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and repeats hymns and many long chap- | modest mind of Caxton to doubt his ters verbatim. At a late examination in abilities as a translator. He feared his the catechism, Horomona was the only capacity for faithfully translating the individual who knew every word cor French into English, and indeed he rectly.—Savage Life and Scenes. sometimes fell short in meeting the
approbation of some of his readers.
As they had not become so
sant as himself with the
perpetual changes that were occurring, the intro
duction of new words and phrases, toIn Caxton we discover many valuable gether with the greater difficulties of qualities. He was apt to be suspicious distinction between the courtly dialect of his own abilities-one of the surest and that observed by the commonalty, marks of talent. In his life of Charles he was charged with the use of outlandthe Great, printed in 1485, he says, ish terms, and he was entreated to use “I have emprised (undertaken or at- old and homelier ones, which might be tempted) and concluded in myself, to understood by all. Fain would he have reduce (translate) this said book into renewed those of his native village ; but English, as all along and plainly ye may these now sounded to him as barbarous read, hear, and see, in ihis book here as the more refined did when they first following; beseeching all them that shall fell upon his unpractised ear. Improvefind fault in the same, to correct and ment, like the noiseless wing of time, so amend it, and also to pardon me of the gradually moves onward, that we perrude and simple reducing; and though ceive not its flight; and Caxton found it so be there no gay terms, nor subtle nor a difficult task to express himself-desirnew eloquence, yet I hope that it shall ous as he was of being understood by all be understood; and to that intent I have classes of the community. When, howspecially reduced it, after the simple ever, there were no books circulated cunning that God hath lent to me, generally, it was impossible to construct whereof I humbly and with all my heart à universal language. The scarcity of thank him. And that I may do so and books which existed four centuries back, continue, I beseech him to grant me of can now scarcely be realized. Their his grace; and so to labour and occupy costliness alone would have shut out the myself virtuously, that I may come
middle classes, much less the poorer, out of debt and deadly sin, and after from the possibility of purchasing them. this life I may come to his bliss in The multiplication of books, in conheaven."
nexion with the orders of people for Fifty years anterior to the boyhood of whom they were intended, is a theme of Caxton, great changes had taken place deep interest. Richard de Bury, bishop in the system of education in England. of Durham, in his “Philobiblion,” a In the time of Edward 111. children in treatise on the love of books, written in the grammar schools were not taught Latin in 1344, says :—“As it is neEnglish. It was a matter of policy with cessary for a state to provide military the Norman kings, and long afterwards arms, and prepare plentiful stores of of their successors, to discountenance the provisions, for soldiers who are about to old English and Saxon language alto- fight, so it is evidently worth the labour gether; and to sanction and encourage of the church militant to fortify itself the Norman French, the language of the against the attacks of pagans and heretics conquerors. This was used for all pur- with a multitude of sound books.” This poses in the law; the new_statutes of sentiment operated as a powerful stithe realm were written in French, and mulant to increase the number of vogentlemen, from their infancy, were lumes. The invention of paper, also, taught it, in preference to English. about a century and a half before RiAfter the time of the great plague, some chard de Bury wrote, and then used schoolmasters discontinued the teaching generally instead of vellum for manuof French, and used all construction in scripts in ordinary request, furnished English. The grammar was therefore great accession to their number, since sooner learned, but there was the loss of transcribing no longer was confined to French, which was a disadvantage to the monastic orders. those who passed the seas.
