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【名人家书】本杰明富兰克林致姐姐 (双语)

2015-04-10    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训
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Dear Sister,

I received your favour of June 17.I wonder you have had no letter from me since my being in England. I have written you at least two, and I think a third before this,and what was next to waiting on you in person,sent you my picture. In June last I sent Benny a trunk of books,and wrote to him;I hope they have come to hand,and that he meets with encouragement in his business. I congratulate you on the conquest of Cape Breton,and hope as your people took it by praying,the first time,you will now pray that it may never be given up again,which you then forgot. Billy is well,but in the country. I left him at  Tunbridge Wells,where we spent a fortnight,and he is now gone with some company to see Portsmouth. We have been together over a great part of England this summer and among other places,visited the town our father was born in,and found some relations in that part of the country still living.

Our cousin Jane Franklin,daughter of our uncle John,died about a year ago. We saw her husband,Robert Page,who gave us some old letters to his wife,from Uncle Benjamin. In one of them,dated Boston,July 4,1723,he writes that your uncle Josiah has a daughter Jane,about twelve years old,a good-humoured child. So keep up to your character,and don't be angry when you have no letters. In a little book he sent her,called“None but Christ,”he wrote an acrostic on her name,which for namesake's sake,as well as the good advice it contains,I transcribe and send you.

“Illuminated from on high,

And shining brightly in your sphere.

Ne'er faint,but keep a steady eye,

Expecting endless pleasures there.“

“Flee vice as you'd a serpent flee;

Raise faith and hope three stories higher,

And let Christ's endless love to thee

Ne'er cease to make thy love aspire.

Kindness of heart by words express,

Let your obedience be sincere,

In prayer and praise you God address,

Nor cease,till he can cease to hear.“

After professing truly that I had a great esteem and veneration for the pious author,permit me a little to play the commentator and critic on these lines. The meaning of three stories higher seems somewhat obscure. You are to understand,then,that faith,hope,and charity have been called the three steps of Jacob's ladder,reaching from earth to heaven;our author calls them stories,likening religion to a building, and these are the three stories of the Christian edifice. Thus improvement in religion is called building up and edification. Faith is then the ground floor,hope is up one pair of stairs. My dear beloved Jenny,don't delight so much to dwell in those lower rooms,but get as fast as you can into the garret,for in truth the best room in the house is charity. For my part,I wish the house was turned upside down;'tis so difficult(when one is fat)to go upstairs;and not only so,but I imagine hope and faith may be more firmly built upon charity,than charity upon faith and hope. However that my be,I think it the better reading to say——

“Raise faith and hope one story higher.”

Correct it boldly,and I'll support the alteration;for,when you are up two stories already,if you raise your building three stories higher you will make five in all,which is two more than there should be,you expose your upper rooms more to the winds and storms;and,besides,I am afraid the foundation will hardly bear them, unless indeed you build with such light stuff as straw and stubble,and that,you know,won't stand fire. Again,where the author says,

“Kindness of heart by words express,”

strike out words,and put in deeds. The world is too full of compliments already. They are the rank growth of every soil,and choke the good plants of benevolence,and beneficence;nor do I pretend to be the first in this comparison of words and actions to plants;you may remember an ancient poet,whose works we have all studied and copied at school long ago.

“A man of words and not of deeds

Is like a garden full of weeds.“

It is a pity that good works,among some sorts of people,are so little valued,and good words admired in their stead:I mean seemingly pious discourses,instead of humane benevolent actions. Those they almost put out of countenance,by calling morality rotten morality,righteousness ragged righteousness,and even filthy rags——and when you mention virtue,pucker up their noses as if they smelt a stink;at the same time that they eagerly snuff up an empty canting harangue,as if it was a pose of the choicest flowers:So they have inverted the good old verse,and say now

“A man of deeds and not of words

Is like a garden full of——“

I have forgot the rhyme,but remember 'tis something the very reverse of perfume. So much by way of commentary.

My wife will let you see my letter,containing an account of our travels,which I would have you read to sister Dowse,and give my love to her. I have no thoughts of returning till next year,and then may possibly have the pleasure of seeing you and yours;taking Boston in my way home. My love to brother and all your children,concludes at this time from,dear Jenny,your affectionate brother.
































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