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such men, by nature, were fitted for contemplation and quietness; men of mild, and sweet, and peaceable spirits, as indeed most Anglers are: these men our blessed Saviour, who is observed to love to plant grace in good natures, though indeed nothing be too hard for him, yet these men he chose to call from their irreproveable employment of fishing, and gave them grace to be his disciples, and to follow him, and do wonders; I say four of twelve.
And it is observable, that it was our Saviour's will that these, our four fishermen, should have a priority of nomination in the catalogue of his twelve Apostles (Matt. x.): as namely, first St. Peter, St. Andrew, St. James, and St. John; and, then, the rest in their order.
And it is yet more observable, that when our blessed Saviour went up into the mount, when he left the rest of his disciples, and chose only three to bear him company at his Transfiguration, that those three were all fishermen. And it is to be believed, that all the other Apostles, after they betook themselves to follow Christ, betook themselves to be fishermen too; for it is certain, that the greater number of them were found together, fishing, by Jesus after his resurrection, as it is recorded in the 21st chapter of St. John's gospel.
And since I have your promise to hear me with patience, I will take a liberty to look back upon an observation that hath been made by an ingenious and learned man; who observes, that God hath been pleased to allow those whom he himself hath appointed to write his holy will in holy writ, yet to express his will in such metaphors as their former affections or practice had inclined them to. And he brings Solomon for an example, who, before his conversion, was remarkably carnally amorous; and after, by God's appointment, wrote that Spiritual dialogue, or
holy amorous love-song the Canticles, betwixt God and his church : in which he says,
« his beloved had
like the fish-pools of Heshbon.'
And if this hold in reason, as I see none to the contrary, then it may be probably concluded, that Moses (who I told you before writ. the book of Job,) and the prophet Amos who was a shepherd, were both Anglers ; for you shall, in all the Old Testament, find fish-hooks, I think but twice mentioned, namely, by meek Moses the friend of God, and by the humble prophet Amos.'
Concerning which last, namely the prophet Amos, I shall make but this observation, that he that shall read the humble, lowly, plain style of that prophet, and compare it with the high, glorious, eloquent style of the prophet Isaiah, (though they be both equally true) may easily believe Amos to be, not only a shepherd, but a good-natured plain fisherman. Which I do the rather believe, by comparing the affectionate, loving, lowly, humble Epistles of St. Peter, St. James, and St. John, whom we know were all fishers, with the glorious language and high metaphors of St. Paul, who we may believe was not.
And for the lawfulness of fishing: it may very well be
(1) Walton was a good Scripturist, and therefore can hardly be supposed to have been ignorant of the passage in Isaiah, chap. xix. 8. “ The fishers shall mourn, and all they that cast angle upon the brooks shall lament, and they that spread nets upon the waters shall languish.” Which words as they do but imply the use of fish-hooks, he might think not directly to his purpose; but in the translation of the above prophet by the learned Bishop Lowth, who himself assures me that the word hook is truly rendered, the passage staods thus:
« And the fishers shall mourn and lament;
All those that cast the hook in the river,
The following passage Walton seems likewise to have forgotten when he wrote the above, unless the reason before assigned induced him to reject it: • They take up all of them with the angle, they catch them in their pet, and gather them in their drag, therefore they rejoice and are glad.” Habakkuk, chap. i. v. 15.
maintained by our Saviour's bidding St. Peter cast his hook into the water and catch a fish, for
money to pay tribute to Cæsar.
And let me tell you, that Angling is of high esteem, and of much use in other nations. He that reads the Voyages of Ferdinand Mendez Pinto," shall find that there he declares to have found a king and several priests a fishing
And he that reads Plutarch shall find that Angling was not contemptible in the days of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, and that they, in the midst of their wonderful glory, used Angling as a principal recreation. And let me tell you, that in the Scripture, Angling is always taken in the best sense; and that though hunting may be sometimes so taken, yet it is but seldom to be so understood.
(1) A traveller, whose veracity is much questioned.
(2) I must here so far differ from my author, as to say, that if Angling was not contemptible in the days of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, that illustrious prostitute endeavoured to make it so. The fact related by Plutarch is the following:
“ It would be very tedious and trifiing to recouot all his follies : but his fish. ing must not be forgot. He went out one day to angle with Cleopatra; and being so unfortunate as to catch nothing in the presence of his mistress, he was very much vexed, and gave secret orders to the fishermen to dive under water, and put fishes that had been fresh taken upon his hook. After he had drawn up two or three, Cleopatra perceived the trick; she pretended, however, to be surprised at his good fortune and dexterity; told it to all her friends, and invited them to come and see him fish the next day. Accordingly, a very large company went out in the fishing vessels; and as soon as Antony had let down his line, she commanded one of her servants to be before-hand with Antony's, and, diving into the water, to fix upon his hook a salted fish, one of those which were brought from the Euxine Sea.”
The story here told affords matter of serious reflection. Behold here, two persons of the highest raok, who had exhausted all the sources of delight, their appetites palled, and every gratification rendered tasteless, stooping to partake of the recreations of the humbler kind,-aud, of tyrants, and persecutors of their fellow-creatures, to become the deceivers of silly fish, and of each other. Doubtless we may suppose that long before the tragical end, which they severally made, of a profligate and wicked life, they were grown tired and sick of the world ; and had frequent occasion to exclaim, and that with greater reason than their Predecessor in worldly glory, that all the pomp and splendour of dominion, all the pomp and authority resulting from regal grandeur, all ambitious enterprises, all merely human projects, pursuits, and pleasures, without a tranquil and composed mind, such as God vouchsafes only to the meek and humble, are vanity and vexation of Spirit.