It was this The reverence felt for books by Richard change of system which occasioned the de Bury was blended, however, with
was never so
much superstitious exclusiveness and bi In reference to existing impediments gotry. “Laymen,” he says, “to whom to the advance of learning in the days it matters not whether they look at a of Caxton, Southey says, in his “Collobook turned wrong side upwards, or quies on the Progress and Prospects of spread before them in its natural order, Society,”—“One of the first effects of are altogether unworthy of any commu- printing was to make proud men look nion with books." He deprecated read- upon learning as disgraced, by being ing, even in the highest orders, without thus brought within reach of the compreviously washing their handsconsi mon people. Till that time, learning, dering it a crime, as well as a sign of such as it was, had been confined to indolence, and an undue sense of their courts and convents; the low birth of privilege, to touch the precious pages of the clergy being overlooked, because à volume, at any time, when they did they were privileged by their order :" not devote their attention entirely to its as in our day, a name too often obtained contents. One of his injunctions runs the reward which merit alone is entitled thus:-“ Let there be a mature decorum
But when laymen in humble life in opening and closing of volumes, that were enabled to procure books, the pride they may neither be unclasped with pre- of aristocracy took an opposite and even cipitous haste, nor thrown aside, after more absurd course, insomuch that it inspection, without being duly closed.” was deemed derogatory for a nobleman
When Richard de Bury died, he be- if he could read or write. Even scholars stowed a considerable portion of his themselves complained, that the reputavaluable library upon a company of tion of learning, and the respect due to scholars who lived in a hall at Oxford; | it, and its rewards, were lowered when one of his chapters is entitled, “A pro- it was thrown open to all men; and it vident Arrangement, by which Books was seriously proposed to prohibit the may be lent to Strangers ;” meaning, printing of any book that could be doubtless, students at Oxford, but not afforded for sale below the price of three belonging to that hall. In this he says, soldi. “This base and invidious feeling,
-“Five of the scholars dwelling in the Southey goes on to say, aforesaid hall are to be appointed by directly avowed in other countries as in the master of the same hall, to whom Italy, the land where literature was first the custody of the books is to be deputed. restored; and yet, in this more liberal Of which five, three, and in no case island, ignorance was for some generafewer, shall be competent to lend any tions considered to be a mark of distincbooks for inspection and use only; but tion by which a man of gentle birth for copying and transcribing, we will chose, not unfrequently, to make it apnot allow any book to pass without the parent, that he was no more obliged to walls of the house. Therefore, when any live by the toil of his brain than by the scholar, whether secular or religious, sweat of his brow. The same changes whom we have deemed qualified for the in society, which rendered it no longer present favour, shall demand the loan of possible for this class of men to pass à book, the keepers must carefully their lives in idleness, have completely consider whether they have a dupli- put an end to this barbarous pride. It cate of that book; and if so, they may is as obsolete as the fashion of long fingerlend it to him, taking a security which nails, which, in some parts of the east, in their opinion shall exceed in value the are still the distinctive marks of those book delivered.”
who labour not with their hands. All Such a system must bave greatly classes are now brought within the reach limited the extent of learning, and of your current literature—that literature caused many impediments to study, which, like a moral atmosphere, is as it especially when no scholar was allowed were the medium of intellectual life, and the reading of a volume in the library on the quality of which, according as it more than two hours at longest. Oftener, may be salubrious or noxious, the health indeed, they were restricted to one only, of the public mind depends.” although even this state of things was an A very important result of the art of improvement upon former periods, when printing in Caxton's time, was the probut one book was allowed to each of a mulgation of the laws, which at best religious fraternity; this being delivered could be only very imperfectly kept, to them at the commencement of Lent, when they were but partially known. and returned the following season. The infliction of punishment on an act
A NEW CREATION.
of disobedience ignorantly committed, pany the first introduction and applicaseems, indeed, scarcely justice to the tion of any art, this was a great achieveoffender. Another benefit was the publi- ment. Those who followed after did cation of acts of parliament, which about more work, but they had fewer interrupa century afterwards became an import- tions to their progress, and greater faciliant branch of trade. The cheapening pro- ties than he. cesses, however, of the art of printing Winkin de Woorde, it has been rewere withheld, at least from that branch corded, printed, in about forty years, the which was to instruct the people in their large number of 408 works; and Pynson, new laws—for the statutes were the dear- in a period of about thirty-eight years, est of books, and this abuse has been but 2012.' We mention these, as they more lately remedied.
immediately followed the venerable father The closing productions of Caxton's of the art—the account of whom has press are especially worthy of remark, engaged our attention. since they serve to show his great In Dr. Dibdin's work we have an vigour, and unquenchable enthusiasm. enumeration of 2926 books, bringing His spirit, even at almost the termina- down his calculation to the end of the tion of his earthly course, was buoyant century. Since this period the increase and energetic. Upon him set not the of the number of books has been imgloom of old age; but we see him as it mense. Have we not abundant reason were putting forth additional strength, to bless God for raising up such a man as though stretching forward, in antici as William Caxton ?
