KING CHARLES II, HIS CHAPLAIN, AND HIS SCOTTISH COOK.
The witty Earl of Rochester being in company with King Charles II, his Queen, the Chaplain, and some ministers of state, after they had been discoursing on business, the King suddenly exclaimed:
“Let our thoughts be unbended from the cares of state, and give us a generous glass of wine, that cheereth, as the Scripture saith, both God and man.”
The Queen, hearing this, modestly said she thought there could
be no such text in the Scripture, and that was but little else than blasphemy. The King replied that he was not prepared to turn to chapter and verse, but was sure that he had met with it in his Scripture reading. The chaplain was applied to, and was of the
Queen’s opinion. Rochester, suspecting the King to be right, slipped out of the room to inquire for a Bible among the servants. None of the latter could read, except David the Scots cook, and he, they said, always carried a Bible with him. David being called, recollected both the text and where to find it. Rochester told David to be in waiting, and returned to the King. The text was still the
subject of conversation, and Rochester proposed to call David, who, he said, was well acquainted with the Scriptures. David was called, and being asked the question, produced the Bible and read the text. It was from the parable of the trees of the woods going forth to appoint a King over them (Judg. 9. v.13) Â— “And the vine
said unto them, should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?”
The King smiled, the Queen asked pardon, the chaplain blushed. Rochester then asked this Doctor of Divinity if he would interpret the text now it was produced. The Chaplain was mute. The Earl
therefore applied to David for the exposition. The cook
immediately replied: “How much wine cheereth man,” looking Rochester in the eyes, “your lordship knoweth (no doubt David had seen him a dozen times), and that it cheereth God, I beg leave to say that, under the Old Testament dispensation, there were meat offerings and drink offerings; the latter consisted of wine, which was
typical of the blood of the Mediator, which, by a metaphor, was said to cheer God, as He was well pleased in the way of salvation that He had appointed, whereby His justice was satisfied, His law filled, His mercy reigned, His grace triumphed, all His perfections harmonised, the sinner was saved, and God in Christ glorified.”
The King looked astonished, the Queen shed tears; Rochester,
after some very severe reflections upon the Chaplain, gravely moved that his Majesty would be pleased to send the Chaplain into the kitchen to turn cook, and that he would make his cook his Chaplain.