Puslapio vaizdai

ing a few of these stolen trade secrets that I have a little to write just now.

Near Temple Bar, in London, there is a chemist's shop of very old standing. A proprietor of it, in times gone by, enjoyed the monopoly of the manufacture of citric acid. More favorably circumstanced than the generality of secret manufacturers, his was a process which did not require a number of workmen; if I rightly apprehend my information, he conducted the process himself. One day, having gone into the laboratory, and advanced the process through the necessary stages, the sole possessor of the secret came out, and, locking the door after him, doubtless thought the secret was perfectly safe. How should it not be safe when the door was locked, and the windows carefully blinded? Alas! there was a chimney, and of that chimney the manufacturer took no heed; so a chimney-sweep, one wide awake in chemical matters, slipped down the chimney, saw all he wanted to see, then returning whence he came, departed, carrying with him the secret of making citric acid.

The general manufacture of tin plate originated in a stolen secret. Few readers of" THE NATIONAL" need be informed, I presume, that tin pans, canisters, and other wares, are only called tin ware by courtesy. They are really made of tin plate, that is, thin sheets of iron covered with tin by dipping. Now in theory it is a very easy matter to clean the surface of a piece of iron, then dip it into a bath of molten tin, and remove it enveloped with a covering of the latter metal; in practice, however, there are many difficulties to be encountered that were insurmountable, until an Englishman went to Holland, insinuated himself surreptitiously into a tin-plate manufactory, made himself master of the secret, and came away with it.

black mark, giving the notion of charcoal, we concluded the blade was steel; whereas if the spot were bright and metallic-looking, we concluded the blade to be of iron. Well, I say, our chemistry was not so bad after all, and that experiment will serve to impress on the memory of the reader something that I wish to be impressed there respecting steel. The main distinction between iron and steel is, that one holds carbon, or the matter of charcoal, whereas the other does not. The amount of carbon is very trivial, and is imparted by heating iron bars, for long periods together, surrounded by powdered, broken charcoal in a box. Having regard, then, to this operation, it seems natural enough that the outer portion of each bar should become more completely "steelified" (if I may be permitted to coin an expressive word) than the internal portions. Now steel of this sort, though perfectly good for many purposes, is objectionable for others. To give an example: it is by no means good for the manufacture of watch-springs; nevertheless, before the invention of cast-steel, to which the reader's attention is presently to be directed, watch-springs had to be made of it.

Perhaps the very first chemical investigation I ever remember to have been concerned in, was one day, when a little boy at school, I tried, in company with other boys, whether our knives were made of iron or steel. Our plan of procedure was this and it is less exceptionable than many processes of schoolboy analysis sometimes are. On each blade we poured a drop of spirit of salt, allowed it to remain there a few seconds, and afterward washed it away. If the spot disclosed a

There lived at Attercliffe, near Sheffield, about the year 1760, a watchmaker, named Huntsman. He was very much dissatisfied with the quality of steel of which watch-springs were made in his day, and he set himself the task of thinking out the cause of inferiority. Mr. Huntsman correctly inferred that the imperfection of such watch-springs as came in his way was referable to the fact of the irregular conversion, or" steelification," of the metal of their manufacture. "If," thought he, "I can melt a piece of steel, and cast it into an ingot, the composition of the latter should be regular and homogeneous." He tried, and he succeeded. The fame of Huntsman's steel became widely spread; but the discoverer took care not to designate it by the name cast-steel, under which it is now familiarly known: that was his


About the year 1770, a large manufactory of this peculiar steel was established at Attercliffe. The process was wrapped in secrecy by every means which the inventor could command. None but workmen of credit and character were engaged, and they were forbidden to disclose the

secrets of the manufacture by a stringent form of oath. At last Huntsman's secret was stolen in the following manner: One night in midwinter, as the tall chimney of the Attercliffe steel-works belched forth its smoke, giving promise of a roaring fire within, a traveler, to whom the desire of placing himself near a roaring fire might seem a reasonable longing, knocked at the outer door of Mr. Huntsman's factory. It was a bitter night; the snow fell fast, and the wind howled across the moor; nothing, then, could be more natural than that the tired wayfarer should seek a warm corner where he might lay his head. He knocked, and the door was opened. A workman presented himself, whom the wayfarer addressing, humbly begged ad


LAY the babe upon my bosom, let me feel her

sweet warm breath;

For a strange chill o'er me passes, and I know

that it is death.


would gaze upon the treasure, scarcely given Feel her rosy dimpled fingers wander o'er my

ere I go;

cheek of snow.