S. S. pation of another and a better state of being, where a wider field of knowledge would open for his contemplation, and where his faculties for enjoyment would The first thing necessary in order to be enlarged and perfected.
the obedience which the lay requires, The last work in which the great is such a change of life and character, as printer was engaged, was, “The Art shall denominate the person in whom it and Craft to know how to die.” How takes place, a new creation." And completely in harmony with the event justly may it be called so. New it is, for which was so shortly to occur was this! it carries with it altered views, altered A singular passage with which the book principles, affections, joys, sorrows, obcommences somewhat abruptly, will suf- \jects previously unknown. God, the fice to show the character of its con- soul, time, eternity; sin, Christ, heaven, tents.
hell, happiness, misery — have all a “When it is so, that what a man meaning which the terms never before maketh or doeth it is made to come to conveyed. And is not this a creation ? some end; and if the thing be good | As truly as the old one, when God made and well made, it must needs come to the heaven and the earth, and the Spirit good end; then by greater and better of God moved upon the face of the reason every man ought to intend in waters. And is not such a change nesuch wise to live in this world, in keep- cessary? Does not our Lord declare, ing the commandments of God, that he that, “Except a man be born again, he may come to a good end. And then cannot see the kingdom of God ?” Jolin out of this world, full of wretchedness iii. 3. Tell us not that every person and tribulation, he may go to heaven baptized is in this interior sense born unto God and his saints unto joy per again. Was Simon Magus born again, durable.”
who was pronounced, immediately after It is not for us to decide upon the his baptism, to be in the gall of bitterness condition of Caxton's heart in the sight and in the bonds of iniquity? We admit of a holy God; but, in the judgment of the reality of a new birth unto righteouscharity, we may hope that he was ness wherever we see its effects; but we enabled, by Divine grace, to improve dismiss the enthusiastic notion that there the light he had, and that “absent has been a Divine change of the heart from the body, he was and is present unto holiness, when the spirit and life with the Lord."
show that the world, the flesh, and the It has been calculated that Caxton devil, are still paramount in their influprinted no fewer than sixty-four works ence. In short, we hold to the reasonin the space of twenty years. Surrounded able—I may say more, we hold to the by so many difficulties, as always accom- inspired view, of St. John, in the third
A TALE FOR THE YOUNG.
chapter of his first epistle, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin : for his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” And in the fifth chapter of that epistle, the
“If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon eighteenth verse, he says,
“ We know walking in brightness; that whosoever is born of God sinneth “ And my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my
mouth hath kissed my hand: not; but he that is begotten of God keep
“ This also were an iniquity to be punished by eth himself, and that wicked one toucheth the judge: for I should have denied the God that him not." The apostle does not mean
is above," Job xxxi. 26, 27, 28. absolutely, that a person born again does A few years since, two foreigners, of a not ever commit sin, for he cannot be darker complexion than that of Englishsupposed to contradict himself; and in men, were seen walking through the the first chapter of the epistle, he says, street of a busy town, about thirty miles "If we say that we have no sin, we de- from London. Everybody looked at them ceive ourselves, and the truth is not in as they passed, and some rude and us.” Wbat he means, unquestionably, is, thoughtless people stood gazing at thein that the man who is born again does not till the strangers seemed almost conpractise sin; does not sin habitually founded. But they did not return rude--does not sin without continually-re- ness by rudeness; they walked quietly newed repentance, and application to the on, and their mild countenances showed blood of Christ; does not sin in any no traces of anger. manner inconsistent with a life of sincere, The dress of these two young men though still imperfect obedience to the seemed very unsuitable for the somewhat will of God. Now to say, that a man chilly autumnal morning on which they may be spiritually regenerate and yet were seen. Every one knew at once that live a life of sin, and to say that the they were natives of the east, for they most of those who are so regenerate do in wore those long flowing garments made reality live such a life, appears calculated of their calicoes and muslins, which are so to set aside the inspired language of St. pleasant in the oriental climates, but not John, where he tells us, and repeats the fitted for our colder and more changeable sentiment, that "he that is born of God weather. But these men of the east sinneth not.” Indeed it may well be could not have borne the closer broadquestioned whether the value of regene- cloth vestments in which Englishmen are ration be not altogether set aside, when dressed, and which protect our countryfrom the grace of it, if that grace were men so well from the variable seasons. universally conveyed in baptism by ad As they passed along the town, the mission, there is not one person in ten townsmen asked of each other of what thousand but falls away; thereby incur nation the strangers could be. One said ring, were such the fact, only an increase that they must be Turks, because they of guilt and responsibility. Assuredly a wore turbans on their heads; another real
