« AnteriorContinuar »
was a translation of “Boetius," which To this however may be opposed bis adwas printed by Dan Thomas Richards, a vocacy of some of the superstitions of his monk of the monastery of Tavistock. times, such as “the Holy war,” the reThe abbot of Westminster was on the covery of Jerusalem out of the hands of most friendly terms, and, as we learn the Turks, and pilgrimaging to that place. from Caxton's own testimony, aided him In a prologue to one of the works which by all possible means.
Caxton translated, (“Godfrey of BouIt has been with some a matter of logne,'') he thus expresses himself : surprise, that beneath this sacred roof “ Then I, thus visiting this noble hisCaxton's mind was not more imbued tory, which is no fable nor feigned thing, with a devotional spirit, prompting him but all that is therein true; considering to write more on religious subjects. Had also the great puisance of the Turk, the it been an occasional resort only, proba- great enemy of our Christian faith, debly this would have been the case; but stroyer of Christian blood, and usurpers his familiarity with it, as his business of certain empires and many Christian locality, would form an obstacle to the royaumes and countries, and now late continuance of such a state of mind. And this said year hath assailed the city and then, Caxton having one object always castle in the isle of Rhodes, where valibefore him, to which all his energies antly he hath been resisted; but yet, were unceasingly directed, it was likely nothwithstanding, he hath approached that all others should be merged in the more near, and hath taken the city of one paramount interest. It would seem, Idronte in Puille (Otranto in Apulia,) by however, that he did not purposely avoid which he hath gotten an entrance to religious topics, since he produced some enter into the royaume of Naples; and few strictly pertaining to theological sub- from thence, without he be resisted, into jects. Could he have printed Bibles in- Rome and Italy, to whose resistance I deed, and had not done so, he would beseech Almighty God to provide, if it have incurred just cause for censure. be his will. Then it seemeth me necesBut this was impossible. Sir Thomas sary and expedient for all Christian More has shown us the reason why Cax- princes to make peace, amity, and alliton could not print a Bible, although the ance each with other, and provide, by people would greedily have bought Wick- their wisdoms, the resistance against liffe's translation. Before Wickliffe's time him, for the defence of our faith and there were translations of the Bible, and mother, holy church, and also for the that which goes by the name of the recuperation of the holy land and holy Reformer's was probably made up from city of Jerusalem, in which our blessed copies of those translations. Wickliffe Saviour Jesus Christ redeemed us with was interdicted, and More says, “ On ac- his precious blood; and to do as this count of the penalties ordered by arch- noble prince Godfrey of Boulogne did, bishop Arundel's constitution, though the with other noble and high princes in his old translations that were before Wick- company. Thus, for the exhortation of all liffe's days remained lawful, and were, in Christian princes, lords, barons, knights, some folks' hands, had and read, yet he gentleman, merchants, and all the comthought no printer would lightly be so mon people of this noble royaume, Wales hot to put any Bible in print at his own and Ireland, I have emprised to translate charge; and then hang upon a doubtful this book of the conquest of Jerusalem, trial whether the first copy of his transla- out of French into our maternal tongue, tion was made before Wickliffe's days or to the interest to encourage them by the șince; for if it were made since, it must reading and hearing of the marvellous be approved before the printing.” It was histories herein comprised, and of the not likely, therefore, that Caxton, a pru- holy miracles showed, and every man in dent, calculating man, would expose his part endeavour them unto the resisthimself to such difficulties. That Caxton ance aforesaid and recuperation of the was inclined to disseminate right prin- said Holy land, and for as much as I ciples, even the principles of piety and know no Christian king better proved in truth, may be gathered from the secular arms, and for whom God hath showed works which he printed. One of his more grace, and in all his emprises biographers bears testimony to his high glorious vanquisher, happy and fortunate sense of religion, and says that Caxton than is our natural, lawful, and sovereign lived in the fear of God, and was very lord, and most Christian king, Edward, desirous of promoting his glory.”
