Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

He does not seem to have resided much in Oxford, and in 1638 we find him presented to the Rectory of Uppingham in Rutlandshire, by Juxon, Bishop of London, who was a great friend of his patron, the Archbishop.

In 1639 he married, but his wife did not live long. They had, however, three sons, one died young, the other two grew up to manhood.

The year 1642 was marked by many public as well as private sorrows, and, in the great struggle which was now begun, he ably and courageously contended on the side both of episcopacy and monarchy. He appears to

[graphic]

have been among the first to join the king at Oxford, where, shortly after, he published, "by his Majesty's command," his treatise of "Episcopacy Asserted."

"To such rewards as the King and Church had to bestow, Taylor had no common pretensions; and we find him admitted, on the first of November in the same year, with many other eminent loyalists, by the royal mandate, to the degree of Doctor of Divinity.

"The Presbyterians, however, had more power to hurt than Charles to reward and it was, probably, about this time that the Rectory of Uppingham was sequestered; a fact which is certain from the joint authority of Walker and Lloyd, no less than from all which is known of Taylor's subsequent

[ocr errors]

poverty. Of course, neither Taylor, nor any of the deprived clergy, reli quished their claim to the livings of which they were despoiled; but as their places were, in every instance, filled up without loss of time by the ruling party, it is something remarkable that no record remains of the institution of the intruder, his incumbency, or his expulsion on the return of monarchy and episcopacy tud come » 1 a za bury to I to dzinq 9.2 aimer

Of Taylor's history, during the remainder of the civil war, we are very imperfectly informed. Wood speaks of him as a frequent preacher before the court at Oxford, and as following the royal army in the capacity of chaplain, till, on the decline of the King's cause, he sought an asylum ins Carmarthenshire. Next year we find him in Wales, and again attached to a portion of the army, since Whitelock mentions a Dr. Taylor as a conspicuous prisoner, (the only one, indeed, whose name he notices,) in the victory gained by the parliamentary troops over Colonel Charles Gerard, before the castle of Cardigan, on the 4th of February, 1647. eitzem sT"

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

"When Taylor was once in Wales, it was not likely he would rejoin the royal army, even supposing him released from his confinement or his parole, before the success of that army became desperate by the secession of thes King, and his surrender of himself to the Scottish forces. It is not, however, probable, that he had now taken a last leave of his unfortunate master In August, 1647, the chaplains of the imprisoned monarch were again allowed, for a time, free access to him; and it appears, that, at a late period of Charles's misfortunes, Taylor had an interview with him, and received from him, in token of his regard, his watch, and a few pearls and rubies which had ornamented the ebony case in which he kept his Bible,i s nizi oludw (alloɔ Ja Being now deprived of all Church preferment, he supported himself by keeping a school, which he carried on in partnership with William Nicholson, afterwards bishop of Gloucester, and William Wyat, who subsequently ob tained the rank of Prebendary of Lincoln. Their success, considering their remote situation and the distresses of the times, appears to have been noti inconsiderable. Newton Hall, a house in the parish of Lanfihangel, which d they jointly rented, is dignified by Wyat, in his Latin epistle to Lord Hatton, with the title of Collegium Newtoniense:" and Wood tells us of several youths most loyally educated there, and afterwards sent to the Universities a It was here that he wrote the most curious, and, perhaps, the ablest of3 all his compositions, his admirable Liberty of Prophesying," composed, as he tells his patron, Lord Hatton, in the epistle dedicatory, under a host of grievous disadvantages; in adversity and want; without books or leisure; and with no other resources than those which were supplied by a long fami- ? liarity with the sacred volume, and a powerful mind, imbued with all the 9 bel to nois learning of past ages, m!! Dep

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Of the work thus produced space will not allow us to give an Of its importance and value at the time of its first appearance, some opinion I may be formed by recollecting that it is the first attempt on record to con ciliate the minds of Christians to the reception of a doctrine which, though

now the rule of action professed by all Christian sects, was then, by every sect alike, regarded as a perilous and portentous novelty."

About this time he seems to have married again, and it is possible that this was the reason why he left the King's service. The second wife was a Mrs. Joanna Bridges, who was possessed of a competent estate at Mandinam, in the parish of Llanguedor, and county of Carmarthen, but there is no, reason to believe that this marriage added materially to Taylor's income. We have seen him, after his first imprisonment, compelled to keep school for his subsistence. From the manner in which, when writing both to Evelyn, and Hatton, he speaks of his "shipwreck," it is probable that he was not released from the consequences of his enterprise at Cardigan without a heavy amercement of his wife's estate; and, as his school seems to have been broken up by his repeated imprisonments, his chief support must have been his literary labours, and the kindness of his numerous friends.