, permanent change of heart is neces, thought they were Arabs; and a third, sary, in order to the attainment of eternal Hindoos. But no one guessed quite corlife ; such a change of disposition as will rectly, for they were Parsees. lead to all truth, righteousness, and purity And now some reader, perhaps, will of life. For if the law be inscribed upon say, “I know nothing of such people, I the heart, the proof of its being there never heard of a Parsee. Where do they must be seen in the conduct. If the live? what kind of men are they? and heart of stone be taken out of the flesh, why do they come from the warm land and a new heart be substituted, out of it of the east to our cold island ?” must the issue of a new life go forth. If
The Parsees were anciently the inhathe Christian be the epistle of Christ, he bitants of Persia, and some neighbouring must be read and known of all men who countries, all of which were once included have eyes to see or spirits to discern. If under the name of Iran. They are now God hath shined into the heart, he who a scattered people, and the few who rehas received the illumination ought to main in their own land are like the Jews reflect it, and to give the light of the in Palestine, an oppressed and afflicted knowledge of the glory of God in the race. They are like the Jews in another face of Jesus Christ. Rev. T. Kennion.
respect, that they are distinct from all other nations by their religious belief, and the ceremonies and practices con
nected with it. But they are not like thou mightest know the thoughts of thy
In very early periods of the world the same order then, as in our later days. people of Iran were known by their pe- One bright star, or meteor, in the blue culiar religious belief. This was then sky caught their attention; they knew called Mayianism, and the priests were it had not shone there before; they called Magi. These were also learned followed it, and it led to the presence of men, and possessors of the different sci- earth's Lord and King. O happy magi ! ences known in the east in ancient days. your learning could have taught you but They used to pretend, most falsely in- little of the great Jehovah; but Divine deed, to foretell events by the stars, and light was shed upon you, and
became they said they could obtain answers to the humble and teachable disciples of questions from those who had long been Him who built the heavens, and framed dead. They professed, too, to inquire the glittering stars. into futurity by means of divining-cups The ancient Persians believed that and water, and, in short, practised magic there was one holy and almighty Being, in all its forms, so that the Persians be- the one God; but they thought that God lieved that they, by their skill, could had made two inferior, but still mighty influence the past, the present, and the beings, and had given them much of his future. There is no doubt that they ac own nature. Both these beings were quired the great influence which they supposed to be endued with the power of had in the east, by superior intelligence creating; and the good principle or being and learning; for it was undoubtedly the was called Ormuzd, while the evil principle result of that power which the strong was termed Ahriman. The former was mind will ever have over the weak one. considered to have made man, and to be These magi, in the Holy Scriptures, the source of all that was good in the are called by different names. If the world. When the Persians saw the bright reader will open his Bible at the second stars, or the flowering trees, or the pleachapter of the book of Daniel, he will see sant flowing rivers, then they thought that that, when Nebuchadnezzar had a dream Ormuzd had made them; but when they which troubled him, and of which he saw a ferocious beast, or a poisonous wished to know the meaning, he ordered snake, or a noxious plant, or a blasting into his
presence “the magicians, and sand-storm of the desert, then they bethe astrologers, and the sorcerers, and lieved that the evil principle had been at the Chaldeans, for to show the king his work. The two powers of good and evil, dreams," Dan. ii. 2. We cannot under- it was supposed, were always at war in stand precisely the meaning of the dif- the world; but the Persians hoped for the ferent classes into which these soothsayers time when good was to prevail, and Orwere divided, but there is no doubt that muzd and his followers should triumph they were all the magi, or “wise men." over Ahriman, and cast him into darkWe know how God chose to confound all ness for ever. human wisdom, at that time, and to as Light was considered by the ancient sert his own power alone to reveal the Persians as partaking, more than any hidden things of the future, when Daniel other substance, of the essence of the came and declared the dream to the Supreme Being; and as the sun was the king, and added, “But as for me, this source of light, they paid it a religious secret is not revealed to me for any wis- homage, under the idea that it repredom that I have more than any living; sented the God of life and light. They but for their sakes that shall make known did not at first think that the sun was the interpretation to the king, and that really God; but when persons mix any