a Bible sold for 33l. 6s. 8d. Archbishop Ussher tells us, that in 1429, the price of one of Wickliffe's Testaments was 21. 16s. 8d. ; which the good bishop remarks, is as much as will now (in 1630) buy forty.”
“ It would buy many more now, father.”
“ It would; according to the rate at which I bought them for our charity-school, it would buy one hundred and thirteen.”
Well, what a difference !"
“ Dr. Henry, the historian, might well remark, noticing this subject, that none but kings, bishops, and abbots could be possessed of any books; which is the reason that there were then no schools but in king's palaces, bishops' sees, or monasteries."
“ But are there any books in the form of rolls now, father ?"
“ Yes; Dr. Buchanan assures us, that he had seen among the Jews, in Malayala, an ancient copy of the Law, written on a roll of leather; it was about fifteen feet long; the skins were sewed together. And there are many manuscripts of this kind, especially among the Jews.”
Printing was a fine invention, father.” “ It was, indeed; we have great reason to be thankful for it. By its means books are multiplied to any extent, and are made accessible to all. No man is so poor but he may have a few books; and especially he may have the Book of Books, Harry; you know what that is."
- The Bible.”
“ I never think of the noble art of printing, without calling to my recollection the quaint though expressive language of old Fox, the martyrologist, on the subject. Hereby,' says he, tongues are known, knowledge groweth, judgment increaseth, books are dispersed, the Scripture is seen, the doctors be read, stories be opened, times compared, truth discerned, falsehood detected, and with finger pointed, and all through the benefit of printing. Wherefore, I suppose, that the Pope must abolish printing, or seek a new world to reign over; or else, as this world standeth, printing doubtless will abolish him. But the pope, and all
his college of cardinals must understand this, that through the light of printing, the world beginneth now to have eyes to see, and heads to judge. He cannot walk so invisibly in a net, but he will be spied. And although, through might, he stopped the mouth of John Huss before, and of Jerome, that they might not preach, thinking to make his kingdom sure; yet, instead of John Huss and others, God hath opened the press to preach, whose voice the pope is never able to stop, with all the puissance of his triple crown. By this printing, as by the gift of tongues, and as by the singular organ of the Holy Spirit, the doctrine of the Gospel soundeth to all nations and countries under Heaven; and what God revealed to one man is dispersed to many; and what is known to one nation, is opened
FEASTS AND MEALS.
“ THE parable which you read this morning appears singular, father.” “ What do you refer to, Harry ?”
Why, the sending to call in the poor, and the maimed, and the blind, and the halt, to the feast. Nothing like this ever occurs
“ True, Harry; and on this account it may appear singular to us; but this is no reason why it should seem so in the East, the country in which the Scriptures were written.”
Certainly not, as you have shewn in a great many instances.”
“ And the picture which our Lord draws, of a king sending for the poor and the wretched