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a-milking again. I will give her the chub, and persuade them to sing those two songs to us.
God speed you, good woman! I have been a-fishing, and am going to Bleak-hall, to my bed ; and having caught more fish than will sup myself and my friend, I will bestow this upon you and your daughter, for I use to sell none.
Milk-woman. Marry, God requite you, sir, and we'll eat it cheerfully; and if you come this way a-fishing two months hence, a grace of God, I'll give you a syllabub of new verjuice in a newmade haycock for it, and my Maudlin shall sing you one of her best ballads ; for she and I both love all anglers, they be such honest, civil, quiet men: in the mean time will you drink a draught of red cow's milk? You shall have it freely.
Piscator. No, I thank you; but I pray do us à courtesy, that shall stand you and your daughter in nothing, and yet we will think ourselves still something in your debt: it is but to sing us a song that was sung by your daughter when I last past over this meadow, about eight or nine days since.
Milk-woman. What song was it, I pray? Was it Come, shepherds, deck your herds? or, As at noon Dulcina rested? or, Phillida flouts me? or, Chevy-chase? or, Johnny Armstrong? or, Troy-town?
Piscator. No, it is none of those ; it is a song that your daugh ter sung the first part, and you sung the answer to it.
Milk-woman. Oh, I know it now; I learned the first part in my golden age, when I was about the age of my poor daughter, and the latter part, which indeed fits me best now, but two or three years ago, when the cares of the world began to take hold of me: but you shall, God willing, hear them both, and sung as well as we can; for we both love anglers. Come, Maudlin, sing the first part to the gentleman with a merry heart, and I'll sing the second when you have done.
Here follows the milk-maid's song, “Come live with me and be my love," after which Venator speaks:
Venator. Trust me, master, it is a choice song, and sweetly sung by honest Maudlin. I now see it was not without cause that our good queen Elizabeth did so often wish herself a milkmaid all the month of May, because they are not troubled with fears and cares, but sing sweetly all the day, and sleep securely all the night; and without doubt, honest, innocent, pretty Maudlin does so. I'll bestow Sir Thomas Overbury's milk-maid's wish1 upon her, “That she may die in the spring, and, being dead, may have good store of flowers stuck round about her winding, sheet."
1 See page 127.
Then comes the milk-maid's mother's answer, “ If all the world and love were young," which done, the mother adds:
Well, I have done my song; but stay, honest anglers, for I will make Maudlin to sing you one short song more. Maudlin, sing that song that you sung last night when young Coridon the shepherd played so purely on his oaten pipe to you and your cousin Betty. Maudlin. I will, mother.
I married a wife of late
The more's my unhappy fate, &c. Piscator. Well sung, good woman; I thank you. I'll give you another dish of fish one of these days, and then beg another song of you. Come, scholar, let Maudlin alone: do not you offer to spoil her voice. Look, yonder comes mine hostess to call us to supper. How now! is my brother Peter come ?
Hostess. Yes, and a friend with him ; they are both glad to hear that you are in these parts, and long to see you, and long to be at supper, for they be very hungry.
The following most beautiful exhortation to contentment, which comes from the mouth of Piscator, is a perfect gem. Who would not be wiser and better for reading it every day? Walton's own life seems to have illustrated, in an ominent degree, the character he here describes— The meek, who shall inherit the earth."
CONTENTMENT. I knew a man that had health and riches, and several houses, all beautiful and ready furnished, and would often trouble himself and family to be removing from one house to another; and being asked by a friend why he removed so often from one house to another, replied, “ It was to find content in some of them.” But his friend, knowing his temper, told him, “If he would find content in any of his houses, he must leave himself behind him ; for content will never dwell but in a meek and quiet soul.” And this inay appear, if we read and consider what our Saviour says in St. Matthew's Gospel, for he there says, “Blessed be the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed be the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed be the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. And blessed be the meek, for they shall possess the earth.” Not that the meek shall not also obtain inercy, and see God, and be comforted, and at last come to the kingdom of heaven; but, in the mean time, he, and he only, possesses the earth, as he goes toward that kingdom of heaven, by being humble and cheerful, and content with what his good God has allotted him. He has no turbulent, repining, vexatious thoughts that he deserves better; nor is vexed when he secs
others possessed of more honor or more riches than his wise God has allotted for his share; but he possesses what he has with a meek and contented quietness, such a quietness as makes his very dreams pleasing, both to God and himself.1
ROBERT LEIGHTON. 1613–1684.