by the grace of God, king of England
and of France, and lord of Ireland, under were meditated, little more than a mere the shadow of whose noble protection, I outline was attempted. By degrees have achieved this simple translation ; shading was added, and light etching, that he of his most noble grace, would or white dots, were used : but all crossaddress, stir, or command some noble lines, such as are produced upon metal, captain of his subjects, to emprise this were avoided, the process being so diffiwar against the said Turk and heathen cult upon wood. people, to which I can think that every The class of customers most numerous man will put hand to in their proper for books at this early period, was the persons, and in their movable goods, laity, who were thought unworthy of the
Such is the enthusiastically zealous perusal of the monastic mss. Doubtless, address of Caxton ; but we must award this portion of the community were surpraise or censure proportionate to the rounded with many obstacles to the aclight afforded to the mind under all cir- quirement of knowledge, but the taste cumstances, and more especially in times being elicited, difficulties were surmountof extraordinary excitement. Motive is ed. The taste, however, for reading was the standard by which at all times we not then, as now, almost universal. should estimate human actions; for thus Many, even, who possessed the ability, are they weighed by Him who knows the lacked excitement sufficient to prompt to thoughts and intents of the heart. the task; many more were unable to
One of the theological books which read their own language, and but few Caxton printed in the abbey of West- could read the learned languages in which minster was the “Liber Festivalis.” In the greater number of books were written. this book, we find the Lord's Prayer, Wood cuts, therefore, were a great atwhich furnishes a curious specimen of traction, and acted as a stimulus to effort. the English of that period.
This introduced a more costly mode of “ Father our that art in heavens," as engraving, and copper-plate prints were though not to assign him one specific used in printed books. This was a more locality, " hallowed be thy name, thy expensive process, but they gradually sukingdom come to us; thy will be done perseded in England the use of the wood on earth as it is in heaven: our every cuts, unless it were in a few primers or day's bread give us this day; and forgive spelling books; but as a high branch of us our trespasses, as we forgive them art, the early style of wood engraving that trespass against us; and lead us not disappeared till Bewick renewed it at into temptation, but deliver us from all Newcastle-upon-Tyne. During the last evil sin,” (which seems to imply actual ten or twelve years, this art has been transgression, as that for which we are most extensively employed, and such is responsible, Christ having died for ori- the perfection to which it is now brought ginal guilt, or the guilty nature which we that the finest works which are thus emderive from our first parents.) Amen. bellished may complete, in their peculiar
Whether Caxton cast his own types is line, with the smaller specimens of the of little or no importance, as he certainly graver on copper and steel.
S. imported the art from abroad, so he might also the materials, which he never altered or improved. The original art of en DIVINE CONDESCENSION, HUMAN graving on wood, and the production of block-books, gradually merged into a dif The condescension of God, as already ferent ' mode—that of movable types. traced in its downward stages, was not This process was, however, very difficult
. ostentation and display. It could not Wohlgemuth, of Nuremberg, who flou- fail to be productive of certain effects; rished about 1480, however, effected im- for as surely as the natural operation of provements; and his pupil, Albert Durer, his justice would have tended to destroy, carried it to a perfection which has only so certainly the operation of his love would been surpassed by the revival of it in our have a tendency to save,
And it could own country,
not be otherwise than that these restoIn imitating the ms. books, the early rative effects should be commensurate printers employed the wood engraver with the degree of condescension which chiefly upon initial letters; sometimes he exercised; they would correspond in their margins were adorned by borders measure as well as in kind. Accordof white lines, or sprigs of foliage upon a ingly, we find that this exact correspondblack ground. But if a group of figures ence obtains : he stooped to earth, that
we might be raised to heaven; he
Had he only regarded his people in the took of our human nature, that we might light of his servants, he would only have be made partakers of his Divine ; he died laid his commands upon them; and even an ignominious death, that we might live this would have been conferring on them a glorified and eternal life.
an honour which angels are emulous and In glancing at the pinnacle of distinc happy to enjoy. But he not only ention to which man is raised, let us mark trusts them with his commands, he two or three of the more elevated stages shares with them his secrets, and honours in the ascending scale. The lowest to them with his confidence. He gives them which we shall allude, is that of a servant the utmost freedom of access to him, perof the most high God. From being the mitting them to come even to his seat, and slaves of sin, he advances us into his high to enter the secret of his pavilion. They and holy service. He has no need of share his sympathy, his counsel, and his our services, for he is self-sufficient, and aid ; and in return, they feel a growing could accomplish everything by the word congeniality with his character, make his of his power; or if he chose to surround cause their own, and rejoice when it is himself with 'obedient servants, as a thing promoted, as though their own interests becoming his majesty and state, he might were advanced. They are conscious of a have taken them all from the inhabitants holy jealousy for the honour of his name, of the heavenly world.* They have as if it were committed entirely to their never revolted from him, never abused custody, or as if their own life and happihis goodness, nor renounced his authority, ness were bound up with it. Oh how exas we have done; but have ever counted it alted and how ennobling is this relation their highest honour to adore and serve to God! and yet it is their privilege to bim. How astonishing is it, then, that sustain it: they are known in heaven, he should come to seek for servants in though they may not be on earth, as the this sinful world! that he should call friends of God. any into his service from among our
But they sustain a relation still higher, apostate and guilty race ! And yet he if possible, than this: “Beloved,” says does this; and he does it in a manner as an apostle, “now are we the sons of though he were really dependent on our God." "Ye are all the children of God,” services, as though he were unable to con says another apostle, “ by faith in Christ duct the affairs of his government without
Jesus.' “And if children, then heirs ; us: for he not only calls us, he urges, and heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.' entreats, and even offers to reward us, “Oh," said one of the Malabarian conthough we can never be otherwise than verts appointed by the Danish missionunprofitable servants. If we neglect his aries to translate a catechism, in which first invitations, he repeats them; if we believers are called the “sons” of God, faint in his service, he supports and en- "Oh, it is too much ! let me rather render courages us; if we revolt from his ser- it, they shall be permitted to kiss his vice, he actually follows and brings us feet.' But no, it is not too much. “It back to it again; he stoops to do that is just like him," said a converted negro which we should count it a degradation woman, with sublime moral simplicity, to do to our fellow-creatures. He re- when speaking of his unutterable gift of minds us that angels are our fellow-ser- Christ for our redemption. Inconceivably vants; he calls us co-workers together great as the gift is, “it is just like him ;" with himself; he even engages to ap- and unspeakably great as the privilege is, plaud us at last in the face of the uni- of constituting believers his children, "it verse, by saying, “Well done, good and is just like him :" it is no figment of the faithful servants : enter ye into the joy imagination; the honour is realized to of your Lord.”