I am passing through the waters, but a blessèd light appears;


"No admission here except on business!"

Kneel beside me, husband, dearest, let me kiss away thy tears.

Wrestle with thy grief, as Jacob strove from midnight until day;

It may leave an angel's blessing, when it van

ishes away.

The reader may well fancy how this intimation fell upon the tired traveler's ear on such an inclement night.

But the workman scanning the traveler over, and discovering nothing suspicious about him, granted the request, and let him in.

Feigning to be completely worn out with cold and fatigue, the wayfarer sank upon the floor of the comfortable factory, and soon appeared to have gone to sleep. To go to sleep, however, was very far from his intention: the traveler closed his eyes all but two little chinks. Between those two little chinks he saw all

that he cared to see. He saw workmen cut bars of steel into little bits, then place them in crucibles, and the crucibles in a furnace. He saw the fire urged to its extreme power; and, lastly, he saw workmen clothe themselves in wet rags, the better to protect themselves against the terrible heat, and, drawing out the glowing crucibles with enormous tongs, pour their liquid contents into a mold. Mr. Huntsman's factory had nothing more to disclose this was the secret of caststeel.


It would be easy to extend the list of manufacturing secrets disclosed in the dishonest way indicated above: the subject, however, is so unpleasant to dwell upon, that I am sure the reader will rejoice with me, that the circumstances under which manufactures are now mostly carried on, neither afford the opportunity nor the inducement to theft such as I

have described. The principles on which branches of manufacturing industry depend are for the most part so clearly indicated, that the discovery of a secret resolves itself into the perfectly legitimate endeavor of fathoming it by the direct application of science.

[blocks in formation]




E have brought down the history of the father of the faithful to that memorable declaration of the sacred writer -Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness. Omitting, for the present, the little episode relative to the birth of Ishmael, we find his history still increasing in interest, and propose now to glance at some of the more important events in his most eventful life. Among these are the renewal of God's promises; the change of his name and that of his wife; the covenant of circumcision; the prevalence of his prayer, and the strange trial by which it pleased God to test the faith of his servant.


With reference to the promises made to Abraham we have, I think, conclusive evidence that they referred, not merely to temporal, but to spiritual blessings. We find these promises repeated and reiterated on various occasions and in different forms; but they may be summed up in three specific declarations. First, that in him should all the families of the earth be blessed; secondly, that to him and his posterity should be given the land of Canaan for a possession; and, thirdly, that his descendants should be as the stars of heaven, or as the sands upon the sea shore, innumerable. The first of these had reference, evidently, to the Messiah, who was to be a lineal descendant of the patriarch, and through whom life and immortality were brought to light, and the offers of a free and full salvation were made, without restriction and without limitation, to all the families of the earth. Indeed, it would be difficult to give any other interpretation of this promise, or to tell how else the human race have been blessed in Abraham. With reference to the second of these promises, the Scriptures of the New Testament are abundantly clear that the land of Canaan promised to the seed of Abraham was but a type and a figure of a better and enduring inheritance. The Apostle Paul assures us that Abraham himself thus understood the promise. He sojourned in that land, we are told, as in a strange country, for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.


