« 上一页继续 »
and rejoicing among them. The people afterwards rebuilt their cottages, and made them neat. I could tell you much more of the great improvement which has taken place since Mr. B—— first went to Guiana, but my story would be too long: it is sufficient to say that his humble and earnest efforts, in bringing over these poor people to the true faith, have not been without their reward even in this life; for there are those whom he was the means of converting, who cannot show their love and gratitude to him enough. Mr. B is still living in Guiana, and I hope may yet be spared many years, to work in that good cause to which he has devoted his life.
And now, my children, you see in the history of William B, what a Sunday-school scholar may do ; for why should not what has been done by one Sundayschool boy, be done by another, where good abilities are given, and a hearty desire is only required to devote those talents to God's glory? We know that there are still millions of poor souls, who have never even heard of the true God, and what they must do to be saved. Are there not some who would like to follow William B's example?
FROM Greenland's icy mountains,
Where Afric's sunny fountains
Roll down their golden sand ;*
* In Africa, gold-dust is washed down the beds of rivers.
From many an ancient river,
Their land from error's chain.
What though the spicy* breezes
Shall we whose souls are lighted
Waft, waft ye winds His story,||
It spreads from pole to pole; T
In bliss returns to reign.
* Spicy.] Ceylon is an island famous for spices.
Benighted.] In the darkness of ignorance.
His story.] The history of Christ.
From pole to pole.] From one end of the earth to the other. ** Ransom'd.] Redeemed.
THERE could have been but few books in common use when every book was copied by hand. Though many people used to employ themselves in making copies, and were able to do it very well and very quickly, it must have taken a long time to write out a whole book, and none but the rich could have afforded to buy them.
It is not known who first thought of a plan for getting many copies of the same work with less labour. It is certain that the Chinese had discovered a way of doing this long before it was attempted in Europe. Some believe that the Europeans took the idea from that people, having heard of it from travellers who had visited China. The Chinese plan now is just the same as when it was first invented there, nine hundred years ago; and this plan was the one first tried in Europe, four hundred and fifty years later. The way was this: A flat piece of wood was taken, and raised letters were cut out upon it: when this was done, some thick ink was rubbed over the letters, and a sheet of paper was placed upon them; the paper was pressed lightly upon the wood, and when taken off, the impression of the letters was left upon it. After one copy had been taken, the workman had only to put on fresh ink, and stamp as many sheets as he pleased with the same block.
About the year 1424 a citizen of Haarlem, named Coster, introduced a great improvement. It struck him that as all words are composed of letters of the alphabet, he might save much labour by cutting out letters on separate bits of wood instead of using a
solid block. He might then put together all the letters he wanted to form the words in one page, and after taking off as many impressions of this page as he chose, the letters might be again separated and used to form another page. These wooden letters were 'called types; and the mode of printing which Coster invented, was that of printing with moveable types. A person named Guttenberg, who had originally worked with Coster, introduced a further improvement. This was the use of metal instead of wooden types. Metal was better than wood for many reasons. The metal types made a clearer print, and the material being stronger, they could be made of very much smaller size than those of wood, and were more durable. Guttenberg was in partnership with Faust, whose name is so often connected with the invention.
There was a still greater advantage in the use of metal types, which was discovered a few years later by a workman employed by Faust, named Schoeffer. Schoeffer thought of making a mould, in which metal types could be cast. First he made a steel punch with a letter cut upon it; with this he stamped an impression on a piece of copper, and this became a mould, in which the metal, which was to form the type, was cast. Hitherto each type had been cut by hand, but now it was only necessary to make one mould for each letter, and from this mould any number of letters could be obtained of exactly the same size. Besides this, the types could be cast in more certain and regular shapes, and so could be set up more evenly, and fixed better in their printing frames.
No alteration has been made in the principle of printing since those early days, though there have
been various improvements in the mode of casting the types and other arrangements. The great inventions in the printing of modern days have been with regard to the presses, that is, the machines in which the blank paper is stamped by the types. The most wonderful of all is the steam printing-machine used for newspapers, by which ten thousand copies of the same paper can be printed in an hour.
The earliest English printer was Caxton, who lived in the reign of King Edward IV. In the year 1447 he was residing in the neighbourhood of Westminster Abbey, where he printed several works.
When a book is to be printed, the types are placed in an open box containing several compartments. There is a separate compartment for each letter, for the different stops, and for types which are shorter than the rest and so form the blank spaces required. The compartments are not all of the same size, but those are the largest which contain the letters that occur most frequently, and these are placed nearest to the hand of the man who is to use them. This man is called the compositor. He stands at a table with a copy of the work which he is to print. He holds in his hand a small frame, called the composing-stick, in which he puts the types, picking out the letters required to form the words of the book, and separating the words by spaces and stops. By habit he learns to do this very quickly; and his fingers find out the proper letter without his looking, and almost without his thinking about it. When he has filled his stick, he moves the types to a frame, in which the types for a whole sheet are set up. This is called the form. They are wedged very tight in this frame, and