Books Sermon Illustrations

Books Sermon Illustrations

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Catalogue Making

Mr. Nichols, in the fourth vol. of his Literary Anecdotes, mentions that Dr. Taylor, who was librarian at Cambridge, about the year 1732, used to relate of himself that one day throwing books in heaps for the purpose of classing and arranging them, he put one among works on Mensuration, because his eye caught the word height in the title-page; and another which had the word salt conspicuous, he threw among books on Chemistry or Cookery. But when he began a regular classification, it appeared that the former was "Longinus on the Sublime," and the other a "Theological Discourse on the Salt of the World, that good Christians ought to be seasoned with." Thus, too, in a catalogue published about twenty years ago, the "Flowers of Ancient Literature" are found among books on Gardening and Botany, and "Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy" is placed among works on Medicine and Surgery.


Dickens' Origin of "Boz."

A fellow passenger with Mr. Dickens, in the Britannia steam-ship, across the Atlantic, inquired of the author the origin of his signature "Boz." Mr. Dickens replied that he had a little brother who resembled so much the Moses in the Vicar of Wakefield, that he used to call him Moses also; but a younger girl, who could not then articulate plainly, was in the habit of calling him Bozie or Boz. This simple circumstance made him assume that name in the first article he risked before the public, and as the first effort was approved of he continued the name.


Thomson and Quin

Thomson the poet, when he first came to London, was in very narrow circumstances, and was many times put to shifts even for a dinner. Upon the publication of his Seasons one of his creditors arrested him, thinking that a proper opportunity to get his money. The report of this misfortune reached the ears of Quin, who had read the Seasons, but never seen their author; and he was told that Thompson was in a spunging-house in Holborn. Thither Quin went, and being admitted into his chamber, "Sir," said he, "you don't know me, but my name is Quin." Thomson said, "That, though he could not boast of the honour of a personal acquaintance, he was no stranger either to his name or his merit;" and invited him to sit down. Quin then told him he was come to sup with him, and that he had already ordered the cook to provide supper, which he hoped he would excuse. When supper was over, and the glass had gone briskly about, Mr. Quin told him, "It was now time to enter upon business." Thomson declared he was ready to serve him as far as his capacity would reach, in anything he should command, (thinking he was come about some affair relating to the drama). "Sir," says Quin, "you mistake me. I am in your debt. I owe you a hundred pounds, and I am come to pay you." Thomson, with a disconsolate air, replied, that, as he was a gentleman whom he had never offended, he wondered he should seek an opportunity to jest with his misfortunes. "No," said Quin, raising his voice, "I say I owe you a hundred pounds, and there it is," (laying a bank note of that value before him). Thomson, astonished, begged he would explain himself. "Why," says Quin, "I'll tell you; soon after I had read your Seasons, I took it into my head, that as I had something to leave behind me when I died, I would make my will; and among the rest of my legatees I set down the author of the Seasons for a hundred pounds; and, this day hearing that you were in this house, I thought I might as well have the pleasure of paying the money myself, as order my executors to pay it, when, perhaps, you might have less need of it; and this, Mr. Thomson, is my business." Of course Thomson left the house in company with his benefactor.


Denon and De Foe

M. de Talleyrand, having one day invited M. Denon, the celebrated traveller, to dine with him, told his wife to read the work of his guest, which she would find in the library, in order that she might be the better able to converse with him. Madame Talleyrand, unluckily, got hold, by mistake, of the "Adventures of Robinson Crusoe," by De Foe, which she ran over in great haste; and, at dinner, she began to question Denon about his shipwreck, his island, &c., and, finally, about his man Friday!

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