Abraham. The Jews in the time of Christ claimed to be the descendants of the patriarch. Literally, indeed, they But, says Christ, if ye were Abraham's children—that is, if ye were those to whom the promises of God pertain-ye would do the works of Abraham. Know ye, therefore, says the apostle, that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And again, if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise. From these remarks we see why God so repeatedly confirmed his promises to Abraham, and are enabled in some degree to understand the extent, the fullness, and the glory of their import. The coming Saviour of the world is shadowed forth as the descendant of Abraham in whom all the families of the earth are to be blessed; an incorruptible inheritance is promised unto the seed of the patriarch, and they who follow in his footsteps, who believe in Christ, are designated as the children of Abraham, who are to enter upon and enjoy that inheritance forever. Have these promises been fulfilled? Who shall number the seed of Abraham? Perpetual additions are making to that multitude, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth are named, and from almost every corner of the world there are ascending the glad tidings which thrill with joy our elder brethren there that another and another, like Abraham,. has heard and obeyed the call of God.

It was on one of these renewals of the promise that the Almighty changed the name of the patriarch from Abram to Abraham. This, which was done by simply adding a letter to the Hebrew, has given rise to many conjectures, on which it is unnecessary to dwell. There may possibly be an allusion to this circumstance. in that remarkable promise found in the Revelations of St. John: To him that overcometh will I give a white stone and a NEW NAME, which no man knoweth sav-ing he that receiveth it. Its full import, was doubtless understood by Abraham, while to us the reason given for it by God himself is all that we know with certainty. Thy name shall be Abraham, says he, for a father of many nations have I made thee, evidently having in view the extent of the promise to which I have referred, and intended as a perpetual memorial of that promise and a pledge of its fulfillment. For the same reason, shortly

Equally explicit is the interpretation of the promise with reference to the seed of VOL. XII.-26

after, the name of his wife was also changed by the addition of the same letter, and as all true believers are the children of Abraham, so St. Peter says all holy women are the daughters of Sarah.

Keeping in view these observations, we shall be enabled to understand the design of the rite of circumcision at this time enjoined upon Abraham. It shall be a token, says God, of the covenant between me and you. A token of God's cove nant; it had not, therefore, as some argue, reference merely to political or national blessings. God's covenant with Abraham was, as we have seen, a covenant of grace. It was not confined to merely temporal blessings, but comprehended the doctrine of justification by faith; with all the spiritual advantages connected therewith in this life and in that which is to come, in time and in eternity. It was, says St. Paul, a sign, a seal of the righteousness of faith by Jesus Christ. This rite was superseded by baptism, as the Lord's Supper was made to take the place of the passover; and hence is deduced the argument, incontrovertible as the word of God and impregnable as the pillars of heaven, that infant children are entitled to share in the blessings of that covenant which was made with Abraham and his seed, and if so, they are proper subjects for baptism, the rite initiatory into the Christian Church.

This view of the import of the promises made to the father of the faithful is strikingly confirmed by the language of Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians. He tells us that in these promises the Gospel was preached to Abraham. The Gospel? preached? Even so. A perfect absurdity then, and worse, a falsehood, must be that interpretation which confines all these glorious promises to this world, to temporal blessings. It were as wise and no less absurd to limit the blessings of the Gospel itself to this fleeting life, and blot from the record its crowning glory of an immortality beyond the grave.

Following the Scripture, narrative we are next introduced to a circumstantial account of a very remarkable event in Abraham's history. He was seated at the door of his tent at midday when three strangers made their appearance. With great readiness Abraham offered unto them the rites of hospitality, invited them into his tent, and made preparation for their entertainment. It is generally supposed

that these visitors were angels, having assumed the appearance of men; as it is, doubtless, to this passage that the apostle alludes when he says: Some have entertained angels unawares. By them the promises lately given were confirmed, and the birth of Isaac within a year expressly foretold; and by them was uttered the sentence, memorable as expressive of the power of the Almighty and of the certainty that all his promises will be fulfilled: Is anything too hard for the Lord? O! what a cheering assurance is given in that question! Applicable alike to all times and to all circumstances, it stands forth to animate faith and to encourage hope. With God all things are possible. But this visit was not designed merely to predict the birth of Isaac. It was intended to reveal to Abraham the destruction about to come upon Sodom, the city where, as we have seen, his nephew Lot dwelt, and as we proceed in the narrative it reveals to us the most astonishing condescension of Jehovah on the one hand, and on the other a very striking illustration of that saying of the apostle, the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