Tais eminent divine was born in London in 1613, and educated at the University of Edinburgh. He was first settled as a Presbyterian clergyman in a small church near Edinburgh; but being disapproved of by his brethren, because he did not sufficiently “preach to the times," he resigned his living, and soon after was chosen principal of the University of Edinburgh. When Charles II, resolved to make the attempt to introduce episcopacy into Scotland, Leighton was induced to accept a bishopric, but he chose the humblest of the whole, that of Dumblane, and would not join in the pompous entry of his brethren into Edinburgh. On the contrary, he conducted himself with so much moderation and humility, that he won the affections of even tho most rigid Presbyterians. Subsequently, when the court of Charles II., failing to attain their object by cruelty and butchery, resolved to accomplish it more in the way of persuasiveness and gentlenuss, Leighton was induced to accept the archbishopric of Glasgow. Still he found it an affair of contention little suited to his habits or turn of mind; accordingly he resigned his situation, and retired to the county of Sussex in England, where he ended his days in 1684.2
The following character of this most excellent man is given by Bishop Burnet, in his “History of His Own Times." "He had great quickness of parts, a lively apprehension, with a charming vivacity of thought and expression. He had the greatest command of the purest Latin that ever I knew in any man. He was a master both of Greek and Hebrew, and of the whole com. pass of theological learning, chiefly in the study of the Scriptures. But that which excelled all the rest was, he was possessed with the highest and noblest sense of divine things that I ever saw in any man. He had no regard to his person, unless it was to mortify it by a constant low diet, tuat was like a perpetual fast. He had a contempt both of wealth and reputation. He seemed to have the lowest thoughts of himself possible, and to desire that all other persons should think as meanly of him as he did himself. He bore all sorts of ill usage and reproach like a man that took pleasure in it. Hy had so subdued the natural heat of his temper, that in a great variety of accideuts, and in a course of twenty-two years' intimate conversation with him, I never observed the least sign of passion but upon one single occasion. He brought himself into so composed a gravity, that I never saw him laugh, and but sel. dom smile. And he kept himself in such a constant recollection, that I do not remember that ever I heard him say one idle word. There was a visible tendency in all he said to raise his own mind, and those he conversed with, to serious reflections. He seemed to be in a perpetual meditation. His preaching had a sublimity both of thought and expression in it. The grace and gravity of his pronunciation was such, that few heard him without a very sensible emotion: I am sure I never did. His style was rather too fine ; but there was a majesty and beauty in it that left so deep an impression, that I cannot yet forget the sermons I heard him preach thirty years ago. And yet with this he seemed to look on himself as so ordinary a preacher, that while he had a cure, he was ready to employ all others. And when he was a bishop, he chose to preach to small auditories, and would never give notice beforehand: he had, indeed, a very low voice, and so could not be heard by a great crowd."
1 The editions of Walton's "Angler" are almost innumerable; but the most splendid is that by Sir Harris Nicolas, published by Pickering, London, 1836, in one tall, imperial octavo, with numerous plates. But the American reader has nothing more to desire than the benutiful edition recer!ly pube lished by Wiley & Putnam, prepared with great learning and taste by the "American Editor," weli understood to be the Rev. George W. Bethune, D.D.
2 Coleridge's "Aids to Reflection" has for its foundation selections from the writings of Leighton: fall not, reader, to possess thysell of it, and make the rich treasure thy manual
DESPISE NOT THE LEAST. We are to observe and to respect the smallest good that is in any. Although a Christian be never so base in his outward condition in body or mind, of very mean intellectual and natural endowments; yet they that know the worth of spiritual things will esteem the grace of God that is in him, in the midst of all those disadvantages, as men esteem a pearl, though in a rough shell. Grace carries still its o.vn worth, though under a deformed body and ragged garinents; yea, though they have but a small measure of that either; yea, the very lowest degree of grace, as a pearl of the least size, or a small piece of gold, yet men will not throw it away. But, as they say, the least shavings of gold are worth the keeping. The Jews would not willingly tread upon the smallest piece of paper in their way, but took it up; for possibly, say they, the name of God may be on it. Though there was a little superstition in that, yet truly there is nothing but good religion in it, if we apply it to men. Trample not on any ; there may be some work of grace there that thou knowest not of. The name of God thay be written upon that soul thou treadest on.
THE BEASTS WITHIN US. What, you will say, have I beasts within me? Yes; you have beasts, and a vast number of them. And that you may not think I intend to insult you, is anger an inconsiderable beast, when it barks in your heart? What is deceit, when it lies hid in a cunning mind; is it not a fox ? Is not the man who is furiously bent upon calumny, a scorpion ? Is not the person who is eagerly set on resentment and revenge, a most venomous viper? What do you say of a covetous man; is he not a ravenous wolf? And is not the luxurious man, as the prophet expresses it, a neighing horse ? Nay, there is no wild beast but is found within us. And do you consider yourself as lord and prince of the wild beasts, because you command those that are without, though you never
think of subduing or setting bounds to those that are within you? What advantage have you by your reason, which enables you to overcome lions, if, after all, you yourself are overcome by anger? To what purpose do you rule over the birds, and catch them with gins, if you yourself, with the inconstancy of a bird, or hurried hither and thither, and sometimes flying high, are ensnared by pride, sometimes brought down and caught by pleasure? But, as it is shameful for him who rules over nations to be a slave at home, will it not be, in like manner, disgraceful for you, who exercise dominion over the beasts that are without you, to be subject to a great many, and those of the worst sort, that roar and domineer in your distempered mind?
ALL CHRISTIANS, PREACHERS. What the apostles were in an extraordinary way befitting the first annunciation of a religion for all mankind, this all teachers of moral truth, who aim to prepare for its reception by calling the attention of men to the law in their own hearts, may, without presumption, consider themselves to be, under ordinary gifts and circumstances : namely, ambassadors for the Greatest of Kings, and upon no mean employment, the great Treaty of Peace and Reconcilement betwixt Him and Mankind.
TEMPERANCE. As excessive eating or drinking both makes the body sickly and lazy, fit for nothing but sleep, and besots the mind, as it clogs up with crudities the way through which the spirits should pass, bemiring them, and making them move heavily, as a coach in a deep way; thus doth all immoderate use of the world and its des lights wrong the soul in its spiritual condition, makes it sickly and feeble, full of spiritual distempers and inactivity, benumbs the graces of the Spirit, and fills the soul with sleepy vapors, makes it grow secure and heavy in spiritual exercises, and obstructs the way and motion of the Spirit of God, in the soul. Therefore, if you would be spiritual, healthful, and vigorous, and enjoy much of the consolations of Heaven, be sparing and sober in those of the earth; and what you abate of the one, shall be certainly made up in the other.
THE HEART THE GREAT REGULATOR. To set the outward actions right, though with an honest intention, and not so to regard and find out the inward disorder of the heart, whence that in the actions flows, is but to be still putting the index of a clock right with your finger, while it is foul, or out of order within, which is a continual business, and does no good. Oh! but a purified conscience, a soul renewed and refined in its