One day while browsing about...

The Christian Science Journal, Sentinel, and Heralds

One day while browsing about in the library at Peking, I paused a moment to watch a man at work unrolling grimy, tattered manuscripts, and mounting them on heavy paper, that they might be preserved and studied. The dusty documents had recently been found in a cave. No one knew how they got there, or precisely when, though scholars believed they had been placed there for safety a thousand years before, and then were forgotten.

In another department of the library I was shown a standard encyclopedia. Its compilation had required fifty years. There were one hundred volumes in the index. The encyclopedia itself ran into thirty-six thousand volumes. They filled a large room. Each book was a work of art—exquisite paper, printing, binding.

The written or printed page is a marvelous device. It brings down to us the thoughts of former generations. It carries on to future ages the knowledge of today. By its means we argue current issues with people on the other side of the globe. Time and distance are defied. Indeed they can be quite stultified, as when your friend in Shanghai cables you on Tuesday and you receive the message in San Francisco Monday. No difficulty about your receiving telegrams from a correspondent before he writes them, if you are far enough away in the right direction.

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Love's Protection
August 15, 1942

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