And let me add this more: he that views the ancient Ecclesiastical Canons, shall find hunting to be forbidden to Churchmen, as being a turbulent, toilsome, perplexing recreation; and shall find Angling allowed to clergymen, as being a harmless recreation, a recreation that invites them to contemplation and quietness.
I might here enlarge myself, by telling you what commendations our learned Perkins bestows on Angling; and how dear a lover, and great a practiser of it, our learned Dr. Whitaker' was; as indeed many others of great learning have been. But I will content myself with two memorable men, that lived near to our own time, whom I also take to have been ornaments to the art of Angling. The first is Dr. Nowel, some time dean of the cathedral
church of St. Paul, in London, where his monu-
(1) William Perkins was a learned divine, and a pious and painful Preacher: Dr. William Whitaker, an able writer in the Romish controversy, and Regius Professor of Divinity in the University of Cambridge. They both flourished at the latter end of the sixteenth century. I remark the extreme caution of ous author in this passage; for he says not of Perkins, as he does of Whitaker, that he was a practiser of, but only that he bestows (in some of his writings we must conclude) great commendations on angling. Perkins had the misfortune to want the use of his right hand; as we find intimated in this distich op him :
Dertera quamtumvis fuerat tibi manca, docendi
Pollebas mirâ derteritate tamen.
Right well thou writest with thy hand that's left.
The Fact respectiug Whitaker is thus attested by Dr. Fuller, in his Holy State, book iii. chap. 13. “ Fishing with an apgle is to some rather a torture than a pleasure, to stand an hour as mute as the fish they mean to take; yet herewithal Dr. Whitaker was much delighted."
To these examples of divines, lovers of Angling, I here add (1784) that of Dr. Leigh, the present Master of Baliol College, Oxford, who, though turned of ninety, makes it the recreation of his vacant hours.
(2) Dr. Alexander Nowel, a learned divine, and a famous preacher in the reigo of King Edw. VI.; upon whose death he, with many other Protestants, fled to Germany, where he lived many years.
In 1561 he was made dean of St. Paul's; and in 1601 died. The monument mentioned in the text was un. doubtedly consumed, with the church, in the fire of London; but the inscription thereon is preserved in Stow's Survey, edit. 1633, page 362. See Athen. Oron, 313. An engraving of the modument itself is in Dugdale's History of St. Paul's Cathedral
reformation of Queen Elizabeth, (not that of Henry VIII.) was so noted for his meek spirit, deep learning, prudence, and piety, that the then Parliament and Convocation, both, chose, enjoined, and trusted him to be the man to make a Catechism for public use, such a one as should stand as a rule for faith and manners to their posterity. And the good old man, (though he was very learned, yet knowing that God leads us not to heaven by many, nor by hard questions,) like an honest Angler, made that good, plain, unperplexed Catechism which is printed with our good old Service-book.' I say, this good man was a dear lover and constant practiser of Angling,
(1) The question who was the compiler of our church Catechism, must, I fear, be reckoned among the desiderata of our ecclesiastical history. It is certain that Nowel drew up two catechisms, a greater and a less; the latter in the Title, as it stands in the English translation, expressly directed “ to be learned of all youth, next after the “ little Catechisme appoynted in the Booke of Common Prayer." But, besides that both were originally written in Latin, and translated by other hands, the lesser, though declared to be an abridgement of the greater, was at least twenty times longer than that in the Common. Prayer Book. And whereas Walton says, that in the reformation of Elizabeth, the then Parliament enjoined Nowel to make a Catechism, &c. and thut he made that which is printed in our old Service-book ; the catechism in question is to be found in bot the Liturgies of Edw. VI. (the first whereof was set forth in 1549,) and also in his Primer, printed in 1552 ; and Nowel is not enumerated among the compilers of the Service-book. Further, both the Cutechisms of Nowel contain the doctrine of the sacraments; but that in the old Servicebook is silent on that head, and so continued, till, upon an objection of the Puritans in the conference at Hampton Court, an explanation of the sacraments was drawn up by Dr. John Overall, and printed in the next impressiou of the Book of Common Prayer. It may further be remarked, that in the conference above mentioned, the two Cutechisms are contra-distinguished, in an expression of Dr. Reynolds; who objected, that the Catechism in the Common-Prayer Book was too brief; and that by Dean Nowel, too long for novices to learn by heart. See Fuller's Ch. Hist. book x. page 14.
So much of Walton's assertion as respects the sanction given to a catechism of Nowel's is true : but it was the larger catechism, drawn up at the request of secretary Cecil, and other great persons, that was so approved, and that not by Parliament, but by a Convocatiou held anno 1562, temp. Eliz. See Strype's Life of Archbishop Parker, 202.
From all which particulars it must be inferred, that Walton's assertion, with respect to the Catechism in the Service- Book, i. e. the Book of Common Prayer, is a mistake; and although Strype, in his Memorials, Vol. II. page 442, concludes a catechism of Nowel's (mentioned in the said book, page 368, et in loc cit.) to be the church Catechism joined, ordinarily, with our Common Prayer, he also must have misunderstood the fact.