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Taylor

holy, tion, literary, liberty, ireland and prophesying

TAYLOR, Jeremy, English prelate and au thor: b. Cambridge, 1613; d. Lisburn, County Antrim, Ireland, 13 Aug. 1667. After gradua tion in 1630 from Caius College, Cambridge, he was ordained in 1634, attracted some atten tion by his divinity lectures at Saint Paul's and was sent by Laud to Oxford, where he was admitted perpetual Fellow in 1636. He was presented to the rectory of Uppingham, Rut land, in 1638, to that of Overstone, Northamp tonshire, in 1643. By this time he had made much of a reputation by his casuistical dis courses. In the civil war he was committed to the Royalist party. As chaplain in ordinary to the king, he accompanied the army and was taken prisoner by the Parlimentarians in the battle before Cardigan Castle (1645). Soon released, he remained in Wales, having found, as he later said, that the "great storm° had "dashed the vessel of the church all in pieces.* While chaplain to Richard Vaughan, Earl of Carbery, at Golden Grove, Carmarthenshire, he did some of his best literary work, includ ing 'The Liberty of Prophesying' (1646) ; 'Holy Living' (1650), and 'Holy Dying' (1651). He was twice imprisoned at Chepstow, occasionally preached to small Episcopalian con gregations in London and in 1658 was appointed to a weekly lectureship at Lisburn, County Antrim. In April 1660 he signed the *declara tion* of the Loyalists and in August following the Restoration was made bishop of Down and Connor. He found the diocese a troublesome one, owing to difficulties with the Presbyterian leaders, who refused to recognize Episcopal jurisdiction. At his first visitation he declared 36 churches vacant, their incumbents not having been episcopally ordained. Contrary to his pur pose, he contributed greatly toward the estab lishment of Loyalist Presbyterians in northern Ireland as an independent ecclesiastical or ganization. Of his works, the best known is

probably the 'liberty of Prophesying' — by which he meant a defense of tol eration. He rests this plea for private judgment on the uncertainty and inadequacy of tradi tion, the fallibility of any arbiter that may be selected on points of controversy, and the diffi culty of expounding the Scriptures: Coleridge thought the result of the argument was that "so much can be said for every opinion and sect') that appeal must be made to "some posi tive jurisdiction on earth." Perhaps Taylor's was merely a *legal settlement.* At any rate, it is otherwise inconsistent with his procedure in Ireland. But he was at his best not as an accurate theologian or polemic but as a preacher of righteousness. His literary genius is gen erally thought to be seen to best advantage in his sermons. They do not lack rhetorical faults — redundancy, diffuseness, a burdensome ex tent of quotation and illustration; but they are always eloquent, with a certain vividness, dig nity and solidity for which many critics have been unable to find an equal in Enelish prose. His devotional works, inspiring for their deep piety, are also highly valued for their useful ness. Next to the 'Liberty of Prophesying' they are most famous among Taylor's writ ings and now the most widely read. There are collected editions by Bishop Heber (1820 22) and by Eden (1847-54). (See HOLY Ltv 'NG; HOLY DYING). Consult Coleridge's 'Literary Remains' ; Hunt, 'Religious Thought in England' (1870) ; Tulloch, 'Rational The ology' (1872) ; Barry, 'Classic Preachers' (1878) ; Dowden, 'Puritan and Anglican' (1901) ; 'Life' by Heber (1822), revised by Eden (1854) ; Gosse, 'Jeremy Taylor' (1904).