the fullest extent. They are renewed But if it be an honour to be advanced after his likeness, and by the special into the service of God, how surpassing operation of his own Spirit. They are the distinction of being raised into his clothed with the robes of his righteousfriendship! And yet this is his lan- ness; are sustained with manna from guage, “Ye are my friends; henceforth heaven, and enjoy the training and tuition I call you not servants, but friends.” | of a Divine Teacher; while every step
they take brings them nearer to an in* If the writer mistake not, there is a passage heritance worthy of those whom he has somewbere in the celebrated Howe's works, the scope of which bears a resemblance to this para adopted as his children and his heirs. graph,
“ Beloved, now are we the sons of God;"
and when we look down to the depth | expanse. Even then he will be heard from which he has raised us, we may saying, as he surveys the interminable well be astonished at the height of our prospect of blessedness that stretches bepresent elevation; but when we look up fore him, “ It doth not yet appear what towards the summits which we are yet we shall be ; but this we know, that we destined to attain, we feel that "it doth are like him, for now we see him as he not yet appear what we shall be." Great is;" and this we believe, that in proporas the honour is which he has already con tion to the depth to which he stooped in ferred upon us, it is only the beginning, order to raise us, in that proportion will the pledge of what he purposes to bestow be the height of our exaltation, for ever on us in heaven. High as is the exalta- advancing in endless progression. tion to which he has already raised us, To this advanced stage of their exaltawe are still rising, and shall continue to tion, however, Christians have not yet ascend, till we have left sin, and death, attained. Some of them are only just and hell
, at an infinite depth below us, emerging into spiritual Kght and life ; and find ourselves placed at the right others are in the midst of their career hand of God.
toward heaven; others have just arrived Now, looking at the history of this exalt at the point at which their spirits pass to ation, we may remark that, like that Divine the throne of God; and others have long condescension to which it is owing, it is been familiar with the scenes and the marked by distinct and successive stages, society of heaven. Were the operation by which the Christian is carried from of the grace of God to terminate at this glory to glory, till he has reached the moment, were the affairs of his kingdom summit of perfect bliss. What an im- to be wound up at once, how astonishing portant moment in his history is that, the effects which his condescension has when the voice of God first calls him, already produced! How many has it and induces him to consider his ways raised to the enjoyment of eternal life! The period of conversion comes, and he What a tide of happiness has it poured arrives at another stage : he now cordi- through the world-bearing on its bosom ally believes, and embraces the gospel ; to the haven of rest an innumerable mulhis sins are forgiven; he draws the first titude, every one of whom would else breath of a new life, and aims at heaven. have perished in the blackness of darkHenceforth, his course may be marked ness for ever! But it shall not cease to by numerous vicissitudes—but they all operate till it has compassed the salvation form so many steps, by which he rises of all his people; and then, and not till towards heaven. The period of death then, will it be adequately appreciated comes, and he arrives at another and a and adored. But then, when all the obmost important point-he escapes from jects of his love—the fruits of his condethe state in which he had been walking scension-shall stand upon the mount of by faith, and finds himself standing in God; when they shall look up
gaze the brightness of the throne of God; he upon the glories of Him who sits upon quits his conflicts and temptations, and the throne, and then look back, and down finds himself in a world where all is se upon the cross, and remember that he curity, holiness, and bliss; he rises as once hung upon it, and trace the various by one mighty bound from earth to hea- stages through which he passed till he
Nor is this the summit of his dig- reached it, what an amazing impression nity. The morning of the resurrection of his condescension will they have, and will dawn, and he will reach a higher what a theme for praise. And when point of glory still. His body will be they shall contrast their divine exaltation raised from the low chambers of the with their former depression, when they grave, and be fashioned like unto shall find that they are without fault beChrist’s glorious body. The hour of fore the throne of God, that they are judgment will arrive, and constitute an- walking in the society of angels, are other stage in his advancing career; he raised to the enjoyment of all that heaven will then be acquitted from every charge, contains, and then look down at the state welcomed as an heir of heaven, and con- in which his condescension found them, firmed in his title to eternal life. And and, still lower, at the state of perdition do you think that even then he will have from which his grace has saved them, reached the limits of his glory? That what a view will they have of their high glory is an ocean--and he will only then exaltation, and what a subject for gratibe just launched forth on its shoreless tude to Him "who raiseth
MY RAILWAY COMPANIONS.