At the close of the entertainment two of these remarkable visitors directed their course, apparently, toward Sodom; but the third wonderfully revealed his glory to Abraham, by whom he was acknowledged as the Lord himself. In the original Hebrew the term applied to this personage is that which belongs alone to the infinite Eternal, and as God the Father was never seen by mortal eye, so it follows that this was the angel of the covenant himself; in other words, Jesus Christ, the second person in the glorious Trinity. Unto Abraham he reveals his intention of utterly destroying the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah on account of the great wickedness of the inhabitants. The men of Sodom were wicked, and sinners before the Lord exceedingly; and Abraham intercedes on their behalf. Wilt thou, says he, destroy the righteous with the wicked? and as no paraphrase that I can give can at all equal the simplicity, the beauty, and the force of the text itself, I will confine myself to the plain record of the transaction as given by Moses. Peradventure, he continues, there be fifty righteous within the city; wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after that

manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. Here we see exemplified in a remarkable manner that saying of the Saviour: the righteous are the salt of the earth. Had there been fifty righteous in Sodom, for their sakes, it had not been destroyed. We see also that love to God produces love to man; Abraham prays for the ungodly and intercedes for the trangressors. Peradventure, he continues, there shall lack five of the fifty righteous. Behold now, I have taken upon me, who am but dust and ashes, to speak unto the LORD. Wilt thou destroy the city for lack of five? And God answered, If I find there forty and five I will not destroy it. And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Perad-event so strange, so unexpected, so unventure there shall be found forty there. like the requirement of a God of mercy, And he said, I will not do it for forty's that it would be in itself incredible did it sake. Abraham continues, O, let not the not come to us attested by the pen of inLord be angry, and I will speak: Perad-spiration. It came to pass that God did venture there shall thirty be found there. tempt, or, as it ought to have been renAnd God said, I will not do it if I find dered, did try Abraham, as if in the comthirty there. And he said, Behold now, parison all his former trials had been as I have taken upon me to speak unto the dust in the balance, and of no account. Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty The immolation of human victims on the found there. And he said, I will not de-altar of an imaginary god had been prac

stroy it for twenty's sake. Abraham makes one more appeal; and he says, 0 let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there; and the Lord answered again, I will not destroy it for ten's sake. It is highly probable that Abraham supposed that certainly ten righteous persons would be found in Sodom, and therefore desisted from his supplication under the belief that the impending doom would be averted for their sakes.

eous were not to be found, and consequently the threatened destruction came upon the cities of the plain. The Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.

The site formerly occupied by these cities is now a lake of water known as the Dead or Salt Sea. It will form the subject of a future essay.

About twelve months after this, namely, in the year from the creation 2108, when Abraham had reached the one hundredth year of his age, and Sarah her ninety-first, the long-delayed promise is fulfilled, and a son is born. They give unto him the name Isaac, and passing over the years of his childhood and youth we arrive at the most severe of Abraham's trials, an

With what humility, and yet with what boldness does Abraham pray! How wonderfully is every petition answered on the spot! and God ceases to promise to show mercy only when his servant ceases to intercede! What encouragement is there here to perseverance in prayer, for our neighbors and for those with whom we associate! What a persuasive for fathers and mothers to faint not in their supplications for those children who are even yet without God and without hope!

ticed by many idolatrous nations. It was a common custom among the worshipers of Moloch thus to sacrifice the most precious, the favorite, the first-born. In allusion to which custom the prophet Micah asks: Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? Such offerings God himself had taught his people were an utter abomination in his sight; yet there comes to Abraham, in the stillness of the night, a strangely mysterious voice: Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains that I will tell thee of. What language is this! and what is the spontaneous train of feeling and thought that passes through the mind of the father as he assures himself that it is indeed the voice of his God that he hears! Take thy son, thine only son, thy beloved son. Take him where? for what? To invest him with the honors of the promise

It seems, however, that the ten right- so oft repeated? to put him in possession

« AnkstesnisTęsti »