Books possess an essence(1) of immortality(2).
They are by far the most lasting products of human effort.
Temples and statues decay, but books survive.
Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh today as when they first passed through their author's minds, ages ago.
What was then said and thought still speaks to us as vividly as ever from the printed page.
The only effect of time has been to sift out(3) the bad products; for nothing in literature can long survive but that is really good.
1. the most basic and important quality of something
2. the state of living for ever or remembered for ever
3. to separate something from something out