out of the dunghill, that he may set him friendship by offering me a pinch, I am with princes,"even the princes of heaven! not a snuff-taker,–I could wish none
But the adoration and praise of heaven were,—but I never refuse the proffered must begin on earth. Christians are not favour, although nine-tenths of the parstrangers to these emotions now. It is ticles I take therefrom, at least, find their by these, and the influence which these way unseen to the ground. I could not have upon their life, that they are distin- be guilty of refusing the gratuitous gift guished from an ungodly world. The offered with such goodwill. Saviour has spoken to them, and they Mr. H- may be taken as the type of have listened, wondered, and obeyed. He a large portion of mankind. He is what has raised them from the dust, and they is laconically called " a man of business." have followed him. He has shown them His occupation is in town, but being a his cross, and they feel that they are not man of considerable wealth he has a resi
He has pointed them to the dence in the country, so that he travels to open gate of heaven, and they are hasten- and fro daily. And the train itself is not ing and ascending to reach it. He has more punctual to time than he is. He constituted them his friends and his chil- has travelled by our rail way for several dren, and they are advancing to take years, and he often boasts that he has possession of their inheritance, and to never yet been behind time; never failing share his glory.-Dr. Harris.
to add at the same time, “ there is nothing like punctuality.” The want of punctuality would doubtless be to him no ordinary crime. Indeed I have had an opportunity
of witnessing his indignation at its occurI love a trip by the railway. Inde- rence. I remember one morning, just as pendent of the pleasure of gliding along we had stepped into the box, a young with more speed than a race-horse, and man was seen, all covered with perspiragetting to the end of my journey without tion, hastening up the steps, in order to the sense of fatigue, there is the pleasure get his ticket.“ Hallo ! " ejaculated Mr. of meeting and conversing with my fellow- H-, “there is a young fellow who will travellers. True the pleasure is of a be just in time to be too late.”
Then, transient nature; for we have scarcely pausing a moment, he continued, “I entered on any subject before we arrive thought he would, the door is closed, at our journey's end; but, knowing this, and, hark! there's the whistle. There's we only talk the faster. True, also, the no chance for him. But it serves him engine, with its perpetual hubhub, almost right. Nothing lessens a man in my renders nugatory the precious sense of estimation more than the want of punchearing; but, knowing this, we only talktuality. For a young man especially there the louder. The excitement of the jour-can be no excuse, and I do not pity him ney, in short, rarely fails to afford grati- for a moment. He knew the time, and fication. My happiness is rendered the he should have been here; it is as easy greater, because it gives me an opportu- to be a minute too soon as a minute too nity of reading a page or two in the book late. I hope it will prove a lesson to him. of human nature; of studying the cha- Such a man would not do for my house ; racters of those with whom I am wont to I should soon shut the doors against him." travel.
I have no doubt but that my friend Mr. It is by a rare chance that I go to the H- would shut the doors against any station but what I meet with the merry one who did not show himself to be a face of Mr. H–. And it gives me plea- man of business in the essential quality sure to meet him; for, although a man of of punctuality. I have little hesitation the world,
he yet respects the character in saying, in fact, that whoeveris employed of a true Christian. Unlike some men, by him, if they would wish to retain their he never slights a man because his coun- situations, must be the very counterpart of tenance happens to be graver than his himself. I never met with a man more own, or because his notions of religion thoroughly immersed in business than he are stricter than he deems necessary. is; judging, at least, from his conversaNever do I meet him but he holds out tion. Trade, its prosperity or depression, his hand, and gives mine a firm grasp ; is his constant theme; and although one's and never is his hand at liberty again but mind may be averse to such a theme, yet it is dipped deep into his pocket for the I never fail to learn something from his silver snuff-box, in order to show his lips unknown to me before. I often think,