A

"The next in succession of his published books, after The Liberty of Prophesying,' was the 'Apology for Authorized and Set Forms of Liturgy against the Pretence of the Spirit; this was followed, in a very few months, by a work of greater bulk, and far more extensive popularity, (the first, perhaps, of his writings which was speedily and widely popular,) The Life of Christ; or, the Great Exemplar.'

[ocr errors]

"His works, during three successive years, were entirely of a devotional or practical character; consisting of a Sermon on the Death of the Excellent Lady Carbery; to which is subjoined a long Latin inscription, probably not intended for her monument, but to be affixed, as usual in those days, to her coffin, while lying in state; a short Catechism for Children; his 27 Sermons for the Summer half-year;-and his Holy Living and Dying;-the two last of which had been composed at the desire, and for the use of his late patroness, and are inscribed to her afflicted husband.

"Controversy, however, was not entirely to be avoided; and, in 1654, the insulting triumph of some Roman Catholics over the fallen condition of the English Church provoked him to re-examine the leading points of difference between the two, communions, and produced the Real Presence and Spiritual of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, proved against the Doctrine of Transubstantiation; and dedicated to Warner, Bishop of Rochester, a worthy and a wise man, who, even in the times of general distress, continued, from his scanty means, to assist the still deeper poverty of Taylor.

1 "The Church of Rome might be offended with impunity; but Taylor's zeal for episcopacy about this time involved him with a more formidable adversary. He had, during this year, expanded his 'Catechism for Children,' already noticed, into the beautiful Manual which, in honour of the hospitable mansion of Lord Carbery, he has entitled 'the Golden Grove. This he now published, with a preface, which, though ostensibly calculated (and perhaps intended) to conciliate the Protector in favour of the persecuted Church of England, as friendly to established governments, and more particularly to monarchy, contained many expressions which were likely to provoke, to the

[ocr errors]

utmost extent, both the Presbyterian and Independent clergy, and some which Cromwell himself might reasonably conceive insidious or insulting. He was accordingly committed to prison; in what month, or at what place, his biographers have not ascertained. Our whole knowledge of the fact is, indeed, derived from a letter from John Evelyn, of Say's Court, dated February 9, 1654; in which, while the writer expresses the anxiety which he had felt on the news of his friend's calamity, he congratulates him on being again at liberty.

"Taylor's troubles, however, were not yet concluded. On the 18th of May there is another letter from Evelyn, written in great and evident distress of mind, and under the apprehension of an approaching persecution, in which he pretty plainly intimates that the person whom he addresses was again in custody, and in which he urges him to publish something for the comfort and guidance of the devout laity, who, by the loss of their faithful and orthodox teachers, were deprived of all outward means of grace, not only in the case of preaching and the common prayer, but of the orderly administration of the sacraments.

[ocr errors]

"Neither imprisonment nor poverty, however, had power to cramp the fertility of Taylor's genius, or to deter him from the expression of his sentiments, though at the risk of offending those whose good opinion was most valuable to him. Besides completing his Series of Sermons for the whole year, by the addition of the twenty-five discourses which, though last published, stand first in the volume, he produced, at the beginning of the present

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

year, his Unum Necessarium: or, the Doctrine and Practice of Repentance; describing the necessity and measures of a strict, a holy, and a Christian life, and rescued from popular errors.'

[ocr errors]

"

"In this work he had, as its title implies, expressed himself concerning the nature of original sin, and the extent of man's corruption, in a manner at variance with the opinion of Christians in general, and more particularly of the Protestant Churches; and he appears to have felt, and not without reason, considerable anxiety as to the manner in which his work would be received by them. From the Calvinists he neither expected nor wished for approbation; but, in order to conciliate, the favour or soften the opposition of the members of his own communion, a single dedication did not appear sufficient. Besides an epistle to Lord Carbery, he has introduced his treatise with a preface inscribed to the Bishops of Salisbury and Rochester, and the rest of the clergy of the Church of England, in which he strenuously, though with many expressions of humility and submission to his spiritual superiors, exculpates himself from the charge of heresy, or of holding language inconsistent with the Liturgy and Articles of religion.

[ocr errors]

3

"While a prisoner at Chepstow, he produced the Further Explication of the Doctrine of Original Sin, which now constitutes the seventh chapter of the 'Unum Necessarium,' but was at first published separately, with the dedication to the Bishop of Rochester, which still accompanies it.”

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ال

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »